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UC Venture Lab graduates its 10th cohort

Startup founders praise accelerator program for helping narrow focus, broaden opportunities

Shaaban Abdallah, a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Cincinnati, is passionate about the environment and helping the less fortunate. Combining his passions with his expertise, Abdallah invented a vertical axis wind turbine that generates clean, affordable energy. But he wasn’t sure how to get his invention to market.

That all changed less than two months ago. With the help of the UC Venture Lab business pre-accelerator at the 1819 Innovation Hub, Abdallah is now much closer to helping make the world a better place.

As we develop our startup community and accelerate novel ideas through the Venture Lab pre-accelerator program, we are realizing record-breaking numbers — 23 start-ups since our inception. These phenomenal outcomes will continue to progress as the Cincinnati Innovation District continues to meet its mission of solving the talent crisis.

David J. Adams Chief Innovation Officer

“Venture lab has really helped me develop my business plan,” Abdallah said. “The lectures in addition to the weekly one-on-one meetings with entrepreneurs in residence really allowed me to look at my idea from different perspectives and appreciate the amount of work that goes into building a start-up company.”

Abdallah’s wind turbine was one of 10 business ideas presented at the graduation of the Venture Lab’s 10th cohort Tuesday, June 30. Open to all Bearcats and partner institutions — including Xavier University, Wright State University, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and the University of Dayton — the Venture Lab’s seven-week program educates and mentors would-be startup founders, helping them develop their ideas, identify markets and determine their needs. 

man in sports coat and buttondown shirt leaning against railing at top of a staircase

UC Chief Innovation Officer David J. Adams

“We are very excited about the innovation ecosystem that continues to flourish here at the Cincinnati Innovation District,” said UC Chief Innovation Officer David J. Adams. “As we develop our startup community and accelerate novel ideas through the Venture Lab pre-accelerator program, we are realizing record-breaking numbers — 23 start-ups since our inception. These phenomenal outcomes will continue to progress as the Cincinnati Innovation District continues to meet its mission of solving the talent crisis.”

The Venture Lab’s 10th cohort of 10 teams is the third to graduate in 2020, and the second to present virtually for its graduation day. It’s also one of the program’s strongest cohorts to date, with a heavy focus on emergent technologies to improve efficiencies and outcomes in the fields of medicine, engineering and information technology. These business ideas have the potential to improve the detection of and response to forest fires, empower consumers to control the data they generate and who gets it, and combat the spread and impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Ideas brought to the Venture Lab are often refined through the seven-week process. For Knowvention LLC, developer of safer athletic equipment for concussion prevention, Venture Lab’s process helped the team identify intellectual property issues that would have become major barriers to getting to market if they hadn’t been detected earlier.

“Ultimately, we found some intellectual property that is currently blocking our primary idea,” said Knowvention co-founder Kevin Harper. “This early information helped us to not go too far down the path of an idea that was not as open for our own intellectual property. It is always better to ‘fail’ early rather than later. We can reevaluate and redirect our efforts better now.”

Learn more

The Venture Lab 10th Cohort’s full graduation presentations can be viewed here.

More about Venture Lab’s process and eligibility requirements can be found here.