New Conquer Cohort Tackling Homecare Staffing, Snapchat Filters, More

A glance at the thermometer confirms summer is officially here—quite oppressively here if you’re in the Midwest—and that means the start of a handful of annual startup incubation programs in Michigan.

The Conquer Accelerator, hosted by Spartan Innovations, just launched its 2018 cohort in East Lansing. The five companies accepted into this year’s program will spend the next 10 weeks refining business plans, attending educational workshops, and meeting with mentors as they work to get their startups to market.

Each Conquer company gets access to co-working space, networking and talent acquisition help, and a $20,000 seed investment in exchange for 5 percent equity. Even though the program is administered by the Michigan State University Foundation, it’s open to any startup seeking to overcome obstacles to commercialization, regardless of college affiliation.

Here’s a bit more detail on the five companies in this year’s Conquer Accelerator. To hear more about what the cohort is learning about week by week, check out the Hatchcast podcast:

Every Two Minutes: The Ann Arbor company’s name refers to the horrific statistic that every two minutes, a person in the United States is sexually assaulted. Co-founder Erin Rose says she established the company to shine a light on this country’s sexual violence problem while creating a safe online place for survivors to gather and discuss the topic. At Conquer, Every Two Minutes will be working on is first product, (my)Sidekick, described by Conquer as a “next-generation mobile learning platform providing immersive prevention education, skills, and on-demand tools at critical moments to help students combat campus sexual violence.”

Hidlo Studios: Snapchat filters are popular with social media users, but what about the corporate world? Hidlo describes itself as “the best agency in the world at managing effective Snapchat geofilter campaigns for businesses.” The digital marketing agency based in State College, PA, also performs extensive brand research to come up with custom filters (graphic overlays placed around photos and videos) to maximize brand interaction, the company says.

Lingco Language Labs: Lingco, based in East Lansing, is a language-learning platform that incorporates A.I. and analytics to better manage the educational process in bite-sized pieces. The instructor sets the curriculum, but the pace of that curriculum is customized to each student, according to the company’s website, allowing them to learn when, where, and how they want.

Smart Staffing:  Finding great home healthcare aides can be a long process typically involving trial and error as patients and their families search for compatible caregivers. Smart Staffing seeks to refine the caregiver search by offering personality-matching algorithms and a map-based software tool that gives staffing recommendations based on patient needs, location, and caregiver background. The company says its system can reduce homecare office overhead costs by up to 50 percent while minimizing scheduling errors.

Vloggle: Blogs are so passe. Now, the kids are into vlogging, or video blogging. Vloggle is a social media platform that allows users to create, edit, share, and play videos up to 10 minutes in length. Now in beta, Vloggle hopes to take its product live after its Conquer stint.

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