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March 28, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News 2 | U of Chicago accepts seven new companies into Cohort 3 of its Transform accelerator

Lehigh University’s exclusive partnership with Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center has been so successful that plans are underway to expand the program. 

From the University of Chicago:

The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Data Science Institute have announced the seven early stage companies accepted into the third cohort of the Transform accelerator for data science and artificial intelligence (AI) start-ups.

Powered by the Polsky Center’s Deep Tech Ventures, Transform provides full-spectrum support for the start-ups accepted into the accelerator, including access to business and technical training, industry mentorship, venture capital connections, and funding opportunities.

The seven participants in Cohort 3 will receive approximately $250,000 in total investment, including $25,000 in funding, credits for Google for Startups, workspace in the Polsky Exchange on Chicago’s South Side, and access to industry mentors, technical advisors and student talent from the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science, Data Science Institute (DSI), and the Chicago Booth School of Business.

The accelerator launched in Spring 2023 with its inaugural cohort, and those start-ups are already seeing success. Echo Labs, a transcription platform in the previous cohort, has scaled up, hiring software engineers to meet the demand of partnerships with 150 universities to pilot its product. Blackcurrant, an online business-to-business marketplace for buying and selling hydrogen and member of the first cohort, recently was awarded a $250,000 co-investment from the George Shultz Innovation Fund after participating in the program.

From Ohio Wesleyan University:

Since it opened in fall 2018, The Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) has seen 11 companies grow and graduate out of the business incubator; 45 new, full-time jobs added to the local income tax base; and more than $3.7 million in investments and grants awarded to center members.

“The center is the first-of-its-kind liberal arts business accelerator and the first-of-its-kind city, county, and educational institute partnership,” said OWU President Matt vandenBerg. “It has unlimited potential, and I am grateful to the City of Delaware and Delaware County for the partnership that created and continues to strengthen it.”

The Center also supports budding businesses by connecting them with OWU student-interns to assist them with accounting, data analysis, event planning, graphic design, market research, volunteer coordination, website creation, and other needs. While they work, the students gain hands-on, real-world business experience to help them fulfill their own entrepreneurial ambitions.

From Lehigh University:

The University’s exclusive partnership with Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center has been so successful that plans are underway to expand the program. Samantha Dewalt, Managing Director of Lehigh@Nasdaq Center (LNC) in San Francisco, said Lehigh University is expanding the program to meet the demand of both students looking to learn entrepreneurial skills and the number of start-up companies looking to work with students to help solidify their businesses. 

In 2017, Lehigh University partnered with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center to create the LNC to serve aspiring student entrepreneurs, operate programs pairing interns with start-ups all over the world, and conduct research on entrepreneurship. 

LNC has served more than 1,400 students since the start of the partnership. In 2023 alone, the programs, courses, and workshops served more than 400 students and 150 early stage companies.  

LNC will break ground on the new San Francisco space this spring, in preparation to welcome the 2024 summer cohort of 24 Start-up Academy interns who will live in San Francisco and work for Silicon Valley based start-ups, Dewalt said.  

From Harvard University:

The Harvard Grid Accelerator announced awards to six interdisciplinary projects that have transformative potential in health, climate, and manufacturing.

Launched a little more than a decade ago, the Grid Accelerator identifies and supports the “de-risking” of high-potential Harvard science and engineering lab-based projects with the goal of translating them into startups or other commercialization opportunities within a year. It is a collaboration between Harvard’s Office of Technology Development and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Grid partners with Harvard science and engineering researchers to help shape and advance their research from labs to markets for impact.

Since 2013, projects advanced by Grid Accelerator support have resulted in 17 launched start-ups that have collectively raised $176 million, as well as technology licenses to established companies and sponsored research agreements.

The newly supported projects are:

  • Methane Emissions Analytics: Leveraging satellite observations to measure and geospatially map methane emissions.
  • Advanced Drug Delivery and Encapsulation: Developing asymmetric polysaccharide-coated lipid vesicles for improved drug delivery.
  • AI-Driven Flexible Bioelectronics: Creating artificial intelligence-driven flexible therapeutic solutions.
  • Wearable Spasticity Management & Mitigation: Helping patients recover improved motility control and coordination.
  • Navigation Aid for the Visually Impaired: Enabling visually impaired persons to navigate urban settings with independence and confidence.
  • Non-Motorized Levitating Devices for Upper Atmosphere Sensing and Communication: Discovering climate data, communications pathways, and defense capabilities.

From Pennsylvania State University:

Student start-up Saveware won $15,000, the largest prize amount, in the 2024 Invent Penn State Inc. U Competition. Kicking off Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC, six Penn State student teams pitched their start-ups to a panel of judges and competed for up to $30,000 in funding.

Founded by Brady Davidson, a sophomore in the Smeal College of Business, and Ryan Hokimi, a junior in the College of Engineering, Saveware leverages artificial intelligence to automate the sales tax refund process for businesses and tax firms, identifying and recouping overpaid sales taxes on invoices.

Prior to the competition, finalists gained access to pitch training and start-up support services. In addition, teams received support from the Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic to help establish LLCs and the Penn State Law Intellectual Property Clinic for patent and intellectual property assistance.

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