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CoMotion announces winners of I-Corps winter cohort

Written by Hallie Atengco / April 23, 2021

Winter '21 I-Corps Customer Discovery program awards 20 teams

CoMotion offers the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program to entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest who want to accelerate their academic research projects and move them toward commercialization. Grantees learn to identify valuable commercial opportunities that can emerge from academic research, gain skills in entrepreneurship through training, develop a mentor network of seasoned entrepreneurs, and receive $2,500 to fund their customer discovery process.

Winter ’21 I-Corps Cohort 

The Winter ’21 teams recently completed the intensive six-week program, working closely with mentors and making tremendous strides in their ventures, with awards totaling $47,800.

This cohort included 46 teams and 143 people with team leads representing seven institutions in addition to the University of Washington: Clark College, Oregon Health and Science University, Olympic College, Seattle University, Portland State University, University of Oregon and Washington State University.

The cohort cut across a variety of industries and issues, including healthcare, green building, the fishing industry, the circular economy, fintech and beyond. Projects produced by these amazing teams also represented a wide breadth of innovation: from health data privacy solutions, to a surgical device decreasing wound healing time, to an app helping users reduce aging through DNA testing. It even included a social innovation in the form of a VR tool sparking joy in people with dementia.

The innovations don’t stop there. Beyond the health sector, projects included: a home furnishing tool for young professionals, environmentally conscious construction materials, an academic research collaboration platform, communication tools for adventurers, and much more. Explore the winning projects and grantees in the section below.

A few of the I-Corps winners: Dylan Diefendorf - Puget Buoy, Janae' Javis - Cee, Robert White - Sound Sustainability

Awardees

Agora

Team members

  • Fidaul Alam 
  • Nicholas Rance 
  • Albert Lwin 
  • Zoe Guckien 

Value proposition

We are helping researchers get access to anonymized health care data more quickly and securely. We are helping health care institutions participate in the data economy with software to minimize legal and operational risks. We ensure that patients are treated ethically when contributing their data to research.

DecorPie

Team members

  • Melia Baquian
  • Trang Doan
  • Alex DC
  • Jason Leon
  • Kris Wong

Value proposition

For young professionals who live in apartments, lack a sense of interior design, and are constantly moving, DecorPie is a home furnishing rental service that empowers customers to transform their living space into a home that they are proud of.

Earthboard

Team members

  • Ben Berger
  • Ed Draper
  • Alexey Rybak
  • Brandon Cooper
  • Coury Shadyac

Value proposition

Our natural clay drywall system provides residential builders an environmentally and health-conscious alternative to conventional gypsum drywall, made from 100% recyclable materials that also reduce mold and harmful chemicals.

Kheiron

Team members

  • Mukund Bharadwaj
  • Gabrielle Pestana
  • Rahul Raj Ravi  

Value proposition

The Kheiron device is a contactless, privacy focussed telehealth device, helping users stay at home and retain their health and independence by monitoring their movement patterns and providing actionable insights for preventive and coordinated care. 

RelationalVR

Team members

  • Nicole Chilivis
  • Sumner Smith

Value proposition

RelationalVR transports people with dementia to awe-inspiring places that spark joy and foster connection to loved ones.

Gem Studies

Team member

  • Elina Chun
  • Tevin Stewart

Value proposition

Our data collection and collaboration platform makes it easy for anyone to be a researcher and for any researcher to tackle any study.

Puget Buoy

Team members

  • Dylan Diefendorf
  • Ryan Russel
  • True Loan

Value proposition

Puget Buoy provides commercial Dungeness crabbers with an affordable gear solution that decreases gear loss and lengthens crabbing seasons by dramatically reducing whale entanglements with fishing lines.

Community Collaboratory

Team members

  • Aaron Flaster
  • Sarah Stacpoole

Value proposition

Community Collaboratory (CC) is developing a website/app that allows community members to offer and receive social support in brief, safe, and flexible ways (remote or in-person).

HEBEEME

Team members

  • Michael Hale

Value proposition

People are more interested in lengthening their life than ever before. For age conscious consumers that don’t know the ideal way to reduce aging, we have developed a free app with free DNA testing (telomeres). Our system tracks their progress and biological age and combines that aggregate data. We made it fun and easy to track and learn the best age defying practices, which results in more complete overall maintenance of your true biological age.

TB-TST (Tuberculosis Treatment Support Tools)

Team members

  • Sarah Iribarren

Value proposition

For patients and teams treating tuberculosis, a deadly disease with a long and challenging treatment course, we offer a set of tools to empower, support, and improve outcomes to reduce the spread of disease and suffering. Our at home test can determine if a patient is on track with their treatment, and prevent hours of travel time typically needed for adherence monitoring. Our set of tools make the process for monitoring TB patients easy, so providers can focus on the needs of each patient. 

Cee

Team members

  • Janae’ Javis
  • Alicia Hovanas
  • Maria Jimenez
  • Hanifa Baporia

Value proposition

A surgical device that decreases wound healing time, reduces post-operative infections, and provides analgesic relief.

Earwiggler

Team member

  • Forrest Fabian Jesse
  • Melvin Harsono
  • Chanhee Choi
  • Esther Wang
  • Samuel Merhazion

Value proposition

Our Earwiggler Health Status Strip helps international people who want to travel and meet (pandemic and post-pandemic) by reducing health status uncertainty and vaccine documentation burdens and increasing social speed unlike paper documents. 

Outway

Team members

  • Aaron Kennedy
  • Nico Schweiger
  • Matt Lindgren
  • Max Buster
  • Alex Tovar
  • Elizabeth Dunn
  • Carol Lei
  • Amaury Saugrain
  • Erika Johnson

Value proposition

Our two-sided network helps land managers and adventurers who want to communicate in real-time by connecting them with use-specific tools and, when used by each of them, providing value to the other party. For land management, we provide a direct line of communication to adventurers, ensuring they are educated and can act accordingly, while also providing useful visitor data for land management. On the adventurer side, we provide real-time, verified information from land managers, eliminating informational barriers and equipping adventurers to confidently explore.

Cookie Jar

Team members

  • Will Rush
  • Emmy Armintrout
  • Andrew Haskell

Value proposition

The ability for corporations/brands to give stock to customers seamlessly.

ConnectMyVariant

Team members

  • Brian Shirts

Value proposition

We connect people with hereditary cancer risk mutations with others that have exactly the same mutation. Our platform will provide users with a community space that will facilitate opportunities for users to interact with relatives in order to improve understanding of their family history and share strategies for cancer prevention. We will offer education to help take advantage of those opportunities and help businesses reach people when they are making family history and prevention purchasing decisions. ConnectMyVariant plans on utilizing a multi-sided platform model that first connects different people involved in cancer prevention with each other, then connects those groups with family history vendors and health systems that seek these patients. Our ultimate goal is to help identify all at-risk individuals and increase uptake of proven medical interventions to prevent all hereditary cancer.

Platea

Team members

  • Eric Szelenyi
  • Sam Golden
  • Jia J. Choong  

Value proposition

Our behaviorally precise brain mapping activity assay allows CNS drug developers to increase drug predictability in the clinic and accelerate specificity in drug design. Thereby, leading to enhanced clinical trial success rate and minimized sunk costs/time of experimental compounds failing during Clinical Trials.

OcuSkin Solutions

Team members

  • Lace Williams Tinajero

Value proposition

For people wanting a cosmetic solution to conceal an eye region, OcuSkin Solutions offers skin-tone matching eye coverings that draw less attention to the area people are trying to hide. 

TrachTech

Team members

  • Alexandra Verne
  • Stephen Hahn
  • Michael L’Ecuyer

Value proposition

Improve the health and safety of patients on a ventilator by reducing the risk of complications such as ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).

Standard HDX (Formerly Dynamic Standard)

Team members

  • Clint Vorauer
  • Taylor Murphree

Value proposition

For companies within the fields of biotechnology and bio pharmaceutical development interested in strengthening intellectual property filings or gaining insights into biological systems using rapid higher resolution analysis, we offer a flexible, robust and affordable Hydrogen Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry (HDX-MS) service. 

Sound Sustainability

Team member

  • Robert White
  • Catherine Hartono
  • Ana Liu
  • Kiera Hawkins
  • Vivian Igunbor 

Value proposition

We provide an in-expensive, custom-built over-the-counter hearing aid that is 75% cheaper than current products. Our solution improves the hearing health of our customers and increases access for those in rural or developing areas.

About I-Corps

Do you have an idea that you think has commercial potential? Do you dream of starting a company sometime in the future? If so, applications for the next cohort will be open soon – follow us on Twitter at @UWCoMotion or contact us at icorps@uw.edu so you don’t miss out!

Program description

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. As the collaborative innovation hub of the UW, CoMotion® has secured an NSF grant to establish an I-Corps Site on campus which issues approximately 30 awards per year. Grantees learn to identify valuable commercial opportunities that can emerge from academic research, gain skills in entrepreneurship through training, develop a mentor network of seasoned entrepreneurs, and receive $2,500 to fund their customer discovery process. This program is a great preparation for anyone looking to participate in regional business plan competitions, seeking GAP funding, or to apply for the national I-Corps Teams program and continue on to seeking SBIR/STTR funding (national NSF grants).