The Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson School of Management has kicked off its 2023 summer Activate program with 29 new startups from four key industries: health care, B2B and B2C technology, finance and consumer packaged goods.
As a professional school within the largest public university in Southern California, UCLA Anderson is committed to ensuring excellence and diversity in all educational programming and advancing civic engagement by supporting companies and founders across the Los Angeles region. This cohort of founders is a blend of 36% current UCLA Anderson students, 17% Anderson alumni, 17% from UCLA’s campus and 30% from the larger Los Angeles community. More than 60% of the founders identify as underrepresented, a number we are proud to support, as our main mission 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 houses top talent from the medical and engineering schools as well as the creator economy, with Hollywood right in our backyard. It is only natural that UCLA Anderson leverages our faculty and mentors to help companies commercialize their intellectual property. We look forward to supporting companies involved in technology and consumer efforts across health care, sustainability, entertainment and real estate.”
The summer Activate program supports founders at the earliest stage of their entrepreneurial journey. A two-month summer incubator, Activate hosts both idea-stage and prototype-stage companies to build a defensible foundation toward a viable venture. The goal of the summer incubator is to help first-time founders validate problem-solution, determine customer segment and competition, and test product-market fit. Upon completion of the incubator program, founders develop a minimum viable product (MVP) and will be eligible to apply to the immersive, six-month winter Accelerate program, which runs from January to June.
Since the Venture Accelerator’s inception in 2018, it has supported 266 companies that have collectively raised more than $228 million in venture funding, with eight exits. Companies that have participated in the programs are operating at an 85% success rate, which many attribute to the Accelerator’s extensive mentoring and support.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with this exceptional cohort of companies in 2023 at the early stage of their company growth, when we can ensure proper company structure, guidance on knowing when they have established product-market-fit, and advise on their go-to-market strategies,” Halamandaris said.
Meet the Cohort:
1001 Years is reimagining a supportive process for mourning families to purchase gravestones and other commemorative objects online.. Founder: Heather Tal Murphy
Allgood Health is empowering health and wellness professionals to create, share and monetize virtual learning spaces, while democratizing access to specialized knowledge. Founder: Andrea Lynn Piazza (FEMBA ’25, Wolfen Award Recipient)
Ask Margot empowers travel health care professionals by providing a transparent community for reviewing recruitment agencies, hospitals and assignment cities. Founder: Eleah Portillo (FEMBA ’12)
Bellum Smart uses AI to manage construction and pavement quality in aviation construction. Founders: Iman Saberi (B.S. ’06,’18), Danny Lee (B.A. ’05) and Jesse Melgares (B.A. ’06)
Bio Consulting LLC leverages AI-driven strategies to provide consulting services to biotech companies in the post-approval or commercialization phase. Founder: Toni Zhang (’25)
Blaze Power is solving the lithium battery supply chain problem by producing low-cost LFP cathodes that use a new chemistry and customized cell design. Founder: Sagar Pande (FEMBA ’25)
Breadcrumbs is leveraging behavioral science to encourage a higher rate of saving. Founder: Margot Johnson (’23)
Chimera is a software service designed to fully automate the design-build industry. Founders: Garo Levon Susmanyan (M. Arch. ’24) and Vartan Levon Susmanyan
Clearpath is a comprehensive database of open clinical trials in the U.S. that empowers cancer patients to make informed treatment decisions. Founder: Jessica Daly (B.S. ’13, FEMBA ’24)
Data-Sleek (also known as Elysium) provides an affordable data archiving solution, making it effortless for users to efficiently store data within cost-effective storage. Founders: Frank Leveneur and Anirudh Chakravorty (MSBA ’22)
Ethx is a blockchain-powered platform that swiftly conducts thorough candidate background verification, streamlining recruitment and delivering substantial time and cost savings. Founder: Melanie Sirisoma (’24, Wolfen Award Recipient)
FastTrack will be an FDA-approved at-home testing kit that enables you to receive medical results, schedule a telehealth visit and obtain treatment/prescription within one hour, all from the convenience of your home. Founders: Marta Sandres-Corwin (EMBA ’24), Hemesh Patel (EMBA ’24), Shane Marandi (EMBA ’24), Shenghan Zhang (EMBA ’24) and Lear Williams (EMBA ’24)
Grad Pad facilitates genuine network connections through group formation and resource sharing. Founder: Rondale Davis (’23)
Guras offers software solutions and technical consulting services to support hospitals in virtual surgical planning (VSP) for the treatment of congenital heart disease. Founder: Dr. Sanjib Gurung
MOWA Advanced Regenon is developing Dopamer, an innovative bioactive dental material that can reverse tooth decay. Founder: Mazdak Vaezpour
Nortera is a B2B SaaS platform that links DEI insights to human capital management, minimizing turnover costs and employment litigation risks. Founders: Sienna Jackson (EMBA ’23), Malia Mason (EMBA ’23), Corinth Anderon (EMBA ’24) and Indhu Durai (EMBA ’25)
Oscyllate creates tech products utilizing AI-controlled speech and text recognition to analyze, organize and present clinically relevant data in a user-friendly format. Founders: Kofi Agyeman (EMBA/M.D. ’26), Kwasi Agyeman and Yafet Woldegabriel
OVOSOL harnesses renewable energy by offering a smart battery solution to multifamily property owners. Founder: Vaibhav (VJ) Ajmera (EMBA ’23)
Plastigit is a medical device used for fecal disimpactions. Founder: Danny Hoang (MBA/M.D. ’24, Wolfen Award Recipient, UCLA Biodesign Fellow)
Project Sunscreen is a skincare company dedicated to promoting good sunscreen habits and increasing usage through innovative and sustainable solutions. Founder: Rachel Henderson
The Root Remedy tackles skin and mental health concerns of Gen Z and millennials by addressing gut health, resulting in both radiant skin and a healthy state of mind. Founder: Marcella Graham
Serenify provides autonomous perineal cleaning solutions to maintain the dignity of elderly, and to reduce the burden on health care staff. Founder: Henry Hoang (RNFA-B.S. ’04, UCLA Biodesign Fellow), Jennifer Kallini, Mahruq Siddiqui (EMBA ’22, UCLA Biodesign Fellow), Matthew Carroll (UCLA Biodesign Fellow)
Skan is a diagnostic tool designed for homes, evaluating the overall condition of a home's substrate. Founder: Steven Rogall
Standard Draft accelerates the process of reaching agreement with a two-sided platform for modular drafting and negotiating of contracts. Founder Ryan Samii (B.A. ’14)
Tetra-C Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that transforms cell therapies through its innovative high-throughput microfluidic cell engineering technology, CellPresso. Founders: Binru (Andy) Chen (Ph.D. ’23), Yang Song, Yifan Wu (Ph.D. ’25), Kevin Eskander (FEMBA ’25) and Justin Shaprio (FEMBA ’25)
Trylrun is a labor marketplace connecting businesses with student “micro-interns” for on-demand support in short-term projects. Founder: Nick Kohan (’24, Wolfen Award Recipient)
VOKQUE is a Gen-Z focused recruitment app that uses AI technology to connect businesses and talent through a modern 1-to-1 channel, akin to a dating app. Founder: Kate Dohaney, Wayne Webb and Gili Shakked
Wei Good Food celebrates the fusion of Asian American culture through modern pantry goods. Founder: Ziwei Li (FEMBA ’24, Wolfen Award Recipient)
Yoga Wake Up delivers gentle audio-guided yoga and meditation to your first waking minutes. Founder: Lizzie Brown (EMBA ’24, Wolfen Award Recipient), Joaquin Brown and Katie Goldsmith
Keep Up with Us:
- Website: anderson.ucla.edu/accelerator
- Instagram: @andersonentrepreneurship
- Facebook: UCLA Anderson Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
- LinkedIn: UCLA Anderson Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation