After a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, Princeton and Harvard teamed up to resume the annual Princeton-Harvard Business School Startup Showcase. Hosted by the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, Harvard Business School Alumni Angels, and Princeton Alumni Angels, the 2021 showcase exhibited five startups founded by Princeton and HBS alumni. Held virtually in July, the event drew a record 250 attendees, giving the presenting startups a high level of visibility. This manifested itself after the event concluded, as the startups reported receiving follow-up inquiries from audience members.
Legion Health, a startup focused on fixing the deficit of mental health providers, won Audience Choice. Founded by Yash Patel ’18, Daniel Wilson ’18 and Arthur MacWaters ’18, their company won special consideration for the next HBS Angels pitch night and PAA pitch night. While participating in the P-HBS Startup Showcase, Legion Health was actively engaged in the Summer 2021 cohort of Y Combinator. (Legion graduated from Y Combinator in September.)
Co-Founder and President MacWaters presented Legion Health. Legion is solving the problem of people who struggle with mental health being unable to get access to care. In addition to patients not being able to find mental health professionals who have availability, in over 30% of scheduled appointments patients do not show up, making inefficiencies on both sides. Legion works with mental health professionals with time available, and they then contract with hospitals and telehealth companies to fill appointment slots. This allows hospitals and telehealth companies to efficiently scale supply to fit patient needs. Legion has hit the ground running, as they have already closed several contracts with providers.
Also presenting at the Showcase were:
CEO Brian Sheng ’18 presented Aquaria, which is transforming access to clean drinking water through a process known as atmospheric water generation. Atmospheric water generation treats the humidity in the air as a renewable resource using distiller technology. This will help populations without access to clean water. The company is also competing in the bottled water market, which is worth over $300 billion. Aquaria already has over 180,000 machines deployed in China. The early results are encouraging, as the water they produce is 10x more cost effective than bottled water, and they had $1.5 million in first-year revenue.
Co-founder and HBS alumnus Alex Miller presented Forestreet, an AI data startup looking to provide data that is cheaper and more efficient for the technology scouting and market research markets. In the company’s baseline tests, they run 3-5x faster than competitors while also using less resources. They also have context-aware Natural Learning Process (NLP) that allows users to map and classify technology markets according to their own needs. The market for specific technology and investment insights is around $3.85 billion. They have generated over $1.5 million in revenue this year, and 70% of clients have bought from them again within six months.
CEO Noah Freedman ’12 presented Nucleos, which creates second chances for people involved in the justice system by giving them the skills necessary to reenter society. Although the number of prisoners in the US has scaled up significantly, educational programs have not scaled up in the same way. Nucleos has a cloud-based education and training system that supports expanded rehabilitation and reentry support to corrections agencies. Their business model centers around selling access to their technology to federal, state, and local correctional institutions. Nucleos has been gaining traction and recently won a $1.2 million bid to have their product used by all correctional facilities in San Francisco County.
Michael Berry, Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Princeton and CEO of Optimal Acuity, presented their technology for restoring vision for those who suffer from vision loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Optimal Acuity’s Clear-K uses patented laser technology to gently reshape the cornea, which allows a change to the reflection of light, thus restoring vision. So far, the company has conducted three successful clinical trials with 170 patients. They have received investigational regulatory approval in Canada and they are moving forward to complete the first steps of the FDA regulatory process.