These 4 student-run startups got backing from JHU’s O’Connor Fund

The undergraduate-run companies are working in health, VR and bubble tea.

JHU's O'Connor Fund provides resources to undergrads.

(Courtesy photo)

Four startups founded by Johns Hopkins undergraduates got funded as part of the university’s efforts to galvanize more entrepreneurs on campus.
The startups received grants of $10,000 through The Ralph S. O’Connor Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Fund, which is now in its fifth year.
For the latest cohort, fund administrators at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures’ FastForward U received 31 applications. Along with funding, the teams also get access to mentors and other resources.
“This was an extremely competitive funding cycle with numerous standout applications,” FastForward U Director of Student Ventures Kerrie Carden said in a statement “We had more qualified teams than awards to give out, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our Hopkins undergrads.”
It’s a group we tend to keep an eye on, as JHU undergrad-founded startups went on to grow in Baltimore like FactoryFour, Atana and Fractal Tech.
Here’s a look at the startups, with info from FastForward U.


The team is developing a water purification system for use in the developing world. It’s the size of a trashcan, and is manually powered. With a prototype built, the company is working on pilot testing. The team includes Anish Mokha, Maya Foster, Varun Venkatesh, Shivam Rastogi, Zach Schmidt and Paarth Sharma.

Goba Tea

JHU’s Byron D’Mello and Noah Doris of Babson College created a bottled bubble tea with vitamins designed to reduce stress. The tea is sold at 10 locations, and has FDA approval. The company is looking to make inroads on college campuses.


The Hopkins students behind this company are developing the PeritoneX, a device that is used during peritoneal dialysis treatment, which helps a patient with kidney failure have blood cleaned within the body. The device is designed to reduce the risk of infection. The team includes Sarah Lee, James Qin, Anna Bailey,  Tejasvi Desai, Eugene Oh and Giang Hoang. Dr. Alicia Neu, chief of pediatric nephrology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, is the startup’s clinical sponsor.



Nikhil Baddam and Owen Friesen developed haptic feedback gloves to be used in virtual reality. The stiffness of the glove changes when the user touches an object in the VR environment. The company received previous funding from FastForward U’s Spark grants and Digital Media Center and Digital daVinci Awards to create a single-finger prototype.

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