Meet the 2023 Desai Cohort

Makenzie Kulczycki
July 29, 2023

The Desai Accelerator Invests in Five Startups 

The Desai Accelerator, a University of Michigan accelerator open to early-stage alumni startups, announced the five companies accepted into its latest cohort. As part of the accelerator program, the ventures will be provided with funding, tailored mentorship opportunities, national visibility, and other resources to achieve successful sustainability.

The Desai Accelerator, managed by the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business, nurtures startups over a seven-month program during the critical phase of early-stage development. The companies selected for 2023 include:

  • Bastion is an online fitness coaching platform that offers world-class coaches for any fitness goal at a large range of budgets. Bastion captures the value of the current massive shift to online coaching by providing a quality-inspected medium where both networks of coaches and clients can interact efficiently and easily with each other. In this model, online coaches obtain a sustainable stream of clients, and clients rest easy knowing they are hiring a reliable, qualified coach.

  • BuyMySpot is a mobile app marketplace that connects people to affordable and convenient long-term parking options on campus. Currently available in Ann Arbor, BuyMySpot partners with landlords and lot owners on busy college campuses to rent out available parking spots.

  • DealDog is a localized marketplace app for college students. It is powered by a messaging tool with widgets that enable buyers and sellers to negotiate easily and based on their own needs. DealDog verifies students’ “.edu” email addresses before they are able to buy/sell items to ensure there are zero bots and scammers.

  • ModernVivo is developing a software suite that provides crucial data to quickly design in-vivo animal experiments optimized for clinical success. The final output provides clients with a set of experimental conditions optimized to their individual needs, whether that be clinical success, cost, or speed.

  • SupplyAssist accelerates the transition to reducing carbon emissions and material waste–crossing the sustainability chasm–by providing a profitable sustainability path. SupplyAssist’s SaaS platform makes ongoing recommendations that reduce costs and carbon for an organization and increase profits.

This year Desai will pilot a new stakeholder research method designed to increase the founders’ focus on the outcomes of research and their business application. Managing Director Angela Kujava created the intervention after 10 months of research and design with advisory by Matt Mayfield, Associate Dean of Academics and Administration and Director of the Master of Design and Master of Design Methods graduate programs at the Institute of Design.

“After recognizing a pattern of need over the last several years, we embarked on a lengthy discovery process to define the areas of friction founders experience in their own discovery. It was an exercise in empathy to get to a solution that we are confident in asking founders to test. They already have so much to do, but we’ve worked to design a framework that can have a measurable impact on their growth,” states Angela Kujava, Managing Director.

Entrepreneurs will continue to benefit from the assistance of nine cross-disciplinary interns from the University of Michigan, the expertise of consistent meetings with lead mentors, and additional support from industry and skills experts that will help guide the entrepreneurs through developing their businesses.

In 2020, the Desai Accelerator Endowment Fund was established thanks to a generous donation from the Desai Sethi Family Foundation to continue to support the accelerator program. Alumni companies include Ash and Erie, which won an investment from Mark Cuban after appearing on “Shark Tank”; MySwimPro, named 2016 Apple Watch App of the Year; Revolin Sports, a sustainable pickleball equipment company which closed a seed round in 2022 just months after completing Desai; and Aurora Tights, which size and color-inclusive performance wear to athletes and performers, including those from the Shondaland series “Inventing Anna”, the Broadway show “SIX”, and Universal Studios. Visit for more information.