Graduation days rarely involve a check for up to $25,000 with no strings attached. That is part of what makes the Jones + Foster Accelerator at the UW Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship so special. A half-dozen student-led startups (detailed below) just completed the program after six months of milestones, workshops, and mentorship by Seattle entrepreneurs and investors. All told, the Buerk Center awarded $150,000 in follow-on funding to the 2017 cohort and has now awarded more than one million dollars since the program began in 2010.
“These teams make so much progress in six months—from customer development to preparing for early-stage funding to bringing their products to market,” said Amy Sallin, associate director for the Buerk Center and Jones + Foster Accelerator program manager. “They’ve done a tremendous job of making the transition from student teams to startup companies.”
Forty-seven student-led startups have now earned awards through the Accelerator. Including the 2017 cohort, forty-two are still in business today—partnering with the NFL, building a better battery, empowering thousands of young girls, disrupting the stem cell space, creating rustic gear for the modern adventurer, and helping provide data-driven solutions to aid and disaster relief.
Keep an eye out for these exciting startups from our 2017 class:
A-Alpha Bio: “We are improving drug development by better characterizing new drugs before they go into clinical trials,” founder David Younger stated. “Since drugs are not being fully tested before they enter the clinic, success rates are only 10%. Off-target effects on protein interactions are particularly challenging to screen. We have developed AlphaSeq, a new high-throughput approach for testing the effect of a drug on thousands of protein interactions simultaneously.” A-Alpha Bio is now looking to partner with pharmaceutical companies to pilot its drug screening platform and co-develop new applications of the technology.
DASO Soccer Smart Wall: DASO Soccer Smart Wall aims to be the world’s most advanced rebounder and trainer for soccer players and coaches worldwide. It measures velocity, accuracy, trap skill, and the player’s distance from the wall. “With this information we create a verifiable score to empower competition,” said founder Jacob Alhadeff. “Players can compete online, and one day, coaches will scout the world’s talent with the click of a button. “ DASO Soccer Smart Wall is preparing to launch a Kickstarter in spring of 2018.
Discovery Health: “As a provider of medical support to remote worksites, Discovery Health offers immediate tele-medical access to expert emergency and occupational medicine physicians,” co-founder Ann Jarris said. “Our goal is to make sure every worker returns home in good health, while also reducing the medical risk and expenses many companies face today.” Discovery Health now has more than a dozen clients in the commercial fishing, towing, transportation, and cruise industries including Trident Seafoods and Foss Maritime.
TourniTek: A medical device startup committed to fighting limb amputations through pre-hospital treatment that saves lives and more than a billion dollars in costs. “TourniTek represents the world’s first pre-hospital treatment for emergencies leading to amputation,” said co-founder Logan Jacobs. “Through the Jones + Foster Accelerator, TourniTek achieved significant milestones in preparation for clinical trials and Series A financing.” The technology behind TourniTek was developed by a group of medical researchers at the University of Washington.
NASTEA & Co.: NASTEA & Co. uses carefully chosen ingredients to produce a white coffee dirty chai that achieves a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and healthy. “Our team hand-brews our signature white coffee dirty chai and our new white coffee dirty matcha in small batches each week to ensure quality and consistency,” co-founder Kathy Tuan said. “Each bottle has a shot of highly caffeinated white coffee espresso!” NASTEA & Co. was founded by an all-female group of student entrepreneurs in April of 2017. You can find their products at locations around Seattle and the team is seeking distribution partners to expand even more.
ShopSight: ShopSight is an in-store data analytics platform that bridges the information gap between traditional retail and e-commerce by providing detailed customer interaction data in-store. “Think about your last visit to Amazon.com—for every product, Amazon knows how long an item is viewed, and how many times that product has been clicked, put in a shopping cart, and ultimately purchased,” said co-founder George Robinson. “ShopSight provides comparable data to brick and mortar stores by applying their patented suite of machine learning algorithms to RFID technology. “ While in the Jones + Foster Accelerator, ShopSight was able to launch their first pilot case study at the Made in Washington store in Bellevue Square.