From University of Chicago: “Navigating Startup Success Polsky Launches the ‘Compass’ a New Deep Tech Accelerator Program”

U Chicago bloc

From University of Chicago

January 19, 2021



The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation recently launched the Compass – a first-of-its-kind deep tech accelerator program for early-stage startups and technologies.

“Backed by a 25-year history of launching successful ventures and leveraging business expertise from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Polsky Center has created the Compass to focus on launching new, innovative companies,” said Christine Karslake, PhD, MBA ’95, managing director, Polsky science ventures.

“The Polsky Center will select the most promising startups and technologies out of the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and provide robust resources to help those companies get launched and be investor-ready in six months,” added Shyama Majumdar, senior manager, science ventures.

Participants gain access to world-class resources over the six-month program with the goal of being investor-ready at the conclusion of participation in the program. Teams receive ecosystem introductions, mentorship, and educational training, and have the opportunity to access additional talent and funding for their ventures.

“Deep tech, high-potential projects require a unique set of resources and support, and we are thrilled to be able to provide this through the Compass. The teams participating will gain access to expertise and training which are critical to launching a successful deep tech venture,” said Melissa Byrn, director, innovation programs.

Teams are led by business development fellows who collaborates closely with the founding scientific team who have created these innovative technologies and who have set forth a vision for the company. Fellows are sourced from Chicago Booth, PhD programs in the sciences, and the College.

The program’s first cohort included three teams:

NetMicroscope // NetMicroscope is developing an edge analytics platform that enables ISPs to infer real-time Quality of Experience metrics while retaining the security that user’s value. The platform leverages machine learning techniques to identify where in the network stack issues have arisen, driving actionable insights.

Team members:

Nick Feamster, PI and cofounder, Neubauer Professor of Computer Science and director of the Center for Data and Computing (CDAC)
Guilherme Martins, cofounder, senior programming specialist, CDAC

ReAx Biotechnologies // ReAx is an early-stage venture developing chemical proteomic platform technologies to discover small molecule therapeutics targeting intractable protein families. The ReAx platform utilizes protein family-wide small molecule probes and a barcoded, amplifiable detection strategy to quantify the activity state of proteins, as well as their interaction with therapeutics, directly in biofluids, cells, and tissues. ReAx can perform multiplexed, high-throughput drug profiling experiments directly in cells, which represents a paradigm shift relative to traditional methods. ReAx is therefore uniquely positioned to discover novel therapeutics targeting proteins that have been resistant to traditional drug discovery approaches

Team members:

Ray Moellering, PI and cofounder, associate professor, Physical Sciences Division
Jeff Montgomery, cofounder, PhD candidate, Physical Sciences Division
Eric Chapman, business lead, Master’s student, Chicago Booth and computer science

ReAx recently participated in the 2020 George Shultz Innovation Fund and received $150,000 to further commercialize its work.

Zero Burden Labs // Zero Burden Labs aims to bring to market blood-work free diagnostic screening technology for complex diseases ranging from early screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder to Gestational Diabetes. Their technology is made possible by sophisticated IP-protected machine learning algorithms that learn deep temporal patterns from sparse, dirty, un-curated past diagnostic histories utilizing electronic medical records; making possible precision personalized healthcare improving patient outcomes, and ease the burden on healthcare providers and payers.

Team members:

Ishanu Chattopadhyay, PI and cofounder, assistant professor, Biological Sciences Division
Dmytro Onishchenko, cofounder, post-doctoral researcher, Biological Sciences Division
Jim Van Horne, business lead and cofounder, student, Chicago Booth

The program’s second cohort kicked off this month and includes four teams:

ElectroCorr // ElectroCorr is developing a toolkit that evaluates and qualifies corrosion of materials in a variety of substrates. Applications of this technology range from medical implants to the automotive and oil and gas industries.

Team members:

Vineeth Gattu, PI and founder, staff researcher, Argonne National Laboratory
Khushboo Sharma, Business Development Fellow, student, Chicago Booth

Heiothera // Heiothera is developing a therapeutic platform technology to treat autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Team members:

Jeff Hubbell, PI and cofounder, Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering and deputy dean for development, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Jun Ishihara, PhD ’20, PI and cofounder, assistant professor, Imperial College London
Carlo Passeri, Business Development Fellow, student, Chicago Booth

Phlaxis // Phlaxis is developing a vaccine to treat and prevent peanut allergies in children.

Team members:

Jeff Hubbell, PI and cofounder, Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering and deputy dean for development, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Chitavi Maulloo, cofounder, student, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Shijie Cao, cofounder, post-doctoral scientist, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Hikaru Ihara, Business Development Fellow, student, Chicago Booth

AddGraft Therapeutics // AddGraft Therapeutics is developing a CRISPR-based therapeutic technology using skin cells to treat cocaine addiction.

Team members:

Ming Xu, PI and cofounder, professor of anesthesia and critical care, Biological Sciences Division
Xiaoyang Wu, PI and cofounder, associate professor, Biological Sciences Division
Ryan Myers, Business Development Fellow, student, Chicago Booth

See the full article here .


Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

U Chicago Campus

An intellectual destination

One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

UChicago research has led to such breakthroughs as discovering the link between cancer and genetics, establishing revolutionary theories of economics, and developing tools to produce reliably excellent urban schooling. We generate new insights for the benefit of present and future generations with our national and affiliated laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

The University of Chicago is enriched by the city we call home. In partnership with our neighbors, we invest in Chicago’s mid-South Side across such areas as health, education, economic growth, and the arts. Together with our medical center, we are the largest private employer on the South Side.

In all we do, we are driven to dig deeper, push further, and ask bigger questions—and to leverage our knowledge to enrich all human life. Our diverse and creative students and alumni drive innovation, lead international conversations, and make masterpieces. Alumni and faculty, lecturers and postdocs go on to become Nobel laureates, CEOs, university presidents, attorneys general, literary giants, and astronauts.