Buffalo Student Sandbox, WNY’s first business accelerator program, is set to wrap its inaugural year with a public Demo Day on July 29th and an invite-only Live Pitch session on July 31st. The program, which features eight teams of disruptive student-run businesses, is run by WNY Innovation Hot Spot partners UB STOR, UB CEL, dig, and Ignite.
Modeled loosely after a similar program in Syracuse, Buffalo Student Sandbox provides its teams with entrepreneurial training, interim boards of directors, mentors, introductions, and strategic guidance. Teams met twice with the program’s venture capitalist in residence, Rami Katz of Excell Partners, and participated in VCAMP’s Pitch In event series. Despite the significant support and connections, program organizers pushed participants to think like entrepreneurs, be self-directed, and find additional resources on their own.
WNY Innovation Hot Spot received more than 40 applications from student-run ventures affiliated with colleges and universities across the United States, before selecting eight teams to participate in the program. Each team received a $2000 seed payment to use for prototyping and market research at the beginning of the program, competed for $1000 awards at the program’s midpoint, and will compete for $10,000 in prizes on the program’s final day. In addition, each team member earned a weekly $300 stipend to cover living expenses while in the program.
Sandbox teams include:
- Bio-LITE: Commercializing an innovative technique to help pharma companies test their unproven drugs on a novel platform to defeat fibrosis. Team Bio-LITE consists of business and biomedical engineering students at the University at Buffalo.
- Buffalo Automation Group: A robotics company allowing boats and yachts to completely self-navigate, giving 100% peace of mind and bringing down insurance rates. BAG is comprised of University at Buffalo students in the computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering fields.
- Cartefi: A web service to better connect public and private stakeholders and modernize the antiquated Request For Proposals process. Cartefi is led by a team of current Fredonia students and recent graduates with majors including computer science, history, and political science.
- Ethos Studios LLC: A creator of mobile games and apps for businesses that makes brands “playable” to drive marketing, growth, and customer retention. Ethos was founded by computer science and electrical engineering students at the University at Buffalo.
- interactiveX: An e-textbook company offering advanced interactivity via a proprietary platform and tools for both students and professors. interactiveX is comprised of business and computer science undergraduates at the University at Buffalo and won the 2015 WNY Student2Biz Challenge.
- POP Biotechnologies: Commercializing revolutionary laser-targeted chemotherapy drug formulations for cancer treatment. POP was previously known as Photozyne and is based out of the University at Buffalo, where it won the 2015 Panasci competition.
- Storillo: An online collaborative media platform for storytelling that connects people to create and share their stories piece-by-piece. Storillo was founded by a two students enrolled at Daemen College and the University at Buffalo.
- The Miss Information: Disrupting mainstream media by creating spirited, cerebral, & empowering content for young women. TMI was established by Buffalo natives studying at Ithaca College.
Wednesday’s Demo Day is free and open to the public at dig. Advance registration is requested.