UChicago to launch accelerator for AI and data science companies

The University of Chicago this week announced the creation of Transform, an accelerator for early-stage technology companies focused on data science and artificial intelligence.

The new program – which is part of the Deep Tech Ventures initiative at the UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation – aims to offer a wide array of support to startups: access to business and technical training, industry mentorship, venture capital connections, and funding opportunities

Transform is seeking two cohorts of as many as 10 companies each. Candidates should be focused on information technologies and data science: AI and machine learning, data engineering, analytics and other innovations for healthcare and biotech apps, cybersecurity, blockchain, IoT, social impact and more.

Accepted startups will receive about $250,000 in total investment – including $25,000 in funding, usage of UChicago computing resources, credits for Amazon Web Services and Google for Startups, workspace in the Polsky Exchange on Chicago’s South Side, and access to industry mentors, technical advisors and student talent from the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science, Data Science Institute and the Chicago Booth School of Business.

Applications for the inaugural Transform cohort are due on January 25.

In the last five years, the Departments of Computer Science and Statistics have added more than 40 new faculty at UChicago, most of which specialize in AI, machine learning, data science and data engineering.

“We are confident that data science and AI startups can accelerate their ability to bring innovations to market with venture capital connections and funding opportunities from the Polsky Center,” said  Dan Sachs, executive director of Polsky Deep Tech Ventures, in a statement. “And our partners at the Data Science Institute at the university can provide the deep, focused, technical guidance and access to industry-specific mentors that we know are invaluable resources to today’s entrepreneurs.”

“Transform offers a robust combination of resources, training, and funding that will provide invaluable support to the tech startup community,” said Shyama Majumdar, director of Transform. “I am most excited about the mentorship program and the top-notch student talent we are able to offer from the Chicago Booth School of Business and the Data Science Institute. We have a pool of fantastic mentors ready to roll up their sleeves and work with the teams.”

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