Since 2009, Northeastern’s student-run venture accelerator IDEA has been doling out cash, mentorship, legal services and advice to companies looking to launch their ideas off the ground. With the goal of cultivating Northeastern’s entrepreneurial community, IDEA’s donated gap and prototype funding to teams who show “exceptional potential.”
Companies are able to participate as long as one team member is an active Northeastern undergraduate or graduate student, or is an alum. Even better — teams can apply multiple times for gap funding. IDEA doesn’t take equity or retain the rights of any of their companies’ intellectual property. Over the years, IDEA’s portfolio has been growing, ranging from clothing brands to marketing agencies. Here’s just a taste of what you might find on the accelerator’s roster.
Annie Mulz — Standing for the “Animal in Man,” the streetwear brand’s been making waves in Boston. Within their first three months of business, Annie Mulz had quickly sold over 600 T-shirts. And after teaming up and launching a limited 8-piece collection with the city’s premiere streetwear truck, Green Street Vault, the companies decided to collaborate yet again, currently running a pop-up shop on Newbury Street.
Apifia — Looking to gamify social media, Apifia is developing applications that tap into Social Influence Marketing (SIM) and help identify social influencers. Their first product, SplashScore, is a Facebook application that gamifies users’ Facebook activity to reward online social influencers. Through three core elements — pond, ripple and splash — users can determine their social influence and compare their scores with friends.
Global Foods Online — Global Foods Online represents international cooking made easy. The company provides home chefs with hard-to-find, authentic ingredients and packages them into kits. Even better — they offer free shipping in the United States.
Harper Lei — Created for women ages 18-35, Harper Lei is an apparel line focused on social and environment responsibility. Every item is created from eco-friendly fabrics, such as micro modal, bamboo and organic cottons.
influencers@ — influencers@ is a marketing agency that strives to increase brand awareness and boost sales through street and web marketing campaigns that are driven by the company’s Gen Y and Gen X community of influencers.
Jola Venture — Jola Venture has developed a new food preservation technique by harnessing the sun’s heat to dehydrate food. The team’s currently working in Cameroon, Africa to conduct market research and continue testing their product.
Mini Pops — Ranging in flavors from “subatomic sea salt” to “itty bitty butter,” Mini Pops manufactures air-popped and seasoned organic sorghum grain that lacks corn allergens and gluten, and also requires 50 percent less water to grow.
Moniker Guitars — Moniker Guitars is a custom guitar maker that allows customers to design and purchase a new electric guitar online. The company offers thousands of combinations, enabling users to mix up colors, shapes, parts, sounds, text and graphic options.
Njabini Apparel — Njabini Apparel is a microenterprise that employs disadvantaged and disabled women in Kenya. The mothers employed hand-craft products using locally-sourced materials, and 50 percent is put back into their hands, which helps their children and stimulates the local economy. Thirty percent is then reinvested into Njabini Apparel’s growth and 20 percent is donated to Flying Kites Global, a nonprofit that operates a children’s home and primary school in Njabini.
Pure Pest Management — Specializing in the control of mosquitoes, ticks, deer and indoor bugs, Pure Pest Management sources their products from plant extracts and natural oils, giving them the ability to combat against pests in a capacity that’s both safe for the environment, as well as families.
SMAK — SMAK is a software company tackling information overload — from email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, news feeds, blogs and other information streams. Putting users in control of their communication, they can go from clutter to conversations.
USHAgZ Clothing — The word “ushagz” is Swahili slang for “the village.” To the team, the village is where those in African countries develop their core values, and it’s there they draw inspiration for the collections they present. They have two different collections — Rep Wear and Casual Wear — but the Rep Wear gives everyone the chance to represent their country, because each shirt is designed with that specific country’s colors or native language in mind.
Willo Cocktails — Hoping to give Skinnygirl a run for its money, Willo Cocktails is developing low-calorie, organic bottled cocktails perfect for the health-conscious consumer. Each drink is made with agave syrup, fresh-squeezed orange juice, lime juice and tequila.