Get to Know the Teams - Q&A Session


Get to Know the Teams - Q&A Session


IgniteU discussed the inspirations, challenges, and daily motivators for this summer's startups.


CampusPro is a mobile app that connects student freelancers with peer consumers.

CampusPro was inspired by their time at UAlbany to create their startup.  During Sam’s time as a Resident Assistant, he received random services from fellow residents and decided there should be an easier way for students to know about the services available in the dorms.  After a bit of brainstorming, CampusPro was born. Everyday they are motivated by their own ability to help fellow college students grow their business and inspire others to start a side hustle. The feeling they get when they see students being able to balance the services they provide with their busy study schedules because of CampusPro is extremely rewarding and it provides motivation for them to keep grinding on their own projects. They also find motivation in knowing that they are allowing students to stay on campus for everything they need instead of having to take the bus into downtown Albany.

Sam and Kranthi’s favorite thing about being entrepreneurs is the ample opportunities to learn something new everyday.  From tech to marketing, they appreciate the ability to learn, and to do so quickly. As many startups do, CampusPro has faced challenges, the biggest being receiving funding.  They hope to make connections this summer that could turn into financing opportunities. Aside from the possible opportunities that could come out of the IgniteU Summer Accelerator Program, they decided to apply after hearing fellow entrepreneurs rave about their time here.  Their goal for the summer is to soak up as much knowledge as possible from the experienced individuals they will meet. They believe there is always more to learn, and one of the best ways to do so is sitting down and discussing not only ones successes, but failures, as well.


Tech Whisperers is a technology service, repair and network systems administration enterprise.

Tech Whisperers found inspiration in an article about a foreign country and their minimal salary gaps between senior executives and entry level employees.  Instead of raises, the article explained how things like health benefits, vacations, and meals were used as compensation after a certain point of seniority.  They were attracted to the idea of a higher quality of life instead of monetary compensation for success. Kyle finds motivation in the ability to encourage and enable more career opportunities for kids and young adults in underserved communities.  The ability to share his wealth of knowledge and abilities drives him to work hard every day and teach others. He and Harrison want to create a balance between technology and everyday life. As many other startups do, they run into challenges in everything from the competitiveness of the entrepreneurial world to legality issues, but the ability to improve people’s lives keeps them in the entrepreneurial world.

They decided to apply for the Summer Accelerator Program due to its structure for learning and the support this intensive program is able to provide.  They hope to gain wisdom, build relationships, as well as reduce the complexity and stress of starting a new business. Their main goal this summer is to achieve success within Tech Whisperers.


Aurox is an ag-tech startup dedicated to providing innovative technology and data solutions for dairy farms and their nutritionists.

Adam and Sam of Aurox found inspiration for their startup from their experience in the dairy industry.  Adam first began flying drones for dairy farms and started to notice their lack of critical data points, as well as the unsafe data collection methods. He and Sam believed that dairy farms need accurate feed data and safer procedure around feed bunks. Their unique opportunity to transform the industry and increase the level of safety and efficiency in measuring feed motivates them to keep striving on with their startup.  Adam and Sam find that, while being a small and younger team has been challenging, it has been even more rewarding.

Adam loves how being an entrepreneur makes it possible to change the world and improve processes, while Sam loves being involved in the multiple facets of business. He enjoys the flexibility of being able to do everything from product development to sales and marketing. They decided to apply for the summer cohort after realizing what incredible connections could be made throughout the summer. They look forward to the accelerated growth Aurox may find in this program, as well as the knowledge the two of them can gain.


The Starving Artists is a venue that hosts a variety of events to give artists a safe space to explore, network, and have an opportunity to promote themselves.

The Starving Artists, made up of Lauren, Keyla, and Fatouma, were inspired by their own difficulties finding a sanctuary in the world of an artist.  They started a club during their time at UAlbany and quickly realized that what they were doing was something they were passionate about. They wanted to continue that passion into their post-college lives and their startup was born.  Everyday they are motivated by their ability to provide a safe and judgement free space for all types of new artists. The pure joy they experience in every aspect of their work helps them to keep striving towards their goals. As all startups do, they have encountered many challenges in the entrepreneurial world, specifically in marketing their space to the public as similar initiatives, yet not the same, as theirs already exist with solid fan bases.

As artists, any time they can take creative liberty they do, and that is their favorite thing about being entrepreneurs; the ability to take creative license in your initiative. They can put their heads together and turn any cool idea into a spectacular event because of the resources the entrepreneurial world provides them with. Fatouma, Lauren, and Keyla decided to apply for the summer accelerator program because there are still several logistics that they cannot work out on their own.  Being provided with insight and strategy from mentors with wisdom to offer will greatly help The Starving Artists stay on track towards success. They want to become more educated on the startup world and learn how to network better.


CenterSquare is a mobile marketing app that uses proximity technologies to connect residents and visitors with local businesses.

CenterSquare, founded by Adam Mason, was inspired by his time at a retail wine and liquor store.  While working there he often saw how wasteful traditional marketing strategies can be. With a bit of research on the abilities to connect local businesses to the communities smartphones, CenterSquare was born. Adam comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, so he understands how difficult the startup world can be. The ability to be the captain of his own destiny motivates him daily to keep working on CenterSquare.  He looks forward to one day having a success story of his own to share with others and to validate all of the hard work put into this startup. He finds that many people are scared of change, despite traditional marketing techniques being rather outdated, and that pitching such a new design of marketing via an app is the most challenging this he has encountered. This being said, the CenterSquare team enjoys the challenges of being an entrepreneur, and they thrive in this environment.  The feeling of being able to pave your own walkway exhilarating.

Adam believes that the IgniteU Summer Accelerator Program holds ample opportunity for CenterSquare to grow and better focus their efforts using the mentors provided to them. They look forward to being able to use these resources to move into the next step of sales and marketing, as well as to be able to find out if their startup has the capabilities to be successful.


EmpowerU VR is a safe and risk-free way for females and males alike to practice situational self-defense in a controlled environment.

Yumi from EmpowerU VR was inspired to launch her startup after running a successful taekwondo studio for a few years.  She originally entered the program with a snow removal mat, however pivoted to this new venture after pitching the idea to her mentor.  Yumi comes from a long background of martial arts boasting a 4th degree black belt, as well as coaching a team competing at nationals this summer.  She said the idea for a VR self-defense class has been something she has always thought about creating and now she has the support to do so.

As martial arts and self-defense are something she has always been passionate about she never struggles finding the motivation to keep working on her startup.  She looks forward to the numerous connections she will make this summer, as well as finally being able to bring an idea of hers to fruition.


2018 IgniteU Summer Accelerator Open House


2018 IgniteU Summer Accelerator Open House

On Tuesday, June 12th, IgniteU will be hosting an open house to showcase the new startups we have selected to go through our 9-week accelerator program this summer.  Located at our office on the 3rd floor of 333 Broadway, we encourage everyone to come out and get a sneak peek of the diverse startups we are taking on this summer.


Meet our Summer 2018 Teams!

Meet our Summer 2018 Teams!

IgniteU would like to introduce everyone to the six startups that will be participating in our Summer Accelerator Program. This is a 9-week long program that will give the founders of these startups the tools and abilities to improve not only their startups, but themselves as entrepreneurs. Here at IgniteU we focus on relationship building, founder development, business fundamentals, and mentorship as key ways to guide these founders to success. Entering the program we have Aurox, CampusPro, Solar Snow Systems, Tech Whisperers, CenterSquare, and The Starving Artists, all of whom have unique reasons for applying to our program.


Aurox is an ag-tech startup dedicated to providing innovative technology and data solutions for dairy farms and their nutritionists. Their precision feed tracking is revolutionizing current farming methods by introducing drones and automated remote sensing technology to collect highly accurate, safe, and consistent measurements. They combine these measurements with additional on-farm data sources, providing an intuitive, easily digestible display of feed metrics.


CenterSquare is a mobile marketing app that uses proximity technologies to connect residents and visitors with local businesses. CenterSquare implements Bluetooth beacons, geofences and NFC tags to push deals, coupons, promotions, loyalty rewards, curated news and culture directly to app users’ smartphones for 24+ categories of business. Feature-rich CenterSquare helps customers grow their businesses.

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EmpowerU VR is a virtual reality program teaching realistic training for self defense.  The program helps to teach the user how to deescalate a situation to avoid dangerous situations, as well as how to defend them self if needed.  It is designed for anyone who feels they may need to protect themselves, spot dangers before they occur, or simply reassure that they are safe.  EmpowerU VR allows the user to redo levels and practice as much as they like in a life like situation that triggers a fight or flight response, all things that are unavailable in traditional self defense classes. 


The Starving Artists is a non-profit that hosts a variety of open mic nights, workshops, programs, and performances to give artists a safe space to explore, network, and have an opportunity to promote themselves. It encompasses and welcomes all artistic forms – including poetry, music, comedy, physical art, etc. Their mission is to provide a platform and space for development for various types of artists.


CampusPro is a mobile app that connects student freelancers with peer consumers. At the tap of a button, CampusPro brings students together, empowers them to earn, and provides instant convenience. CampusPro is tailored to the sudent's university, and enables them to choose from a list of locations on campus to meet-up. CampusPro provides a feature for consumers to get paid right after the service is completed with a secure payment processor.


Tech Whisperers is a technology service, repair, and network systems administration enterprise. Their focus is on accelerated business ownership & community leadership training with a grassroots comprehensive approach to regional community economic development They have spent the past few years on focused research, and have selected the best practices for their systems based approach.