Former Mississippi university advisors join corporate team at company former students created
Published 10:17 pm Saturday, February 10, 2024
Nearly a decade ago, Eric Hill and Jeffrey Rupp helped two Mississippi State University students launch their startup, Glo, through the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach (E-Center). This year, Hill and Rupp are transitioning from advisory roles to key leadership positions at Glo, the parent company of Glo Pals—one of the fastest-growing toy brands in the U.S.
“Eric and Jeffrey are among the best in the business and adding them to our team gives Glo a phenomenal strategic advantage,” said Hagan Walker, Glo’s chief executive officer and co-founder. “They’ll be able to hit the ground running on day one and work with us to transform the Glo portfolio of brands into one of the largest consumer toy and novelty companies in the world.”
Hill becomes Glo’s chief operating officer on April 15 with Rupp joining the team on July 1 as director of business development. During their careers at Mississippi State, they helped launch more than 100 student startups valued in excess of $35 million.
“This is a monumental development for Glo,” said Anna Barker, chief creative officer and co-founder of Glo Pals. “Both Eric and Jeffrey have been an invaluable source of support and a constant sounding board for advice since we were students. The knowledge and insight they bring to the table are vital for sustaining our long-term growth, and we’re more excited than ever about the future.”
Hill joins Glo after a 10-year stint as director of MSU’s E-Center and decades of experience optimizing operations in industries from shipbuilding to semiconductor manufacturing. As COO of Glo, Hill will be responsible for daily operations and driving improvements to accelerate growth.
“I’ve seen Glo rise from a small yet ambitious startup to a leading industry player with multiple product lines that touch every corner of the globe,” Hill said. “Joining the leadership team at this critical point is an incredible opportunity to further expand Glo’s business and brand.”
Rupp comes to Glo from MSU’s College of Business, where he has served as director of outreach and corporate engagement since 2006. Prior to his role at MSU, Rupp was mayor of Columbus, Miss., and additionally has decades of experience in network television, granting him connections throughout the United States. Rupp’s expertise and networking prowess as Glo’s director of business development will be vital in helping the company branch into new markets.
“Being there when Glo launched and helping nurture the company’s growth were incredibly gratifying,” Rupp said. “Transitioning to a role that helps boost them to even greater heights is an honor and an exciting challenge. I’m confident about the future because I believe in Glo’s products, its mission and its people.”
Glo sells products under two brands: Glo Cubes drink cubes and Glo Pals children’s sensory toys. Since its inception in 2015, Glo has sold nearly 5 million products to customers in over 40 countries and sells to mass-market retailers including Target, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Kohl’s.
Launched in 2018, Glo Pals now accounts for more than 90% of the company’s sales. The product line was inspired by a child with autism whose mother used Glo’s patented light-up technology to help him overcome his fear of water. In recent years, Glo has been licensed to produce Glo Pals based on characters from “Sesame Street” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”
In 2022, Glo’s owners raised more than $1.7 million in funding, boosting the company’s valuation to nearly $20 million and making it possible to expand operations and create more jobs, primarily in graphic design and animation, media, supply chain, and engineering.