Meet the Veterans Future Lab’s Apex 2021 cohort

Spanning healthcare, travel, data analysis, and more, 11 early-stage ventures led by military veterans from around the country join the VFL’s year-long incubator program

7 min readSep 14, 2020

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The NYU Tandon Veterans Future Lab (VFL) is proud to announce its Apex 2021 cohort: 11 veteran-led companies building the future of industries ranging from healthcare and sustainability to financial industries and luxury fashion.

Apex is a no-cost incubator program built to give early-stage ventures led by veterans and military spouses the mentorship, support, and resources needed to launch and grow. The year-long program offers access to benefits such as NYU resources, START-UP NY tax-free status, the NYU Future Labs network (11 years and growing), pro bono legal hours with ace law firm Orrick, AWS credits, and much more.

Based in New York City, Apex accepts founders from around the country, providing free shared housing to select qualifying entrepreneurs who relocate to the city to join the program. In these unprecedented times, part of the Apex program will be held remotely, giving the VFL the opportunity to connect founders with resources in their own locations in addition to all the advantages that New York offers startups.

Now in its third year, Apex saw a competitive application process. “We are grateful to everyone who applied and to all our partners and supporters who helped spread the word,” says Grant Fox, VFL Director and US Navy veteran. “There are incredible veteran-led companies growing around the country, which is truly exciting. After a months-long process, the VFL is pleased to bring together a powerful group of founders, each tackling their industries with innovative solutions.”

Overview

• 11 ventures, 13 US military veteran founders
• 17 founders, from CA, MA, NJ, NY, SC, TN, TX, WA
• Branch of service represented: Air Force (2), Army (8), Marine Corps (2), Navy (1)
• Industries: Data & Analytics, Human Resources, Travel, Consumer Products, Media, Healthcare

Blue Eye Soft: AI innovation

Providing custom software and data solutions to businesses around the country, Blue Eye Soft encompasses client management; and BlueDocAI, algorithms to aid patients in the healthcare space. Using deep learning, BlueDocAI is working to quickly diagnose the presence of COVID-19 from a standard chest X-ray image. CEO/Founder Sri Kodeboyina is a US Army veteran and was the 2019 South Carolina Minority Small Businessperson of the Year.

CavnessHR: Personalized small biz HR

CavnessHR delivers HR to companies with fewer than 50 employees, providing structured onboarding processes, responsive, compliant HR, and company management tools. With a focus on transparency and affordability, CavnessHR works to ease small business concerns (and confusion) related to HR best practices. Founder Jason Cavness served 25 years in the US Army, is Bunker Labs Seattle City Leader, and hosts The Jason Cavness Experience podcast, where he interviews other founders and small business owners.

CooMo Travel: Booking trips made easy

With a mix of personal recommendations and easy-to-plan itineraries, CooMo Travel is a platform streamlining the travel experience and offering context, connections, and community. A US Army veteran and alumni of UT Austin, founder Tyler Moyer traveled the world through multiple deployments and previously launched product development company Codesmen after founding CooMo with Alex Perry.

Eddi: Sustainability in the home

Focused on creating sustainable products that lessen the amount of single-use plastic in the home, Eddi uses a clever dispenser-and-cartridge system to revolutionize the way people buy and use soap. Founders Jamison Pereira and Sarah Pura are Bain & Company alum and hold MBAs from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Pereira spent seven years in the US Army as an Infantry Officer.

Jackpot Data Science Group: Market data to help companies grow

Jackpot Data Science Group finds the data companies need, cleans it up, and presents it in the simplest way imaginable, understanding that brilliance is in the basics. Valuing partnerships above subscriptions, Jackpot trains its clients in uncovering data themselves, creating mutually beneficial relationships in the data industry. Cofounders Benjamin Gaines and Collin Meyers served in the US Marine Corps, where they met, with both now specializing in data models, data pipelines, and developing strategies for top-tier clients across industries.

Lion Media: News for the now

Lion Media aims to revolutionize the podcasting industry for the news consumer, focusing on live conversation between political pundits and viewers in a spirited, social, interactive format. Lion Media was founded by brothers Christopher McKelvy — an Army veteran, Harvard graduate, and Facebook alum leading marketing teams at Oculus VR — and Patrick McKelvy, a software engineer.

Norie Shoe Company: Luxury meets comfort

Featured in Forbes, Fox News, and Nightly Business Review, Norie Shoe Company offers luxury footwear for women, made in Italy and focused on style and comfort. The philanthropic arm of the company, the Dream Chasers Foundation, is in the works and will provide mentoring to high-schoolers aging out of the foster system.

With 20 years of military leadership and deployments in Italy, Iraq, and Germany as a US Army Logistics Officer under her belt, founder Natasha Standard received a BS from Hampton University and an MA from Webster University, before heading back to Milan to train in the art and design of footwear at the prestigious Arsutoria School.

Radish Health: Keeping workplaces healthy

As more workers go back to the office, health becomes a top priority. Radish Health provides population health monitoring solutions to keep the workforce productive and safe from health risks such as COVID-19, as well as the flu and bacterial infections. Through pop-up clinics and on-demand telehealth services, Radish Health helps organizations return safely to work with a re-entry program focused on daily screening tools and comprehensive medical care in and out of the office. US Army veteran Viral Patel founded Radish Health after working as an emergency medicine physician and the Medical Director at Oscar Health.

Repose: Improving posture and relieving pain

Wearable tech continues to expand into different industries, and Repose looks to make a physical impact by tackling the widespread problem of back pain. Its wearable device aims to improve posture, provide relief from back pain, and aid users in reaching their fitness goals through personalized health tracking.

Matthew Stirling co-founded Repose with Runa Koli. Stirling is a former Cavalry Scout for the US Army and an alum of Oxford University, and is currently a qualitative researcher and graduate student at NYU Steinhardt. Koli is a Healthcare Director/Occupational Therapist (OT) with over 12 years of experience and is currently a doctorate candidate at NYU. She owns a private outpatient practice in Jersey City and is also a clinical instructor for graduate-level OT students.

Sail Analytics: Navigating oceans of airborne collected data

Sail Analytics Inc. is an industry leader in airborne sensing, data collection and advanced analytics, applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to airborne collected data for clients in the defense and energy sectors.

Cofounders Uri Shanske and Dyan Gibbens met in the US Air Force as 2nd Lieutenants. Shanske served for 12 years as a pilot flying operational missions, has three degrees from Columbia University, was a Fulbright fellow to Israel, and served as Head of Enterprise Data Science at Oppenheimer Funds. Gibbens was an acquisitions officer managing stealth nuclear cruise missiles and has supported Air Force One and Global Hawk engineering and logistics. Her PhD research in RF/wireless systems and computer vision/machine learning led her to White House drone initiatives, and as a G7 ’17 delegate in Italy, she has supported AI and digital innovation.

TravelMil: Veteran experiences, travel insights

Veterans and service members know travel and community. TravelMil highlights the military perspective through updates on local community initiatives and engagements, travel advice, curated events, and an active forum to discuss all this and more with other military members and veterans. Founder and New York native Kedisha Samuels was a US Navy Logistics Specialist for four years, after which she worked with communities in need in Senegal, Uganda, Thailand, and more.

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For more information about the NYU Veterans Future Lab programs and events, email us at vfl@nyu.edu or sign up for our newsletter.

Words: Michael Frank (michael.frank@nyu.edu)
Graphic Design:
Robin V Clark

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