Blast Furnace logo 2


October 11, 2016

Blast Furnace, the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute’s student startup accelerator, has selected 18 student teams to participate in the Fall 2016 cohort.

With the new cohort, Blast Furnace will have fostered 55 student startup teams in a little over one year of operation. The selection process for the current cohort included the largest and most competitive application pool to date, comprised of students from all University of Pittsburgh schools and departments across the campus and at all levels, from undergraduate through postdoctoral. Also included in this Cohort are students teams form the College of Business Administration who have participated in a special, for credit version of the Blast Furnace.

“After an extensive review process, we are now excited to announce the 18 teams that have been selected into the Blast Furnace Fall 2016 cohort,” said Greg Coticchia, Director of the Blast Furnace. “Each of the teams has been assigned an experienced business mentor and will have the opportunity over the next eight weeks to put their ideas through a rigorous Lean Launchpad process that will help them discover who their customers are and what the value proposition is for their minimum viable product.”

The teams for the Spring 2016 cohort are:


Team Name Team Members Description
Aeronics Mark Spitz, Blake Dube, Alec Kaija

Portable oxygen device

Brighton Road Coffee Cynthia Clark

Concept coffee house

Food Runner James Bock

Personalized meal planning for athletes

Inreach Automotive Austin Ables

Concierge car buying service

KS Consulting Lindsey Snyder, Marissa Kurzirian

STEM consulting for small and mid-size businesses

Network Now Benjamin Wilt, Brian Wilkinson, Josh Friedman, Woo-Young Chang

Professional networking app

On Target Running John Schneider, Joseph Thaman, Joseph Schneider

Running app with coaching and fitness testing

Paper Plane Bradly Cole, Steven Brash, Max Polec

Social media platform

Pentach Anthony O’Brien, Reed Hostrander

Mechanical pencil

PerQ PUneeth Shridhar

Coronary artery catheter to avoid bypass surgery

Poseidon Energy Adrian Reitars

Energy production from ocean dredging

Power Drive Deepan Chandru Kamaraj

Virtual reality gaming for in-home rehabilitation

Publier Michelle Fitzhugh

Publishing platform

Queble Jackson Wang, Anthony Acquaviva

Social platform for college campuses

ShopDock Raanan Gurewitsch, Joshua Friedman, Ryan Scheuer

Smartphone dock for phone charging at retail locations

Habitat (formerly Sportify) Cyrus Basseri, Farhan Farooqui

Social platform to boost student engagement

STiLERT Mathew Vendeville

Mobile application for sexual history tracking

Student Connect Amy Johnson, Jie Song, Hanwei Cheng, Chen Su, Kyle Wyche

Device for reporting physical assaults


Blast Furnace brings together business domain experts, successful entrepreneurs and investors familiar with early stage markets to create a learning platform for student innovators and their startups.

By drawing on the Blast Furnace’s large network of successful professionals, business experts and entrepreneurs, students involved in the program are guided toward creating successful companies that can establish market leadership positions. The program concludes on December 8, 2016, with a Demo Day where the students will pitch and demo their ideas to an audience of VIPs from Pittsburgh’s startup scene.

Investors, partners, and future applicants are encouraged to attend Demo Day and meet the spring cohort to experience the energy and breadth of ideas put forward by Pitt students.

To find out more go to the Blast Furnace web site,  and check out Cohort 4 in more detail at: