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Introducing the 2024 Prototyping Hardware Accelerator Cohorts

Prototyping Hardware Accelerator 2024 Cohort

Introducing the 2024 Prototyping Hardware Accelerator Cohorts

Rev: Ithaca Startup Works is excited to welcome the newest entrepreneurs joining this summer’s Prototyping Hardware Accelerator. Over 10 weeks, Rev’s Prototyping Hardware Accelerator guides product teams from a “back of the napkin idea” to a fully-fledged startup. Teams participate in either the Classic, ClimateTech, AgTech, or MedTech tracks, where they gain access to experts in their industry’s field. Throughout the process, teams determine if their concept is commercially desirable, technologically feasible, and economically viable. All tracks and teams receive a stipend of up to $2,000 to advance their prototype throughout the course of the program. Upon completion, participants are positioned to recruit team members, bring on partners, initiate work with contract manufacturers, and pitch to investors.

“Supporting early-stage entrepreneurs is one of the most exciting times in development, as prototypes and products can move very quickly when they are first coming to life. It is one of the most rewarding stages of hardware, particularly with this year’s diverse cohort of passionate and innovative entrepreneurs,” said Deanna Kocher, Assistant Director of Hardware Programs.

22 teams will explore the fundamentals of early-stage startup development, from customer discovery to formal pitch training. Cohort members gain access to a series of speakers, workshops, and field trips to help them grow their network of thought leaders, industry experts, and successful startups. Each startup in the Prototyping Hardware Accelerator has been paired with an experienced entrepreneur and gain access to a team of hardware engineers to assist with developing physical products.

“This year’s cohort was one of the most diverse we have ever had, comprising of about half students and half professionals, with a significant number of female founders. Notably, this is also the inaugural year for our MedTech track, and we are thrilled to have nine MedTech teams participating. Our program team is incredibly excited to work with such a dynamic and innovative group,” said Ken Rother, Director of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works.

Classic Track Hardware Accelerator

Open to all innovators in any field since 2014, Rev’s classic track provides foundational training across industries.

Meet the startup teams from the Classic Track:

  • Guzzel: Cornell alumni, brothers, and co-founders Everett Zelson ‘21 and Asher Zelson ‘21 are developing an economically and environmentally sustainable alternative to cans and bottles.
  • AnalytiTech: Founders Christopher Cilip and Tony Kariuki ‘25, and Sasha Logunov ‘25 are creating an edge-based deep learning camera system for run-time inferencing application. Their technology has applications in sports and motion Artificial Intelligence, and is built for instant feedback.
  • AutomaTea: Current Cornell mechanical engineering students Heisen Kong ‘25 and Isabella Ma ‘25 are seeking to bring loose leaf tea consumers convenience, quality, and control by automating the entire brewing process to 2 simple steps—add water, add tea leaves!

“Our product [AutomaTea] transforms the traditionally rigorous and attention-seeking brewing process for quality loose-leaf tea into an elevated, hands-free experience to their daily morning routine. I aim to better understand the nuanced needs of our 1st core customers and make strong design choices around the core technology during the rapid prototyping phase!” said founder Heisen Kong.

  • Babbel Blocks: Founded by Annie Hua, Babbel Blocks are toys that allow parents to customize the language settings. With Babbel Blocks, you can easily switch between different languages so play can be in any language!
  • JoosBox: Current Ithaca High School students Jonah Conolly, Morgan Brenner, Niko Ross idea is an all-in-one charging organization solution. It combines a USB charging hub with a self-winding mechanism to allow a user to store and use charging cables while at home or on the go.
  • Canoeist Carrier: Terry Kent ‘86 has a new concept for a canoe/kayak racing wheelie that can be transferred to the recreational canoe/kayak market as a better product than what is currently available
  • Team VR Strap: Comprised of Cornell alumni Ryan Neice, John Van Orden, and Kelly Wu developing the RAT Strap, which has the potential to self-adjust, securely fasten, and comfortably absorb the weight of a VR headset. Its capabilities are packaged into an ergonomic and fashionable design.
  • DT Rescue Solutions: Founded by Dan Tuller hope to create a prototype for a rescue sled/research platform designed for extreme conditions.

ClimateTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator

After three successful years of ClimateTech Tracks, Rev is looking forward to supporting another batch of clean energy startups. The ClimateTech Prototyping accelerator trains innovators working to support the decarbonization of the economy. ClimateTech startups are matched with experienced clean energy and clean tech mentors and provided access to industry-leading guest speakers.

Meet the startup teams from the Climate Track:

  • Liteon: Co-founders Jide Olutoke and Champion Olatunji invented Liteon to provide sustainable off-grid electrification solutions for residential and small commercial businesses. Using swappable battery technologies, their goal is to replace fossil fuel gasoline generators with 100% renewable backed Liteon Power batteries.
  • EquiPad: The EquiPad team, comprised of Bryan Wong, Pooja Patel, and Sanjana Gurram developed EquiPad, a sustainably designed disposable pad alternative, conveniently provided in a roll format for easy accessibility and no need for new infrastructure. Thier unique design can transform any form of plant waste and be produced with current pad manufacturing infrastructure, which lowers costs while optimizing for sustainability and comfort.

“Period products are currently unsustainable and inaccessible. With EquiPad, we aim to develop a working prototype of a fully biobased menstrual pad in a roll format at Rev, which we can test and iterate upon to best address user/ecosystem needs.,” said Pooja Patel, Co-founder of EquiPad.

AgTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator

Rev: Ithaca Startup Works is excited to introduce the third annual AgTech track cohort. Supported by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center program, these entrepreneurs are immersed in specialized training and connected to experts within the agriculture industry.

Following the completion of the accelerator, these AgTech entrepreneurs have the opportunity participate in the Grow-NY Food and Ag Business Competition, in which startups can win up to $1 million and further contribute to the regional agrifood system.

Meet the startup teams participating in the AgTech Track:

  • JaguzaTech: Comprised of Christine Kihunde , Isaac Balintuma, Kalungi Charlse, Namuleme Sandra, Matovu Joseph the team is looking to have fully automated drone farming technology which can be a solution to minimize hunger in the world.
  • High Tunnel Titans: Joanna Tan, Verena Gonzalez, and Ransom Everglades hope to innovate a high tunnel that is easily movable and resistant to extreme weather conditions. Our design is targeted toward small-scale farms to maximize efficiency and further improve crop growth and health.

“Our high tunnel will address issues with farm inefficiency and soil health for crops. I hope to learn more about the product development process along with entrepreneurial principles while implementing solutions for our customers,” said Joanna Tan, co-founder of High Tunnel Titans. “I hope to be able to gain valuable insight into each stage of the design process and expand our idea to small-scale farms around the country,” shared co-founder Verena Gonzalez.

  • Virtual Fencing: Hannah, Becky, and Jamison are creating a prototype for a low-cost virtual fencing solution aims to make virtual fencing accessible in low- and middle-income countries by providing a rugged wearable device (ear tag) with geolocation, behavior sensors, and a stimulus mechanism to control animal location within a defined perimeter.
  • ClimateTech team EquiPad is also participating in the AgTech track.

MedTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator

New to the Prototyping Hardware Accelerator is the MedTech track, welcoming medical device startups. This track was funded by the $2 million “Build to Scale” grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and a local matching fund of $2 million, including $1 million from Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). The MedTech track participants will have access to design resources, equipment, and faculty in the university’s Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering and College of Human Ecology; Weill Cornell Medicine will serve as a source of applicants and industry expertise for the track.

Meet the startup teams participating in the MedTech Track:

  • SuivantLabs: Mojtaba Javid is creating a device that monitors and tracks the wellbeing and growth of cells in cell culture flasks, providing regular updates to the user.
  • OrthoChic: Team is comprised of Cornell Alumni, Romano Tio and Shivani Tuli.
  • Triton Bio, Inc.: Lorenzo D’Amico of Triton is automating routine lab tests for microbiologists using a computer vision system with built-in specimen handling and incubation.

Lorenzo D’Amico, the founder of Triton Bio, Inc. said, “Most of microbiology tests are still manual, which not only creates operational pain but also greatly limits scientific insight. Our hope is that the Accelerator speeds our path to scalable manufacturing and increases our network as we raise seed funding.”

  • Port Align: Founded by Hilario Castillo, RN PortAlign is an assistive device for clinicians that offers a dedicated solution to help stabilize and align chest ports during Huber needle insertion, enhancing procedural accuracy and patient outcomes.
  • OpenSpin: Founded by Michael Yenik is working to make a low-cost NMR spectrometer, a useful tool for chemical analysis that is often inaccessible due to high cost.
  • Minji: The team, comprised of Mikah Jones, Christy Kelly, and Sean Kelly, aims to address health disparities related to sleep deprivation in urban communities through the use of innovative design and noise-cancelling technology in their product.
  • ExPrimary Inc.: Founded by Sean Higgins and Scott Stelick, ExPrimary develops and commercializes high-performance and very low-cost analytical instruments primarily targeting needs for bioanalysis.
  • Femnostics: Founded by Antonia Li, Bhavishya Agarwal, Rebecca Wang, Urmila Sehrawat they are hoping to prototype a women’s health antibody assay (diagnostic) for testing vaginosis diseases.

AgTech team EquiPad is also participating in the MedTech track.

The Prototyping Hardware Accelerator culminates in Networking@Rev: Hardware Demo Day, a networking event where each team will have the chance to demonstrate their progress and pitch their product to community members, potential investors, and partners. This event is free and open to the public, and takes place on August 1st at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works. Tickets can be reserved here. This is one you won’t want to miss!

Get to know the teams more and follow along with their prototyping journeys on Rev’s Instagram and LinkedIn channels.