Success Story

Nine startups selected for spring 2024 FastTrack Accelerator

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank has accepted nine early-stage business startups into its spring 2024 FastTrack Accelerator program. The startups selected range from a clothing swapping app and an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging solution, to a custom button business, a nanny agency and an artificial intelligence driven career guidance platform.  

The accelerator program received applications from Penn State students, faculty and staff, and the local community.  

“This semester, we are happy to welcome a diverse group of exceptionally talented and driven entrepreneurs. The range of teams in this cohort is particularly exciting, encompassing physical products and service-based businesses, as well as advanced digital solutions,” says Elizabeth Hay, Jack White Family Director of Happy Valley LaunchBox. “We are also excited to see the increasing presence of AI-driven solutions among our participants, mirroring the dynamic shifts in the tech industry. Our team is committed to supporting these startups’ journey and looks forward to witnessing the significant progress they will make during the 10-week program.”  

FastTrack will run from mid-January to March and 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 last week of the program includes a final demo day where teams will present their startups and their progress during the program. 

The spring 2024 FastTrack Accelerator teams include the following: 

Achievify is an integrated AI-driven career guidance platform and online learning experience that provides accessible and user-friendly career matching, job competency road mapping and micro-courses. The startup team includes CEO Stephanie Bowles, a doctoral candidate in the College of Education and software engineer; Emanual Mendiola-Ortiz, a sophomore in the College of Information Sciences and Technology; and Michael Redig, lead IOS engineer. 

Bool LLC was founded by CEO Nicholas Cole. The Bool platform provides users of their website (and eventual mobile app) with real-time predictions of estimated wait times at bars and restaurants empowering those users to spend more time having fun and less time waiting in line. Cole, as well as CFO Shiv Patel, mechanical designer Jaden Rivera, and marketer Thomas Brown are all seniors in the College of Engineering. Bool developer Logan Balestrieri is an alum of the College of Engineering.  

Buttons on Beaver creates custom buttons for all occasions, predominantly Penn State football. CEO and founder Avery Vodar is a senior in the Smeal College of Business 

MindCast LLC provides organized, straight forward, affordable and time-efficient multimedia content to improve individuals’ mental health and wellness through both virtual and live platforms. MindCast aims to make it simple for individuals to use this information right away, ensuring that their journey to being their best self is a smooth and positive experience. CEO and founder Kelly Berthold is a behavioral health clinician and senior staff member at the Penn State Psychological Clinic within the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts. 

Nittany Nannies is a nanny agency that helps match families to babysitters in the State College area. CEO and founder Sarah Kuchta is a State College community member. 

SAGE ART offers a seamless art-buying experience that combines customization, affordability and quality. SAGE ART’s goal is to revolutionize the digital art scene by leveraging AI technology as a powerful tool for artistic expression. SAGE ART aims to serve the design needs of art enthusiasts, influencers and companies. CEO and founder Anish Nangare is a senior in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. 

SellMate LLC is an innovative AI-driven e-commerce platform designed to revolutionize the way small to medium-sized businesses and individual resellers manage their online sales. It simplifies the process of cross-listing products across online marketplaces, enabling sellers to manage their product listings from a single, user-friendly dashboard. CEO Tanishq Barot is a senior in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. Full stack developer Zachary Walnock and COO Prajnay Kataria are both students in the College of Engineering. Camila Mould Parga, chief marketing officer, is a student in the Smeal College of Business. 

Streamline Charging revolutionizes EV charging, cutting installation costs by 60% and creating new revenue streams for station owners. Streamline Charging’s flexible solution transforms the apartment charging experience, providing tenants with convenient scheduling options. CEO Jonathan Smith, strategy lead Shayaan Gandhi, and technical lead Rohan Chaudhary are all juniors in the College of Engineering. Software lead Loc Phan is a student in the Eberly College of Science.  

Swapp is a clothing swapping app that allows global users to access a world of swapping. The app makes it easy to find like-minded individuals who are looking to swap their clothes. Co-founder Sammy Vaillancourt is a junior in the Smeal College of Business, and co-founder Yumi Izumu is a sophomore in the College of Information Sciences and Technology.  

About Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank 

Happy Valley LaunchBox, located on the second floor of the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub in downtown State College, 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 can 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 is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and one of 21 innovation spaces located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania. Learn more. 

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.