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Six Startups Demo Products After Completing Happy Valley LaunchBox Accelerator

by on April 16, 2018 5:30 AM

From a blood-testing product to a photo-sharing app for pet lovers to 3D printing technology for footwear, six startups recently showcased their new products after completing Happy Valley LaunchBox's inaugural 20-week FastTrack Accelerator program.

The entrepreneurs joined more than 30 others that have graduated from a similar accelerator program at the LaunchBox, 224 S. Allen St. Feedback from the graduates of the program led the accelerator and co-working space to extend the length of the program, increase mentorship and add other components.

"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 advisors to help them overcome their specific challenges," said Lee Erickson, chief amplifier at Happy Valley LaunchBox, in a release

Last week, the six startups that completed the revamped accelerator program took part in a demo night to offer the community a look at their work.

They included:

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

- HemoGO is 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 (CBC) in less than 30 seconds.

- Hidlo Studios is a digital marketing agency developing the first Snapchat geofilter management software.

- Local Growcery provides connection points for consumers to buy the freshest locally grown food from producers in their community.

- Pets I've Met is 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 created a 3D printing technology that allows individuals to create custom footwear based on their individual style and foot size.

"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," Erickson said.

HemoGO and UnisBrands also will pitch their products at the Venture & IP Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.

Tim Flanagan, co-founder of Local Growcery, said the accelerator program helped him look at his product from the consumer's perspective.

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

Kim Tierney, co-founder of Pets I've Met, said the mentorship combined with lessons is a valuable part of the program.

"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.

Happy Valley LaunchBox, which provides no-cost services to local entrepreneurs, is a signature program of Invent Penn State, a statewide initiative introduced by university President Eric Barron to spur economic development while helping students succeed professionally through collaboration between Penn State and local communities on entrepreneurship-focused programs.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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