They described the Jones + Foster Accelerator experience at the University of Washington as “transformative.” Now, five student-created startups can count themselves among the storied list of alumni in the program offered by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The teams (detailed below) graduated after achieving six months of milestones under the mentorship from industry leaders. A total of $115,000 (up to $25k each per team) was awarded to the 2021-22 cohort. The J+F Accelerator has now delivered more than $1.65 million of equity-free funding since the program began in 2010.
“These early-stage startups persevered through unprecedented challenges to get to this point,” said Yuko Oaku, program manager for the Jones + Foster Accelerator and the Dempsey Startup Competition. “We’re excited to witness how each will leave a unique mark across the biotech, education, green technology, medical hardware, and clothing sectors.”
Subheadline: Cohort Shares Traction Post-Accelerator
Ananta Technologies | LinkedIn
Ananta is developing an innovative bioreactor that produces twice as many immune cells in half the time compared to their most prominent competitor. Their mission is to “outrace cancer” with novel manufacturing solutions for immunotherapy treatments.
“With time being of the essence, (our bioreactor) will allow cancer patients to be treated faster. At the beginning of the Jones + Foster Accelerator, we had just built the prototype with much testing to be done. By the end, we discovered the cells maintain their cancer-fighting abilities post-manufacturing through quality assurance studies. In addition to product development, the six-month accelerator was incredibly valuable in strengthening our business development foundation. We filed our non-provisional patent application, acquired two new beta-testers in the U.S., and developed a step-by-step manufacturing strategy. We are excited for the next chapter in our journey and forming a manufacturing facility in Pullman, WA. We are grateful to have been part of such a transformative program.”
LifeAt | Website | Instagram | TikTok | Twitter | LinkedIn
LifeAt offers a personalized virtual workspace that can help you maintain productivity and also feel unstuck when working remotely. The LifeAt app introduces relaxing video backgrounds like a snowy cabin or a tropical beach and combines it with an innovative user experience.
“Our hundreds of thousands of active monthly users transport themselves to somewhere beautiful when feeling stuck or facing Zoom fatigue. We launched just four months ago (late fall 2021), co-building with a community that was created from over 50 million organic social media views. What started as a pandemic project to escape our apartments in Seattle, has now become a productivity brand helping students and working professionals focus in over 150+ countries. We are currently also participating in Y-Combinator in winter 2022 iterating our product as we explore what we believe is the future of remote work, GenZ, and the creator economy.”
Novoloom | Website | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook
Novoloom teaches you how to sew clothes that you are confident in by offering customizable sew-by-numbers kits to do-it-yourself enthusiasts.
“Throughout the accelerator, Novoloom has sold out at Seattle winter shows and online. We also added two new kits to our collection, and plan to expand our kit selection through testing new ideas and launching a subscription service through Cratejoy in March 2022. You can now find Novoloom at select local retail stores and on their online store. We are also actively hosting sewing workshops. In the future, Novoloom plans to expand into a virtual bespoke tailoring platform that connects customers who want custom clothing with sewing hobbyists that manufacture these clothing concepts.”
Puget Buoy | Website | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook
Puget Buoy is a blue technology startup working with the seafood industry and government stakeholders to develop innovative fishing gear technology that improves the health and sustainability of ocean fisheries.
“Our patent-pending solution reduces lost fishing gear, prevents whale entanglements, and decreases maritime navigational hazards. During our time in the Accelerator program, Puget Buoy completed initial testing and development of its latest product interaction demonstrating that the product is ready for commercial use. Puget Buoy recently secured multiple grants that will take the company to the next level by launching their product in the market, opening an office space, and much more!”
Violett | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram
Violett is a hardware technology company with a mission to make the air we breathe healthy and safe. Violett’s technology kills all germs in the air, including the Covid-19 virus, 50x better than comparable products.
“Our first product, a portable air disinfection unit, has launched and is currently selling and being delivered into the healthcare, elder care, and education sectors. We are working with manufacturing vendors to scale our production and increase our reach to get our product in the hands of those who need it most. Our growing team is excited to add commercial products, including an integrated HVAC product, and launch our mobile app to remotely control devices and provide real-time customer air quality alerts. We are proud alumni of the 2021 Jones + Foster Accelerator and will continue striving to eliminate air as a vector for disease transmission!”
Graduates Add to Program’s Rich History
Seventy-five startups have now earned awards through the Accelerator. Including the 2021 cohort, 63 are still in business today—harnessing TikTok to become the “largest education social media company” in modern history, securing $20M in venture funding for its protein-discovery platform that improves the development of pharmaceutical drugs, raising $3M for wastewater treatment tech and doubling the size of its Seattle facility, being named to Forbes 30 under 30 by reducing wasted medication, disrupting the knitting world and fighting for small business apps, partnering with the NFL, empowering thousands of young girls, and opening a chocolate factory at Pike Place Market, among others.
The program is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, program incentives like the McAleer Early Start Fund, and supporters of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. A special thank you also goes out to the 45+ mentors who dedicate their valuable time to helping grow the startup ecosystem in Seattle.