FastForward U has announced the winners of its inaugural Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge, which awarded more than $100,000 to eight student startups.
The I&E Challenge gave students a streamlined process to apply for multiple funding opportunities that enable them to make progress on their ventures over the summer without having to balance a job or internship. All four awards include money to pay for room and board, co-working space at FastForward U, and access to mentors and advisers.
More than 50 student teams from across Johns Hopkins applied for at least one award, with many applying for multiple. A dozen alumni entrepreneurs scored the applications: Margaret Roth Falzon (Squadra Ventures), Aaron Hsu (ClearMask), Tom Jaklitsch (Negotiatus), David Koch, Jay Lester (Essex Consulting), Jordan Matelsky (FitMango), Devin Miller (Pro-Testing Solutions), Todd Murphy (Root3 Labs), Sean Sutherland (Kapowza), and Alex Villa (Healthify).
Based on the application scores, 17 finalists were selected to give live, virtual pitches to a panel of judges from Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures.
The Summer MedTech Award gives $10,000 to one Johns Hopkins student-led startup working on medical technology to make significant progress over the summer. It is funded by Karthik Seshan, the CEO of NeuroAlert, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2010 and a master’s in engineering management in 2011 at the Whiting School of Engineering. Seshan also provides mentorship on taking the next steps to market. This year’s winner is Optosurgical, which specializes in the research and development of intraoperative imaging devices to aid operating surgeons. Optosurgical’s team lead is Eugene Oh, a senior studying biomedical engineering.
The Thalheimer Graduate Student Award supports Johns Hopkins graduate students aiming to solve major challenges through entrepreneurship. Each of this year’s four recipients received $10,000. Recipients from the Department of Biomedical Engineering are:
- ReBokeh, which provides streamlined, customizable assistive technologies for those with vision impairments. ReBokeh’s team lead is Rebecca Rosenberg, a master’s candidate in bioengineering innovation and design at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design.
- HYPERmelt, an early-cancer screening tool that uses microfluidic technology to detect extremely rare, tumor-derived DNA from noninvasively collected samples, such as blood. HYPERmelt’s team lead is Chrissy O’Keefe, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Read more about all of this year’s winners on the Hub.
– Jacob deNobel