Mokhtarzada Hatchery Program Announces 2023-24 Student Startup Teams

Established in 2021, the Mokhtarzada Hatchery supports UMD students in conceptualizing and launching startups.
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The Mokhtarzada Hatchery Program in the University of Maryland's Department of Computer Science revealed the student teams selected for the 2023-24 academic year. 

Established in 2021, the Mokhtarzada Hatchery supports University of Maryland students in conceptualizing and launching startups. Nestled within the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering, the Hatchery offers aspiring entrepreneurs with workspaces, mentorship and the opportunity for annual funding of up to $10,000 per team.

The Mokhtarzada Hatchery Program is generously funded by UMD alumni and siblings Haroon, Idris and Zeki Mokhtarzada. The brothers are well-acclaimed entrepreneurs, with their most recent venture being Rocket Money (formerly Truebill), a popular personal finance app.

The 2023-24 selected start-ups and teams include:

Sociable AI: A next-generation conversational AI marketing solution tailored for brands. This intuitive web app assists companies facing challenges with social media engagement by streamlining conversational AI creation and deployment. The promising team comprises Erik Chou (B.S. '24, computer science), Sung Hyun Noh (B.A. '24, immersive media design), Nikita Shavirin (B.S. ’23, computer science) and An Tran (B.S. ’25, computer science).

Learn Prompting: A pioneering open-source AI guide and prompt engineering resource. Its primary mission is to bolster AI literacy among front-line workers. They are building a training platform for an AI-integrated workforce and crafting a content library tailored to enterprises. The project is led by Sander Schulhoff (B.S. '24, computer science).

Frozen Software: A groundbreaking platform that scours the internet for unbeatable deals and discounts, sometimes reaching an impressive 100% off. Using its advanced auto-checkout technology, the platform provides a hassle-free shopping experience. Aveek Mishra (B.S. '25, computer science) and Erik Stomp, an alum of the University of Texas at Austin (B.S. '22, mechanical engineering), led this innovative venture.

Syn Tag: A suite of SaaS (Software as a Service) products utilizing generative AI to enhance customer service standards. By integrating with existing consumer experience solutions, SynTag enriches ticketing systems and offers quick resolution suggestions. With easy setup and initialization, it promises same-day service implementation. The team behind this venture includes Jeffrey Chen (B.S. '26, computer science), Bruce Gao (B.S. '26, computer science), Vikram Khandelwa (B.S. '25, computer science) and Aayush Verma (B.S. '27, computer science).

In line with the Hatchery's tradition, each team will be paired with an accomplished entrepreneur who will act as their mentor. Regular meetings ensure that students can learn from their mentors, discuss challenges and celebrate successes, fostering an environment of collaboration and growth.

The Mokhtarzada brothers' initiative exemplifies the significance of nurturing young talents and investing in the future. The 2023-24 teams are primed to make a significant impact in their respective domains.

“We are energized by the innovation and determination our student groups displayed in their groundbreaking projects,” said Zeki Mokhtarzada. “This reinforces our deep commitment to nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship on campus.”

These innovative startups demonstrate the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit thriving within the university.

Story by Samuel Malede Zewdu, CS Communications

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