Now in its fourth year, the Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator (JSSA) selected a record 25 startups to participate in its 2023 cohort.

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2023 Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator names record cohort

From accessible urgent care services to skill-based training centers in Indonesia, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management is excited to unveil the diverse group of 25 startups that make up the 2023 Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator (JSSA) cohort.  

JSSA is a 10-week summer intensive program that helps students pursue their entrepreneurship goals while continuing with their full-time jobs or internships. As most programming is conducted virtually, students are able to experience the benefits of the program from anywhere. While in JSSA, students develop their business plans, participate in weekly workshops, build connections through networking events and receive 1:1 mentorship and support from a dedicated Entrepreneur-in-Residence. The programming also includes a trek to New York City, where the cohort will have the opportunity to connect with founders, investors and the Cornell entrepreneurial community in the Big Apple. 

Two-year MBA participants who choose to work full time on their startup over the summer and are entering their second year were able to apply for a stipend from the Vrinda Kadiyali Student Entrepreneur Fund. Stephen Smith ‘91, MBA ‘95, established the fund in honor of Vrinda Kadiyali, the Nicholas H. Noyes Professor of Management. Professor Kadiyali inspired Smith to launch his own startup, which ultimately became Naviance, the American college and career readiness software. Smith believes that the summer between the first and second years is a key time for MBA students who plan to launch their own businesses, prompting him to establish the fund to alleviate the financial burden on students who wanted to focus on entrepreneurial ventures instead of paid internships. 

This year’s recipients of the Vrinda Kadiyali Student Entrepreneur Fund are Hailee Greene, MBA ‘24, Christiani Sagala, MBA ‘24, and Shao (Justin) Chen, MBA ‘24. 

Greene, co-founder of GreeneAcres Processing, is “looking forward to the mentorship opportunities that JSSA will provide us as we seek to sign letters of intent with growers and buyers.” 

Meet the cohort: 

The 25 startups participating in the 2023 Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator make up the largest cohort to date. Get to know the teams that compose this year’s accelerator: 

AMARI: Creates wellness products that fit the environment and genetic requirements of a melanin-skinned demographic, founded by Harveen Bawa, M.Eng. ‘23. 

Andrew Jacob Media: Creatively and effectively captures and promotes your brand's unique message through exceptional marketing, photography and video services, founded by Andrew Meade, Two-Year MBA class of 2024.  

ArteOpia: Provides virtual space in the art world, creating an ecosystem that celebrates inspiration and creativity, founded by Yihan Zhu, Two-Year MBA class of 2024.  

Buyer Force: Helps buyers save time and resources, ensuring they are buying the best product for their team while aiding business development teams with revenue creation and more accurate sales forecasting, founded by Ryan Collins, Two-Year MBA class of 2024.  

CampusGo: A socially responsible transportation and delivery platform designed specifically for college students, CampusGo offers rewards for completing deliveries, sharing rides and promoting community and sustainability, founded by Katherine (Xiaomin) Chen, Two-Year MBA class of 2024.  

Commons: Social networking and event management platform that helps event planners bring people together and engage them through interactive social activities, founded by Sidney Idemudia, Executive MBA Americas class of 2023.  

CryBaby: Equips new parents with knowledge, insights, comfort, and convenience during some of the most stressful moments of the most exciting phase of their lives, founded by Eric Engman, Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership class of 2023.  

Gig-Up!: Matches gig-workers to customers to-do-lists via AI, founded by Trishala (Trish) Dessai, One-Year MBA class of 2023.  

Glamesque: Reinvents beauty, makeup and glam, founded by Jacqueline Ochoa, Executive MBA Americas class of 2024.  

GreeneAcres Processing: The first Industrial Hemp processing company in the Northeast, fills the gap between growing hemp at mass scale to process and sell to companies wishing to produce every day goods based with hemp, co-founded by Kadiyali Fund recipient Hailee Greene and Danielle Falcon, both Two-Year MBAs class of 2024.  

Koffee Mission Possible (KMP): A unique and chic coffee truck that offers a wide range of coffee selections from around the world, catering to coffee lovers with refined taste, co-founded by May Yu and FeiFei Huang, both Executive MBA Metro NY class of 2022.  

Mom Majesty: A vector that connects pregnant women with doulas to provide emotional, physical, social and culturally appropriate support, founded by Dr. Nichele Nivens, Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership class of 2024.  

NaviGo: A travel booking platform that utilizes a proprietary algorithm to assign a deal score to every combination of flights and hotels, helping travelers quickly identify the best value for their trip, founded by Yuqi Bai, Two-Year MBA class of 2024.  

NextGen Gaming AI: Utilizes generative AI technology to assist game studios in creating scenes and assets, ultimately improving the efficiency and quality of game development, founded by Xufan Chen, Two-Year MBA class of 2024.  

Sperow: A space to grow, Sperow provides skill-based training centers for the good quality workforce of Indonesia, founded by Kadiyali Fund recipient Christiani Sagala, Two-Year MBA class of 2024.   

The Right to Warmth: Provides customers a means to accessible, premium fashion, founded by Kadiyali Fund recipient Shao (Justin) Chen, Two-Year MBA class of 2024.  

To Make More Money: Offers a multisided platform and consulting services to medium to large, diverse-owned businesses that desire to engage with one another to understand their business goals, identify gaps in the tactical execution towards these goals and find ways that each can help the other fulfill their respective strategic visions, founded by Tamika Money, Two-Year MBA class of 2023.   

Tomtech EV: Provides design engineering services for EV charging solutions for new or existing residential and commercial buildings, co-founded by Michelle Tomasian, Two-Year MBA class of 2024, with her sister, Marlow Tomasian. 

Tran-Franklin: Increases operational efficiencies at fertility clinics, co-founded by Gallop Franklin and Quynh Tran, both Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership class of 2024.  

Urgent Care Everywhere, LLC: Provides accessible urgent care services by leveraging tele-health while effectively reducing Emergency Room wait times and closing the communication loop with Primary Care Providers, founded by Ray Bey, Executive MBA Americas class of 2023.  

Varyance: Reinvents the way companies forecast and manage cash flows, founded by Adam Frenkel and Krishna Adusumilli, both Executive MBA Americas class of 2024.

Waypoint: A patient navigation platform delivering greater control and community for chronic illness patients in their disease journeys, empowering them to better navigate the medical system, co-founded by James Wylie Deitch ‘23 and Julio Alex Albarracín, MPS-RE '23.  

We Buy Textile Waste!: Diverts textiles from municipal solid waste (MSW) by setting up collections in multi-story residential buildings, founded by Yusuf Kappaya, Executive MBA Americas class of 2023.  

Wholesome - Wellness Optimized: Provides a platform and a blueprint to demystify wellness across nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress management and life and relationship coaching, founded by Brandon Jernigan, Executive MBA Americas class of 2024.  

Zahk Properties: A registered Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, provides the US government with technology and equipment, founded by John Khazraee, Executive MBA Americas class of 2024. 

Chen, founder of The Right to Warmth and one of three Kadiyali Fund recipients, says, “I hope to solidify the foundation for this business through market research and risk analysis, as well as set up distribution channels before running production and warehousing inventory in late summer or fall of 2023.” 

Founder of Sperow and Kadiyali Fund recipient Christiani Sagala hopes to gain a community where she “can grow as an entrepreneur and be accountable for developing (her) start-up.” 

The teams are in the midst of the accelerator’s curriculum and meeting virtually for content sessions with industry experts and mentors. The program will conclude with a demo day event in Ithaca in September where teams will pitch their businesses and share their progress. 

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