Funding Awarded to ’23-’24 Jones + Foster Accelerator Cohort

Eight graduating startups from the 2023-24 cohort of the Jones + Foster Accelerator received max awards of $25,000.Any early-stage startup can find itself at the crossroads with its future in the balance. The difference-maker often comes via the intersection of quality mentorship and milestone achievement. Each of the eight graduating startups from the 2023-24 cohort of the Jones + Foster Accelerator credited the program and its volunteer mentors with elevating their growth. For six months, they listened, learned, adapted and adopted expert business and industry advice to earn $25,000 each in seed funding from the program hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington.

“This consumer-focused cohort met and exceeded expectations in terms of not just coachability, but in their unwavering commitment to put their businesses out into the world and achieve success,” said Yuko Oaku, program manager for the Accelerator and the Dempsey Startup Competition. “From pop-ups to partnerships, each of these startups have hit the ground running with long-term growth within their grasp.”

This cohort is the first in more than a half-decade to receive full funding across the board. A total of $200,000 was awarded to the 2023-24 group. The Accelerator has now delivered more than $2 million of equity-free funding since the program began in 2010. Additional support and partners for the program have also contributed to student-created startup success.

For the first time ever, the UW Communication leadership consulting program (Comm Lead) offered expertise in marketing and branding, UX/UI research and design, video and audio storytelling and community outreach to each team. Comm Lead graduate students and alumni have served nearly 200 clients in Puget Sound region since it was born out of a student initiative during the early days of the pandemic.

And for the second year in a row, the cohort was offered space to operate their startups in Startup Hall on the UW Seattle campus thanks to sponsorship from UW CoMotion and CoMotion Labs. The location is one of three that CoMotion Labs regularly offers for a fee to early-stage startups to grow their life science, hardware, and technology startups.

2023–24 Cohort Showcases Momentum

Joosi | Website | Instagram | YouTube

Joosi is a one-stop shop for sexual wellness that combines the privacy of online shopping with the advice of a trusted friend. Through sex positive media offerings, Joosi breaks down old taboos and offers candid adult education about sexuality in a warm, accepting environment.

On next steps and the J+FA experience:

“Our business transformed from an idea to a reality through the J+FA program. We wouldn’t be nearly as far along today without the judicious guidance and healthy pushes of our spectacular team of mentors. Joosi is in our pre-seed round and working hard to deliver on our promise and vision of becoming the trusted brand in sexual wellness.”

Moco ‘n’ Mousse Snackerels | Linktree | Instagram | Facebook

Moco ‘n’ Mousse Snackerels offers a specialized line of dual cat and dog treats tailored for allergy and food sensitivities, providing a tasty and safe option to their unique dietary needs.

On next steps and the J+FA experience:
“In the hustle of the Jones + Foster Accelerator, Moco ‘n’ Mousse Snackerels crafted a delicious dual dog and cat treat with two flavors, ticking all the right boxes. As we gear up for farmers’ markets, pop-ups, and exciting pet events this summer, our focus is on connecting with more pet owners, making it a breeze for them to grab our wholesome and sustainable goodies. Whether you prefer the direct-to-consumer route or our wholesale channel, our mission is clear – deliver a healthier and more pet-friendly alternative, ensuring every furry pal indulges in a treat that perfectly suits their well-being. The JFA program was instrumental in our progress and growth. The support we received allowed us to concentrate on what was most important while receiving guidance that will prove useful long after the program has ended.”

NaturallyContained | Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook

NaturallyContained has developed compostable coconut fiber packaging to replace industry-standard single-use plastic bags in the soil manufacturing industry.

On next steps and the J+FA experience:

“From entering the Accelerator with a prototype to now launching the product in garden centers in the US and Canada, the J+F Accelerator Program has played a crucial role in guiding NaturallyContained’s growth over the past six months. Working alongside our mentors, we have learned from their expertise the best ways to enter the market this spring and strategically grow into the future. We are proud to announce that our first customer will be featuring their myGarden Soil in NaturallyContained packaging at the NW Flower and Garden Festival in Seattle from February 14 to 18.”

Panyon (formerly Nomi) | Website | Instagram | LinkedIn

Panyon (formerly Nomi) empowers individuals with companionship-based products and services. The patent-pending product Komi is an interactive, robotic pet that helps individuals early in their mental wellbeing journey learn how to manage their stress through breathing.

 On next steps and the J+FA experience:

“During the Jones + Foster Accelerator we were able to run user studies that helped us refine our target audience as well as our initial product offering. We subsequently soft-launched the product and received our first set of pre-orders. We look forward to continuing to iterate on the product as well as dedicate more resources to marketing efforts.”

NoWhere | Website | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

NoWhere is a sustainable food brand founded to increase the adoption of regenerative agriculture through delicious food products. The first NoWhere product line is a line of non-alcoholic craft beverages that can be found throughout the Puget Sound. NoWhere is on a mission to connect people, food and place.

On next steps and the J+FA experience:

“Throughout the Accelerator, NoWhere has expanded their wholesale customer list to over 85 locations around the US, along with strong relationships with local farmers. We are especially proud of the partnerships we’ve developed with Rivian, Arctery’x, Westland, and Tom Douglas Restaurant Group. Our mentor group was extremely supportive and helped us push growth in reach for our brand and product. We are excited for the next phase of our growth which will include west coast distribution, sales growth, and launching new product lines!”

Tizana Mexicana |Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | LinkedIn | TikTok | YouTube

Tizana Mexicana enriches lives through Mexican artistry, by creating an ecosystem with artisans and customers. Tizana offers a selection of curated products such as jewelry, accessories, apparel & home decor, delivered to your doorstep. And to give an authentic experience, Tizana sources directly from local artisans and bring down the barriers for getting high quality artisanal products that make customers connect through generations.

On next steps and the J+FA experience:

 “Thanks to an amazing team and dedicated mentors, our journey through the Jones + Foster Accelerator has been nothing short of extraordinary. With their unwavering support and guidance, we’ve navigated through every challenge and triumphed, achieving all nine milestones along the way. The main purpose was to define the best suitable business model for Tizana Mexicana, and in the process, we gained invaluable insights into product development and learned how to truly listen to our customers. This experience has been invaluable, teaching us the importance of sustainable growth, customer engagement, and strategic planning as we chart our course towards a brighter future.”

OneCourt | Website | LinkedIn

OneCourt makes live sports more accessible to fans with visual disabilities by translating live gameplay into trackable vibrations. Fans can experience the game with their fingertips. OneCourt is partnering with sports teams and leagues to launch as an in-stadium accommodation before scaling to reach fans at home.

On next steps and the J+FA experience:

“Our mentors instilled focus and velocity through actionable feedback and encouragement. We further defined our business model, gained access to real time sports data, streamed live games through community watch parties, and secured our first paid pilot with a professional sports team. We are determined to keep our momentum as we service pilots across US professional sports!”

Yew Ride (formerly Yardsale Ski Co.) | Website | Instagram | TikTok | LinkedIn

Yew Ride is striving to improve the way “yew” ride, on and off the mountain. Yew Ride’s flagship product, the Ski Hugger™, redefines convenience by providing a hands-free solution for carrying skis and poles. Skiers can try it for themselves at two partner rental shops: Pro Ski & Mountain Service in North Bend and the UW Gear Garage. Even more exciting, the Ski Hugger™ is now live for pre-order at!

On next steps and the J+FA experience:

“J+FA provided the Yew Ride team access to resources and mentorship to transform our startup into a legitimate business. The program taught us to always question our strategic milestones—how will completing this bring additional value to the company? Goals should never be stagnant, rather evolve with the business. Otherwise, you are only setting yourself up for failure by working towards less informed milestones.”

Accelerator Alumni Making Global and Local Impact

Awards have now been given to 90 startups through the Accelerator and 70+ are still in business today—earning recognition at Davos and winning the UpLink World Economic Forum Zero Water Waste Challenge (Membrion ’16), raising $3M for remote work productivity (LifeAt ’21”, being named to a list of 25 honorees reshaping child care in communities across the United States (Bridgecare ’19), and making the list of top private companies building with AI that will “shape our future” before raising another $22.4M in Series A2 funding for its protein-discovery platform (A-Alpha Bio ’17).

Multiple JFA alumni have also been named to the Seattle Inno Under 25 Class by Seattle Inno and the Puget Sound Business Journal, as well as the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, including most recently CathConnect (’22) for its improved catheter medical device and Nanodropper (’19) for reducing wasted medication. Alumni have partnered with the NFL and pivoted to masks when the need was high (Strideline ’12), achieved recognition for disrupting the knitting world and fighting for small business apps (Knitrino ’19), established a community dedicated to empowering thousands of young girls (ZGiRLS ’13), made finding scholarships for college easier for more than 13,000 students (Scholarship Junkies ’15), and built a program for elderly residents to make a therapeutic connection to nature through gardening (Eldergrow ’15).

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.

For more details on the Jones + Foster Accelerator, please visit, or contact the Buerk Center at [email protected].