Newest Class of Start-up Companies Promises Big Things for the Future


Participants of the Fall 2016 Launchbox Bootcamp

Happy Valley LaunchBox held a graduation ceremony for its five Fall 2016 Accelerator Bootcamp teams on December 7. It was the third class of start-up companies to complete the 10-week program since its opening in February.

According to Lee Erickson, Chief Amplifier at LaunchBox, 32 start-up hopefuls applied for the fall program, and only five were accepted.

The five graduating teams were:

  • Musical Minds – The first ever wellness-based music streaming service that uses brainwave-sensing headphones to recommend songs that help you focus, relax, get motivated, and feel great.
  • Rain Reality – Creates virtual and holographic learning modules using augmented and virtual realities for universities, museums, and other educational institutions.
  • Stock’d – A subscription food service that delivers home-cooked meals directly to the doors of college students.
  • Visionese – A virtual tour company that combines 360-degree panoramic and aerial drone photography to deliver next-generation experiences for remote users.
  • What’s Poppin’ – An online centralized platform that helps students search for and discover unique events around campus.

The teams lived up to their potential of accomplishing amazing things during just 10 weeks. Musical Minds just finished prototypes for both its app and TRILLS headphones. Rain Reality will soon work with Penn State World Campus to create virtual modules. Stock’d founder Ben Sparango says he plans to rent an industrial kitchen in State College, acquire food licensing, and fully launch the business this spring. What’s Poppin’ has launched a beta website and will soon launch apps for Apple and Android. And Visionese founder Tim Ko made a bold announcement that he recently quit his full time job to pursue his start-up.

All five teams are fully committed to continuing the growth of their companies going forward, and perhaps most importantly, are passionate about what they have started.

“I truly believe this will change the world,” Ko said of his company’s technology.

Joe Kitonga, founder of What’s Poppin’, said that all the hard work is worth it to see his creation making a difference for people.

“The feedback that we got from people validated that we’re doing something people actually care about,” he said.

The ceremony consisted of a three-minute “rocket pitch” presentation from each team, followed by a Q&A session. It ended with parting gifts from the LaunchBox staff to the graduates: Mugs and portable phone chargers with each team’s logo on them, to “keep them and their phones caffeinated.” The young entrepreneurs can surely use the energy boost as they take the next steps in making their dreams a reality.

Applications for the spring 2017 accelerator program are open until January 20.

Learn more about Happy Valley LaunchBox at