What will be the next big idea out of ASU?
Is it a portable tool that detects five copies of DNA in a given sample in under an hour; an app that holds users accountable to their goals; a nonprofit that aims to fight sex trafficking nationally; or a company that makes sustainable, low-cost building materials from recycled paper?
These are just four of the 21 student start-ups chosen to participate in Arizona State University’s prestigious Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative.
Now entering its 11th year, the Edson program is a highly responsive, individualized and student-centered accelerator program that is focused on delivering economic, social and educational impact through the most advanced ASU student start-ups. Companies in the 2014-2015 Edson program cohort raised nearly $3 million in external funding, an indication that the investor community sees the potential in Edson start-ups.
“The Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative is a vibrant and successful program at ASU. This is another demonstration of our commitment to student-driven innovation,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president at ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development that comprises the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “We are excited to help our student-led start-ups with necessary resources that undoubtedly will result in significant local and global impact.”
The teams selected for the fall 2015 cohort will be awarded office space, mentoring, up to $20,000 in seed funding, and access to educational programs, such as the ASU Startup School — a proven framework for venture acceleration — to start and advance their venture.
“With previous support and guidance from mentors and advisers at the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at ASU SkySong, we have already been able to refine our business model and expand our venture incredibly quickly,” said Erin Schulte, co-founder of All Walks Project, a nonprofit focusing on anti-sex trafficking efforts that is part of this year’s Edson program cohort. “Being part of the Edson program will help us reach vulnerable populations all over the country and around the world in order to combat human trafficking within communities.”
To keep up with the pace of student innovation, applications for the program are now evaluated twice a year, with deadlines in October and April. Testament to the sense of community that comes with being part of the Edson program, many alums of the program remain engaged as peer mentors.
The 21 companies selected for the fall 2015 cohort are:
3dCycler LLC is a company focused on making 3-D printing more sustainable, affordable and accessible.
The team aims to develop an adapted e-reader that allows individuals with disabilities to access reading materials independently using a range of motions.
All Walks Project
All Walks Project is a lean-launch nonprofit geared towards educating college students about domestic sex trafficking and training student volunteer mentors to administer trauma-informed mentorship on basic life skills to survivors of sex trafficking.
AutoMateK is an electronics distribution company focused on importing demanded electronics and distributing them in high-traffic areas throughout the United States, including on campuses.
BeeSprout is a platform for smartphones, tablets and the web that will provide interactive tools to users to plant and care for a garden. These tools will include interactive tutorials, a microcontroller sensor platform that monitors relevant garden metrics, and a system to alert a user’s phone when plants need to be watered or shielded from the winter cold.
BetR-blok LLC (“better block”) is a green start-up company manufacturing sustainable, low-cost building materials made from recycled paper and other cellulosic materials.
Bot + BotScripts
Bot + BotScripts is a hardware and software robotic exploration system designed to create teaching tools and facilitate learning of 21st-century skills, rooted in the real-world experiences of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) education.
Curator Engine provides customer access to artwork produced by ASU students, alumni and local community members.
HEROES For Students
HEROES For Students is an online platform to connect and provide guest speakers for K-12 teachers who want a turnkey solution to expose their students to a diversity of careers, engage students in their academic content and empower students to set and reach ambitious goals.
Karma sells Karmalytics, its analytics software system, to restaurants that want to increase their operational efficiency through actionable data and insights.
Memora Health is a digital health company developing an intelligent messaging and analytics web platform that leverages mobile technology to engage patients in predictive, personalized, preventive and participatory health management.
Nutrition and Health Awareness
Nutrition and Health Awareness is a student organization that strives to reduce the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, specifically in children, by providing nutritional education services through school districts and after-school programs for any student who wants knowledge on how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Pack Handles is a product that will make carrying a backpack more comfortable and enjoyable. Project members say that adding a pair of handles will make it feel like 10 pounds came off your shoulders.
This project produces a portable, autonomous digital droplet polymerase-chain-reaction instrument able to run on batteries and detect as few as five copies of DNA in a given sample within an hour.
Sential is developing a tool called Resus CPR. It is a reliable, portable, easy-to-use and affordable chest-compression device that uses an innovative and semi-automated technology to manage sudden cardiac arrest — a life-threatening condition that claims 383,000 lives outside of hospitals every year.
Solarvane.com is a news, information and resource portal for the solar industry that aims to be the leading destination for industry insiders and consumers.
Reddit meets Etsy for local art. We address the difficulty emerging artists have with getting their work noticed by letting them bypass the gallery system and interact directly with their community. Unlike other art retailers, we're a social network first and a marketplace second.
Tipt is an app/website that helps hungry people find a great, local dining experience right when they need it. Unlike competitors such as Yelp or Foursquare that overwhelm with every possible option, Tipt presents the five best experiences based on more than 30 factors that would be key to decision making.
TwoWks is a mobile app/website that facilitates long-term accountability as well as robust progress visualization software for you to create actionable steps toward your goals while connecting you to a group of accountability partners who will re-energize you every two weeks.
UON Technologies opens up transformative possibilities in underwater sensing and communications. The Optical Modem Module (OMM) is a wireless underwater telecommunications device that allows for high-speed, low-power communication in a distributed underwater network.
Devils Connect is an online networking platform designed for Sun Devils to connect and collaborate with fellow classmates. Currently operating as DevilsConnect.com within ASU, the platform will expand into other universities nationwide as Zinnect.com once the model is perfected at ASU.