CITRIS Foundry announces spring 2023 cohort

Three-photo collage: A woman looking at a tablet computer; a pair of hands soldering a device; redwood trees. A blue overlay with the CITRIS Foundry logo appears on top.

The CITRIS Foundry welcomes five new teams advancing information technology solutions in health care, wildfire detection, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and more. The deep tech incubator is open to students and faculty affiliated with the four campuses of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute (CITRIS) at the University of California (UC), and the 12-month program offers entrepreneurs time, resources and space to develop their innovative ideas into startups ready to seek venture capital funding. 

Since its founding in 2013, the CITRIS Foundry has supported more than 125 founder teams that have secured more than $220 million in total funding. The innovations in its portfolio aim to address some of society’s biggest challenges, including education access, medical diagnostics and sustainable energy.

“We are excited to support the newest group of co-founders,” said Marc Theeuwes, CITRIS Foundry managing director. “We have already started helping each team utilize resources and facilities within Foundry’s entrepreneurship ecosystem to bring their research to market.”

The list of spring 2023 teams includes:

Flockfysh, UC Berkeley
Founding team: Ansh Chaurasia, Raymond Tian

Well-annotated data sets are critical for training accurate machine learning models for real-world challenges such as reliable image recognition to enable safe autonomous driving. Flockfysh is committed to improving data set creation for developers, researchers and companies. Specializing in rapid, automated generation of high-quality data sets, the startup offers tools that eliminate manual annotation, the intensive process of assigning labels to make data more usable for machines. 

Grid Communications, UC Merced
Founding team: Liliana Figueroa, Emerald Nash

Severe wildfires are a recurring hazard in California, underscoring the urgent need for an efficient warning system that can provide real-time data directly to high-risk communities. To address the challenges of early wildfire detection, Grid Communications has developed a novel sensory communications system that facilitates peer-to-peer transfer of environmental data without the need for internet, satellite or other external networks. Its innovative solution has been designed to withstand harsh conditions and is capable of providing critical information on fire location, infrastructure damage and potential risks to human life. 

Mindly, UC Berkeley 
Founding team: Srinija Maganti, Pooja Shah

Mindly enables clinicians to accurately track symptoms of neurological disorders through a visual platform, helping them make more informed treatment decisions. The tool integrates video tracking of face and body movements with conventional therapeutics and real-time data analysis, improving the ability to monitor the progression of symptoms and adjust treatment plans accordingly. Patients will have convenient access to their accounts from any device to provide feedback on their treatment. The team’s initial focus is on autism spectrum disorder. 

PosTrue, UC Merced
Founding team: Asiyah Awais, Shijia Pan, Shubham Rohal, Shreya Shriram

In an era of increased remote work and prolonged mobile device usage, PosTrue’s mission is to counter chronic back, shoulder and neck pain by targeting a common root cause — poor posture. Its “smart” posture-correcting back brace is enhanced with sensors and AI to detect muscle stiffness and characterize muscle condition. The PosTrue app provides real-time tracking of muscle health and encourages habitual posture improvement. 

WakoAI, UC Santa Cruz
Founding team: Jonah Daian, Jerry Zhu

Traditional speech recognition platforms often feel rigid, predefined and unnatural. WakoAI aims to make voice interaction with digital applications more intuitive. Using a combination of software, automatic speech recognition systems and transformer controllers developed in-house, the platform is designed to understand user intent and infer underlying meaning, resulting in an engaging human-like dialogue. The cloud-based tool is intended to seamlessly integrate with applications that require natural language interaction such as chatbots, virtual assistants and language translations tools to create a more immersive user experience.