Purdue Students on the Fast Track to Success
Writer(s): Jesica E. Hollinger
Two Purdue students who pioneered a new software business, SensorHound Innovations LLC – a high-tech startup based in the Purdue Research Park - have been chosen to participate in the next class of the Alchemist Accelerator's IoT track beginning Thursday (Aug. 21).
Mathew Tan Creti, PhD candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Vinai Sundaram, who earned his doctorate from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering were selected for the San Francisco-based Alchemist Accelerator's program which is designed to assist startups whose revenue comes from enterprises, not consumers.
Supporters of the program include Cisco Systems, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Khosla Ventures, Salesforce.com, SAP Ventures and US Venture Partners. It is managed by Ravi Belani, the Fenwick and West Lecturer of Entrepreneurship at Stanford University.
Patrick Eugster, professor of computer science and co-founder of the business, has worked with the students in an advisory capacity from the innovation to the creation of their business endeavor. Eugster and Xiangyu Zhang, associate professor of computer science served as advisors for Sundaram’s PhD thesis.
SensorHound Innovations LLC is developing software products that could reduce the cost of developing and operating networked embedded systems. These systems act as sensors, gathering data from an environment and sharing it electronically. Belani has been encouraged by the potential demonstrated by SensorHound.
"We are looking for startups that can provide solutions for ensuring reliable and secure Internet of Things (IoT). SensorHound fits that model because their technology could play a crucial technical role in the future IoT as well as has tremendous commercial potential," Belani said. "In fact, the Alchemist Accelerator has already invested $50,000 in SensorHound."
Sundaram expressed his honor in being selected, along with the advantage this opportunity gives his company.
"We are honored to be part of the prestigious Alchemist Accelerator class," Sundaram said. "Their guidance will help us further develop our technology to monitor and verify large networked sensor systems at runtime and enable users to react quickly to identify and correct anomalies before a potential breakdown occurs."
Eugster explained that sensors being developed by SensorHound may be used to control the power grid and other systems. Improving how the systems communicate could diminish events like power outages.
To date, SensorHound Innovations has received a $150,000 SBIR Phase I grant from the NSF, assistance from the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurial initiative managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, and used office space in the Anvil, a student-operated, co-working space for entrepreneurs that opened in 2013.
The Foundry, which also opened in 2013, provides Purdue innovators with entrepreneurial resources to support the launch of new ventures. Assistance from the Foundry includes business plans, prototype creation, funding, grant writing and mentoring.
The Alchemist Accelerator is an accelerator exclusively for startups whose revenue comes from enterprises, not consumers. The accelerator focuses on enterprise customer development, sales (direct and online), market validation, and a structured path to fundraising.