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UCSD's mystartupXX, HERA Labs each awarded $50K

The Rady School of Management and UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering’s collaborative mystartupXX accelerator, and HERA Labs were two of the winners of the national Growth Accelerator Fund competition, netting $50,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

MystartupXX and Hera Labs were two of 80 winners selected from 400 applicants. The mystartupXX program’s mission is to nurture the next generation of female founder and female-led technology startups through mentorship, education and funding. It’s designed to encourage and aid female students from all across UC San Diego to create innovative, technology-driven companies.

“Increasing the number of women entrepreneurs is critically important to the growth of U.S. economy,” said Lada Rasochova, executive director of the California Institute for Innovation and Development at the Rady School of Management and mystartupXX program director. “Winning this prestigious award from the SBA will enable the work of the mystartupXX program to grow and expand to include UC San Diego alumni. We have already had many successful outcomes from program participants and this award will help us continue to provide the tools female-led technology startups need to excel in the innovation economy.”

The accelerator attracts students from across UC San Diego, from undergraduates to postdoctoral scholars. Program graduates include Ashley Van Zealand, a Rady School alumna and CEO of Cypher Genomics, who has grown her startup from an idea to a company with 15 employees and products on the market that enable the interpretation of the next generation sequencing data and precision medicine. Sneha Jayaprakash, a Jacobs School undergraduate student and CEO of Giventure, developed an app that enables volunteers, volunteer organizations and nonprofits to connect. In addition, Caroline McCandless, a graduate student at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography and CEO of Carosoul, is developing recyclable materials for wetsuits.

Since its founding in 2012, the mystartupXX program has supported three cohorts of female entrepreneurs and 16 female-led teams. Five startup companies have launched, more than $8 million has been raised by startups, over 130 jobs have been created and several products are on the market generating more than $1 million in revenues. Two mystartupXX companies were admitted to other prestigious incubator and accelerator programs.

HERA Labs, which stands for Helping Entrepreneurs Rapidly Accelerate, is a female-focused accelerator responsible for helping startups form, educating entrepreneurs, taking businesses to the next level and creating new jobs. Hera Fund, a division of Hera Labs, is a group for female angel investors who want to fund and support female founders.

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