Two Austin Startups Featured at First White House Demo Day

Photo courtesy of the White House

Photo courtesy of the White House

President Barack Obama is hosting the nation’s first Demo Day at the White House to showcase innovative technology startups from all over the country.

Among them, Jeanette Hill, CEO and founder of Spot On Sciences, will show off its portable and easy to use blood test kits. The company has created a product, HemaSpot, that lets people take a blood sample easily by pricking their finger and collecting a drop of blood in the special container and then sending it by mail to the lab. The product eliminates needles and trips to the lab. Spot on Sciences has received grants from DARPA and the National Institutes of Health. The company has also “announced a collaboration with the U.S. Military HIV Research Program and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research to support a study for detecting infectious pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and mosquito-borne infections such as dengue, West Nile and chikungunya virus in deployed troops,” according to a news release from the White House.

Another startup from Austin, Student Loan Genius, founded by Tony Aguilar, is a program that allows companies to help their employees pay off their student loans faster through a company matching program. The company, previously known as Student Loan Benefits, pitched during Capital Factory Demo Day at South by Southwest. Aguilar, who graduated from college with more than $100,000 in student loan debt, created the program to give students the benefits he wishes he had, according to the White House press release.

More than 30 entrepreneurs are presenting at the first White House Demo day, which is focused on inclusive entrepreneurship.

Also, this afternoon, President Obama will announce new public and private-sector commitments to increase diversity in entrepreneurship, especially in the technology industry.

“America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world,” according to a White House statement. “But, we need to do more to make sure that we are tapping our full entrepreneurial potential – drawing on talented Americans from all backgrounds and locations.”

Women led just 3 percent of venture backed startups, and only about one percent are led by African Americans.

Only about four percent of U.S.-based venture capital investors are women. And that venture capital is only available in a few big cities.

“To maintain our lead as the best place on the planet to start and scale a great company, we must ensure that vibrant startup ecosystems emerge in every corner of America, and that all Americans, including those underrepresented in entrepreneurship like women and people of color, are both encouraged and able to fully contribute their entrepreneurial talents,” according to the White House.

On Tuesday, President Obama will announce 116 winners of two Small Business Administrative prizes. He also plans to announce the Growth Accelerator Fund for startup accelerators and a “Startup in a Day” initiative to cut red tape for local entrepreneurs. President Obama also plans to scale up the “National Science Foundation I-Corps program with eight new and expanded Federal agency partnerships, introducing hundreds of entrepreneurial scientist teams across the country to a rigorous process for moving their discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace.”

In addition, President Obama is announcing more than “40 leading venture capital firms with over $100 billion under management, including Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Scale Venture Partners, committing to specific actions that advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Institutional investors, engineering deans, and technology companies are also committing to focus on diversity in their investments, recruiting and hiring.

“Over a dozen major technology companies announcing new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring, including Amazon, Box, Microsoft, Xerox, and others committing to adopt variations on the “Rooney Rule” to consider diverse candidates for senior executive positions,” according to the White House.

Comments

  1. Not a lot of local media covered this – thanks for doing so!

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