Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

January 11, 2016

ReSET expands flagship accelerator program

HBJ PHOTO | Matt Pilon Mark Roser (left) of Hebron's KeepSight and Mike Cocuzza of Mansfield's Enviro Power will join approximately 20 other companies in reSET's latest accelerator program cohort.

Hartford-based Social Enterprise Trust, also known as reSET, is thinking bigger as its startup accelerator program enters its fourth year in existence.

The nonprofit has redesigned its Impact Accelerator, opening it up to startups across the country, with the help of a $50,000 grant it won from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The money will also allow the socially-concious reSET to switch to a pay-what-you-can model for participants, as opposed to a flat fee in previous years.

Participants will have access to free legal, financial and business mentors, co-working space, and networking with industry contacts and potential funders. A $25,000 funding pool aimed at companies judged to have the best viability also waits at the end of the program, which includes monthly summits on topics like business model design, customer acquisition and strategy, as well as additional workshops.

Participants are also eyeing a total prize pool of $100,000 in cash grants to be awarded this year in reSET's broader Impact Challenge.

The accelerator has accepted 22 companies, double what it has allowed in the past when there were two programs per year.

Four of the companies are from outside Connecticut, including one from California, according to Rosie Gallant, reSET's director of programs, who said it was the most competitive application round in the young program's history.

“The reason we changed it is we want it to be more interactive and more flexible for busy full-time entrepreneurs,” Gallant said.

For Mike Cocuzza, president of Mansfield hardware startup Enviro Power LLC, which was accepted into this year's accelerator, the goal is to make sure his business plan is sound enough to go out to potential financial backers to fund a second prototype of the company's micro combined-heat-and-power generator.

“The fact that there is potential funding attached to it doesn't hurt,” said Cocuzza, who recently received backing from an angel investor.

Mark Roser, president of Hebron's KeepSight, is developing an online eye test for an eye disease called macular degeneration, which robbed him of sight in his left eye 20 years ago, before many treatments were available.

Because detecting the disease early can be vital, he wants patients to have a better way to keep tabs on their vision in between doctor visits.

Roser is also drawn to the potential funding from reSET, which would help him get KeepSights patented tests, currently only existing in paper form, online.

Roser, who previously consulted for Pfizer on product development, said he also wants the program to help shift his focus, which for the past eight years has been zoned in on clinical trials.

“The key goal for us is to really shift us from product development, which is a lot more about the medical proof that it works, into the business mode of getting corporate sponsorships and getting distribution channels opened up,” Roser said.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly identified reSET's Impact Challenge and the type of funding it awards to startup companies. The contest awards unrestricted cash grants.

Read more

Urban farming takes root in Hartford

Realty software startup sets up shop in Hartford

Advocates aim to broaden benefit corporation law

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF