Six Engineering Spinouts Selected as Eddies Finalists

Six spinout companies that were created by engineering faculty have been selected as finalists for the Massachusetts Innovation Network’s innovation competition, The Eddies.

Every year, the Massachusetts Innovation Network hosts its signature innovation competition, The Eddies. The Eddies (formerly known as NE Innovation Awards) is the oldest and longest running innovation competition in New England. The competition is open to any New England-based startup with a working prototype of a ground-breaking product or technology, and no more than 150 employees.

This awards program aims to help early-stage startups (pre-Series C) take the next steps in their commercialization journey, so it is a great opportunity for spinouts at Northeastern working with the CRI.

The Eddies finalists were handpicked by a seasoned group of independent judges. The teams are evaluated based on how likely their innovation is to disrupt the current status quo and affect positive change for their users, industries, and markets.

This year, we are proud to announce that six spinout companies from the Northeastern CRI were chosen as finalists for this prestigious competition under the following categories:

Smart Cities and Living

  • DeepCharge, founded by Professor Kaushik Chowdhury and Research Assistant Professor Yousof Naderi, electrical and computer engineering, is creating innovative technologies that radically simplify wireless charging. They have developed the world’s first intelligent and programmable wireless charging platform. With its advanced on-device AI technology, the platform can transform any surface into a contactless multi-device wireless charger for any device, including laptops. Related article on DeepCharge.

Tech and AI

  • Hydronet, founded by William Lincoln Smith Professor Tommaso Melodia who is also director of the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things (WIOT), and Assistant Research Professor of WIOT Emrecan Demirors, is revolutionizing high-speed wi-fi for underwater purposes. Their efficient, scalable, and secure software-defined platform enables real-time, high-speed data exchange and communication underwater.

Minority-Owned or Run

  • AInnovation Labs, founded by Professor Yun Raymond Fu, electrical and computer engineering jointly appointed in Khoury College of Computer Sciences, uses patented deep learning model compression techniques to port once costly AI algorithms into lightweight processes that can run in real-time on mobile devices. Their algorithms enable complex computer vision programs such as human pose tracking, behavioral recognition, and motion capturing to run on limited hardware. This enables more users to incorporate cutting-edge innovation into applications such as telemedicine, remote rehab, virtual-first care, and in-home fitness.

Healthy Living

  • QSM Diagnostics, founded by Professor Edgar Goluch, chemical engineering, offers pet owner mail-in and in-clinic bacterial testing products that improve the standard of care. Their testing products empower veterinarians and provide peace of mind to dog owners by delivering tests before their visit and simplifying the testing process overall. Related article on QSM Diagnostics.

Cleantech and Sustainability

  • PlanckEnergies, founded by Yi Zheng, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, and Andrew Caratenuto, PhD’24, mechanical engineering, is using clean energy research and applying it to create valuable, consumer-focused products that can be used at commercial scale and in developing areas. Their products currently include a green roofing material that helps keep buildings cool without using any energy, and a solar desalination system that uses repurposed biomass materials to address global freshwater shortages.

Life Sciences

  • Syncell Biotechnology is developing nano-therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of skin infections. Their team, including PhD alumnus David Medina Cruz, is developing microbially-synthesized nanomaterials that are disguised as bacterial cells and kill the same bacteria that produced them, like a tiny Trojan Horse. This novel class of nanotechnology-based antimicrobials will also potentially enable a future free of antibiotic resistance.

Being selected as a finalist is a great accomplishment and opportunity for all of these CRI spinouts.

“Selection to the Eddies is a great recognition and honor,” says Raymond Fu of AInnovation Labs. “The acceleration program will bring us a broad network of mentors, funding, partners, and industry professionals that will greatly benefit our business development, fundraising, and marketing.”

All finalists will get the opportunity to participate in a 5-month, no-cost, no-equity, innovation-support program that includes individualized mentoring, strategic guidance, leadership education, and connections to resources.

“The Eddies acceleration program will enable us to advance our go-to-market activities and development of strategic business partnerships,” says Yousef Naderi of DeepCharge. “It is an honor to be part of The Eddies finalist in Smart Living and Cities track, as the previous awardees have track records of significant business success.”

The award application process also helped provide meaningful feedback to the companies and helped them fine-tune their positioning.

“The program is helping us to better understand our niche market, position ourselves as a premium solution, and expand our horizons in terms of fundraising and business development,” says David Medina Cruz of SynCell Biotechnology.

Additionally, the CRI has been here to support the finalists on their entire journey to commercialization. Many of the finalists have been working with the CRI for months or years before applying to the Eddies.

“We first met with the CRI when we had absolutely nothing and were guided by their advice, help, and time to launch SynCell,” says Medina Cruz. “Since our formation, we have been constantly supported by CRI and its team. Furthermore, we also have been fortunate in being able to use CRI resources and services, which have been helping us tremendously as we plan our next steps of setting up the R&D and business infrastructure, fundraising, and networking through CRI-sponsored events.”

All Eddies finalists will demonstrate their innovation and deliver a 3-minute final presentation pitch to the judges at The Eddies Innovation Showcase on Thursday, October 6th. Recognition for the finalists, as well as the final award announcements, will be made during The Eddies Evening of Innovation on Thursday, November 3rd.

Source: Center for Research Innovation

Related Faculty: Kaushik Chowdhury, Yun Raymond Fu

Related Departments:Chemical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering