2022 i.Lab Incubator Launches With 9 Promising Startups

By Wynston Archer

The i.Lab Incubator returned with in-person and virtual options this year to accelerate student startups. Hosted by the Batten Institute at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, the 2022 summer incubator includes programming and venture creation space both on Darden Grounds and, for the first time, at Codebase Coworking, a new work environment on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.

Nine ventures were named to the 2022 cohort of the updated program, which provides a goal-oriented, guided-learning summer program for student founders of innovative ventures addressing problems with meaningful solutions.

As a member of the cohort, ventures and their founders receive over $10,000 in grant funding for each venture; access to core workshops led by Darden faculty and experts in key skills for entrepreneurs, online resources, and special events; legal support; mentorship and advisory support from experienced founders and industry experts. Jason Brewster, director of venturing at the Darden School, will continue to provide meaningful solutions to the student founders’ challenging questions.

“While many founders benefit from in-person programming and opportunities offered during a summer in Charlottesville, the COVID-19 pandemic taught us that meaningful progress can occur in a virtual environment, as well,” said Brewster. “We’re excited to work with this diverse group of entrepreneurs, both locally and across the country.”

2022 i.Lab Incubator Startups

Clarifi, founded by Darden student Bradley Levergood (Class of 2023), is an evidence-based homework tool built in the form of a desktop application. The distraction free digital workplace helps students with or without ADHD, complete homework assignments on time by the implementation of reminders. In addition, there is a gaming aspect that rewards students for completing their work. Clarifi changes the typical homework environment, the work structure, and the incentive so students become more independent with their studies.

Earnestly, founded by Emily Ashtiani (MBA ’22), solves corporate employee and client gifting for busy leaders. Earnestly provides personalized, meaningful gifts, always aligned with her client’s needs and ethos. Earnestly sources unique products from a network of small business partners, compiles creative, personalized gift packages, and finally coordinates delivery and fulfillment. Earnestly helps welcome new employees and celebrates loyal customers. With Earnestly, companies will improve their employee and client retention rates. Earnestly’s turn-key gifting solution saves leaders time, reduces waste, drives loyalty and reduces churn.

LA FOI Jewelry, founded by Liana Lei (MBA ’22), is a jewelry line focused on female empowerment, affordability, and sustainability. Her dainty pieces include rings, necklaces, and earrings. LA FOI donates 10 percent of each collection to a designated foundation that supports and empowers women. There are six total collections made up of copper and/or brass with a gold or silver plating. The brand aims to target yoga moms, young professionals, and fathers or boyfriends looking for gifts for their loved ones.

Squabble State Hard Cider & Spirits, founded by Will Payne (EMBA ’22), is inspired by the historic lawless region formed along the Virginia and North Carolina borders near what is now downtown Bristol, Virginia. Squabble State is a venture focused on telling the story of the region’s legacy through a developed agritourism destination featuring an apple orchard, hard cidery and distillery.

Vibez Music, co-founded by UVA College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate Cresta Campbell and Trey Winn, a UVA alumnus, is the modern-day jukebox. Vibez is a platform where individuals can collectively share, queue and listen to music straight from their device. With four different modes, Vibez caters to every space, depending on how much the “party host” wants to control. Turn Based is a mode that queues everyone’s songs one by one, allowing everyone to have a turn at controlling the vibe in the order users join. Full Control is where anyone can play, pause, or skip a song. Approval Mode gives one host the option to approve or deny queued songs. Their audience ranges from a variety of ages and backgrounds, as the app aims to bring all music listeners to one platform.

Spot Social Fitness, co-founded by UVA School of Engineering and Applied Sciences students Jeremy Suh and Aditya Kumar, is an app to socially interact with your friends as you work out. Spot motivates individuals to workout not only by having daily reminders, but also by seeing pictures of their friends complete certain exercises. Spot tracks your progress and increases user accountability by logging each workout. Spot is targeting those who enjoy health and weightlifting.

2022 i.Lab Virtual Startups

Jas (Joie Avec Sans), founded by Cecilia Rios Murrieta (MBA ’22), is an alcohol-free beverage company that allows everyone to participate in the social ritual of drinking without compromise, by mindfully creating beverages that emulate the look, taste, and mouthfeel of traditional alcoholic beverages. Without barriers, Jas is designed to integrate seamlessly into everyday social drinking rituals — allowing everyone to participate as they are.

TriviaTrek, co-founded by Jared Graham and Kyle Allen (both MBA ’22), is a voice-controlled hands-free trivia game designed for car commuters. TriviaTrek is a form of alternative entertainment that is interactive for the user and makes their commutes more enjoyable than standard forms of entertainment such as listening to podcasts or streaming music. TriviaTrek’s vision is one of implementing novel game design grounded around location-based competitive ranking as well as direct digital player to player interactions.

Tokei, co-founded by Tomi Babalola and Chisom Omenyinma (both MBA ’22), is a marketplace that enables the rental of finely crafted timepieces, including luxury watches. The mission of Tokei from its creation has been to help society preserve, refine and acquire a passion and knowledge of collecting timepieces by bridging the gap between accessibility and exclusivity.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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