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15 student startups selected for new FastForward U accelerator program

FastForward U, the center for student innovation and entrepreneurship for Johns Hopkins University, has selected the first cohort of 15 teams to participate in a new accelerator program that provides guidance and funding to fledgling student startups.

The teams will participate in a nine-week program featuring workshops led by local entrepreneurs on different aspects of venture development. Each startup team will be assigned a mentor and given space to work at FastForward U’s Homewood location in Remington. The accelerator is split into a “Spark” track for early stage companies learning entrepreneurial basics and a “Fuel” track for teams seeking to grow and scale their ventures.

The program culminates with a Demo Day and pitch competition on Nov. 19. The team with the winning pitch from the Spark track will receive $1,000 and automatic placement in the Fuel program, while the winning team from the Fuel track will receive $10,000.

In addition to the Demo Day prize money, Spark teams are eligible to receive $1,000 for entering the accelerator and can receive up to $4,000 upon exit.

Fuel track startups

Aquatas aims to address the growing problem of clean water shortage in developing regions around the world by providing an efficient and affordable water purification system, promoting the health and social well-being of low-income families. Team members: Paarth Sharma and Anish Mokha (co-leads), Maya Foster, Shivan Rastogi, Varun Venkatesh, and Zach Schmidt.

Braegen is a medical device startup developing a functional, skull-embedded, MRI-compatible medicine delivery implant to redefine treatment for patients with chronic neuropathology. Team members: Deborah Weidman (lead), Alireza Chamani, Angela Lu, Caterina Esposito, Cole Clampffer, Kohn Cai, and Justin Kim.

CortiTech presents Radiex, a minimally-invasive neurosurgical retractor designed to increase patient safety while maximizing surgical operability of deep-seated lesions. Team members: Sun Jay Yoo (lead), Jody Mou, Kevin Tu, and Mark Shifman.

First Friday’s Group will connect college communities by helping creative-minded students develop a piece of performance art—such as singing, rapping, or DJing—as well as providing a platform for them to showcase this talent at social events. Team members: Kris Madu (lead), Amanda English, Duncan Parke, Jeanne Kachris, Katia Kovrizhkin, Nashul Mehta, and Sindhu Banerjee.

Ithemba is committed to expanding breast cancer diagnosis globally through a reusable, contamination-free core needle breast biopsy device. Team members: Sophia Triantis and Valerie Zawicki (co-leads), Laura Hinson, and Madeline Lee.

Spark track startups

Bioswift is working to create Flowmate—an attachment for dry powder inhalers that ensures pediatric patients, as well as adults with limited lung capacity, receive their full dosage of medication in order to alleviate chronic respiratory symptoms. Team members: Maxwell Xu, Varun Kedia, Isaree Pitaktong, Lily Zhu, and Yunong Bai.

Cellular Analysis Technologies uses computer vision to automate the process of cell counting in order to increase the speed and efficacy of cell tissue culture research. Team members: Robert Waxman and Christian Gonzalez (co-leads), Daniel Sun, Jacob Feitelberg, and Marc Bordui.

Feed is a software tool that helps optimize the food rescue system by connecting businesses with excess food directly to soup kitchens, nonprofits, and individuals that are food insecure. Team members include co-leads Julia Colen and Steven Solar.

Flave is a mobile application that helps local restaurants connect to potential customers by aggregating “foodie” social media posts based on location and food preferences. Team members: Derek Battle (lead) and JHU alum Jal Irani.

FORUM leverages artificial intelligence to curate information about current news and world events in order to provide readers with a nuanced view of popular topics, decrease disinformation, and limit polarization created by popular media. Team members include co-leads Devanshu Singh and Robert Cortes.

Good Friend Media is a platform that provides Chinese parents with curated online content about the American educational system to help them identify the best opportunities for their children abroad. The team is led by Sam Schultz.

ImagineX is an events and platform company meant to encourage college-aged students that are ill-served by current college career centers to explore alternative career paths and take action toward their goals. Team members: Alex Schachne (lead), Alex Toporek, and Jayden Liu.

McCoy’s Kombucha creates fully customizable, small-batch, non-pasteurized kombucha in order to bring the benefits of kombucha to those who don’t enjoy store-bought flavors or carbonation levels. Team members: Alina Pannone (lead), Samantha Lam, Christopher Crespo, Daniel Kang, and Manuel Hdez.

PediaCore is an immersive physical therapy system that leverages gamification and active movement to improve trunk stability in pediatric cerebral palsy patients. Team members: Samiksha Ramesh (lead), Akaash Sanyal, Teya Bergamaschi, Nicholas Maritato, Tatiana Gelaf Romer, Sundari Parise, Maggie Lie, and Joshua Park.

Switchscopes is a mobile phone case attachment that provides modular and portable imaging tools for physicians. Team members: Waqas Haque and two non-JHU students.

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