Call it graduation day, of sorts. Only instead of a cap, gown, and diploma, seven student-led startups capped off months of hard work by completing the Jones + Foster Accelerator at the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The companies accepted into the program go through foundational workshops, develop the milestones they need to accomplish during the six months of the program, and receive regular mentoring from Seattle entrepreneurs and investors. Now they leave with up to $25,000 in follow-on funding.
“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, Jones + Foster Accelerator manager. “They’ve done a tremendous job of making the transition from student teams to startup companies.”
Fifty-six companies have now completed the Jones + Foster Accelerator program since its inception in 2010. Forty-one of those have been awarded seed funding through the Accelerator totaling $870,000. Thirty-six of these are still in business today, raising millions in funding, becoming household names, bringing families together in Haiti, purifying drinking water in Somaliland, and powering cell phones in Kenyan villages.
Congratulations to this year’s successful companies:
Decafino (formerly Decaf Style) offers a decaffeinating pouch that anyone can place into his or her coffee to remove the caffeine and turn it into decaf while retaining the original flavor of the coffee. It is made from all-natural ingredients and there are no harsh chemicals involved. We are continuing to tailor our product to the market needs, as well as approaching multiple cafes and roasters to showcase our product and spark interest. Thanks to the Jones + Foster Accelerator program and our hard working team, we have purchase negotiations going on with several big players in the market already. There is nothing more encouraging than seeing our customers being more excited than we are about our product.
Engage Biotech has developed a medical device, called SafeShot, to reduce the spread of blood borne pathogens such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C resulting from needle reuse in developing countries. After winning the UW Health Innovation Challenge, WSU Business Plan Competition, and placing fourth in the UW Business Plan Competition, Engage Biotech joined the Jones + Foster Accelerator. During the accelerator, we completed proof of concept studies against Hepatitis C and traveled to Arusha, Tanzania to visit clinics and interview medical staff to ensure our product meets their needs. While in Tanzania, we were also able to present our product at the African Grand Challenge at the Nelson Mandela Institute for Science and Technology. Recently, we were one of only 10 teams out of 227 applicants to be awarded a $100,000 grant from the Amazon Catalyst program. This grant as well as our education from the accelerator will allow us to continue to move our company forward.
FitTraction is revolutionizing fitness communities by increasing motivation, accountability, and engagement through our innovative workout tracking app that is driven by its ability to build and provide human relationships. FitTraction provides value to health clubs through a white-labeled app offering that improves club retention and increases training revenue. With FitTraction, trainers can create, assign, and monitor workouts for their clients and provide real time correspondence, allowing them to improve accountability and communication, which in turn improves client results and retention. One of our biggest accomplishments during the Accelerator was doing a Beta launch of our product at the West Seattle Health Club.
Membrion (formerly Ionic Windows) has created the solution to clean water, cheap fuel and longer lasting batteries using technology hidden at the bottom of a beef jerky package. They leverage commodity materials from the food packaging industry to deliver a new low cost and high performance membrane that can be used to filter molecules. Over the course of the Jones + Foster Accelerator Accelerator they’ve raised more than $600K in non-dilutive funding and have grown from 1 to 9 team members. They’re looking to deliver their first product to manufacturers of flow batteries in the coming months.
Joe Chocolates perfectly combines two delicious ingredients: coffee and chocolate. We give you with the boost you need from flavors you love. The Jones + Foster Accelerator has been instrumental in allowing us to start the Joe Chocolates Company. Most recently we moved into our very own production facility, allowing us to supply over 100 retail locations with high quality and handmade chocolate. We have brought on a part time marketing assistant, and are currently looking to hire our first chocolate maker. The opportunity to create jobs is something that we are particularly excited for.