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Happy Valley LaunchBox hosts demo day for six startups

by on April 19, 2018 10:19 AM

STATE COLLEGE — Happy Valley LaunchBox hosted a demo event April 11 for six startups that completed its inaugural 20-week FastTrack Accelerator program. 

“This year, we extended our accelerator program from 10 to 20 weeks, added the opportunity to obtain modest funding and created events that connected founders with experts and advisers to help them overcome their specific challenges,” said Lee Erickson, chief amplifier at Happy Valley LaunchBox.

“The six teams that completed the program collectively interviewed more than 350 customers and experts and worked through more than 50 iterations of their solutions. Some are already generating revenue and building active online communities.”

The six startups that presented were:

■ Customize IT, which streamlines the process of finding and comparing options for creating customized merchandise such as T-shirts and coffee mugs

■ HemoGO, a blood-testing product that combines the camera in a smartphone, proprietary test strips and a specialized phone case to provide a complete blood count in fewer than 30 seconds

■ Hidlo Studios, a digital marketing agency developing the world’s first Snapchat geofilter management software

■ Local Growcery, which provides connection points for conscious consumers to buy the freshest locally grown food from producers in their community

■ Pets I’ve Met, a photo-sharing mobile app that allows pet lovers to keep picture memories of all the animals they meet, find pet-friendly businesses and help shelters connect with potential donors

■ UnisBrands, a 3-D printing technology that allows individuals to create custom footwear based on their individual style and foot size
Two of the teams, HemoGO and Unis, also will pitch at the Venture and IP Conference on April 19 and 20 at the Penn Stater. 

Prior to starting the program, Tim Flanagan, co-founder of Local Growcery, was confident he had the right idea at the right time. But, after having gone through the program, he admits wasn’t looking at his business the right way.

“LaunchBox made me focus on my business through the customer’s eyes. It dramatically changed my outlook and prevented me from delivering a business that only worked for me,” he said.

Kim Tierney, co-founder of Pets I’ve Met, said the program felt like receiving a mini-MBA.

“Because of the mentorship available to us, paired with the lessons we learned as part of the FastTrack Accelerator, we feel as though we are ‘graduating’ with the knowledge we thought was only available through business school,” she said.

 HemoGO also appreciated the resources provided by LaunchBox.

“LaunchBox has been instrumental in taking my idea and creating a well-rounded startup, from offering co-working space for my team, a vast network of mentors and, most of all, an infectious atmosphere that motivates me to work harder,” said Shevy Karbasi, co-founder of HemoGO.

Happy Valley LaunchBox was created to provide no-cost services to Happy Valley entrepreneurs. It is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative. For more information, visit www.launchbox.psu.edu or www.invent.psu.edu.

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