On March 30th, four teams from the Fall 2015 StartR class pitched their companies to an audience of Rady School students, alumni and staff, as well as local industry experts and investors at StartR Demo Day.
The evening began with a welcome from Dean Robert Sullivan, applauding the program, the Fall 2015 teams, and thanking sponsors Sheppard Mullin, Coefficient Services and Gorman IP Law. Also acknowledged were program co-directors Lada Rasachova and Kimberly Davis King.
Participating in the evening’s festivities and celebrating the program’s success was StartR alumni team Skylit Medical, which “revolutionizes UVB therapy – a very effective treatment for psoriasis, chronic eczema and vitiligo – by treating patients in their home while being monitored remotely by physicians.” Skylit CEO Martyn Gross spoke about his experience as a part of StartR, leveraging all of his personal assets to pursue his company, and raising $1.8 million in funding.
The presenting teams from the Fall 2015 StartR class who made their pitches were Factor Technologies, BREWnGO Technologies, TUTUroomii and Cardkive.
Factor Technologies presented their product, Hummingbird Money, a money saving and investing platform targeted at millennial women. Millennial women are posed to earn more than previous generations, but they are saving at an insignificant rate. Their pain points are saving, investing and planning. Hummingbird Money helps women (and men) to plan for and painlessly save and invest money for the future.
BREWnGO joined StartR as TEAnGO, with a goal of making a device that can brew tea perfectly anytime, and cool it to the ideal drinking temperature, all in a single device controlled by a smart phone. Through their work during StartR, they discovered they would also be able to perfect their device to brew coffee as well, thus encompassing the world’s largest selling beverages. BREWnGO takes the best qualities of all at-home devices and combines them into one single device, reinventing the brewing experience.
TUTUroomii is an app alleviating the pain points of searching for a roommate in the LGBTQ+ community. The app serves the unmet need of connecting those looking for roommates in the LGBTQ+ and ally community; both those looking for a place to live and those with a room to rent can specify their preferences, connect with others and find the best match for all, safely and securely.
Cardkive allows users to digitally organize and share greeting cards. The app users can keep a photograph of both the inside and outside of a card and organize it by date and event. The app and supporting services cater to tech savvy users directly through the app and less tech savvy users through a concierge program. Cardkive aims to take greeting cards out of dusty boxes on closet shelves and turn those memories into easily accessible digital files.
Following the team pitches, StartR co-director Kim Davis King shared the recent successes of alumni teams including Aira.IO, LeadCrunch and Grolltex. Additionally, each graduating team was awarded $1000 to help further their companies.
StartR is a nonprofit accelerator for Rady School students and alumni. Founded in 2013 by a group of Rady School students working on an independent study project, the mission of the accelerator is to provide hands-on company development, mentoring, advice and access to other resources for early-stage companies and student teams. The free, six month-long program is held twice a year on the Rady School’s campus and up to six teams are selected per program. To date, 27 teams have participated in the StartR Accelerator program and five program graduates have been accepted into the prestigious San Diego business incubator, EvoNexus. StartR is accepting applications through April 10th for the next cohort.
Karen Jensen is the Program Manager for the California Institute for Innovation and Development (CIID) at the Rady School of Management.