Polsky Center Names 13 Companies Participating in the 2019 Summer Accelerator Program

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 53rd Street in Hyde Park. The teams will receive coaching from Polsky Center staff, mentorship from alumni entrepreneurs and Chicago-area investors, and weekly programming designed to help them overcome many of the hurdles to launching a business. The program will culminate with a Demo Day on Thursday, September 5, where teams will present to students, alumni, investors, and members of the public.

Now in its eighth year, the Polsky Accelerator company portfolio has risen to 72 teams – including notable alumni such as BallotReady, Moneythink, BrewBike, and ZipFit Denim. Alum companies have raised over $10 million in funding – with three companies having been acquired (HireBrite, matchist, SmartLine).

The Polsky Accelerator 2019 cohort is:

A’goVest is Mexico’s first female-focused automated financial platform for emerging affluent Mexican women eager for a financially independent future. We streamline and empower female investing by offering affordable, personalized investment portfolios and supportive educational tools. Team members: Marisol Perez-Chow and Maria Fernanda Cuadra. Perez-Chow is a Herman Fellow.

Apollo Superfoods is a food company whose mission is to create honest healthy snacks that celebrate traditional Mexican knowledge. Team members: Ana Sofia Fernandez and Enrique Evoli. Apollo Foods is a member of the Edward L. Kaplan ’71, New Venture Challenge 2019 cohort. 

Business Services Collective provides a shared back office for small, minority- owned construction companies. By lowering the cost to delegate essential tasks like big estimation and bookkeeping, they enable entrepreneurs of color to focus on growth and become engines of wealth creation in their communities. Team member: Kyle Johnson, MBA ’19. Business Services Collective was a finalist of the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge 2019 cohort.

Digital Adventures is teaching kids, aged 4-18, how to build with technology in retail-based learning studios led by charismatic instructors. Team members: Arjun Venkataswamy and Omowale Casselle. Digital Adventures is a member of the Edward L. Kaplan ’71, New Venture Challenge 2019 cohort. 

Leftbrain  is a tech-firm providing financial, tax, and backoffice services to musicians and their teams. We work with clients that in all stages of their careers and can cater service level and price to best match their needs. Team members: Nicholas Judd and Josh Kaplan.

Memento is a platform focused on personalizing your digital cash-gifting experience, specifically for monumental life events. Give them what they want. In a way they will actually remember. Team members: Chelsie Patterson 

Modern Reliance teaches older adults new digital skills through one-on-one sessions with local instructors. Team members: Martin Bolotin and Marley Rosario. Modern Reliance was a finalists at the 2019 College New Venture Challenge.

Neesh is working to upgrade hostels with tools to increase comfort and social engagement. Team members: Yishai (Shai) Kamin, Matthew Bluestone, and Lilly Xie.

PrepMedians empowers students to succeed on their SATs/ACTs by engaging them through HD sketch comedy and music videos online that teach a proven test prep curriculum. Think of them as Khan Academy meets Saturday Night Live! Team member: Kalyan Ray-Mazumder. PrepMedians is a member of the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge 2019 cohort.

Snowball is a team-buying marketplace where you team up with your friends to unlock deals on the things you love. Buy better, together. Team member: Ethan Reeder.

Spott is a new type of social network that lets the user create a real-time personal map of their favorite people, places, and events in order to maximize their experiences wherever they are. Team members: Dayo Adeosun, Varun Iyer,  Sam Sendelbach, and Nick Villar. Spott participated in the 2018 College New Venture Challenge. 

Tharzen empowers web designers and SMB owners with ease-of-use interfaces to visually edit existing websites themselves, saving time and money. Tharzen’s patented A.I. engine works seamlessly with hard coded websites, existing frameworks, and all web programming languages such as HTML, PHP, and Javascript. Team members: Aseem Bhardwaj and Mikael Mayer. Tharzen is currently participating in the Polsky I-Corps program.

Umbrela helps underbanked communities leverage their social networks to access better savings and emergency lending services. They formalize peer-to-peer lending into savings groups who help each other to save smarter. Team members: Stephen Stapleton, Jurl Vinegar III, and Ari Anisfeld. 

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