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Startup Yale 2022 Finalists Include Seven Yale SOM Ventures

Some of the SOM students pitching their startups this year shared their thoughts ahead of the competition.

Startup Yale 2022, the university’s biggest annual entrepreneurship prize competition, will feature student ventures from across campus from April 28 to 30, and seven Yale SOM startups will be taking part.

Startup Yale includes three days of pitches and prizes in a forum where innovators, community leaders, investors, and practitioners come together. This year, student ventures are competing for more than $135,000 in seed funding. The seven Yale SOM ventures named finalists in the competition span a variety of sectors.

Here’s what some of them had to say about why they’re participating and what they hope to gain from the experience.

C.J. Daux

Venture: Bellowscope

Creates a low-cost endoscope.

“We are participating in Startup Yale to catalyze our societally impactful entrepreneurial capabilities in the realm of health equity. The Bellowscope team is thrilled to have a shot at this spring-board opportunity to advance equity in the colorectal cancer screening space!”

—Joseph Johnnie ’23, Samer Fadl ’23, C.J. Duax ’23 (pictured), Cavay Ip ’23, and Trisha Farmer ’23

Nicola Fleischer ’22

Venture: The Educator Wellness Project

Provides individualized wellness coaching, small group healing circles, and social-emotional learning resources to meet the mental health and wellness needs of teachers.

“I am looking forward to participating in Startup Yale and learning from all the incredible entrepreneurs. I couldn’t have started my venture without the Yale community, and the feedback and mentorship I’ve received along the way have pushed and encouraged me so much. Being a nonprofit founder, it’s been especially helpful to learn from the social impact-driven professors and advisors here at SOM. I’m looking forward to sharing edwell with more members of the Yale community and I’m hopeful that we can unlock funding to further the organization’s growth after my graduation!”

—Nicola Fleischer ’22

Frailty Myths

Venture: Frailty Myths

A diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy that uses the power of practice, community leadership, and experiential learning to transform workplace culture and advance justice.

“Frailty Myths is thrilled to be participating in Startup Yale and joining the incredible community of entrepreneurs and inspiring ventures. Frailty Myths’ mission is to advance justice in communities and the workplace through the power of practice. Our hope is that Startup Yale will launch our next phase of growth where we can reach more people and maximize our impact in our pursuit of building a better, more just society.

—Georgia Hirsty ’22

Fresh’n team

Venture: Fresh’n

“Fresh’n is tackling the $2.6 trillion problem of food waste at the consumer level. Using inventory management strategies that are already deployed upstream in the food system, the Fresh’n ripening box aims to end the expensive, frustrating, and environmentally damaging habit of fresh produce ending up in trashcans. Our solution will allow consumers to easily control and predict the ripening of fruits and vegetables using moisture, airflow, and ethylene gas flow to ensure the perfect avocado toast, on demand.

“We’re passionate about ending the expensive and frustrating problem of food waste and hoping to receive feedback from the judges that will help us as we build out a prototype for our ripening box. We hope consumers will be able to eat every fruit and every vegetable they buy at peak ripeness.”

—Claire Masters ’22

Patrick Freyer

Venture: NebulaLabs

A marketplace that provides the legal and technical infrastructure to trade fractional patents.

“Innovators generate about 700k patent applications in the US every year but 95% of this IP remains locked up and undeveloped. We bring liquidity to early-stage patents that lack capital for commercial development and give investors access to a new, impactful asset class. NebulaLabs has gathered support from across Yale, outside inventors, and investors of all sizes. With the support of the Yale community, we’ve created the legal framework that enables fractional patent investing as well as developed marketplace technology to supercharge patents across the U.S. Through Startup Yale, we hope to reach more innovators that could benefit from unlocking their IP as well as connect with investors and secure funding to bring NebulaLabs to hundreds of users in the coming months. We are incredibly grateful for the support already received at Yale and can’t wait to see what’s next.”

—Patrick Freyer ’23 (pictured) and Max Watkins ’23

Lacie Thorne ’23

Venture: Phigital

A blockchain-based API platform that extends a fashion brand’s e-commerce platform into a fashion resale marketplace, incentivizing brands and resellers into the circular economy by distributed trail commissions through smart contract technology.

“I’m participating in Startup Yale for the practical advice from mentors and other founders to learn about operational, networking, and venture fundraising strategies. Phigital has benefited immensely from this community, and we can't wait to launch our MVP this summer.

—Lacie Thorne ’23

Sweetgum team

Venture: Sweetgum Labs

Promotes a low-carbon lifestyle via a gamified mobile application on blockchain and through a a Web3 infrastructure for environmental stewardship.

“We want  share our vision and social impact with a broader audience while continuing to be active members of the Yale entrepreneurship community, learning, and supporting each other. Our hope for the venture is to incentivize individuals to become part of environmental change and to help business grow their organic sustainability development through employees’ carbon footprints.”

—Vera Wang ’22