On June 1, 2020, Innovate@BU will kick off its annual Summer Accelerator program. The 10-week program provides weekly education sessions, paired mentors, in-kind startup resources, and a $10,000 stipend per team.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Summer Accelerator program will take place virtually. With the help of Zoom, Slack, and additional staff support, Innovate@BU looks forward to providing a high-quality program for the participants.
“The situation will force us to innovate and since we are always looking for better ways to run programs, I see it as a great opportunity to experiment,” said Gerry Fine, Executive Director of Innovate@BU.
This year, Alice Nichol’s will join the team as the Accelerator’s first-ever Strategic Content Director. Nichols is a National Science Foundation I Corps instructor with extensive experience in creating and executing curriculum for student entrepreneurs. She will develop weekly workshops, assignments, and teaching tools that will extend beyond the summer program.
Adding Nichol’s to the program was part of an ongoing effort to increase the rigor of the program that started with the application process. This year, applicants were asked to submit a team video and were required to have at least two team members committed to working on the venture.
As the staff prepares for new challenges, they also anticipate benefits from an all-virtual program.
“Students will be able to be laser-focused on their ventures and making progress,” said Rachel Spekman, Program Director of Business Ventures, “While customer interviews may look different than they have previously, I’m also optimistic that people may have more time and be more willing to engage in interviews. Because community building and peer learning is such a critical part of the program, we are looking into unique ways to cultivate this sense of community.”
Fourteen teams of Boston University students and recent alumni were accepted to the 2020 cohort. Meet the teams who will be participating:
- Airflow Seating System Technologies (Cooper Shifrin, ENG’22, Matthew Reynolds-Tejeda, ENG’22): The Airflow Seating System will change the way that bedsores are prevented through the use of an array of hexagonal air cells that have embedded pressure sensors. This system will dramatically change the way that pressure ulcers are prevented and give doctors access to metrics they have never had before.
- BeagleNet (Peter Siegel, CAS & ENG’22, Pavel Gromov, ENG’22, Dylan Derose, ENG’22) is a mobile environment sensing platform that will allow us to build real-time air quality maps, helping cities locate sources of pollution and inform residents of air quality-related health hazards.
- Clean Seat (Kevin Tang, QST’22), Tai Kang, ENG’20) has designed a retrofittable toilet seat that can be used to cheaply and effectively prevent common toilet messes. It ensures that you will never have to use a dirty public toilet seat again.
- CoStudy (Brock Nelson ENG’22, Henry Kaufman CAS’22, Neev Mittal CAS’22) is a mobile application designed to connect students who want the advantage of finding people and resources based on criteria they create.
- EventPass (Juan Zapata Gomez ENG’20, Ricardo Villarreal ENG’20) EventPass is a subscription service that provides members the exclusive access to attend a combination of different nightclubs, music halls, concerts, and venues every month, all at a 60% discount.
- Freshi (Sayi Makwaia QST’20, Francoise Cattaneo SAR’20) is a supply chain innovation that enables smallholder farmers to reduce post-harvest waste due to unsold produce.
- Go Off! (Glo Robinson COM’22) is a social platform that has re-engineered the way to have a conversation online. This app allows users to have text message-like conversations next to trending media that present issues of interest and connect with others in local proximity about those issues which cultivates a local community.
- iCareBetter (Saeid Gholami QST’20, Sarah Tsao COM’20) Endometriosis patients are under-diagnosed and under-treated, and there is no medical and surgical cure available for them. Our mission is to empower these patients to overcome endometriosis.
- Mojo (Ryan Caracciolo ENG’20, Evan Caracciolo, University of Pennsylvania) Mojo is a social media designed to help college students become better connected to each other and the social scene at their university. As students are largely unaware of the events happening on campus and university organizations struggle to promote their events to the student body, Mojo acts as the intermediary to resolve the difficulties of both parties.
- Parkaze (Amal Radhakrishnan MET’19) is a hassle-free shared economy marketplace where you can host and rent privately owned parking spots.
- Patient First (Fayzan Shaukat QST’22, Fiza Shaukat ENG’17) is a personalized and customizable electronic health system that connects patients, providers, and pharmacies in low-resourced countries.
- SpecGraphixEDU (Eric Hansen COM’20) An innovative public after-school program offering live digital media classes, as well as educational Minecraft classes. The program includes an online student portal with video tutorials and more.
- TrackSore (Ke Xu, MED’23, Junming Hu ENG’18) is developing a mobile application that works with a customized sticker to improve imaging standardization for better assessment and more precise healing prediction of wounds and to reduce associated medical costs of wound care.
- VYVID XR (Nina Keshavarzi QST’20) is developing innovative technology to improve surgical training, enhance clinical decision making, and increase patient care by using Mixed Reality beginning with Cardiovascular.
“We have some truly committed teams exploring diverse problems in everything from medicine to entertainment. There’s a range of experiences, from sophomores to graduate students,” noted Fine “I think these teams will end up doing great things.”
Keep an eye out this summer for videos, interviews, and Instagram Takeovers so you can learn more about the teams, their ventures, and what it’s like to participate in a virtual accelerator.