This past summer, 40 teams of entrepreneurs participated in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program offered by CoMotion. For six intensive weeks, the teams worked closely with mentors to accelerate their academic research projects and move them toward commercialization. The program provided training, mentorship, networking opportunities, and the opportunity to apply for up to $2,500 to fund a customer discovery process.
In addition to the University of Washington, the cohort included teams representing ten institutions from across the U.S.:
- Central Connecticut State University
- Eastern Washington University
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Montana State University
- Oregon Health and Science University
- Oregon State University
- Oregon Translation Research and Development Institute
- University at Buffalo
- Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center
- Washington State University
Projects covered a wide array of topics, such as new medical screening technologies, a device to enforce social distancing, a cloud-based sonar service for marine data analysts, and a platform to help investors use advanced algorithms to trade stocks in an intuitive way.
At the end of the program, 13 teams were awarded a total of $33,000 to continue testing their business hypotheses via customer discovery. Grant recipients were selected based on their progress during the program and their demonstrated commitment to taking the project to market impact. These teams have the option to apply for the National I-Corps program, where they may be selected to receive up to $50,000 in funding.
Read more about the selected projects below.
Arduino Sensor is a wearable device with a thermal camera and a time-of-flight (TOF) sensor to detect when someone is within a customizable range so consumers can enforce stronger social distancing whether in public or private areas.
SeaSonar is a cloud-based sonar service that helps marine data analysts, who process sonar data for inspection and surveying, by providing a customizable and collaborative data processing pipeline. This is in contrast to onsite software collections that are independently developed and not optimized for multiple users.
Cleantech Kiosk™ is a fast, convenient, and easy-to-use self-service kiosk that cleans portable electronic devices, like phones, laptops, and tablets.
Dementia and Palliative Education Network (DPEN) is a nurse training program that helps health systems, educational institutions, care facilities and nurses who want to provide optimal dementia care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs. They do this by educating nurses to practice at the top of their field and by increasing the dementia nursing workforce.
HyperChain is a robust and secure solution to make the pharmaceutical supply chain more transparent, creating a safer ecosystem from which to buy verified products.
OsmoProcessor is a urine sample processor that helps clinicians effectively screen patients for tuberculosis by improving test accuracy, reducing time, minimizing cost, and increasing portability. This is in contrast to existing power-dependent processing techniques such as centrifugation that require trained personnel in laboratory settings.
Matthew Michael Anttila
Piccolo Biosystems provides pharmaceutical companies and research labs a more cost-effective technology to accelerate the development of therapeutic drugs targeting lipid signaling in cancer cells and to customize treatments for individual patients.
Andy (Han) Zheng
Project Ammonia produces highly versatile ammonia sensors that achieve high sensitivity while costing less than laboratory-grade analyzers. The team is exploring potential uses in agriculture.
RenewCat offers a high-performance, sustainable, biomass-derived alternative to legacy disinfectants in cleaning and personal care products, enabling household cleaning product manufacturers to produce environmentally friendly products without compromising on safety or efficacy.
Shepherd Connect LLC intends to create a software-as-a-service (SAAS)–based business focused on selling mentor connection software to universities, with the intent of helping underprivileged students chart a path post-graduation.
Stoma Project is developing an application to provide new stoma patients a proper wafer fit from the comfort of their home. The solution would reduce potential feces leakage and other issues, which could reduce mortality and opioid/pain-killer use.
The Soliman Organization is a platform for investors seeking to trade in the stock market using advanced algorithms but who lack the coding skills or mathematical and computational infrastructure to do so. The platform allows anyone to set up a trading algorithm using an intuitive drag–and–drop method.
Ultropia is a compact, resource–efficient, all-in-one washer/dryer system for people who do laundry, but lack space and infrastructure. The system provides better cleaning, time savings, and higher accessibility for areas where water is scarce, energy costs are high, and space is limited.
Do you have an idea with commercial potential? Do you dream of starting a company? If so, visit our I-Corps program page to learn more and register now for the next cohort.
The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) is a federally funded program to accelerate academic research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. Through training and mentorship, program participants are able to test the value of their business idea by talking to potential customers. Those who do well in the program may apply for up to $2,500 of funding to continue testing their business hypotheses via customer discovery; around 40 grants are issued each year. This program is a great preparation for anyone who is interested in business plan competitions, seeking gap funding, or applying for further federal funding (I-Corps Teams grant, SBIR/STTR grants, etc.).