The NYU Innovation Venture Fund completed its 14th and 15th investments in 2016 with investments in OpenTrons and Vidcode.
OpenTrons, founded by Will Canine (Tisch ‘14), is automating wet lab experiments by using robotics and software to eliminate mundane and time-consuming tasks, such as pipetting by hand.
OpenTrons’ mission to empower biodevelopers through robotics grew out of Will Canine’s thesis at Tisch’s ITP. Immersing himself widely in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Will advanced OpenTrons in the Brooklyn incubator Greenspace, an accelerator program in Shenzhen, China, and Y Combinator. The vision for OpenTrons became a reality through a successful Kickstarter campaign that was backed by 237 backers to raise over $125,000. The NYU Innovation Venture fund participated in this round of funding alongside Khosla Ventures. OpenTrons currently has over 85 robots pipetting across labs!
Vidcode, co-founded in 2014 by Tisch ITP graduate Alexandra Diracles, introduces computer science education to middle and high school students by pairing it with creative outlets they already engage with and enjoy.
Based on Alexandra Diracles' ITP thesis, Vidcode appeals to non-technical students who otherwise might not be interested in coding by allowing users to upload their own photos and videos and using code to customize effects. The company has quickly capitalized on relevant trends including Pokemon Go and Snapchat filters to tap into its users interests.
Allie Diracles and her co-founder, Melissa Halfon, participated in NYU’s ITP Pitchfest, a series of workshops that taught them how to better understand their users’ needs. They joined 4.0 Schools, an edtech-focused accelerator and continued to iterate with NYC students, the Girl Scouts of America, and others. The team was also accepted into NYU’s Varick St. Incubator and successfully closed a $32,000 Kickstarter campaign to continue development. Vidcode showcased at the ScSW EDU Conference and participated in the Summer 2016 cohort of Y-Combinator.