Polsky Center Announces 2017 Summer Accelerator Cohort

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the latest cohort of the Polsky Accelerator, a 10-week intensive summer program designed for both for-profit and not-for-profit startups to develop their ventures.

Teams will receive a $10,000 investment from the Polsky Center, and all be headquartered at the Polsky Exchange, the Polsky Center’s 34,000 square foot incubator on 53rd Street in Hyde Park. The teams will participate in weekly programming from respected speakers such as Waverly Deutsch, Lindsey Lyman, and Phil Leslie from Chicago Booth, as well as outside speakers Yael Hochberg from Rice University, Danny SchumanDerek Huyser, and Steven Gould. The program will culminate with a Demo Day on August 29, where teams will present to students, alumni, investors, and members of the public.

Now in its sixth year, the Polsky Accelerator company portfolio has risen to 44 teams – including notable alumni such as BallotReady, Moneythink, and ZipFit Denim. Alum companies have raised $10 million in funding – with three companies having been acquired (HireBrite, matchist, SmartLine).

The Polsky Accelerator 2017 cohort is:

AutoMech is a car owner’s concierge for every aspect of car servicing, saving the car owner time and bringing convenience. We locate high quality service shops, obtain competitive quotes, schedule the service at a convenient time when the car is idle, and take the car to and from servicing.
Team Members: Dhruv Chadha, Scott Kuo, Enrique Parra, and Rashi Kumra. AutoMech participated in the 2017 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge. 

BrideGuide is a collaboration platform that solves every bride’s greatest wedding planning challenge: the stressful – and often awkward – coordination amongst different groups of friends, family members, and in-laws. Through features like group forums, surveys, task assignments and shared checklists, BrideGuide will allow brides to seamlessly collaborate with their core team on planning events like the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding.
Team Members: Danielle Calderone and Natalie Stone

F&A Specialty Foods is aiming to redefine premium salmon processed products in the U.S.
Team Members: Javier Hinojosa and Gerardo F. Arche. F&A Speciality Foods participated in the 2017 New Venture Challenge.

Bee Nana is a frozen dessert innovation in indulgence – “nice cream” – that is tasty, pure, and simple. At a competitive price, Frönen offers a solution for sweet satisfaction without compromising quality or health. Comprised of overripe bananas, honey, and a hint of lemon juice, our product base is low-calorie and naturally allergen free! With larger scale production, we will incorporate direct trade methods for ingredient sourcing and reduce food waste by using upcycled bananas.
Team Members: Jessica GartensteinGrant Kushner and Erik Nadeau.  Bee Nana was the winner of the 2017 College New Venture Challenge.

KitcheNet makes eating fresh an easier routine for families living in food deserts by making payment simple and healthy tasty.
Team members: Trista LiRichard Wu, Joyce Chang, Deneb Zavala, Matthew Chi. KitcheNet took third place in the 2016 Social New Venture Challenge.

Provide is passionate about helping low-income families access quality child care, and helping child care providers build sustainable businesses. Provide’s software-based back office increases child care providers’ profits by automating government-facing administrative work, including public funding, licensing, and accreditation. By making the subsidy application easier, we help providers open more spots for low income families, most of whom are not enrolled in the programs they qualify for.
Team members: Chelsea SprayregenHannah MeyerRebecca Karasik, Rob Seery. Provide was the winner of the 2017 Social New Venture Challenge.

Sinsal is developing an innovative water treatment technology that will allow energy companies to recycle the wastewater produced from hydraulic fracturing operations. Team Members: Jesse Scott and Yue Mike Ma

SmarterCloud is a cybersecurity company that uses machine learning to prevent internal data breaches on cloud infrastructure. We prevent employees from leaking critical data at large, highly-regulated enterprises.  Currently, we are developing our beta product and have an enterprise proof of concept engaged.  With the SmarterCloud solution, businesses can finally rest easy.
Team Members: Thaddeus Diamond, Danyal Sheikh, Nathaniel Diamond and Robert Rein. SmarterCloud was a finalist in the 2017 New Venture Challenge.

Waaves is an online platform that enables independent musicians to find and work with the perfect collaborator in real-time to create new, original music. We are removing the hassles that come with online collaboration so musicians can focus on what they do best: creating music.
Team Members: Joseph Chang, Hilary Gerstein, Timothy Yamaya and Christopher Yi. Waaves participated in the 2017 New Venture Challenge.

The Polsky Accelerator is made possible thanks to support from its sponsors including the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation and Andy Alper, AB ’80, MBA ’81.

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