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Microsoft is throwing support behind these Hopkins AI and data science startups

Tech leader supporting local startups alert: These Microsoft acceleration awards will allow the five startups to work with Azure architects and developers, along with other resources.

Inside Johns Hopkins' FastForward 1812. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Through a new program, Microsoft is supporting five AI and data science startups founded in Johns HopkinsFastForward program.

The teams are the first to receive Microsoft acceleration awards. It’s a way that the storied tech company is working with new ventures, and is doing so with a Baltimore-based university.

“Johns Hopkins has a track record of generating innovations from medical research that can be transformative,” said Toni Townes-Whitley, Microsoft’s president of U.S. Regulated Industries, in a statement. “At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. In this case, we’re focused on helping accelerate the practical applications of work being conducted by Hopkins students and researchers, which has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of the organization’s patients.”

With the award, each startup will work with architects and developers from Microsoft Azure, which is the company’s cloud computing service. The startups also get admission to its global Microsoft for Startups program, which includes $120,000 in Azure credits, Microsoft Office 365 licenses and commercialization support, among other benefits. The winners get free access to FastForward’s coworking space for a year, too.

Microsoft Innovation Acceleration Awards that went to three companies run by folks who are not current students. These include:

  • Oncospace, led in part by principal architect and JHU School of Medicine professor Dr. Todd McNutt, is building an AI-based platform to help doctors personalize radiation oncology treatment.
  • Renalert, founded by Aaron Chang, is developing a monitoring and alert system for acute kidney injury. The startup, which aims to prevent needless deaths from AKI, won Beta City‘s 2019 pitch competition.
  • VecTech, whose cofounder Adam Goodwin was named a winner at last year’s FastForward Demo Day, is creating a mosquito surveillance platform to assist in mosquito control.

Two student companies, who receive the same benefits as the other companies, won the Microsoft Student Acceleration Grant. They are:

  • Graff Golf, a team creating a smart golf ball and mobile app that provides amateurs with pointers to improve their game.
  • Cellular Analysis Technologies, a team bringing computer vision and deep learning to research laboratories.

The winners were selected from among 21 applicants. It’s a sign of new resources available to Hopkins startups. Last semester, FastForward also debuted a student accelerator.

For Microsoft’s part, it marks the second time we’ve seen the company getting involved in the local tech community. In December, the company hosted a Women in Cyber panel in Fells Point.

Companies: Johns Hopkins University / Microsoft

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