Seven student-created startups will receive funding from the Jones + Foster Accelerator at the UW Foster School of Business. The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship program awarded $170,000 (up to $25k each) to the teams (detailed below) after they completed six months of milestones under the mentorship of industry leaders from across the community. The J+F Accelerator has now awarded more than $1.4 million since the program began in 2010.
“This group is poised to make an impact in a diverse set of industries—from medical devices and manufacturing to smart mobile technology and sustainable consumer products,” said Sarah Studer, program manager for the Jones + Foster Accelerator and the Dempsey Startup Competition (formerly the UW Business Plan Competition). “This cohort capped off the first decade of the program in spectacular fashion and we are very excited for the future!”
Sixty-two startups have now earned awards through the Accelerator. Including the 2019 cohort, 54 are still in business today—fostering inclusive team culture, improving the development of pharmaceutical drugs, working with the department of energy to build a better battery, partnering with the NFL, empowering thousands of young girls, creating rustic gear for the modern adventurer, and opening a chocolate factory at Pike Place Market while selling in stores around the world.
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.
Be sure to follow the journey of these exciting startups from our 2019-2020 cohort:
AeroSpec provides a complete air quality monitoring system for the industrial segment using off-the-shelf electronics and proprietary software to create a real time air quality heat map of an indoor facility. “AeroSpec started the program with many possible directions,” said CEO Sep Makhsous. “Now we have a focused 3-year plan with clear goals and milestones to achieve.” AeroSpec is scheduled to officially launch in January 2021.
Kadama is a mobile application that makes it easy for parents and students to instantly connect with expert tutors for in-person and online lessons. Users can select from a wide variety of subjects, set their own budget, and get tutored at the time and place of their choosing. “The Accelerator took us from a beta to a transition phase where we came up with new strategies and focus,” said co-founder and CEO Amin Shaykho. Kadama recently launched its app and team members say their “two primary goals are to continue improving the user experience for existing customers and grow the user base.”
Knitrino provides interactive patterns and tutorials for modern knitters, optimized for a mobile screen. “Customers audibly gasp when we show them the app, which confirms for us that we’re solving the right problems for knitters in a way that delights them,” explained co-founder and CEO Alison Yates. Knitrino’s reach has expanded across the globe, with forthcoming features in several international publications and podcasts, as well as a main-stage presentation at the biggest fiber festival in the South. Knitrino plans a wide launch by summer 2020.
Nanodropper is an eyedropper adapter that decreases the volume of oversized eyedrops to reduce the cost and waste of expensive prescription medications. “The Accelerator pushed our team in all aspects of business and personal development,” said co-founder Mackenzie Andrews. “The traction we have made in just six months exceeded even our own expectations.” Nanodropper was recently awarded a Phase I contract with the Air Force SBIR program and began selling its product on the company website with shipments going out in mid-March.
Novita works to improve a patient’s ability to age-in-place by providing in-home assessments and connections to local businesses and services while addressing the social determinants of health. “The JFA program accelerated us in ways we didn’t expect as a company but also as individuals,” said co-founder Drew Beland. “Going forward, we are very excited to be working directly with patients and families.” Novita is currently offering their services to local hospitals, fire departments, and community members.
Paca Y Paca is a refillable candle company where customers pair artisan containers with scented waxes to create their own perfect candle that can be refilled on demand or via a subscription service, while eliminating the need for waste when your candle is burned out. “This is my fifth startup,” said CEO Keisha Credit, “and I really understand the value of how seed funding can accelerate your business trajectory in ways unimaginable during the beginning stages.” Paca Y Paca sold out of pre-orders during the Accelerator and an official launch is coming soon.
Pallicera is overcoming the biggest barrier in pediatric medication through an enhanced taste-masking technology.