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Saint Louis University’s New Venture Accelerator Names First Cohort

by Maggie Rotermund
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Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

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ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis University’s New Venture Accelerator (NVA), launched in January out of the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship, announces the first cohort of participants.

The NVA offers current SLU students and alumni who have graduated within the last five years equity-free investments of up to $50,000 to launch their businesses. In addition to financial support, the teams receive additional resources and mentoring from SLU experts.

Cook Hall

“We are excited with this year’s cohort that represents five different schools at SLU. This diversity in disciplines will be a great asset as we tackle problems throughout the summer,” said Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship executive director Lewis Sheats. “In addition, the participants are developing strong companies that add to our St. Louis entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The four chosen teams will participate in a 14-week summer accelerator program, culminating in a Demo Day in August. Demo Day will include potential investors and partners who will hear final pitches from SLU NVA graduates to secure support for future growth.

Applicants provided a high-level pitch to the NVA in March, detailing their product or service and offering their insights on their target market and competition. A panel of entrepreneurs, alumni and investors assisted in the final selection process.

“We were impressed with the quality of applications we received,” Sheats said. “After online reviews by SLU alumni and St. Louis ecosystem leaders, we were able to narrow down this strong field to 10 in-person pitches in front of local investors and industry experts. It was not an easy task, but through much deliberation we selected an incredible cohort for 2024.”

The inaugural cohort includes GenAssist, Moii Coffee, Posie Pots and Quick Naloxone.


GenAssist is developing MyoMatrix, a regenerative biomaterial to treat Volumetric Muscle Loss (VML) and other muscle conditions. MyoMatrix is designed to replace lost muscle tissue following severe injuries. It is comprised of proteins that mimic the natural extracellular matrix, supporting the wound and stimulating stem cells. When implanted or injected, MyoMatrix encourages the growth of skeletal muscle stem cells. These cells then differentiate into muscle cells, forming new muscle tissue as MyoMatrix resorbs.

GenAssist is founded by Gabe Haas, SSE ’20; Joe Beggs, Washington University in St. Louis, ’20; and Koyal Garg, Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical Engineering in SLU’s School of Science and Engineering.

Moii Coffee

Moii Coffee is a coffee company working towards bridging the gap between coffee farmers and consumers.

Moii accomplishes this by importing coffee directly from Ethiopian farmers. The company’s mission is to passionately deliver the highest quality, ethically sourced coffee with a personalized touch. Moii strives to deliver a unique and exceptional coffee experience. 

Moii Coffee is founded by Firaol Ahmed, a junior in the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, majoring in entrepreneurship. Ahmed was named a St. Louis Inno Under 25 for 2023. The St. Louis Business Journal feature seeks to spotlight some of St. Louis’ up-and-coming innovators. 

Firaol Ahmed

SLU student Firaol Ahmed started his own coffee business, Moii Coffee, in 2022. Photo by Sarah Conroy. .

Posie Pots

Posie Pots is an innovative agricultural technology concept that stands out. The company provides sustainable planters through a unique water-once-a-month system. The patented system uses 95% less water and one-third of the soil or growing medium, allowing plants to grow up to 10 times more than in a traditional flowerpot. This self-contained subirrigation system is the first one-piece, closed-loop subirrigation self-watering planter on the market, making it incredibly easy to use and a game-changer in the industry. 

Posie Pots is founded by Kay Wells, a student pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate in Organizational Leadership through SLU’s School of Professional Studies.

Quick Naloxone 

Quick Naloxone is a medical device designed to address the critical need for rapid intervention in opioid overdose situations. By combining advanced sensor technology with automated naloxone delivery, Quick Naloxone offers a life-saving solution for individuals at risk of opioid overdose. Quick Naloxone employs cutting-edge sensors to detect early signs of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression, decreased heart rate, and decreased oxygen saturation levels. Upon detection of overdose symptoms, Quick Naloxone rapidly administers naloxone, a proven opioid antagonist, directly into the bloodstream. The device is designed for ease of use, requiring minimal training for caregivers, first responders, and even individuals at risk of overdose. 

Quick Naloxone is a compact and portable patch, allowing for easy integration into emergency response kits, medical facilities, and community settings. By automating the naloxone delivery process, Quick Naloxone significantly reduces response times, enhancing the chances of survival for individuals experiencing opioid overdose. Compared to traditional methods of naloxone administration, Quick Naloxone offers a cost-effective solution by minimizing the need for additional medical resources and personnel.

Quick Naloxone is founded by Kirti Madhu, a junior double majoring in medical sciences and women and gender studies at SLU.

The NVA program is led by Sheats, and content is delivered by SLU faculty, industry experts, and mentors. Several of the experts and mentors are SLU alums.

The program will touch on customer discovery, validation, business development, revenue modeling, and more. Budding entrepreneurs should come to the program with more than just a good idea.

About the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business

Founded in 1910, the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University has shaped the future of industry for more than a century. As one of the oldest business schools west of the Mississippi, the Chaifetz School has built a reputation as a leader in business education committed to innovation, inclusion and impact and recognized with eight undergraduate and graduate programs nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 15,200 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.