UCLA Entrepreneurs Power Los Angeles’ Collaborative Startup Ecosystem

The Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson Announces Its 2024 Cohort


Los Angeles (January 10, 2024) — The Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson welcomed its 2024 Accelerate cohort.

The 2024 Accelerate program showcases a diverse cohort of 16 startups that encompass industries such as clean energy, technology, health care, consumer packaged goods and software. This cohort is a blend of 23% current UCLA Anderson students, 35% UCLA cross-campus alumni and 42% founders from the larger Los Angeles community. Eighty percent of the founders identify as underrepresented, a number the Accelerator is proud to support, as one of its main missions is to uplift and provide resources to those historically excluded from the startup ecosystem.

“We love being part of the collaborative startup ecosystem across UCLA and Los Angeles,” said Trish Halamandaris (’92), director of the Venture Accelerator. “UCLA is the No. 1 public university in the U.S. and is home to a world-class medical infrastructure, highly skilled engineers and a bustling creator economy. It is a natural fit for UCLA Anderson to provide the extensive resources founders need to commercialize their intellectual property.”

The Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson hosts year-round cohort-based programs aimed at providing resources and support for industry-agnostic early-stage startups. By acting as a catalyst for groundbreaking advancements, the Accelerator propels forward-thinking ventures into Southern California’s vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs that prioritize innovation and inclusivity.

The six-month, immersive Accelerate program was created to help the next generation of startup founders launch and scale their companies, partly by leveraging the array of resources available on the UCLA campus. Program highlights include an in-depth mentoring program, proof of concept grants and 10,000 square feet of on-campus workspace that is open to the new founders 24/7. For a selected few founders, the program culminates in a large demo day program, the UCLA Innovation Showcase, which provides additional expert coaching and the opportunity to pitch to a curated audience of potential investors, venture capitalists and mentors.

Since 2018, the Accelerator has provided support to over 265 companies across three annual programs, resulting in cumulative funding of $228 million, over 1,200 jobs created and eight acquisitions. The program’s impressive 85% success rate can be attributed to its comprehensive mentoring and support structure.

UCLA Anderson’s mission is to advance management thinking and prepare transformative leaders to make a positive impact in business and society. “The Venture Accelerator remains a steadfast example of the school’s mission, particularly in its focus on uplifting underrepresented founders — not only among Anderson students and alumni, but also within the broader Los Angeles community,” said Halamandaris. “We look forward to continuing our leadership in the UCLA entrepreneurship ecosystem to accelerate the next generation of entrepreneurs.”


2024 Accelerate Cohort:

AMP Beauty redefines beauty retail by championing inclusivity and elevating the shopping experience for all. Founder: Montré Moore

Appiell Inc. enhances the clinical development market by leveraging artificial intelligence and advanced image capture technology to optimize trial enrollment, management and monitoring. Founder: Scott Jorgensen (EMBA ’25)

Ask Margot empowers travel healthcare professionals by providing a transparent community for reviewing recruitment agencies, hospitals and assignment cities. Founder: Eleah Portillo (FEMBA ’12)

Bellum Smart uses artificial intelligence to manage construction and pavement quality in aviation construction. Founders: Iman Saberi (B.S. ’06,’18), Danny Lee (B.A. ’05), Leili Tavabi (M.S. ’15), Behnam Shahbazi (M.S. ’15, Ph.D. ’19), Nazgol Tavabi

Blaze Power solves the lithium battery supply chain problem by producing low-cost LFP cathodes using a new chemistry and customized cell design. Founder: Sagar Pande (FEMBA ’25)

Braave licenses its innovative 3D custom-fit technology to lingerie brands, with the goal of reducing the 5.8 billion pounds of annual bra returns and minimizing environmental waste. Founder: Claire Chabaud

Glisten Technologies is a research and development company that preserves, protects and enhances precious and reflective materials. Founder: Lindsey Saletta (EMBA ’24)

Grad Pad facilitates genuine network connections through group formation and resource sharing. Founder: Rondale Davis (’23)

Hadley streamlines 529 education savings, allowing effortless contributions to linked accounts and offering a free matching service for optimal savings and tax benefits. Founder: Yosh Miller

MOFicient Solutions captures CO2 from flue gas, providing low-cost carbon capture with zero energy consumption. Founder: Majed Alharbi (Ph.D. ’22)

Pogo Health is an interdisciplinary opioid-free approach that integrates pain physicians, pain therapists and a specialized health coach to create a virtual and completely customized treatment program for chronic pain. Founders: Natalie Maloney, Dr. Hunter Vincent, Dr. Lynn Chang

Pro.dai.tious provides software that helps pre-sales teams maximize their effectiveness to cover more deals and close them faster. Founder: Eleanore Dogan (B.A. ’92, ’99)

SparkGene Biotech democratizes cell therapies for cancer treatment with innovative microfluidic technology. Founder: Binru (Andy) Chen (Ph.D. ’23)

Sparko Sweets is a lollipop manufacturing and e-commerce platform specializing in custom projects and better-for-you candy. Founders: Jerry Zhou (’24), Melody Hsu (B.S. ’12)

Unisoy is a delicious, planet-friendly, high-protein snack bursting with flavors, made with verified non-GMO ingredients. Founders: Karin Lin (EMBA ’24), Vincent Wu, Leonard Wu

Vitavate is a premium dietary supplement brand offering sugar-free, gluten-free vegan products infused with gut-nourishing prebiotics to elevate your wellness journey. Founders: Loryn Carter (’25), Lori White


About the Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson

The Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson is uniquely designed for UCLA startups to thrive. Boasting the breadth of expertise offered by the nation’s top public university and connections to the business and Anderson alumni communities, the Accelerator is where companies-in-residence succeed because of continuous co-working and networking. Our location in Los Angeles allows our companies access to the fastest-growing venture capital market. With immersive and experiential programming and advisors provided by UCLA Anderson’s Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, these startups enjoy a steady stream of insights and support to promote performance beyond projections.



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UCLA Anderson Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Contact: claire.marsden@anderson.ucla.edu


About UCLA Anderson School of Management

UCLA Anderson School of Management is a world-renowned learning and research institution. As part of the nation’s No. 1 public university, its mission is to advance management thinking and prepare transformative leaders to make positive business and societal impact. Located in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s most diverse and dynamic cities and the creative capital of the world, UCLA Anderson places more MBAs on the West Coast than any other business school, and its graduates also bring an innovative and inclusive West Coast sensibility to leading organizations across the U.S. and the world. Each year, UCLA Anderson’s MBA, Fully Employed MBA, Executive MBA, UCLA-NUS Executive MBA, Master of Financial Engineering, Master of Science in Business Analytics and doctoral programs educate more than 2,000 students, while the Executive Education program trains an additional 1,800 professionals. This next generation of transformative leaders will help shape the future of both business and society.


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