EAST LANSING—The Michigan State University Foundation’s Conquer Accelerator announced the launch of its fifth season and summer 2020 cohort. The 10-week accelerator welcomes five selected teams to its East Lansing program: ARUtility, Lucypop, MenuBubble, PhenoLogic, and StarForged Studios.
“It’s hard to believe that we’re already moving into our fifth year for Conquer Accelerator, but when I take a look back at our last four cohorts you can see the progress through some of the teams we’ve been able to help,” said Thomas Stewart, Conquer Accelerator program manager. “The fact that we get more and better applications every year is evidence of our growth.”
Designed to support both newer and established companies, Conquer Accelerator supports selected startups by providing $20,000 in funding, access to more than 40 mentors, access to follow-on funding, and other essential resources. The program is hosted and managed by Spartan Innovations, a subsidiary of the Michigan State University Foundation.
“It was difficult to narrow all of the applicants down to just five teams out of a record 29 applications,” said Frank Urban, Conquer Accelerator director. “We expect emphasis placed on leveraging grant opportunities to bring federal dollars into the region this year.”
Urban also serves as the Spartan Innovations director of venture creation in the life sciences. He has worked with startups for 15 years and has worked within East Lansing’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for more than five years. “It’s important that the Conquer Accelerator program is launching and strengthening startups that will create future jobs and bolster the local East Lansing economy; especially given the current environment,” Urban said.
In addition to receiving up to $20,000 in seed funding, selected startups receive tailored mentorship from leaders within their respective industries, a collaborative working space, as well as access to a network of angel and venture investors. Once companies move on from the accelerator, they become part of Red Cedar Ventures’ investment portfolio.
Said Red Cedar Ventures Executive Director Jeff Wesley: “It’s always a pleasure to engage and mentor these companies throughout the program. Our team looks forward to collaborating with these extremely hard-working individuals by accelerating their companies on the path to commercialization.”
Conquer Accelerator has already successfully launched 15 active startups since 2015. Those companies have gone on to raise more than 2.5 million in additional funding.
2020’s Conquer Accelerator Teams
- ARUtility is an augmented reality utility locating asset management and BIM visualization tool that increases safety and efficiency and reduces damages to underground assets for the AEC industry.
- Lucypop is an advanced material science startup focused on nail care wellness.
- MenuBubble is a healthy meal delivery service focusing on accessibility and convenience. MenuBubble offers chilled, macro-balanced meals palatable to everyone, including individuals with dietary restrictions.
- PhenoLogic provides a smart infrastructure for plant and crop producers to effortlessly apply the perfect amount of fertilizer and water.
- StarForged Studios is a game company that specializes in combining multiple styles of play to create unique, yet familiar experiences.