UC Venture Lab goes virtual for graduation

Ninth cohort’s graduates run the gamut of professional disciplines

Interaction is a key component of the Venture Lab’s seven-week pre-accelerator program. Would-be startup founders normally attend classes, break out into smaller groups, meet with entrepreneurs-in-residence and give their graduation presentations in person. 

COVID-19 has put up a major hurdle for interpersonal communications around the country, but social distancing wasn’t too high of a hurdle for the University of Cincinnati 1819 Innovation Hub’s startup program to overcome. 

“We’re still operating our office as if the world wasn’t in turmoil,” said Grant Hoffman, director of startups. “We’ve been able to continue to provide our experiences to teams in a time of uncertainty.”

The pre-accelerator’s ninth cohort completed the program by giving their graduation-day presentations on the UC Office of Innovation’s YouTube live stream channel. The virtual event lacked the free coffee, donuts and networking opportunities of past events, but that didn’t deter a sizable audience from attending. Including the presenters, nearly 80 users tuned in to see the new business ideas. 

Notable among the ideas presented: 

  • A potential cure for pancreatic cancer, thanks to a patented antibody developed by Dr. Vladimir Bogdanov, UC associate professor of internal medicine;

  • GreenCarbon, a profitable method for capturing greenhouse emissions from power plants that turns carbon dioxide into ethylene and oxygen;

  • A Student Athlete Portal conceived by a Xavier student-athlete in anticipation of the NCAA’s relaxation of rules around student-athletes getting paid sponsorships; 

  • i11, an app that uses smartphone capabilities to report emergencies and accidents more quickly and accurately than 911;

  • A novel treatment for intracranial hemorrhages using micro-RNA to modulate inflammation.  

Venture Lab’s 10th cohort begins the pre-accelerator program May 12, with graduation day scheduled for June 30. Registration is closed, but Hoffman says Venture Lab is interested in hearing from potential mentors and entrepreneurs-in-residence. 

Featured image: The 1819 Innovation Hub. Photo/Greg Glevicky/Office of Innovation

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