The CITRIS Foundry welcomes twelve new teams covering a variety of tech fields from wildfire detection and artificial intelligence to pharmaceutical testing and water sustainability. The six-month CITRIS Foundry incubator program offers coaching, a toolbox of resources, and access to the CITRIS Invention Lab makerspace and the Berkeley Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory at CITRIS.
A description of the CITRIS Foundry 2021 cohort follows.
Founders: Jin Pu, Hoa Nguyen, Chelsie Lui, Mikayla O’Reggio
Activism Always empowers nonprofits through AI-driven data insights and strategy recommendations. Responding to a lack of data management talent in the social impact and nonprofit sectors, Activism Always provides a hybrid service to tap into organizational data. The team’s technology and service allow nonprofits to flexibly and reliably organize data into easy-to-access insights and visualizations. It develops, implements, and educates financial and user-accessible data analysis technology. Going forward, Activism Always hopes to develop an easy-to-access product that allows nonprofits to access this type of technology with the option of additional consulting.
Founders: Bryan Wong, Kelly Chou, Magnus (Max) Gu
Artemix’s countertop “Artemixer” allows health-conscious eaters to make their own alternative and plant-based meats at home. To fit any recipe, users can create appealing, customizable, and transparent alternative meat products. Artemix aims to demystify plant-based meats by allowing users to produce their own alt meats. By offering users transparency and an understanding of alt meat processing, the Artemix will bring the appeal of alt meats to a wider consumer audience and increase adoption of alt meat.
Founders: Marco Lobba, Geo Guillen, Matt Francis
Catena Biosciences’ innovative protein conjugation platform technology rapidly identifies therapeutic candidates for autoimmune disorders, allowing for novel therapeutics. Autoimmune diseases addressed include Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s, Psoriasis, and IBD. Due to symptom severity and the need for chronic medication, autoimmune disorders cost the US healthcare system over $100 billion dollars annually and are one of the top ten leading causes of death for women under 65. Catena utilizes its protein conjugation technology to retrain the immune system and prevent it from attacking itself through coupling target autoantigens with receptor binding domains to induce tolerance. The team’s work has already been used to modify cancer-specific antibodies, but the most exciting application is in the emerging field of immune tolerance induction. Catena’s technology allows users to couple receptor binding proteins to immune triggering partners, retraining the immune system when it targets healthy proteins.
Chemix helps battery and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers achieve ten times faster product-to-market launch by using artificial intelligence (AI) to rapidly design new electrolytes. Lithium-ion battery performance is the largest barrier to EV adoption, mainly due to charge time and cost. Chemix is developing liquid electrolytes that will have a transformational impact on battery performance and are a true drop-in replacement. Their products will enable mass-market EV adoption using their vision for the next generation electrolyte research lab: a fully-integrated R&D process driven by high-quality data, AI, and rapid experimental feedback.
Founders: Mahdieh Taher, Atit Wongnophadol, Alberto Todeschini
Irritector helps companies assess water usage and sustainability in agriculture by providing them with various water measures globally and at high resolution. The team solves issues surrounding water availability, water stress, and water scarcity, allowing corporations and governments to plan for a sustainable future and avoid costly stranded assets and misspent investments. Irritector builds the first high-resolution, global model of irrigation and a time-series prediction engine. Their technical innovation first marries multispectral satellite imagery with synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) imagery, translating between the multispectral and the SAR domains. Rich labeled datasets are then used for multispectral images to train on SAR images. Second, because SAR data refreshes daily, the team has higher temporal resolution than incumbents, allowing more granular and precise time-series prediction models compared to existing offerings. Irritector’s innovation gives a significant cost and performance advantage over the incumbents.
Founder: Kai Tang
Loggicat helps technology companies improve their log security. All of the log management systems in the market do not do much in terms of security and currently, there is no security-focused log management available. Loggicat plans a few security features for its product to make it stand out in the market: (1) Rule-based detection for sensitive data, including but not limited to Personally Identifiable Information (PII), passwords, tokens, (2) Rule-based detection for some common web application attacks such as SQL injection or XSS, (3) AI-based for general anomaly.
Founders: Sheela Kotagiri, Ishan Paranjpe, Manish Paranjpe
myPRS helps families understand their children’s genetic predisposition of diseases by utilizing polygenic risk scores via a broad spectrum of multi-ethnic genomic data. The PRS application aims to solve the issue of disease risk stratification in the pediatric population. Since personalized genomic testing today is largely focused on very rare single-gene disorders, the prediction of common diseases remains a challenge. The recent explosion in polygenic risk scores has allowed us to determine the risk of complex diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes for the first time. The myPRS team aims to remedy current personalized genomic efforts that are primarily geared towards adults of European ancestry and exclusively rare disorders.
Founders: Patrick Thelen, Benjamin Wulff
Procuros saves sales teams within the manufacturing industry time by aggregating all orders in an automated single portal. Sales teams currently have to access dozens of supplier input portals and enter all data related to the order-to-cash process twice – once in the supplier input portal and once in their own enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. For sales teams, this manual data entry requires up to 17x as much time as electronic data exchange via a direct integration. Procuros’ innovation is a platform that integrates with different supplier input portals and shows everything in one consolidated view. It also reduces the need to log in to different portals and makes it easier to download orders, make updates, and collaborate with their buyers. Their cloud software’s unique integration with existing supplier input portals via electronic data interchange (EDI) or application programming interfaces (APIs) and also integrates into the ERP system of the manufacturer, allowing even small suppliers that usually do not have the resources to establish direct ERP integrations with their buyers to exchange documents digitally.
Founders: Daniel Sun, Matthew Witman, David Sun
Sunchem treats and filters industrial wastewater for heavy metal contamination using their novel material frameworks. The team focuses on developing transmutation filters for gold extraction from liquid sources. Their material’s rapid extraction rates and unprecedented selectivity to gold even at trace amounts can dilute gold in industrial/mining waste streams, sewage sludge, and electronic waste that are unreachable due to inadequate separation technologies. One kilogram of Sunchem’s material can concentrate up to one kilogram of gold. In the future, Sunchem’s technology will also tackle water contamination, providing clean drinking water to the populace using transmutation filters.
Sundial Foods, Inc.
Founders: Siwen Deng, Jessica Schwabach
Sundial Foods, Inc. has developed an innovative method for structuring plant proteins to create meat-like textures. They focus not only on the microstructural aspect of meat (fiber density, hardness, porosity, etc.) but also on the macrostructure, creating ‘muscle bundles’ and larger complex structures in order to recreate whole cuts of meat (think steaks, drumsticks, wings) with nothing but plants. By creating nutritious, affordable plant-based alternatives to meat, Sundial Foods is giving consumers the option to make the choice that they want without compromising in terms of flavor or nutrition.
Founders: Shyamini Kularathna, Bingyu Zhao, Kenichi Soga
WUI GO! helps communities and agencies effectively respond to high-risk and dynamic wildfire events by providing visually realistic and interactive tools. Disaster preparedness, in general, is the key to the survival of vulnerable populations. WUI GO!’s innovation lies in creating a low-cost, realistic, and interactive platform that can be used by public safety and fire agencies at the community, regional, and state levels to supplement/substitute existing inefficient approaches (e.g., pamphlets, maps, or drills) for disaster preparedness and communication. The innovation has three tiers. Firstly, the team has developed physically rigorous simulation backbones that are suitable to be applied to wildfire evacuations. Secondly, they have teamed up with experts in fire modeling and organizational behavior. The third innovation is to focus on resident-agency interactions and build “confidence” through realistic scenarios that cannot be considered by conventional methods.
Founders: John (Jack) Selberg, Gary Mantalas, Sergio Cordero, Spencer Seiler
X-Vivo Systems enable faster and more targeted therapeutics to reach the market by providing performance metrics on diverse and representative tissue samples during preclinical testing. A major problem affecting global health is a White/European-focused pharmaceutical production system arising from a lack of diversity in preclinical drug trials and a White bias in clinical testing. X-Vivo tackles this issue with drug efficacy with predictive genetic testing in the preclinical trial stage. This allows pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to design clinical trials in a manner that brings more drugs to market for more people. The team recreates the physiology of an organ, or tissue, to the point where the effects of genetic variation from human diversity are measurable. This is a unique strategy for solving global inequity in pharmaceutical efficacy and provides an opportunity for X-Vivo customers to bring more drugs to market by optimizing their clinical trials.
To learn more about the CITRIS Foundry teams, please visit their portfolio.
The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners.
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