Startup founders embrace new ideas and unknown circumstances almost as a rule. That kind of boldness to forge ahead during challenging times makes the 2020 cohort of the Jones + Foster Accelerator at the University of Washington truly special. The eight early-stage startups (detailed below) accepted into the program—hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship—will experience it virtually for the first time in its decade-plus history. However, the reward for six months of hard work remains the same. Each startup can earn up to $25,000 in follow-on funding for reaching measurable goals and milestones under the mentorship of entrepreneurs and investors from across the region.
“This year’s cohort is ready to embrace the uniqueness of not having met one another, or their mentors, in person,” said Sarah Studer, program manager for the Accelerator and the Dempsey Startup Competition. “We know the re-imagined virtual Accelerator experience will empower these founders to not only successfully launch during uncertain times, but create sustainable, long-lasting impact in their respective industries.”
The eight companies accepted into the 2020-2021 cohort are:
ApnoMed | Contact: [email protected]
ApnoMed provides patients and clinicians with a suite of FDA-cleared medical devices for those suffering with sleep apnea, a life-threatening condition where patients stop breathing while asleep.
Aquagga | @AquaggaInc
Aquagga is helping solve the most pressing water contamination challenges of the 21st century by providing environmental site managers and remediation companies with effective hazardous waste destruction services.
Perfect Coffee Water | @perfectcoffeewater
Perfect Coffee Water provides a way to optimize water for coffee brewing, giving homebrewers a way to brew better, not bitter coffee.
Sensol Systems | @sensolsystems
Sensol Systems is redefining the crosswalk to make pedestrians safer by automatically detecting them, making them 100% visible in any condition, and alerting drivers and smart vehicles of their presence.
Somme Skincare | Contact: [email protected] | Instagram: somme_skincare
Somme Skincare harnesses the rich compounds of a byproduct of winemaking to create novel skincare products with extraordinary results.
The 2050 Company | @the2050co
The 2050 Company creates value-added food products that actively reduce food waste and promote a more sustainable future. The 2050 Smoothie, an instant smoothie powder made from rescued produce, is set to launch nationally on Kickstarter this August.
Vignette improves video compression software using machine learning to reduce video storage and bandwidth costs without affecting quality.
Votegrity | @Votegrity
Votegrity brings the ballot box to the voter through a fully managed online election platform that creates informed voters, counted as intended.
Strong Resume for Accelerator Cohort
The 2020 cohort brings with it a strong resume of success from their days as students. ApnoMed won the Grand Prize at the 2020 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge and 2020 Dempsey Startup Competition. Aquagga won the Grand Prize and Domestic Grand Challenges Prize at the 2020 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, as well as a Best Idea Prize in the Dempsey Startup. The 2050 Company and Votegrity also won Best Idea Prizes in the Dempsey Startup. The former’s founder (along with the founders of ApnoMed and Perfect Coffee Water) recently graduated from the Foster School’s Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program. Sensol Systems (along with Aquagga) earned a top prize at the 2020 Science and Technology Showcase. Vignette won a CoMotion 2019 Innovation Gap Fund Award. And Somme Skincare took the extraordinary path of developing their consumer product idea from scratch in the Foster School’s 2-quarter Creating a Company class and pushing ahead even after in-person classes were cancelled.
These teams will look to follow in the footsteps of the 62 startups who previously earned awards through the accelerator. Including the 2019 cohort, 54 are still in business today—improving the development of pharmaceutical drugs, helping build a better battery, reducing wasted medication, disrupting the knitting world, partnering with the NFL, fostering inclusive team culture, empowering thousands of young girls, and opening a chocolate factory at Pike Place Market while lifting up the spirits of healthcare workers on the front lines.
The program is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Jones Foundation, program incentives like the McAleer Early Start Fund, and each and every one of the mentors who dedicate their valuable time to helping grow the startup ecosystem in Seattle.