Brandeis Spark, the university’s startup accelerator, is proud to announce that two of its teams were accepted into the 2022 MassChallenge cohort. MassChallenge, based in Boston with additional locations in Rhode Island, Texas, Israel, Mexico, and Switzerland, is a non-profit, zero equity accelerator supporting more than 400 startups from around the world and across industries each year.
Throughout the summer-long program at MassChallenge in Boston, the teams will receive a lot of resources and support during the program, including mentorship, office space, and the opportunity to pitch for non-equity funding. The two teams will join MassChallenge’s global network of startups, which includes over 2,000 alumni from over 50 countries.
The Farmer Foodie, the brainchild of Alison Elliott MBS, MSID ‘22, is a cashew-based vegan cheese alternative. The SparkTank startup pitch winners have also won the WeWork/Oatly Sustainable Business Challenge. The vegan cheese alternative market is currently worth $2.4 billion globally and is growing rapidly. The Farmer Foodie Cheeze is a unique shelf-stable offering in sustainable packaging, backed by a growing library of recipes.
Missionable (formerly known as Mission-Driven NFT) launched by MBA candidate Douglass Guernsey and Varun Edupungati MSBA ‘22, creates Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) that universities can use to thank micro-donors. NFTs are gaining traction as a new way to digitally represent ownership. They are currently being used in the gaming, digital art, and cryptocurrency industries. Providing donors with university-branded NFTs will increase donor engagement and create a new revenue stream for universities.
“It’s very gratifying to see our teams receive this kind of recognition,” said Spark Program Manager Juan Giraldo.
Both teams started out as projects in the Heller Startup Challenge, a hackathon-style weekend in which social entrepreneurs build out ideas for their startups. The Spark program provided the teams with funding and support in developing their business models, making connections to mentors, and training in pitching their companies to incubators and investors.
“Our goal is to help entrepreneurs turn their big ideas into reality, and being accepted into a highly competitive accelerator like MassChallenge is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our teams. We are excited to see what our teams will achieve in the program!” adds Juan.
This year’s MassChallenge cohort includes startups from a wide range of industries, including healthcare, education, and technology. One of the world’s leading startup accelerators, it has been a pillar of the US and global startup community for over a decade.
Spark is one of three major funding programs provided by Brandeis Innovation. Brandeis Innovation is committed to supporting early-stage entrepreneurs and helping them turn their innovative ideas into successful businesses. Its Virtual Incubator provides the opportunity for students, faculty, and staff members to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.