Success Story

11 startups selected for spring 2023 FastTrack Accelerator

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank has accepted 11 early-stage business startups into its spring 2023 FastTrack Accelerator program. The business concepts range from gym equipment attachments and kayaking accessories to a swipe-right based app for fashion, to a support system network for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.  

Through a competitive entry application process, FastTrack received 27 submissions for the no-cost business accelerator program, which is open to Penn State students, faculty and staff, as well as the community. The spring 2023 accelerator program, which runs from January through March, consists of nine weekly group meetings, plus 1-on-1 mentoring from advisers and experts in business, legal, and intellectual property. Teams also gain access to a suite of free tools and coworking space at Happy Valley LaunchBox, which is located on the second floor of the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub.  

“The FastTrack Accelerator program is designed to help teams quickly test the market, develop a minimum viable product, and launch their business models,” said Elizabeth Hay, Jack White Family Director of the Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank. “The startups selected for this session have a diverse range of ideas and are at different stages of business development. We are excited to see how they progress through the program and prepare for the final pitch competition.” 

On March 21, 2023, during Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC, teams will compete for a $5,000 investment to put towards their business. The pitch competition is from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub and is open to the public. Those interested in attending can register at no cost.  

The spring 2023 FastTrack Accelerator teams are:  

  • Home Team Invest offers Penn State alumni short-term rental property management and real estate investing opportunities in Centre County, PA. Home Team Invest’s CEO is alumna Diana Nelson. 
  • Khakie uses affiliate links to consolidate the offerings of many fashion retailers into a swiping-based recommendation system where swiped-right items are stored for later purchasing or sharing. Through global selection, convenient storage, and personalized recommendations, Khakie helps users find their style online. The Khakie startup team includes College of Engineering students Ralph Quartiano, Normen Yu, and Joe Messner. 
  • CTFGuide Corporation is an ethical hacking, learning, and competition platform for students and professionals. CTFGuide Corporation includes College of Engineering student Raymond Yan and College of Information Sciences and Technology student Pranav Ramesh. 
  • Zoils & Pigments manufactures soil-based paints such as watercolors, gouache, and crayons, using natural, non-toxic, and environmentally-conscious, high-grade ingredients and materials for use by artists and children. The Zoils & Pigments startup team includes College of Agricultural Sciences student Zoelie Rivera-Ocasio and community member Eric Appeldoorn. 
  • LifeBoxes recycles shipping containers to provide customizable and scalable housing solutions. The LifeBoxes startup team includes College of Agricultural Sciences student Haze Orner, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications student Alex Lin, Eberly College of Science student Elyse Johnson, College of Engineering student Nathan Ansu, and community member Yan Ming Hu.  
  • BeyondClass is an ed-tech B2C platform solving the information divide among college students. They deliver selected resources, including case competitions, scholarships, and networking events, that students miss out on from regular information overload. BeyondClass provides a centralized hub by hosting extracurricular activities and envisions creating a safe community where students can share their experiences while having fair access to opportunities. BeyondClass includes Daniel Dongjun Lee, College of Liberal Arts student Stella Sieun Cho, Smeal College of Business student Esther Hwiryeong Lee, Schreyer Honors mathematics and computer sciences student Dohyoung Ko, and College of Engineering students Charlie Kunjoong Kim and Yoojin Lim. 
  • PitchStacks, an online platform that allows students to share investment research with other students and investment firms. PitchStacks includes, Smeal College of Business student Dylan Benson and College of Liberal Arts student Andrew Ciotto. 
  • GroupIt LLC, a payment application that splits transactions up front. Plan a trip with friends, book it out, and only pay for the user’s portion. The GroupIt LLC startup team includes Charlie Snow, Noah Beck, Josh Hedge, College of Information Sciences and Technology students Matt Christianson and Josh Perrine, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications student Jess Gordon, and Penn State Berks students Mason Fontana and Timour Almakaev. 
  • WaveBreaker Technologies provides accessories to sit-in kayakers that add easily accessible storage while simultaneously diverting water away from the user. WaveBreaker Technologies is owned by Kevin Harris.  
  • Danger Fit LLC is building a patented attachment for the gym. This piece of equipment will act as grips that attach and detach onto a barbell. They will be able to slide left and right on the barbell which will help the user with strength and time. Danger Fit LLC’s CEO is Smeal College of Business student Brian Monk. 
  • PCOS Care Network provides care, support, and empowerment to women battling polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS Care Network’s founder is Beckie Bomberger, Penn State employee and alumna.  

About Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank 

Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank provides early-stage startups with support and resources they need to build a sustainable and scalable business and a viable plan for growth. No-cost programs and services include coworking space, accelerator programs, legal and intellectual property resources, and expert mentorships from Penn State’s extensive network. LaunchBox is open to everyone — community members and those affiliated with Penn State. Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and one of 21 innovation spaces located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania.