Blog: team profiles

Jul
12
2013

Team Name: LabCandy
Fellows: Olivia Pavco-Giaccia (YC '16), May Li Lynch
Industry: Consumer Product
Website: http://labcandy.blogspot.com

The Pitch 

LabCandy helps to get young girls interested in science through fun and fashionable lab gear. Currently, the stereotypical scientist does not look relatable or even interesting to our young girls. We are offering a comprehensive line of creative lab goggles, coats, gloves, and other accessories, because we believe that when we change the way a lab scientist is supposed to look, then we are one step closer to helping young girls picture themselves as scientists.

The Team

Olivia Pavco-Giaccia is a rising sophomore at Yale University. In the past, she has worked with ‘girls in STEM’ organizations such as SciGirls, National Girls Collaborative Project, Society of Women Engineers, JASON Argonauts, National Geographic, and more. The idea for LabCandy came to her while she was blogging about her research at a neurobiology lab at Stanford.

May Li Wall Lynch is a rising sophomore at Savannah College of Art and Design and is majoring in industrial design. She engineered her first creation at three years old (a waterproof sandcastle,) and has been working on one project or another ever since. She is especially excited to design cool lab goggles because she is sick of having goggle lines after using the SCAD table saw.

What problems did you see that led you to develop LabCandy?

Currently, the percentage of jobs held by women in STEM fields is only twenty-four percent. We wanted to help change that by encouraging young girls to be interested in science early and be inspired to continue in science throughout their lives.

How is the LabCandy solution different?

Most solutions to the gender gap in STEM offer ways for teachers and mentors to help get girls interested in science. LabCandy puts the power directly into the girls’ hands and allows them to change what they think a scientist should look like. 

Do you have any advice to aspiring student entrepreneurs?

If you are thinking of starting your own business, make sure it is something that you really care about. It’s easy to be motivated if you believe that you are working to change the world. 

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Jul
12
2013

Team Name: Launchsite
Fellows: Daniel Qu (YC ‘13), Brendan Ross (YC ‘13), Marcus Moretti (YC ‘13), Noah Gray (YC ‘13)
Industry: Commercial Web
Website: www.launchsite.com

The Pitch

Launchsite.com is a crowdsourcing platform for website development. We are creating a marketplace for people who need professional websites to get in touch with a global community of website developers. Following the example of similar crowdsourcing websites such as 99designs.com, we host development contests in which developers compete for the opportunity to build clients their ideal website. The contest model benefits clients by giving them multiple website designs from which to choose, and it benefits developers by allowing them to showcase their talents directly. We also offer a hosting, domain name, email, and webmaster service.

The Team

Daniel Qu graduated from Yale College in May 2013 with degrees in Computer Science and Economics. Previous businesses with which he has been involved include Red Letter Labs LLC (hardware), GAKKO Inc (education), and MinuteInc LLC (internet). He worked at Qualcomm Inc. for three summers in their venture capital group and on two engineering teams.

Brendan Ross graduated from Yale College in May 2013 with degrees in History and East Asian Studies. Brendan previously worked on marketing and photographic content for a construction company. Brendan has also worked as a research associate at the Yale School of Management and developed a business plan for Xie Ping, an executive from the China Investment Corporation.

Marcus Moretti recently graduated from Yale College as an English major and Journalism Scholar. He has edited several campus publications, including the Yale Herald, the Triple Helix, and the Yale Undergraduate Law Review, and was a staff reporter for the Yale Daily News. Last summer he covered the New York technology scene for Business Insider’s Silicon Alley Insider vertical. Marcus has been interested in the tech sphere since middle school, when he practiced web and graphic design under an alias he wishes to remain confidential.

Noah Gray studied film and literature through the Humanities major at Yale College. While at Yale, Noah produced several short films including the 2013 Class Day Video, which was screened as part of the 2013 Class Day exercises in May. Previously, Noah worked as a Senior Interviewer and Tour Guide for the Yale Admissions Office and as an Events Intern for the Yale Sustainable Food Project.  

What problems did you see that led you to develop Launchsite?

Currently, business owners and individuals interested in creating websites face a choice: either hire a professional developer or pursue a “DIY” solution. These choices are problematic because hiring a professional web developer is expensive, but DIY solutions are time consuming, often frustrating, and frequently yield generic results. It remains difficult for many people to get a website they love at a price they can afford.

Another problem is the limited choices customers have. In most marketplaces, consumers are encouraged to compare different products before making a final choice. In website development, however, consumers are often forced to make a commitment to a developer before their website is built. We believe consumers should be able to test and compare different website options before choosing the one they like best.

How is the Launchsite solution different?

Launchsite is the first crowdsourcing solution in the website development marketplace. Through crowdsourcing, we are able to make professional website development more affordable and empower customers to compare different website options before making a final choice.

 

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Jul
12
2013

Team Name: Truly Protect
Fellow: Dor Zaidenberg (SOM '13)
Industry: Software Security
Website: www.truly-protect.com

The Pitch

TrulyProtect is an innovative copy protection solution that prevents software piracy. TrulyProtect’s patent-pending product allows the software developer to encrypt sections of their software code. Then decryption and execution of these instructions takes place inside the end-user CPU. Because it is impossible to reverse engineer a CPU, the end-user would not be able to access the encryption keys or hack into it.

TrulyProtect uses Security-by-Design approach in its engineering. The architecture is published, and nothing is hidden. 

The Team

Dor Zaidenberg (SOM ’13). Dor recently graduated from the Yale School of Management. Dor has over 8 years of experience in project management at Google, as well as in his own previous technology start-up company.

Nezer Zaidenberg, PhD, MBA. Nezer came up with the TrulyProtect technology as part of his PhD work at JYU. He has over 15 years of experience in leading software companies. Nezer has worked with IBM, NDS and EDF Energy and has been CTO, president and head of R&D in several successful software start-ups

Amit Resh, MBA. Amit has more than 25 years of professional experience in hi-tech companies in Israel and  United States. Prior to working for Truly Protect, Amit worked as Program Manager at Apple. Amit has co-authored a best selling book for the ‘C’ Programming language in Hebrew.

Michael Kiperberg, M.Sc. Michael is at the core of the TrulyProtect innovation team. In addition to co-inventing the technology with Nezer, Michael is an officer in the Israeli Air Force, serving in the unit that developed the Iron Dome platform.

What problems did you see that led you to develop TrulyProtect? 

Software piracy is growing rampant in today’s world. Companies lose a lot of revenue due to massive piracy of their intellectual properties. This weakens the industry as it is costly to develop new products, and, with high piracy rates, it becomes increasingly less profitable for companies to invest in making new software. 

How is the TrulyProtect solution different?

By storing the encryption keys inside the end-user CPU, and then ensuring that the decryption-execution-discard process for each encrypted instruction takes place inside the CPU,  TrulyProtect is essentially impervious to the reverse engineering approaches hackers use to pirate software.

Do you have any advice to aspiring student entrepreneurs?

The most important ingredient for success is to show up.

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Jul
10
2013

Team Name: TummyZen
Team Members: Hasan Ansari (SOM ’14), Yulia Khvan (SOM ’14), Fanni Li (SOM ’14), Srikar Prasad (SOM ’14)
Industry: Consumer Products
Website: http://www.tummyzen.com/             

The Pitch 

TummyZen is an over-the-counter immediate release antacid supplement. Our product is based upon innovative, patented, human clinical research at Yale Medical School. Our active ingredients are classified by the FDA as GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe), and  our product is as effective and last four times longer than calcium carbonate, the leading active ingredient in common antacids on the market today. TummyZen seeks to provide safe, effective, and scientifically-proven antacid products for both adult and pediatric consumers.

 

The Team

The founding team consists of the innovator, John Geibel, Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine, and four School of Management students.

Hasan Ansari (Team Lead) has a background in product commercialization, go-to-market management, and strategy consulting.

Fanni Li (Operations Lead) has 5 years of experience in regulatory policy, supply chain management, and operational strategy consulting for companies in the healthcare and government industries.

Srikar Prasad (Technology Lead) is a serial entrepreneur who most recently ran operations for a medical informatics company.

Yulia Khvan (Legal Lead) is a specialist in international arbitration and business law and was most recently managing the financial and strategy aspects of a cross-border legal tech startup.

What problems did you see that led you to develop TummyZen?

Two converging needs came together for the creation of TummyZen. Firstly, long study nights rich with pizza and takeaway foods made us think that there must be a better solution than swallowing Tums over and again for acid reflux relief. With 40% of people in the US suffering from acid reflux, and a significant portion dissatisfied with existing solutions, there are substantial opportunities for innovation. Secondly, as a young father, Hasan knew that there were no proven remedies available for acid-related colic in babies. Parents frequently succumb to using unscientific homeopathic medications or medications intended for adult use - both of which may have unknown side effects. We were fortunate to have been introduced to Dr. John Geibel, who had researched the problem for several years and was successful in developing a simple and effective solution.

How is the TummyZen solution different?

The patented science that serves as the basis for the TummyZen formula, offering a much longer lasting solution in the digestive health market compared with common immediate release antacids. TummyZen also has fewer drug-drug interactions compared with generic PPIs and H2Blockers and is less likely to trigger “breakthrough” reflux. Since TummyZen’s ingredients are GRAS, there will be no need for expensive FDA approval, leading to more affordable and safer products for consumers.

Do you have any advice to aspiring student entrepreneurs? 

Be nimble. Say good-bye to the word ‘certainty’.

 

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Jun
25
2013

Team Name: IsoPlexis
Fellows: Sean Mackay (SOM ’14), Kara Brower (Yale College ’13)
Industry: Life Sciences
Website: http://isoplexis.com

The Pitch 

IsoPlexis provides a life science research tool that helps researchers and drug developers make more informed decisions about vaccines and drug efficacy in light of the body's complex immune response. The IsoPlexis patent pending "biochip" technology from a Yale Engineering laboratory can perform in-depth single-cell analysis, "fingerprinting" each cell in an immune population to construct a highly accurate picture of how pathogens, drugs, and biologics interact with our immune system. In the long term, we seek to use our uniquely accurate, lab- and clinic-friendly immune evaluation platform to improve drug testing, cancer monitoring and disease prognosis.

The Team

Sean Mackay (SOM ’14) has spent over six years working across healthcare specialties. While at Lazard Freres & Co, he started a six+ years investment banking advisory for biotechnology, medical device, and other healthcare firms. Prior to his work at IsoPlexis, Sean also led business development for LifeSquare, a Kleiner Perkins-incubated Health IT firm.

Kara Brower (YC ’13) has seven years research laboratory experience in mathematical modeling, single particle microscopy, and CMOS nanowire biosensors (bioFETs) with specialties’ in single cell analysis, highly-sensitive detection, and microfluidic interfaces. She has published and patented in the field of sensor optimization and packaging. In 2011, she was awarded the Best-in-Category award for genetic engineering of bacterial cells at the World iGEM competition, as well as the Best American Plasmid Submission. Her work was featured as 3rd in the CIMIT Primary Care Competition (2011) and as the team winner of the COMSOL Design-the-Future competition (2011).

Rong Fan PhD,  chief technology advisor and recognized pioneer in single-cell research and Packard fellow, developed the IsoPlexis product. Dr. Fan’s research is focused on exploiting systems biology principles to develop nanobiotechnologies that can be used in clinic for differential diagnosis and personalized treatment of complex human diseases. 

What problems did you see that led you to develop IsoPlexis?

The IsoPlexis tool was developed by Professor Rong Fan, PhD, in response to a growing need to identify unique single-cell differences in heterogeneous cell populations (like immune cells), for the purpose of clarifying complex interactions among these cells within humans. It was apparent that the tools that exist today couldn’t fully analyze the complexity of the immune system.

Drug developers need tools that better show early in development if their drugs will interact well with the immune system. Clinicians need better tools to show the progression of cancer and inflammatory diseases, both of which may depend on this immune and inflammatory response characterization.  Our tool seeks to provide that clarity that is necessary for these applications as well as many emerging applications in the immunoassay field. IsoPlexis provides accurate data in an easy manner that the current field lacks.

How is the IsoPlexis solution different? 

We are the first technology that can specifically isolate single immune cells within a population, then, for each single cell, analyze specific secreted proteins (i.e. cytokines, chemokines, growth factors) over time.  Being able to characterize both the individual cells and the various proteins (termed "mutliplexing" in the field) simultaneously is necessary for clarifying the complexity of immune activation and response. This finding is also supported by multiple peer-reviewed publications, including a high profile Nature article, where the evaluation of the diversity of an immune population is necessary for new biological discovery and pharmaceutical evaluation.

Compared to existing tools, IsoPlexis brings together both the need for single cell analysis with the need for multiplexing, which has yet to be done to a large scale. Among the next generation protein analysis tools, the IsoPlexis solution is also the most accessible in the market, as it does not require the purchase of an additional expensive scanner but works with common laboratory tools.

Do you have any advice to aspiring student entrepreneurs?

Work hard, be persistent, ask customers a lot of questions, and have fun – the journey’s as important as the prize!

 

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