Kairos Society Announces Top 50 Student-Led Startups

February 23, 2012

11:30 am

Earlier this month, the Kairos Society announced the Kairos 50: 50 innovative companies founded by undergraduates. Partnering with the United Nations and the New York Stock Exchange, Kairos held a global summit in New York City where the companies pitched to business leaders and press.

The Kairos Society is a not-for-profit foundation – with branches in over 20 countries and over 25 universities – that aims to foster a community where entrepreneurial students can connect, learn, and have a voice. Read more about why they created the Kairos 50 in our interview with their president, Victoria Schramm.

Below are the 50 companies, hailing from around the world (location in parentheses where available):

Clean Tech

  • Black Silicon Solar (Denmark): A technology for making solar cells better at absorbing light.
  • Bluerise (Netherlands): A system to generate clean, renewable energy from the ocean’s thermal power. Doing a pilot at the Curaçao International Airport (an island in the Caribbean that is just north of Venezuela).
  • City Fuel Company: Helps cities reduce dependence on imported oil.
  • ComPell (Budapest): Finds sources of biomass and turns them into biofuels. Their pilot project transformed landscaping waste in Budapest into energy.
  • ECOJOLOS (Brazil): Helps make brick manufacturing environmentally friendly.
  • EcoSave International (Hong Kong): An environment-friendly detergent (patent pending). Their goal is to reduce global water pollution.
  • EcoScraps (Provo, UT): Makes compost out of leftover fruits and vegetables from grocery stores and wholesalers that would otherwise go into landfills and generate greenhouse gases.
  • GiveO2 (Chile): A mobile app to calculate the carbon footprint of your driving and buy carbon credits to offset it.
  • Nuovo Wind (Daytona Beach, FL): Small wind turbines and solar-wind hybrid systems.
  • Pamoja Cleantech: Creators of “The Green Plant,” a mobile energy plant that runs on sunlight and biomass (from agriculture) and produces a fertilizer called bio-char.
  • Roseicollis Technologies (San Francisco, CA): Creators of the SunSaluter, a solar panel rotator that increases output by tilting the panel.
  • SilviaTerra: Software for measuring the world’s forests using satellite imagery and limited data from on the ground.
  • SmartDeco (Los Angeles, CA): 100% recyclable furniture. Their goal is to partner with governments and NGOs to provide furniture to people displaced by natural disasters or socio-political turmoil.
  • Solé Bicycles (Los Angeles): Stylish and affordable bicycles. They are currently developing a line of bikes with solar-powered headlights to give people a green alternative to driving.
  • ThinkLite (Framingham, MA): A green lighting company that installs, maintains, and recycles lighting for commercial buildings.
  • Wood of Sweeden (Sweden): Creates products out of renewable heat-treated wood.


  • Advocates for World Health (Tampa, FL): Collects extra medical supplies and distributes them to relief agencies in developing nations.
  • Branchpoint Technologies: Medical devices that monitor intracranial pressure, locate arterial lines, and improve craniotomy closures.
  • Hand-in-Scan (Hungary): A hand hygiene system to improve hand washing in hospitals and thus reduce health care-associated infections in patients.
  • Headboy Industries (South Africa): Creators of DryBath, a germ-killing lotion that can substitute for a bath. It was developed to help those who don’t have access to water and suffer from resulting diseases. In 2011, founder Ludwick Marishane was named one of the world’s brightest young minds by Google.
  • Immudicon (Washington, DC): Improves current cancer therapies by taking advantage of the human immune system. Currently focused on developing a breast cancer vaccine.
  • InBelly (Lithuania): A community for exposing harmful additives in food products, with the goal of supporting government regulations against them.
  • Perpello (Sweden): A mobile app that monitors data like oxygen in the blood and (eventually) glucose and proteins, and recommends measures to prevent diseases.
  • (India): Organizes Facebook users into the 8 blood groups so they can easily reach out to the community when they need blood.

Social Good

  • DUMA: Sends SMS job alerts to job seekers in Kenya.
  • GovFaces/Caras Politicas (Mexico): A social network where Mexicans (and soon others) can rate, message, and read about their politicians. Founder Daniel Gomez Iniguez was named one of Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in 2011.
  • Janji: A running clothing company. Their apparel features the flags of developing countries, and some proceeds fund organizations helping with food and water shortages.
  • Jola Venture: Creators of SolPod, a device that uses solar heat to dehydrate and preserve food efficiently. They aim to improve the lives of African farmers.
  • Kip Solutions (Modesto, CA): Consults for NGOs, nonprofits, and social enterprises on their social media strategy to help them gain new partners, ideas, and investment.
  • Matternet (Moffett Field, CA): Uses unmanned aerial vehicles and commercial ground stations to ship medicine, disaster supplies, and other goods to areas with poor road infrastructure. Their vision is to allow developing countries to bypass roads and go straight to aerial transportation. Developed at Singularity University.


  • 1st Round: A lifestyle brand that includes a record label, energy-emitting athletic wear called Smart Shield, and a movie and TV producer.
  • American Standard Television (Los Angeles, CA): An online TV service that connects with Internet providers to prevent bandwidth congestion.
  • BPG Werks (Canada): Developing the DTV Shredder, a crossover vehicle for action and power sports that is “a combination of tank, skateboard, and motocross bike.”
  • EarTop LLC (Wellesley, MA): Creates wireless technologies, such as headphones, as alternatives to our wired lifestyle.


  • Alcohoot (Los Angeles, CA): An interactive breathalyzer that works with your smartphone.
  • MergeNote (Chicago, IL): A collaborative note-taking app that allows groups to capture and share information in real-time, such as meeting minutes or class notes.
  • MetroGnome: An iPad app that supplements traditional music education and engages young musicians to improvise and write music earlier.
  • Skimm! (Paris, France): An iPhone and Android app for making mobile payments to individuals, stores, and online retailers.


  • mobHUB (India): An educational platform that allows students at different universities to collaborate, network, and attend webinars.
  • PowerTestPrep: A tutoring company where students can learn from other high school and college students who have earned top SAT, ACT, and AP scores.
  • StudyFlow (Netherlands): An education platform where students can practice for their final exams and more.
  • Teach Twice (Nashville, TN): A social venture that allows parents in the developed world to buy books written in the developing world, with profits going to improve education for the latter.


  • Daucina Exports (Houston, TX): Connects businesses to overseas merchandise suppliers and coordinates transactions.
  • iCracked (Silicon Valley): An iPhone, iPad, and iPod repair company. They aim to have stores in every major city in the next 2 years.
  • MasterMind e-Business Solutions (Ghana): Provides tools and solutions to African entrepreneurs so they can take advantage of the Internet and ship internationally.
  • Ministry of Supply (Cambridge, MA): An apparel company out of MIT making business wear that is no-odor, moisture-wicking, and breathable: “James Bond meets UnderArmour.”
  • Qubis (Netherlands): A tool for organizations to assess and improve their cybersecurity and work toward building security standards across institutions.
  • Qwalify (Canada): A hiring platform that let companies recruit employees based on attitude and then teach them skills – rather than hiring based on skills and firing because of attitude.
  • Whadyathink Mobile (Canada): Collects feedback from guests at restaurants, retailers, and hotels.
  • Zanbato (Mountain View, CA): A platform for global infrastructure finance where capital providers can connect with governments, corporations, and advisers.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact