This incubator is helping Johns Hopkins undergrads become entrepreneurs - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Mar. 2, 2018 12:59 pm

This incubator is helping Johns Hopkins undergrads become entrepreneurs

The Hatchery, which is run by student-run entrepreneurship org TCO Labs, has a new cohort of 12 student teams this semester. Organizers want to help early-stage ventures to plug into the university's entrepreneurship resources.

A new incubator is helping its first companies at Johns Hopkins this school year. Run by a group of undergraduate students, The Hatchery Incubator is helping undergraduate students who are starting companies.

It’s an initiative of TCO Labs, a nonprofit organization founded by students that’s looking to provide more startup resources on campus.

TCO Labs’ Pava LaPere told us that the first cohort began last semester. It included a cohort of eight startups, mostly at the idea stage.

LaPere said the incubator programming includes weekly meetings with a professional mentor to help founders learn more about the university and Baltimore communities, as well as workshops on starting a company, legal lessons and pitching.

As the university makes more moves to encourage entrepreneurship, an initiative founded by undergraduate students to help their peers occupies a unique role. TCO Labs launched an event called Hatch last year, and LaPere said she got a lot of interest following the debut from students seeking help.

“Really, what we aim to do with The Hatchery is to help produce higher-quality student ventures out of JHU,” LaPere said. “Our hope is that through the program, we are creating stronger teams to apply for programs such as [university-run Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures’] O’Connor fund or the Social Innovation Lab. While we do work with later stage startups, our primary goal is to work with this early teams to make them viable ventures, that would then be a good fit in the JHTV cohort programs.”

The teams also got a chance to put some of their presentation skills to the test last week with a pitch competition.

The winner was Zoog, a platform that connects college students and apartment owners for summer storage founded by Yumi Zhao, Emma Sun. Coming in second was Celeri, which is developing drone technology to deliver Naloxone to opioid overdose victims. It was founded by Momin Mohis and Arnav Malhotra. In third place was GradMe, a platform that helps students with degree planning. LaPere said some teams continue in more than one cohort, which is the case for this venture founded by Benjamin Bao, Saianeesh Haridas and Arsen Klyuev.

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Here’s a look at the latest cohort, which includes 12 startups:

  • Cuisino: A platform where students can purchase meals made by their peers.
  • Adapt Fitness Technologies: An app that allows users to compete with each other in fitness competitions.
  • SaniGrip: A medical device for handwashing that brings devices closer to the patient point of contact.
  • FutureWorks: A platform providing training material for employees between entry level and more experienced positions.
  • Rume: A service using motion sensor technology to monitor campus spaces on usage patterns.
  • Kubanda Cryotherapy: A medical device using carbon dioxide cryotherapy to treat breast cancer.
  • Mel Well: A diet and exercise consultancy for female college students.
  • Realist Review: A foreign affairs publication sourced by a student audience.
  • Collab: An app connect creators to collaborate on projects.
  • iServe: A service bringing experiential learning to K-12 education.
  • GradMe: An app that helps students plan out degrees with auditing and recommendations.
  • STEP: A nonprofit that brings educational resources to rural Taiwan.

LaPere said the group is seeking mentors from the wider Baltimore tech community who may be interested in working with students.

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