ABOUT ACCELERATE UCONN
Accelerate UConn is UConn’s National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site. Its mission is to catalyze entrepreneurial teams whose technology concepts are likely candidates for commercialization. Participating teams will receive an introduction to the most critical elements of the I-Corps Curriculum and Lean Launchpad methodology. With the support of Accelerate UConn, teams will learn first-hand about entrepreneurship and explore the transition of their ideas, devices, processes, new scientific discoveries or other intellectual activities into the marketplace.
Participants will learn how to:
- Develop new ways to communicate the value of your product or technology
- Understand the structure of the market you are entering
- Develop strategies for generating demand for your product or technology
- Identify the next steps needed to launch your venture
- Identify customers most likely to bring you first revenue
Teams will receive:
- Training on the Business Model Canvas and Customer Discovery Process
- Individual team coaching from industry experts
- Up to $4,000* to support customer discovery and development of minimum viable product
- Help to identify team members
The Accelerate UConn program is broken down into three phases; with the main program and emphasis being on phase 1. Each workshop provides hands-on training in the fundamental components of new venture creation and is delivered by experienced entrepreneurs and faculty members. Participants are provided with personalized coaching and feedback which will help them construct an evidence-based business model and market entry strategy. Participating teams have the ability to receive up to $4,000 in seed funding for their ventures across all three phases. You do not have to take phase 0 to apply to phase 1, but you must complete phase 1 to be considered for phase 2.
Offered as a short program during summer, this phase allows for teams to get an introduction of the concepts outlined in the main program. Teams that successfully complete phase 0 receive a micro grant of $1,000 and have a better chance of being accepted in to the competitive phase 1 program.
This is the main Accelerate UConn program, and a cohort is offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters. This element of the program is 5 weeks in length and includes a 2 day kickoff, 3 webinars and a program finale. Teams that successfully complete this phase receive a micro grant of $2,000.
This phase of the program is by invite only and is only offered in the spring semester. This program is for teams that are serious about continuing to explore the market opportunity for their product or technology. The program will take a deeper dive into the critical next step elements of bringing a technology to market. This element of the program is 3 weeks in length and includes 3 webinars and a program finale. Teams in phase 2 receive a micro grant of $1,000.
All applications will be reviewed by a panel of industry experts, who will make admission and grant award selections. Upon review, teams may be asked to interview over Zoom with Accelerate UConn staff to verify team dynamics, and to clarify information on the application. Final selections will be made within a week of the application deadline and all teams will be notified of the decision. Final admission decisions will be announced publicly the day of the kickoff event.
If you are interested in participating, but would like assistance in finding other members for your team, or have any other questions about the program, please contact Accelerate UConn Program Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org.
Problem Definition: Does the team have a clear and broad understanding of the problem their product or technology seeks to solve? Have they clearly articulated the market or societal need they are filling? Is there a clear pain-point that their product is addressing?
Strength of Team: Does the team include the diversity of expertise necessary to accomplish its goals? Has the team engaged a strong group of advisors and/or partners? Does the team make a convincing presentation of the need for their product, and their dedication to the process of creating a new venture?
Technical Feasibility: Does the product or technology have the capability to produce the desired outcome or benefit? Is it technologically feasible? Can it be produced on a scale that will meet demand and solve the problem intended?
Innovation & Novelty: Does the product demonstrate the potential to significantly improve a process or system? Is the product or technology fundamentally different from existing solutions?
Participation in this program requires the formation of an entrepreneurial team consisting of:
Entrepreneurial Lead (EL): The EL is responsible for driving the process of Customer Discover and Business Model development, and may also recruit additional students to participate in the team. On faculty-led teams, the EL is typically a postdoctoral researcher, graduate student, or undergraduate student, who possesses the relevant technical knowledge and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation, and is responsible for leading the development of the business model for the product or technology proposed. On student led teams, the EL is the student who acts as the point person during the length of the program, makes presentations on behalf of the group, and takes responsibility for group performance.
Academic Lead (AL): The AL is a faculty member that has led the development of a new product or technology, or has relevant knowledge about the problem the venture will solve. This person can act as the team’s Chief Technology Officer or advisor, and could also choose to take a more involved role in the development of the business strategy.
It is not required that student teams have an Academic Lead, but it is strongly advised that they seek one out through this process.
Industry Mentor: An Industry Mentor is typically someone with experience transitioning technology out of academic labs and into the marketplace, or with experience bringing new products to market within the industry that the team is trying to enter. Industry Mentors should live in close proximity to the institution, and have connections throughout the region. The AU team can help facilitate finding an Industry Mentor.
If you have an idea for a new venture, or have developed a new technology that you would like to commercialize, but have not yet formed a team, Accelerate UConn staff may be able to help. Please contact Alycia Chrosniak email@example.com. Please provide her with an introduction to the product or technology that you are working on, a description of the existing members of your team, as well as an idea of the type of team member that you are looking for.
Program Timing and Commitment
- Attending and representing their team at all in-person and WebEx meetings during the 5 week program.
- Lead the team’s customer discovery efforts and weekly 10-minute presentations on the insights and progress made during this process to the rest of the cohort, and program instructors.
- Spend 10-12 hours per week on developing and refining their team’s business model during this program (During the opening: Thursday all day and Friday half day and closing weeks Friday all day)
- During the interim weeks, 3 hours will be spent on group WebEX calls, and an additional 5-6 hours should be dedicated to customer discovery and the recording of information gained through interviews.
Academic Component: Student ELs can enroll in a 3-credit field study course (BADM 5320/MGMT 4899), in which they will participate in the requirements listed above.
Join a Startup Team
Become an Entrepreneurial Lead for CCEI!
This opportunity is open to students (undergraduate and graduate) who wish to be paired as the Entrepreneurial Leads (EL) to Accelerate UConn teams. You do not need to have your own idea or team, but rather if there is a need or interest by the teams accepted into our program, we will work to match candidates from this application process with those teams.
This opportunity allows for students to work directly with a real startup, learn about entrepreneurship as well as the approaches to entrepreneurship (Lean Launch methodology and Customer Discovery by startup pioneer Steve Blank). This is a great way for students to build on the experiences they already have while learning entirely new approaches from "hands on" opportunities.
Spring 2021 Cohort
Dr. Ali Tamayol, Dr. Mohamadmahdi Samandari, and Jacob Quint (Faculty, PostDoc and Ph.D. Student), School of Engineering – In Vivo Printing Using Handheld Bioprinter for Regenerative Applications
Dr. Yupeng Chen, Aaton Beams, and Bridget Loura (Faculty and Undergraduate Students) School of Engineering and School of Business– I2TS technology as an advanced drug delivery solution
Dr. Sanjeev Nayak, Dr. Vishnu R Khade, and Sachin Girdhar (Faculty and Industry), School of Engineering and School of Business – Read a Book – An interactive platform
Dr. Minghu Song, Qinqing Liu and Yibing Zhou (Faculty, Graduate Student and Undergraduate Student), School of Engineering – Knowledge-guided and causal AI for Drug Discovery
Theresa Chu (Staff), University Information Technology Services – Nutritional Service
Dr. Hasan Baig, Yusra Maryam Javed, and Sumaiya Hasan (PostDoc and Industry), School of Medicine – Programmable Development Platform for Genetic Circuits inspired from FPGAs
Jonathan Moore, Hunter Bowden, Hailey Altobelli, Michael Greco, and Michelle Saglimbene (Faculty, Graduate Student, Undergraduate Student, Alumni and Industry), School of Business – Clinical Assistant by Appoint
Dr. Kshitiz and Ashkan Novin (Faculty and Ph.D. Student), School of Engineering – RNA based therapy for metastatic cancer
Fall 2020 Cohort
Dr. Sergey Dergunov, Dr. Eugene Pinkhassik, and Kevin Rivera (Faculty and Graduate Student), College of Liberal Arts and Science – Nanoreactors in flow processes for simplified chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing
Jake Winter, Massyl Mallem, Mitchell Miller, and Khalid Husain (Undergraduate Students and Industry), School of Engineering – PatentPlus
Robert Samples, Rishabh Kejriwal, and Sara Puckett (Graduate Students), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Pharmacy – Agrowell Biosciences
Dr. Rahul Kanadia, Dr. Stefan Wuchty, and Asha Marie Kanadia (Faculty and Alumni) College of Liberal Arts and Science – Verintas LLC
Dr. Reid Waldman, Dr. Timothy Durso, and Matthew Fanelli (Medical Resident and Industry), School of Medicine – VeraDermics Inc.
Dr. Shivam Mehta, Dr. Po-Jung Chen, and Dr. Madhur Upadhyay (Dental Residents and Faculty) School of Dental Medicine – Anchorage Reinforcer
Dr. Mayur Ostwal and Dr. Jeffery McCutcheon (Faculty), School of Engineering – Mixed Matrix Membranes
Dr. Dan Fabris and Dr. Will McIntyre (Faculty and Post Doc), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – RiboDynamics LLC
Cayman Cushing and Mohamad Daeipour (Graduate Students), School of Engineering – Performetal
Dr. Thanh Nguyen and Vinayak Mishra (Faculty and Undergraduate Student), School of Engineering and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Developing a Biodegradable and antibacterial guided bone regeneration membrane to treat Periodontitis
Dr. Hugo Posada-Quintero, Dr. Ki Chon, and Youngsun Kong (Faculty and Graduate Student), School of Engineering – Wearable Device for Pain Quantification
Nancy Marek (Doctoral Student), College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources – BirdHabitatBot
David Mittelman and Nathan Looney (Graduate Student and Industry), School of Engineering – Phoenix Farms
Spring 2020 Cohort
John Campanelli, Michael Bobowski, Dr. Michael Fendrich, Ishita Kapoor, and Pamela Mulready (Alumni, Faculty, and Graduate Student), College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, School of Social Work, School of Business, and Trinity College – Whirleybird
Dr. Weiqiang Chen, Dr. Lei Wang, Kevin Chen, and Michal Ciebielski (Faculty, Ph.D. Student, and Undergraduate Student), School of Engineering – CTOP Smart Charging
Matthew Yang, Nick Huynh, Tyler Lasicki, and Richard Greenbaum (Undergraduate Students), School of Engineering, School of Business, and Cornell University – RobinFood
Benjamin Buchanan, Kathleen Quinn, and Donna Agogliati (Undergraduate Students), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering – StudEase
Dr. Madhur Upadhyay, Dr. Kshitz Gupta, and Dr. Yasir Suhail (Faculty and Post Doc), Dental School and School of Engineering – AI Based Decision Making Model
Dr. Challa Vijaya Kumar and Ankarao Kalluri (Faculty and Graduate Student), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Stable Suspensions of Carbon Nanotubes
Dr. Kaipei Yang and Robert Smith (Faculty and Graduate Student), School of Engineering – PriorFusion
Kate Gorman and Cindy Burnett (Alumni), School of Social Work and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Brain hAPPy
Timothy Krupski and Jeremy Bronen (Graduate Student and Undergraduate Student), School of Business and School of Engineering – Powered Lift Toilet Seat
Matthew Ternullo (Undergraduate Student), School of Business – SimpliGreen
Fall 2019 Cohort
Dr. Georgios Bollas and William Hale (Faculty and Ph.D. Student), School of Engineering – Fault inference in cyber-physical systems
Dr. Wes Hamrick, Dr. Tom Scheinfeldt, and Brooke Foti Gemmell (Faculty, PostDoc, and Staff), School of Fine Arts & Greenhouse Studios – Sourcery
Dr. Baikun Li and Nikhil Gupta (Faculty and Industry Partner), School of Engineering – Determinant Materials
Jason Micalizzi, Brian Gibbs, and Dr. Paul Nahass (Alumni and Faculty), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering – SnakeSkin Basketball
Kishan Patel and Harsh Patel (Undergraduate Student and Graduate Student), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Lund University – Wrap-up
Shaleighne Cantner, Richard Forristall, Joshua Salazar, and Raja Sivaramakrishnan (Alumni and Industry), NEAG School of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Industry Partners – Engagement Solutions
Allyn Sweet, Dylan Nenadal, and Dr. David Noble (Alumni, Undergraduate Student, and Faculty), School of Business – GridLite
Michael Toomey (Graduate Student/Staff) School of Fine Arts – Traveling Interactive Museums
Peter Goggins and Daniel Lesh (Undergraduate Students), College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Pisces Atlantic
Christopher Papa and Owen Brown (Undergraduate Student and Industry Partner), School of Business and Industry – Chiron Recovery
Spring 2019 Cohort
Dr. Arash Esmaili Zaghi, Alexandra Hain, and Danielle Marzitell (Faculty, Ph.D. Student, Undergraduate Student), School of Engineering, and School of Fine Arts – Arax Engineering: 3D imaging for bridge inspection.
Dr. Mark Brand, Jonathan Mahoney, Dr. Elaine Choung-Hee Lee, Veronica Vallejo, Keiona Khen (Faculty, Ph.D. Student, Industry Partners, Undergraduate Student), College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources- Aroniomics: Aronia for commercial fruit production.
Nikolas Franceschi-Hofmann, Elizabeth Perry, and Dr. Yu Lei (Undergraduate Students and Faculty), School of Engineering and School of Business- Geyser Remediation: Remove PFAs from drinking water.
Joseph Rapisarda and Akash Balaji (Graduate Student, Undergraduate Student), School of Business and School of Engineering- FitTrek: data sharing application
Emily Yale, Anthony Mastrocola, Dr. Mei Wei, and Kevin Waugh (Graduate Student, Undergraduate Student, Faculty, Industry Partner), School of Engineering- Land Maverick: Soil sampling using robotics.
Christian Heiden, Joseph Bonelli, and Mark Meyering (Undergraduate Student, Faculty, Industry Partner), College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources- Levo International: Hydroponic garden installation.
Dr. Lawrence Silbart, Joseph Carbonaro, and Malu Foley (Faculty, Undergraduate Students),College of Agriculture, Health and Natural resources, and School of Business – Therapeutic Bandage Systems: Bandage used to treat infections
Michael DaCosta, Brendan Mabey, Ankit Saini, and Sandeep Saini (Undergraduate Students and Industry Partner), School of Business and School of Engineering- Transit2College: College application support
Dr. Amanda Zaleski, Dr. Beth Taylor, and Dr. Robert Sanchez. (Post Doc, Faculty, Industry Partner) College of Agriculture, Health and Natural resources, SAMS-CI App: Mobile health application for patients and doctors.
Daniel Ruskin and Jonathan Davis (Undergraduate Students), School of Engineering- Secure Election Systems: Secure electronic absentee ballot collection.
Michael Gaulin and Dr. Lei Wang (Undergraduate Student and Faculty), School of Business and School of Engineering- Smart Charging System: Wireless charging station.
Fall 2018 Cohort
Dr. Xiuling Lu, Sterling Glass, Derek Hargrove & Andre Beringhs (Faculty, Ph.D. Students, Graduate Student), School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Science- Doxorubicin Nanoparticles for Leukemic Stem Cell Inhibition
Dr. Dasha Frias Landa, Ardita Hinkle & Dr. Flavio Uribe (PostDoc, Research Assistant, Faculty), UConn Health, Orthodontics- Triangle Retainers: Prevent the relapse of open bite using nonremovable retainer
Dr. Jason Henderson, Matthew Deluca & Rober Narciso (Faculty, Undergraduate Students), College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, Department of Plant Grass Science and Landscape Architecture- Turfgrass Weedbine
Michael Martin, Nick Myers, & Dr. Thomas Villalon (Graduate Student, Industry partners), School of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering Department & Institute of Material Sciences- iFrit: Using waste generated through production to develop a sustainable disposal process
Dr. Linda Pescatello, Yin Wu, Burak Cilhoroz & Robert Maybruch (Faculty, Ph.D. Students, Graduate Student, Industry partner), College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, Department of Kinesiology- Team Optimize: Decision support system for a guided approach to ExRx
Dr. Islam Mosa, Esraa Elsanadidy, & Dr. James Rusling (Post Doc, Graduate Student, Faculty), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry- BioCap-Harvest: New power course or implantable pacemaker
Dr. Simona Augyte & Daniel Koval (Post Doc, Industry Partner), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department- Kelp Development and processing: Locally and sustainable grown sea vegetables
Dr. Erik Wallace, Faith Sporbert, Thomas Crosby, Augusto Iversen, & John Bochicchio (Faculty, Undergraduate Students), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Mathematics- Mystika: Software designed for improve safety and speed of all secure communications
Dr. Krystyna Gielo-Perczak & Alexandros Mathioudakis (Faculty, Ph.D. Student), School of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering Department- Jointless Lower Extremity Exoskeleton
Peter Goggins & Patrick Hockings (Undergraduate Students), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Environmental Science Department & School of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering Department- Next Generation Multi-Trophic Aquaculture
Spring 2018 Cohort
Dr. Xiuchun Tian & Elizabeth Johnson (Faculty & Graduate Student), College of Agriculture, Heath and Natural Resources, Department of Animal Science- “MycoZap” Plant-derived natural compounds to effectively
Dr. Leslie Shor, Grant Bouchillon, Chris Hawxhurst & Wallis Boyd (Faculty, Graduate Students & Undergraduate Student), School of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering & Department of Environmental Engineering- Living Fertilizer
Dr. Robert Aseltine, Dr. Riddhi Doshi, Wenjie Wang & Cal Collins (Faculty, PostDoc, Graduate Student & Industry), UConn Health, Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, Center for Public Health and Health Policy- “WellTech” Improving the Collection of Patient Information Using Mobile Health Technologies
Dr. Bradley Wright, Elisabeth McClure, Lindsey Fecko, Samantha Tracey, Kendall Comstock (Faculty & Undergraduate Students), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department Sociology and Department of Communication- “Ackme Research” Testing well-being interventions
Dr. Arash Esmali Zaghi & Alexandra Hain (Faculty & Graduate Student), School of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering- “Arax Engineering” Hybrid building columns
Ernesto Ortega-Hernandez, Shemona Singh, Nicole Gauer (Undergraduate Students), School of Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and Department of Computer Science & School of Business, Finance Department- “Mesa” Bridging the disconnect of social interactions through food sharing
Dr. Ruth Lucas, Patrick Hocking & Amy Robinson (Faculty & Undergraduate Students- UConn), School of Nursing, School of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering & Department of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Jimi Francis, Sarah Cowan & Shambhavi Adhikari (Faculty & Graduate Students- University of Texas at Tyler), College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Department of Health and Kinesiology- “Dyadic Innovations” Breastfeed diagnostic device
Dr. Amit Savkar, William Moshella & Matthew Dermody (Faculty, Industry & Graduate Students), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Mathematics & School of Business, Masters in Business Administration- “Savkar.ai” Predictive analytics platform for student retention in STEM fields
Dr. Mu-Ping Nieh, Armin Tahmasbi Rad & Leila Daneshmandi (Faculty & Graduate Students), School of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering- “Encapsulate” A tumor-on-a-chip device for individualized treatment
Dr. Christine Finck, Dr. Liisa Kuhn & Todd Jensen (Faculty & Researcher), UConn Health, School of Medicine & School of Dental Medicine, Department of Pediatrics & Department of Reconstructive Sciences- “Esophadex” A new esophageal device to treat esophageal
Meet the Accelerate UConn Team