Four startups affiliated with the University of Chicago received part of a $400,000 investment from the UChicago Innovation Fund, a five-year-old initiative managed by the Chicago Innovation Exchange that invests in promising early stage projects run by university students, staff and faculty.
Since 2010 the fund has invested more than $2.5 million in more than 30 projects. More than 50 companies applied for the Innovation Fund this fall, which was then narrowed down to six finalists in December. Here are the four winners:
Becoming Effective Learners:
Amount received: $151,000
Becoming Effective Learners has developed technology to help educators measure students’ noncognitive factors, understand the contexts where they are best fostered, and helps students develop these traits and skills. The result will help children become more engaged in school and improve their prospects for getting to and through college. The investment will go toward building a survey-based diagnostic system, including customized visulaizations and reporting. They then plan to pilot their product with select schools across the nation.
Amount Received: $120,000
Parallel.Works enables scientists, engineers, and data analysts to run complex and compute-intensive modeling, simulation and analytic workflows. The company hopes to lower the barrier to entry for users to create new designs or analytical hypotheses. The Innovation Fund will help them complete the initial version of their product, add 3rd party vendors to their workflows, and begin a pilot with initial customers.
MyPath Planning Wizard:
Amount Received: $100,000
MyPath Planning Wizard has developed technology that helps teachers customize their curriculum to fit the needs of their classroom, while also ensuring that students receive the benefits of the complex curriculum systems built on the latest research in learning science. The investment will allow them to apply learning rules and process maps to an initial textbook, develop a user interface for teachers, and conduct an in-classroom pilot in the Chicago Public Schools.
Peptides for the Stimulation of Lipase to Treat Hypertriglyceridemia:
Amount Received: $35,000
Researchers from the University of Chicago Medicine and the Department of Medicine have identified a lead peptide and developed a highly sensitive companion lipase assay which may help physicians diagnose and treat patients with hypertriglyceridemia, a condition often caused by uncontrolled diabetes, obesity, and sedentary habits. The Innovation Fund will help refine their patent pending peptide to enhance bioavailability and efficacy, validate the dosage and delivery route, and generate initial lipid lowering data efficacy, according to the university.