Accelerators / COVID-19 / Startups

Science Center picked the first cohort of its Launch Lane tech startup accelerator

The seven tech startups chosen — based as close as Pennovation and as far away as Istanbul — will receive a collective $300,000 investment and access to various resources through February.

The founders of Launch Lane's inaugural cohort. (Courtesy photo)

The University City Science Center announced the inaugural cohort for its Launch Lane accelerator. The seven tech and tech-adjacent startups will receive a collective $300,000 investment, $50,000 in Amazon Web Service credits and space in ic@3401 for a year, plus participate in weekly programming. The curriculum began March 5.

All programming is currently virtual, but nothing else has changed about the accelerator’s planned curriculum or timeline as a result of COVID-19, Science Center Marketing Director Kristen Fitch told In contrast, the application period for the Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator has been pushed back due to the coronavirus, but the program will still run this year, Fitch said.

“Startups will play a significant role in the city, region and country’s economic growth as we emerge from this unprecedented time,” said Science Center VP of Science and Technology John Younger in a statement. “This Launch Lane cohort represents sprouts in tomorrow’s economy, with the Science Center’s role to stimulate and nurture their growth.”

The startups in the accelerator are:

  • Arke Aeronautics — A New Jersey-based company that gives first responders access to accurate response info
  • envoyatHome — A virtual caregiving company that uses smart sensors to monitor seniors living alone
  • Kliit Health — A digital health company that connects women with reproductive health resources and clinicians through smartphones
  • The OrVac — The startup out of Pennovation Center made a portable handheld aspirator for people with swallowing disorders
  • Pera Labs — An Istanbul-based company that predicts male fertility
  • Pippy Sips — The South Philly-based company created a thermos-sized system that stores and cools breastmilk for 24 hours
  • Tozuda — Another Pennovation-based startup that designs head impact sensors for concussion awareness.

The program ends once a company reachers their internal milestones, which typically takes four to six months, Fitch said. Participants have access to ic@3401 and resources until February 2021.

“Launch Lane is a great complement to the Science Center’s commercialization programs,” said Drexel University CIO and Launch Lane selection team member, Shintaro Kaido, in a statement. “The cohort is an exceptional group of companies that will drive economic impact in the Philadelphia region.”

Launch Lane’s application opened in October. Selected companies were picked from a pool of over 200 applicants.

Preparations for the inaugural cohort included a presence at the center’s Venture Cafe program and partnerships with other orgs that support early-stage companies. The project is also supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Ventas, Inc.

The Science Center recently announced that it’s searching for a new president and CEO as Stephen Zarrilli steps down to focus on his health.

Companies: University City Science Center

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