Polsky Center Announces 2018 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 will be headquartered at the Polsky Exchange, the Polsky Center’s 34,000 square foot incubator on 53rdStreet in Hyde Park. The teams will participate in weekly programming from respected speakers such as Chicago Booth faculty members Starr Marcello, Ira Weiss, Art Middlebrooks, and Michael Alter, as well as Hyde Park Venture Partners’ Guy Turner, and Alida Miranda-Wolff of Ethos, amongst others. The program will culminate with a Demo Day on Tuesday, August 28, where teams will present to students, alumni, investors, and members of the public.

Now in its seventh year, the Polsky Accelerator company portfolio has risen to 58 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 2018 cohort is:

Aegis AI employs computer vision to detect firearms and weapons on real-time security camera feeds, then immediately notifies law enforcement and bystanders – enabling law enforcement to respond in a more rapid and targeted manner. Team members: Sonny Tai and Ben Ziomek.

SinkGuard, Inc. designs and licenses products that help control infections in the ICU. Their first product is SinkGuard, an antimicrobial and self-disinfecting sink drain that eliminates and quarantines pneumonia-causing strains of pseudomonas and klebsiellaTeam member: Ted Engels. SinkGuard, Inc. (formerly Athena Ultraviolet) was a finalist in the 2018 College New Venture Challenge and participated in the Polsky Center I-Corps program.

BrewBike supplies cold brew coffee to college campuses in convenient ways. BrewBike serves cold brew coffee at lean retail locations and through wholesale accounts, while empowering students to launch BrewBike at their schools. Team members: Randy Paris. BrewBike was a finalist in the 2018 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge. 

BTRFY is a food company that uses science and technology to upcycle food waste into tasty snacks that are better for you, better for the environment, and accessible to everyone. Team members: Kati Karrotki, Tyler Huggins, and Justin Whitley. BTRFY is also participating in the Polsky Center’s I-Corps program and was part of the first cohort of Argonne’s Chain Reaction Innovations incubator.

Debate it Forward is a 501c3 non-profit organization that cultivates healthy discussion through improving self-advocacy, harnessing analytical thinking, and developing respectful disagreement among young people. Team members: Leah Shapiro and Josh Aaronson. Debate it Forward was a finalist in the 2018 College New Venture Challenge.

D20 Robotics brings technology and alcohol together to create exciting new experiences for the purposes of advertising and marketing in the alcoholic beverage space. Their first product, The Blaster, can shoot a shot of liquor across a room directly into a person’s mouth. Team members: Will Fischer and Disha Malik. D20 Robotics participated in Phase II of the 2018 New Venture Challenge.

Fiduscript provides easy to use digital tools for healthcare professionals and patients to reduce substance abuse. Team members: James Lott, Straker Carryer, Joy Rooney, and Maryiam Saifuddin. Fiduscript participated in the 2018 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge.

Gather Activism is a digital tool for activism. Gather provides organizers with a platform to manage mass outreach for their events and calls to action, and provides activists with an aggregate of every opportunity to engage in political reform. Team members: Alex Swerdlow, Ryan Kuang, and Marley Rosario. Gather Activism was a finalist in the 2017 College New Venture Challenge and in the 2018 Social New Venture Challenge.

GGLeagues is a recreational video game league that is designed to make gaming a social experience for players by providing a structure similar to recreational/intramural sports league. Team members: Erich Bao, Michael Cui, and Michael Riechmann.

Hyphen Healthcare is a web-based platform that makes it easy and affordable for employers to cover the cost of basic health care for part-time employees by working directly with healthcare providers to curate packages of basic services. Team members: Kevin Berena and Frank Calabrese.

Kaoshi provides a platform that enables peer-to-peer international money transfer, avoiding the need for third-party money transmitters who exact heavy fees and impose mark-ups on foreign exchange rates. Team members: Chuki Arinze and Wenbo Fang. Kaoshi has participated in the Polsky Center’s I-Corps program.

keSH is driven to making healthy eating delicious and effortless. Team members: Mayuri Baheti and Danielle Matarasso.

Landslide is a social media polling application. Landslide aggregates the latest news, sports highlights, and entertainment updates and pairs a brief summary of this data with an automatically-generated question individually targeted to each user. Team members: Nick Aldridge, JP Castella, Henry Clarke, and Isaac Troncoso. Landslide participated in the College New Venture Challenge.

Veda Grace Dermatology is an artificial intelligence dermatologist that ensures women achieve better outcomes from skin care. Veda Grace Dermatology has remastered medical research-grade diagnostic skin tests into twenty quick mini-tests that consumers perform in a retail setting. Team member: Vinay Rawfani.

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