Transform Accelerator Announces Data Science and AI Startups Selected for Cohort 2

Following the success of its first cohort, Transform expands to seven early-stage companies utilizing advances in data science and AI.

The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Data Science Institute today announced the seven early-stage companies accepted into the second cohort of its Transform accelerator for data science and AI startups. 

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

Transform is supported in part by venture partner, True Blue Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm investing in early-stage AI companies, founded by Chicago Booth alum Sunil Grover, MBA ‘99.

“Transform is providing the fertile ground necessary to help incubate the next generation of market leaders,” said Grover, who also is a former engineer with nearly two decades of experience helping build companies as an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor. “Advancements in deep tech present a unique interdisciplinary opportunity to re-imagine every aspect of the business world. This, I believe, will lead to creation of innovative new businesses that are re-imagined, ground up, to apply the capabilities these new technologies can enable.”

Transform focuses on helping startups within the data science and emerging AI space, an industry that is expected to see tremendous growth over the next decade. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, 70% of companies will be using at least one type of AI technology by 2030. And as adoption of AI technology grows, its impact on the economy is expected to grow as well, with PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicting that AI could increase global GDP by 14% in 2030.

“The startups joining Transform for cohort 2 are reflective of the market trends that we’re seeing today, with a focus on generative AI, logistics, and supply chain, and they are in a great position to capitalize on the expected growth of these industries,” said Shyama Majumdar, director of Transform. “I’m excited to see what this group can accomplish through the resources, training and funding provided by Transform.”

The seven startups that make up cohort 2 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 new cohort of startups perfectly demonstrate the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning on business and everyday life,” said David Uminsky, executive director of the Data Science Institute. “We’re encouraged to see Transform’s growth as an accelerator and help these new startups reach their full potential.”

The accelerator launched earlier this year with its inaugural cohort and those startups are already seeing success. 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. “The process proved to be immensely valuable as it allowed us to gain firsthand experience of how institutional investors evaluate and invest in seed-stage startups,” said CEO and cofounder Akshay Thakur, MBA ’24.

Transform Cohort 2: 

Echo Labs: Echo Labs is building the first AI capable of human-level transcription. Echo labs aims at making accessibility affordable for the ~6,000 US higher-ed institutions that need to caption their content.

Quail.AI: is a machine learning toolkit for small and midsize businesses as they transition to the AI-driven economy. The toolkit, a plug-and-play solution that minimizes infrastructure investment, integrates with any development pipeline and deployment environment. creates AI solutions to optimize educational programs in universities, provide continuous training, and enhance the performance of radiology residents and graduate radiologists in health centers.

Subconcious.AI: Subconcious.AI is developing a platform that enables users to measure demand, market share, and price elasticity for never-before-seen products and services. Users can perform segmentation, policy design, and messaging without surveys, focus groups, consultants, or big data.

nuTRAD: nuTRAD is a SaaS model AI infrastructure for commerce. The platform links brands, distributors, and retailers digitally – creating new trade paths and machine-driven processes that unlock value trapped by outdated, labor-intense rituals.

Ibis Computing: Ibis Computing is a GPUaaS compute trading house. It creates efficiency by optimally directing buyers to multi-cloud bare-metal compute, and GPU operators to jobs, reducing prices and streamlining scaling.

Markinson Patent Portal (MPP): MPP’s platform uses data science, machine learning, and AI to examine millions of documents to identify, create, data populate, catalog, and value “Market-Tech Units.” Its mission is to revolutionize the patent industry by re-engineering and automating the process.

>> Applications for Cohort 3 of Transform will open October 9, 2023.

About the Data Science Institute

The Data Science Institute (DSI) executes the University of Chicago’s bold, innovative vision of Data Science as a new discipline. DSI seeds research on the interdisciplinary frontiers of this emerging field, forms partnerships with industry, government, and social impact organizations, and supports holistic data science education. The mission of DSI is to address important scientific and societal questions through coordinated advances in applications, models, algorithms, and platforms. Learn more at 

About the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation drives venture creation and technology commercialization within the University of Chicago and the surrounding community. Through education, partnerships, and new venture support, the Polsky Center advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and accelerates science and technology commercialization bringing new ideas and breakthrough research to market. By igniting a spirit of innovation and fostering connections that extend across the University, city, region and world, the Polsky Center enables more ideas to have a meaningful impact on society. Learn more at

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