Promising IoT startups prepare to launch

InNEVator accelerates development of three more early-stage businesses

Diem To and Brian Hoang of Senclo review elements of their business plan with Kelly Northridge, Entrepreneur In Residence at the University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center—Powered By Switch.


11/19/2018 | By: Jane Tors |

Three companies selected for the Fall 2018 InNEVator are "ready for launch" according to program leaders and investors. The fully-funded eight-week pre-accelerator program concluded Nov. 16, 2018, with a celebration that included investors and those who provided mentorship throughout the program. The evening featured a keynote talk by serial entrepreneur Tony Lillios and pitch presentations by each of the young companies.

Man shown speaking, standing

Max Simonovsky of Soapy gives his pitch at the InNEVator’s concluding celebration.

Part of the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in northern Nevada, the InNEVator is a fully-funded eight-week pre-accelerator program hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center-Powered By Switch to advance early-stage IoT companies and technologies.

Helping entrepreneurs view their business concept from a new and broader perspective is at the center of the InNEVator experience. Before business founders and engineers Brian Hoang and Diem To were part of the InNEVator, they focused almost entirely on product development. Now, they have a stronger model for their business, Senclo, a peer-to-peer garage space rental service.

"We strengthened our focus on market traction, customer acquisition and on the business pitch," said Hoang. "We needed to pivot, to adjust, to improve on the big model."

2 men look at camera while seated at table in front of computers

Ibrahim AlGwaiz and Khalid AlNasser of Elva, at work in the Innevation Center’s Makerspace.

Senclo is one of three companies chosen from a pool of more than 50 applicants from around the world to be part of InNEVator 2018. Each company arrived at the InNEVator with a specific set of objectives, from the production of prototypes to fine-tuning hardware or software, to getting business elements off the ground. The cohort of companies includes:

  • Elva, the first at-home, hospital-standard medication reminder for chronic disease patients. Elva allows user-friendly tracking of medications, chronology and dosage. Elva improves medication compliance, and gives caregivers and distant loved ones peace of mind.
  • Senclo, a platform for peer-to-peer garage space rental that streamlines the entire process for property owners and renters. Senclo is the first company to bring a complete software and hardware solution to the garage space rental market.
  • Soapy, an intelligent hygiene micro-station, powered by smart-capsules capable of producing an accurate dose of soap and water. Soapy is on a mission to reduce the spread of disease by making hand-washing easier, anywhere in the world, including areas that are water scarce.

Joining as collaborators in the InNEVator are Watershed Growth Ventures, University of Nevada, Reno and Breadware. The InNEVator was first launched in 2017 and was named the 2017 Program of the Year by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

Man is standing and addressing a room full of people sitting at tables.

It was a full room as Scott Levy, of Watershed Growth Ventures and co-director of the InNEVator, opened the InNEVator’s concluding celebration.

The Innevation Center stimulates ideation, invention and entrepreneurialism. Located in downtown Reno, it is a co-working environment empowering Nevada's next generation of technology and business leaders by providing access to mentorship, investors, interns and a well-equipped Makerspace.

For more information about the Innevation Center, visit unr.edu/innevation. For more information about the InNEVator, visit renoinnevator.com.

Brooke Brumfield of Brooke Brumfield Communications contributed to this story.

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