Team-up Creating A Startup

Longview, TX


LeTourneau University (LETU) President, Dr. Steven Mason and Dr. Alan Clipperton recently signed an agreement with newly-created company WAN YouXi, LLC, a company that will be producing a card game that teaches mathematical principles. 

LETU Mathematics Professor Dr. Curtis Wesley invented a card game that is meant for introducing mathematical principles to all different kinds of people, especially children, as young as seven years old. This game is intended to be simple and intuitive Recognizing the need to eliminate intimidating mathematical terminology, Dr. Wesley utilized basic shapes and colors on cards and created a game. When asked about his hopes for this game, Dr. Wesley stated, “Many people approach math and say, oh it’s about equations, or about numbers, or about graphs, etc. But math is actually a language. Not only is it a language for communication, but a language which gives us a way to write out a story of how one thing can relate to another. This is what I wanted to convey in the card game. When you play this game, you are expressing an idea. It’s not about the symbols on the cards. It’s about the idea that’s conveyed.

This recent agreement between LETU and WAN YouXi, LLC officially licensed Dr. Wesley's intellectual property (the math card game) for production. While this is the first-ever licensing agreement signed between LETU and an outside company, this campus is no stranger to innovation. From its very founding, LETU has stood as a monolith of ingenuity, specifically in the arena of Christian higher education. Bridging the gap between theoretical concepts and practical application might be simply aspirational for some educational arenas, but on the LeTourneau University campus that work is a consistent trend.

Applying that entrepreneurial spirit in locally advantageous methods, Dr. Alan Clipperton, VP of Global Initiatives and Director of the LETU Office of Industry Engagement, states: “The assignment of the WAN game intellectual property from LeTourneau University to WAN YouXi, LLC is a culmination of multidisciplinary collaboration to benefit the institution and the students. Dr. Curtis Wesley, professor of mathematics, created the WAN game IP, the LeTourneau Ingenuity Center protected the IP through their patent work, the School of Business students created a business and marketing plan for the IP, R.G. Research & Development agreed to manage and fund the company, and the Center for Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurial Leadership is supporting the new start-up. The company, WAN YouXi, LLC, will be entirely student run with plans to fully commercialize the WAN card game in both physical and digital formats. While LeTourneau University has generated patent protected intellectual property in the past, this project will be the first time that the institution has taken IP from the concept phase all the way to commercialization.”

The student team starting this company is comprised of four current LeTourneau business students. Kaisen Berry, Zaine Fisher, Mirabella Mendoza, and Sang Thang are all excited to be working in this start-up, and they are particularly energized by the firsthand business experience this provides.

Kaisen, a Business Administration major, comments, “This is my first experience with an actual start-up, and it's exciting to see all the different routes we can take and how far we can go. I can apply everything I have learned in my classes now in a real scenario.” When asked about his hopes for the game itself, Kaisen said “I hope to bring our youth a fun, interactive and educational experience so they will be better prepared when they reach higher levels of mathematics.”

One of the team’s marketing majors, Zaine, echoed those sentiments when she stated “Because of my own entrepreneurial goals, I am excited to be learning so much about how to start and run a business through the hands-on application of WAN YooXi LLC. The work we are doing enables me to apply classroom knowledge to the real world with a real company.”