Polsky Accelerator Debuts Two Tracks — Build and Launch — and Selects 17 Teams Amid Soaring Applications for the Summer Program
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the 17 teams selected to participate in the 2021 Polsky Accelerator, a competitive 10-week summer program that for the first time is tailoring its content according to the stage of the venture.
The Accelerator, launched in 2012, received 83 applications for this summer’s cohort, nearly triple the applications received last year.
For the first time, Polsky asked teams to apply to two separate accelerator tracks – Build or Launch — depending on how far along their businesses are.
“We did exactly what we ask our entrepreneurs to do: Talk to customers,” said Lucas Peralta, associate director for college and cross-campus programs at the Polsky Center. “And it was clear from what they told us that we could serve them better if we made two tracks that target resources better based on their varying stages.”
The Build Accelerator is designed to help early-stage ventures develop key elements of their business and validate assumptions around their market or customers. It includes a $6,500 non-dilutive grant and weekly workshops and coaching.
The Launch Accelerator is meant for investment-ready teams to focus on fundraising, selling, and gaining and maintaining momentum. It includes a $10,000 investment in the business, networking opportunities with venture capitalists and assistance in building pitch and fundraising decks.
Both tracks also offer in-kind services such as Web hosting and incorporation help. Teams will present their business plans at a demo day set for Sept. 2.
The Accelerator is open to all full- and part-time University of Chicago students, as well as alumni within five years of graduation. The ventures can be for- or non-profit.
The teams selected for the Build and Launch tracks of the 2021 Polsky Accelerator are:
- Allevia // Allevia is a B2B SaaS platform for patients and providers that streamlines effective opioid management. It provides a digital opioid management platform that addresses critical issues with patient engagement and provides workflow automation and data-driven decision support tools.
- Chama Capital // Chama Capital is a financial technology company on a mission to increase access to capital for women-owned businesses by providing capital, community, and coaching through our online platform.
- Counselors for America // Counselors for America (CFA) is a two-sided nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving comprehensive school based mental health reform; on the one hand, it will provide under-resourced public schools with full-time mental health providers and behind-the-scenes support to universally screen and proactively treat students’ mental health needs in order to holistically transform school culture; on the other, it will create an employment and training pipeline for clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional clinical counselors to pursue licensure and practice in a school setting.
- Labworks // Labworks is building AI-powered software to automate workforce planning in a way that is transparent and flexible for employees.
- ReSourceful // ReSourceful is digital broker that connects sellers of food byproducts to brands who utilize byproducts as raw materials. We are the market maker that brings together key players to create secure, transparent, and sustainable supply chains for upcycling food byproducts from food manufacturing into new, higher-value end products for both businesses and consumers.
- Simplicita // Simplicita (formerly Multiscopio) is a search engine/RP that simplifies the process of selling to the government.
- STIX Financial // STIX Financial is a payment platform that allows you to make payments by using your stocks as cash.
- Suppl // Suppl is a material marketplace that connects project owners with finish material suppliers. The platform allows users to easily perform complex searches across hundreds of manufacturers, allowing them to discover materials that meet their specific project needs, and then purchase these products directly, providing pricing transparency and eliminating intermediary mark-ups.
- T’kor Couture // T’kor Couture is an online Black-owned crochet clothing boutique whose designs are inspired by the stories and lives of underrepresented cultures and communities. It features themed collections as well as custom pieces, making it inclusive of all shapes and sizes, and as a slow-fashion and sustainable brand, its designs are ethically made.
- TrueToForm // TrueToForm (formerly Tam Technologies) is a smartphone-based scanning platform that generates custom body avatars for the design and fitting of garments. It uses proprietary algorithms and depth sensing technology to capture body shape and size in 3D, reducing the burden of in-person fittings from initial design to merchandising.
- Axo Foods // Axo is on a mission to regenerate the planet by making agriculture part of the solution. Its digital platform makes it easy for food companies to source sustainable and regenerative ingredients, promoting farms that absorb rather than emit carbon.
- Chicago Textiles Cooperative // Chicago Textiles Cooperative is an advanced textile manufacturing cooperative that produces Chicago-branded apparel using next generation materials and production methods. As a cooperative, we are locally owned, controlled, and dedicated to building a sustainable and inclusive economy for the South Side of Chicago.
- Daba // Daba (formerly Afrika Startup Lab) is a social alternative investing platform that allows investors of all levels and backgrounds to find and invest in vetted opportunities in Africa. Starting with an equity crowdfunding product focused on tech-enabled early stage companies, Daba is developing the go to platform to invest and trade in Africa.
- DeepWalk // DeepWalk’s SafeScan app simplifies engineering inspections to a quick, 30-second scan.
- fillow // fillow is a period product company that disrupts the feminine hygiene industry by giving women not only a product that satisfies all their needs— long-lasting, leak-free, comfortable, transparent, easy to use, mess- free — but also by providing women with a voice in a historically stigmatized and stagnant market. With an innovative design that combines the best of both tampons and menstrual cups, Fillow supports, empowers, and uplifts modern women.
- LadderUp Housing // LadderUp Housing is closing the wealth gap by removing barriers to home ownership for working people living in low-income communities. LadderUp Housing will purchase and renovate homes, allow the worker to rent while they build their credit score, and guide them through the home-buying process when they are ready.
- SHEVOLVE // SHEVOLVE makes nutrition supplements more convenient and more enjoyable. Its flagship product, SHEVOLVE Daily Bites, is crafted for women through midlife and beyond and delivers science-backed essential nutrients in one tasty and satisfying bite.
Learn more about the Polsky Accelerator here.