UW’s Buerk Center awards $170K to 8 student-led startups

For the past six months, ten teams from the University of Washington’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship have been working within a Tech Stars-esque Jones Milestones/Foster Accelerator and building their startups. Now, they’re being rewarded for their efforts.

Eight companies were awarded between $10K and $25K in follow-on funding for the work they’ve done.

“This follow-on funding is a testament to the companies’ hard work so far, and an investment in what we know they can become,” writes Foster. 

Here are the eight companies, with descriptions from the Foster website:

PatientStream, a cloud-based electronic patient-tracking system for hospitals, licensed its technology from the University of Washington and secured a $500,000 investment from the W Fund.  Ben Anderson (TMMBA 2012) is the founder, and brought in Keith Streckenbach as COO and co-founder to drive sales. Anderson quit his day job at UW Medicine/Harborview in October.

Haiti Babi provides mothers in Haiti with employment to keep their children out of orphanages. As part of their “Moms helping Moms” mission, Haiti Babi’s mothers knit and crochet high-quality, incredibly soft baby blankets that are sold in the United States. Co-founders Katlin Jackson and Kari Davidson (BFA 2014) raised funding through an Indiegogo campaign, pre-orders for blankets surpassed all expectations, and Haiti Babi has been featured in Seattle Magazine and Disney Baby.

LumiSands was awarded a $150,000 National Science Foundation SBIR Phase-I Grant and a $50,000 gift from the Washington Research Foundation for the development and manufacture of its silicon-based alternative to rare-earth phosphors used in LED lighting. Co-founders Ji-Hao Hoo (PhD 2013) and Chang-Ching Tu have negotiated an agreement with the University of Washington, and are still in the technology development phase.

JoeyBra, “the first sexy and comfortable fashion bra with a pocket,” closed a successful angel investment round, produced a new, quality sports bra with a waterproof pocket in a full range of sizes, and has been featured by Forbes, MSNBC, and CNN.  Mariah Gentry (BA 2013) and Kyle Bartlow (BA 2013), the co-founders, have contracted with a former Miss America as a spokesmodel and will launch their product nationwide in April 2013.

Microryza, a KickStarter-type site for smaller science and research projects, was admitted into Y-Combinator in October and moved to the Bay Area. Cindy Wu (BS 2011) and Denny Luan (BS 2011) have raised more than $170,000 and their site has funded projects from tracking Magellanic penguins to sustaining native bees and student-designed electric racecars.

Strideline sold more than 60,000 pairs of their signature city skyline crew socks in 2012. Co- founders Jake Director (BA 2013) and Riley Goodman (BA 2013) have organized a national sales team, are now selling in Nordstrom and Zumiez, and were the subject of a UW TV short feature (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DnehSTAPmW4).

SuperCritical Technologies has designed and will build compact modular power plants that provide up to 5MW of clean, reliable electricity for heating and/or cooling. Chal Davidson (MBA 2012) is the CEO, with Max Effgen (MBA 2012) as a co-founder. The company raised $200,000 in angel funding to complete the conceptual design and establish supplier relationships, and is currently fundraising to build the prototype.

UrbanHarvest is an urban farming company that grows high-value hydroponic lettuces and herbs within feet of where they’ll be consumed. The brainchild of Chris Bajuk (MBA 2011) and Chris Sheppard (MBA/JD 2012), UrbanHarvest is currently negotiating with a large SoDo corporation to build a rooftop greenhouse.

UW’s program is nationally-recognized and received a top-10 ranking from Entrepreneur Magazine. It has awarded $1.3 million in seed funding to student-led companies like the ones above and also startups like NanoString, Contour, Gravity Payments, Cadence Biomedical, Impel NeuroPharma, MicroGreen, and others.

Previously on GeekWire: Montlake Capital founder Artie Buerk donates $5.2M to UW entrepreneurship program

  • http://www.bluebox.net Jesse Proudman

    It was a pleasure to work with Haiti Babi and Strideline through this process. It is an incredible process and it was hugely rewarding to see the progress each team made across the entire program made.

  • http://marcbarros.com/ Marc Barros

    I’ve been working with the UW program the last two years. It’s getting really, really good and these are real companies started and launched by students!

    It was a pleasure to be a part of the program and I’m sure these companies will do some amazing things.

  • http://twitter.com/SprCriticalTech SuperCritical Tech

    We cannot say thank you enough to the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and our mentors. The value provided was well in excess of the award.

  • Thiago

    Nifty. Great to see students developing things. If only we could focus that creative power towards the major things these students will need in the future. Like a better waterproofed basement, or consitently safe cars. Thiago | http://www.centralpennwaterproofing.com