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VVM Announces 36 Startups Accepted into 2017 Accelerator

SPRINGFIELD — Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) announced the 2017 Startup Accelerator cohort this week. The 36 startups, chosen from more than 200 applicants received from around the world, represent high-quality, early-stage startups across more than eight industries, including technology, beauty, healthcare, transportation, and publishing.

“We are excited by the diversity of industries represented in this cohort,” VVM CEO Liz Roberts said. “We are honored that they are choosing to invest their time in our accelerator. They will get intensive training, mentorship, and resources to take their startups to the next level.”

Sixty-five percent of this year’s startups are led by women, and 36% are led by people of color. International teams from Canada, India, and Ghana will participate.

“Educating startup founders is all about helping them minimize their startup risks. Over the next four months, these entrepreneurs and their teams are going to spend time analyzing their products, services, business models, and the markets they intend to disrupt,” said Paul Silva, VVM chief innovation officer and co-founder. “They will learn from successful entrepreneurs — people who have been exactly where these founders are.”

VVM Startup Accelerator participants also develop relationships with funders and are eligible to win up to $50,000 in equity-free cash at the end of the program. The winners will be announced on Thursday, May 25 at an awards ceremony with an expected 600 people in attendance at the MassMutual Center. VVM’s visionary partners include MassMutual, MassDevelopment, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, MassTech Collaborative, and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

Another aspect of this year’s program is VVM’s partnership with Pathlight, a local organization which serves people with intellectual disabilities. The two organizations put out a national call for entrepreneurs with technology ideas that could increase independence for those with intellectual disabilities. After a rigorous selection process, two such startups were selected to participate in the accelerator: Galactic Smarties and Habit Stackr.

Several of the companies accepted to the 2017 VVM Startup Accelerator are graduates of VVM’s mentorship program, including AlignMeeting, Bhlue Publishing, FootCare by Nurses, Hot Oven Cookies, Listen2aBook, Lumme, RecordME, Streamliners, TripleTote, and Yummy Yammy.

The 2017 VVM Startup Accelerator cohort includes:

• AlignMeeting, business-productivity software facilitating best meeting practices to improve team efficiency before, during, and long after meetings;

• AuCoDe, the Google Alerts of controversies and crisis situations, providing early detection as a signal for hedge funds;

• Barakat Bundle, a curated package of life-saving solutions for mothers and newborns in South Asia;

• Bhlue Publishing, a cloud-based career-development platform for teens and young adults who are struggling to figure out a career direction;

• Bharat Babies, which produces developmentally appropriate children’s books that are inspired by the stories of India and South Asia;

• Connecticut Horse, a bimonthly print and online magazine for horse enthusiasts in Connecticut;

• Emotive Agility Training Center, a consulting company offering training tools and curricula for people with autism to crack the non-verbal code of social interactions;

• Enrichment Express, which provides instructors with the curriculum, materials, and logistical support needed to teach engaging enrichment classes to children 5 to 12 years old;

• Ernest Pharmaceuticals, programmed bacteria to eliminate metastatic cancer;

• Fields Center, which provides help for individuals with autism and families;

• FirmOffer, a software solution for legal recruiting enabling law students to make binding offers to law firms;

• FootCare by Nurses, foot-wellness experts;

• Galactic Smarties, which makes technology that supports independence for people of all ages and abilities;

• GeneRisk, which identifies genetic variants of autism allowing for better understanding of risk and ID targets for more personalized intervention;

• Genoverde Biosciences Inc., an agricultural biotech startup focused on improving crop yield for commercial farming through bioengineering;

• Habit Stackr, which helps people keep daily routines through brain science and a mobile app;

• Hot Oven Cookies, a handcrafted cookie bakery specializing in the delivery and curbside sales of warm, gourmet cookies;

• Kwema, which developed a smart bracelet that can call for help to friends and family, authorities, and Kwema’s safety communities;

• Listen2aBook, which makes audiobook production accessible to everyone;

• Lumme Inc., a startup funded by the National Cancer Institute that develops smart technology to help people quit smoking;

• M1 Tapes, which makes premium, contractor-grade tape measures;

• MEANS Database, a nonprofit technology company devoted to business-friendly food recovery;

• MyBarber, which provides on-site haircuts at offices, apartment complexes, and co-working spaces;

• NERv Technology, which is developing an implantable biochip platform to detect post-operative complications;

• New England Breath Technologies, which developing a pain-free diabetic monitoring device to improve outcomes of patients;

• Nonspec, which has created a low-ost, durable, and adjustable prosthetic system;

• Paysa, which is developing a fingerprint-authorized cashless payment system for stores in rural India with the goal of increasing bank-account owners;

• ProjectMQ, a social-media app for independent game studios and fans worldwide;

• RateFrame, which helps users highlight and share the best parts of any video;

• RecordME, a studio-recording company that provides hardware, engineers, and distribution so content creators and venues can make more money;

• Streamliners, which sells aerodynamic devices to the trucking industry, saving $4,000 per truck per year in fuel costs, paying for itself in three months;

• Trabapido, an online marketplace that helps individuals and businesses find and hire service providers, such as plumbers, painters, and tutors;

• TripBuddy, a ride-sharing startup;

• Tripletote, which manufactures consumer products that help people carry items as they travel, commute, shop, and work;

• VaxAtlas, which provide real-time access to one’s vaccine history, helping to avoid unnecessary repeat vaccines, identify missed vaccines, and alert for outbreaks; and

• Yummy Yammy, which helps busy people eat better, one deliciously addictive sweet potato at a time.

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