The grants will support six endeavors founded by Dartmouth entrepreneurs and innovators.
Mubarak Idoko D’23 wants to revolutionize the way that Nigerian students learn. His company, Lena, aims to do that by delivering all-in-one web-based learning management software that Nigerian schools can use to harness technology to improve learning outcomes.
In the coming months, Idoko will launch a minimum viable project thanks to $5,000 in funding from the Magnuson Center’s Founders Grant. Lena was one of six companies awarded grant funding from the Magnuson Center this month under the Founders Grants, which are meant to help move Dartmouth-founded ideas forward.
For Idoko, the grant funding will bring his technology closer to the students and teachers in Nigeria who need it.
“Our focus is primarily on designing, engineering, deploying, and testing over the next year,” Idoko says.
Sunil Krish D’23 and Ian Kim D’24 received $2,500 in funding from the Class of 2005 Grant for Entrepreneurship, part of the Founders grant program for their company, Hegemon. The business is creating a platform that harnesses AI to enhance sales stacks.
"While there has been little innovation in the cold calling and outreach process, as well as lead qualification and deal closing, we dare to challenge the status quo,” Krish says.
The platform works by identifying genuine connections and hidden networks within a sales stack.
“Most deals and strategic relationships don't originate from a meeting in a sterile conference room,” Krish says. “Instead, it's crucial that solicitors, prospectors, and salespersons know the genuine reasons people and products are connected. Knowing the how and the why are critical in approaching and persuading clients.”
Krish and Kim plan to integrate existing sales stacks, build out their infrastructure and invest in sales and marketing with the grant funding. Within the year, they’d like to launch a self-service SAAS platform.
Ross Warner, a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering and a surgical innovation fellow, received $2,000 in funding for a project meant to improve vascular surgery through a navigation program similar to the GPS that we’re all familiar with.
"The technique works the exact same way that the GPS technology of Google Maps does on your phone, showing you where you are on a map and plotting a path overlaid on that map to get you from point A to B,” Warner says. “However, in surgery, a surgeon would see the location of his surgical instruments overlaid on a surgical map made up of a 3D image volume such as an MRI or a CT.”
As a surgical innovation fellow, Warner participates in a surgical rotation similar to those that med students do. Yet instead of performing surgeries, “we observe surgical cases in a range of specialties through the lens of an engineer looking for clinical needs,” Warner explained.
“This project stemmed from these observations and the collaborative nature Dartmouth and Dartmouth Health have by letting our engineering research team directly in the operating room to directly observe vascular surgery’s clinical needs,” Warner said.
Collaboration with other Dartmouth medical professionals including Dr. Xiaoyao Fan, an image processing and surgical navigation expert, Dr. Keith Paulsen, Scientific Director of the Center for Surgical Innovation at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Warner's PhD advisor; Dr. Richard Powell, Director of the Dartmouth Health Heart and Vascular Center; and Dr. Kirthi Bellamkonda, MD, MSc, vascular surgery resident, are all integrally involved in the project.
Warner's team will use their Founder’s Grant to purchase equipment needed to develop the program further. With that, they hope to attract NIH or other peer-reviewed funding, amplifying the impact of the grant.
Aamir Abbas, a pain medicine fellow at Dartmouth Hitchcock, is also working to improve surgical understanding for providers and patients. Abbas works with precise interventions on the spine and other places where an intricate understanding of anatomy is critical. His company High Poly Labs created a product called AnatoView. It’s a smart-phone application that uses augmented reality to allow doctors to virtually walk through complex medical procedures.
Abbas and his cofounder, Michelle Chen, have also identified an unexpected use for AnatoView: helping patients understand the procedures they’ll be undergoing.
"It’s so hard, understanding what’s happening and getting quality guidance on why it’s happening,” Abbas said.
He and Tin will use their $1,000 Founders Grant for a promotional video and other administrative tasks. The funds, while important, are secondary to the support the team have had from the Magnuson Center.
“The guidance I got from the Magnuson Center has been instrumental in getting this thing off the ground,” Abbas said.
Another recipient, Möte, which received a $1,000 grant, allows users and teams to search and summarize files, conversations, and notes across platforms from one location. Cofounders AJ Grewal D’23, Spencer Warezak D’22, Erich Woo D’23 and Leo Xie D’23 plan to use the funding to integrate Microsoft, Slack, Dropbox and other applications, and then recruit beta testers over the next six months.
A final enterprise, TeamUp Therapy led by Christopher Moates TU’23, received a $1,000 grant.