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Meet the 2021 Prototyping and ClimateTech Prototyping Cohorts

Five participants in Rev's Prototyping and ClimateTech Prototyping programs sit around a table while another person stands and leads a talk.

Earlier this month, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works welcomed two new cohorts of startups to the 2021 Prototyping Hardware Accelerator and ClimateTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator. Both accelerators are 10-week summer programs focused on assisting participants with determining if their product ideas are commercially desirable, technologically viable, and economically feasible.

2021 Prototyping and ClimateTech Prototyping participants pose for a group photo in Rev.
The 2021 Prototyping and ClimateTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator participants (along with some canine teammates) and members of the program’s teaching team pose for a group photo at the Rev workspace.

Launched in 2014, the Prototyping Hardware Accelerator is an intensive program offered in partnership with the College of Engineering at Cornell University providing entrepreneurs with a deep-dive into the world of hardware prototyping and business model development. In three “sprints,” startups are led through processes to test for feasibility, develop a proof-of-concept, and obtain consumer feedback. The program culminates in a Demo Day where founders present their prototypes to the entrepreneurial community and pitch to investors. Successful program alum are positioned to recruit team members, work with investors and manufacturers, and ultimately scale their company. Meet the startups and entrepreneurs joining the 2021 Prototyping Hardware Accelerator cohort:

  • A Flight of Wines: A Flight of Wines offers delightful wine samplers that educate and elevate the senses.
  • f e e l: Adelaide Fuller and Alex Garay, are developing wearables and an app that work together to teach customers what to do in the event of an acute negative emotion. The f e e l wearables monitor emotional physiology and gently remind the customer to apply those learnings in real-time.
  • Hello Agriculture: Olu Roberts and Jon Karall are developing GrowBoxx, an internet of things (IoT) enabled smart vertical farming system and their Farming as a Service (FaaS), which offers on-demand cloud-based farming services to the hospitality and tourism industry, including restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets.
  • Pickleball Smart Wall: Led by Lesa Carter and David MacPherson, Pickleball Smart Wall is a computer assisted sports training platform that engages players in a sensor-monitored pickleball training session wherein the apparatus records, stores and analyzes a variety of relevant player performance data.
  • Vismow: Led by Barbara Headrick, Vismow will use existing technologies, including heat deflecting thin films, autonomous navigation advances, foldable solar cells, and sensors to design and fabricate the market’s only solar powered robotic lawn power and new-to-market accessories that will solve problems inherent in existing machines.
  • Tapi Portable Music Systems: Led by Mark Bonner and Chris Nichols, Tapi is seeking to evolve decades-old consumer musical instrument technology for today’s technological, social, and cultural environments by creating novel user interfaces.

Members of the Black Cat hardware team watch Steve Supron give a tutorial in the Prototyping Lab at Rev.
Assistant Director of Rev’s Hardware Programs, Steve Supron, gives members of Black Cat, a team participating in the ClimateTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator, a tutorial in Rev’s Prototyping Lab.

This summer, the ClimateTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator joins the roster as Rev’s newest hardware accelerator program. Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the ClimateTech Prototyping accelerator is designed to support startups innovating in the climate technology or cleantech space. Climate technology is defined as innovation that supports the decarbonization of the economy.

The accelerator will feature specialized climate tech focused workshops, trainings, and guest speakers and access to mentors experienced in the clean energy industry, in addition to all the resources available to startups in the “classic” prototyping program. Meet the inaugural cohort of the ClimateTech Prototyping entrepreneurs and their innovations:

  • Acsensio: Shreyas Renganathan and James Whyte are developing a noninvasive IoT product to retrofit existing appliances with smart capabilities, addressing customer desires to monitor energy usage and consumption of large appliances without the need to replace these appliances with new and expensive “smart” versions.
  • Black Cat: Led by Scott Hartman, Black Cat is a cleantech lawn care hardware device that eliminates motors from existing devices in order to delight the consumer and reduce air and noise pollution from the industry.
  • Capro-X Inc.: Led by Juan Guzman, Capro-X’s WheyAway bioprocess diverts carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere through combustion for energy (biogas), and fixes carbon into food and plastics.
  • Fiburton LLC: Led by Ronald Burton, the Fiburton system allows customers to package eight 5kw electric generators into a rollback container and to be placed at hospitals, fire departments, schools, or any essential facility to assist people during a power outage.
  • G.H.O.S.T.: Developed by Shaun Bluenthall, the G.H.O.S.T. hardware was designed and built with the intent to apply large amounts of biofertilizers and microbial inoculants to agricultural landscapes and ecological restoration projects.
  • Hazon Yarok LLC: Led by Moshe Schtrauch, Hazon Yarok is reforesting deserts by providing electricity and water. This product can be used in Upstate New York by increasing the growing season up to 365 days a year, with minimal or no fossil fuel input.
  • HydroFlame: Led by Thomas Murray, Katie Olsen, and Daniel Handal, HydroFlame is a zero-emission camping stove/burner that runs on 100% hydrogen generated from renewable electricity and generates zero waste.
  • Team Clean Air: Led by Robert Koch and Pete Weisz, the Team Clean Air product will allow people to monitor the outdoor air quality around their home, work, and public places. This will bring peace of mind and public awareness to the quality of the air we breathe.

Each startup in both the “classic” and ClimateTech Prototyping accelerators is partnered with an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) for mentorship and guidance throughout the summer. EIRs are experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts who provide program participants with advice, support, and connections to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Southern Tier region and beyond. This year’s EIRs include Brian Bauer, Ed Bizari, Tony Frontera, Aaron Proujansky, Greg Ray, Steve Sauer, Bennett Thomas, and Beth Xie.

“Rev’s Prototyping and ClimateTech Prototyping accelerators are unique and have proven to be impactful programs that empower individuals through expert mentorship, a purpose-built prototyping lab, prototyping supplies, best practices, and important connections in order transform their ideas into customer-focused prototypes,” said Ken Rother, director of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works. “Ultimately, these programs help inventors become entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs become inventors.”