Get To Know The 11 Student Entrepreneurs In Emory’s First Summer Incubator Cohort

Patrick Latting knew the event planning process was broken. He’d put together his own events for other organizations he started and experienced all the headaches that come with looking for the right vendors. He talked to many others in similar positions. So he started thinking about how technology could help streamline the process. 

He launched BidBee, a search engine-like platform that connects event planners with local vendors in one seamless marketplace, earlier this spring. But like many college students, Latting was forced to make a choice: Take a summer internship or take a risk and work on his startup full-time. 

With the help of The Hatchery, Emory University’s innovation hub, Latting was one of eleven students who got paid to work on their entrepreneurial ventures over the last several months. 


The Hatchery’s Summer Program

Over ten weeks this summer, the students in the Hatchery’s Summer Incubator cohort were paid for 40 hours a week to focus on their venture full time. The goal was to bridge the accessibility gap for student entrepreneurs and “provide some intensity and acceleration for Emory students and recent alumni,” Ben Garrett, The Hatchery’s Innovation Programming and Operations Manager, told Hypepotamus.

The funding came from both The Hatchery and alumni donations. 

The Incubator provided students with weekly workshops around the Lean Startup methodology and 1:1s to help with their progress. It also brought in three paid Innovators-In-Residence. 

Kate Hilderbrandt, Program Coordinator at The Hatchery, said it was “definitely competitive” and that students selected had demonstrated a commitment to the problem they were trying to solve.

The eleven founders – building a mix of nonprofits and for-profit tech ventures – came from across the campus and represented undergraduate, business, graduate, medical, theology, and public health degrees. 

Garrett said 10 out of the 11 companies launched a prototype with actual users by the end of the program. Several got their first paying customers or investors over that time as well.  Latting said that he was able to create BidBee’s MVP (minimum viable product), get 50 beta testers, and learned that the festival circuit was a good early target market. He told Hypepotamus that he’ll spend the months after the Incubator raising his first round of investment from angels. 


Meet Emory’s First Summer Incubator Cohort 

Here is a full list of cohort members:

Tech and tech-enabled businesses 

    • Patrick Latting 25B: BidBee, an online services marketplace that helps event planners find vendors, cutting down on communication time for event planners and allowing vendors to find more jobs.
    • Alissa Cohan 25T: tapfer, a venture that is on a mission to partner care seekers with licensed care providers at a 90% match rate.
    • Helen Hsu 23B: TeamTonic, a gamified virtual workspace powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
    • Barbara Biney 25M and Sydni Williams 24M: Besties Box, a premium monthly subscription box service where customers receive samples of textured hair products.
    • Daren Zhang 23C: florence, which provides a game-based platform for pediatric oncology patients to combat social isolation and maintain neurological development.
    • Yousef Rajeh 24C: SageVR, an AI-powered, virtual reality-based reimagining of traditional therapy.
    • Shashwat Murarka 23C: DDB Solutions, navigating last-mile delivery obstacles through visualization.
    • Noah Mancuso 26G: Queer Health Consulting, a diverse group of LGBTQIA+ health professionals who are combining lived experiences with public health expertise to improve the health of queer people everywhere.
  • Morgan Villar 25T: Dignity Homes, a nonprofit development firm that builds affordable, rent-to-own, single-family homes and provides programming for the 50% of Atlanta residents who are housing insecure.
  • Emily Bush 25C: Developing a free, volunteer-based supplemental STEM education program for disadvantaged children in Atlanta.
  • Shakila Ali 22PH: Doste Afghan Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian assistance at the individual level to underserved women, widows, youth and people with disabilities in Afghanistan.

Featured Photo: Kay Hinton, Emory Photo/Video