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The Hatchery hosts second-annual Emory Student Founders Showcase

The Hatchery, Emory’s Center for Innovation, hummed with potential as 10 student founders waited to pitch their ventures to a full house of industry, startup, venture capital, civic, consular and higher education partners.

The occasion? The Hatchery’s second-annual Emory Student Founders Showcase on March 28.

“Tonight, you’ll see how these student founders have flourished at The Hatchery,” Lanny Liebeskind, senior vice provost for academic affairs, said in his opening remarks. “You’ll see in them the enthusiasm and a sense of independence and accomplishment that draw students to Emory. Their work represents a bright future for Emory, Atlanta and beyond.”

Shannon Clute, director of The Hatchery, thanked those in attendance for providing student founders with role models to emulate, expert coaching and mentoring, and “real-world opportunities to learn vital skills and deploy their innovations in service of a greater good.”

This year, the Emory Student Founders Showcase featured students from The Hatchery Incubator, a program created in response to growing demand for student venture support. The ventures include both for-profits and nonprofits and represent a diverse group of Emory students across the university’s schools.

The following ventures were represented:

  • Ample Research, Will Dinneen 23C: A market research tool that utilizes Natural Language Processing to create synthetic, high-fidelity imitations of human respondents to make consumer research faster, cheaper and more refined
  • Besties Box, Barbara Biney 25M and Sydni Williams 24M: A premium monthly subscription box service where customers receive samples of textured hair products
  • BizyBee, Yifei Gao 22C: A thrift-based online fashion platform for traveling professionals focused on capsule clothing and personalized styling
  • Dignity Homes, Morgan Villar 25T: A nonprofit development firm that builds affordable, rent-to-own single-family homes and provides programming for the 50% of Atlanta residents who are housing insecure
  • Doste Afghan Foundation, Shakila Ali 22PH: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian assistance at the individual level to underserved women, widows, youth, and people with disabilities in Afghanistan
  • hand + sum, JT Trujillo 23B: An on-demand, small-dollar loan-matching marketplace
  • Hospitalities, Linh Le 22T: A company that develops social apps that enable people to integrate and experience different cultures, food and lifestyles
  • OwangaSolar, Benedict Owanga 24L and Chinelo Adi 24L: An on-demand service that allows customers to rent solar generators for a select period of time, all from a simple text
  • SENSEable Dx, Tamara Lambert 24G: A long-term, continuous and real-time biosensor that provides patients at high risk of developing sepsis and their physicians with an early warning system for earlier treatment and reduced mortality
  • The Crowned Helmet, Kayla Jones 22T 22B: A company that promotes cycling safety and healthy hair by designing bicycle helmets for people with thicker hair textures

The Showcase allowed students to practice and improve their pitch skills, hear feedback from those in attendance, and build crucial relationships with leaders from across the city. The event also celebrated the Atlanta innovation ecosystem, welcoming these talented student founders into the community of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Villar commented on her experience of pitching at the showcase. “At the Hatchery, I have been so grateful to have a team of people who have nurtured this idea and helped me to turn it into a pitch that could actually generate partners and funding.”

Previous founders continue their work

The innovative work of student founders continues. Two groups from the 2022 inaugural Emory Student Founders Showcase recently shared updates about their progress.

Glassbox Health, founded by Katie Meek Kartchner 21N MN, won first place and People’s Choice Awards at the Startup Exchange Summit ATL on Dec. 1, 2022. The software startup is now testing its first prototype with customers.

The Dignity Pack Project, an organization started by Alison Hoover 21PH and April Ballard 22PH, distributes hygiene, sexual health and personal protective equipment to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness in Atlanta. In February 2023, they reached a milestone of distributing more than 2,000 kits.

Visit The Hatchery website to learn more about The Hatchery and its programs or to read more student success stories. 

Photos by Christopher Oquendo

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