CBIC Blog

Meriwether Startup Podcast Episode 2: Payam Pourtaheri, CoFounder of AgroSpheres

AgroSpheres is developing a biotech solution to degrade pesticides and has won numerous startup and innovation prizes. I was fortunate enough to catch up with one of the Founders, Payam Pourtaheri, right after AgroSpheres won the Charlottesville stop of the Velocity Tour. Payam's story gives some incredible insight into how both UVA and Charlottesville has changed over the past few years in regards to entrepreneurship.

After we recorded the interview, AgroSpheres went on to win the Collegiate Inventors Competition. For an article about their victory click here.

AgroSpheres' Team includes: Dr. Mark Kester, Payam Pourtaheri, Ameer Shakeel, Shaun Moshasha, Joey Frank, Zach Davis, Zepehr Zomorodi, and Reese Blackwell.

Meriwether Startup Report is a series of conversations with founders and those who support startups here in Charlottesville.

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Entrepreneurs – The Real Time Travelers

Take a random cross-section of the technologies around us. Smartphones, tablets, coffee machines that connect to the internet, thermostats that can be controlled from halfway around the world, cars that can parallel park themselves.

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PowerSole: Energizing the World

PowerSole is a shoe that creates electricity when you walk by converting the kinetic energy produced from movement into electrical energy, which can be used to power electronic devices, such as cell phones and iPods.

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PocketSonics' Success Since “Breakthrough of 2006”

For over 17 years, CBIC and the local tech community has bestowed honors on Charlottesville’s most interesting tech companies and entrepreneurs.  We thought it was time to check in with some of these award-winning ventures to find out what they’re doing today.

Our first story features the very successful PocketSonics, a company that won the CBIC Breakthrough Award in 2006.

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People.

The most important part of any business is the customer. As cliché as this may sound, it’s something that entrepreneurs have to remind themselves of constantly. It doesn’t matter how good your technology, service, and/or product may be; at the end of the day, it’s worthless unless it adds meaningful value to your customers’ lives.

Similarly, you can’t ever do it on your own. Whether you’re selling gluten free baked goods or a web app, you need to connect meaningfully with others in your field to engage your audience. In the process, you build a narrative of cooperation and co-creation that, at the end of the day, is your most potent asset.

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Pear: The Anti-Tinder

This is the second post in CBIC’s series, “Grounds for Innovation: Student Entrepreneurship at UVa”

Pear, an app that inspires matchmaking between friends, just made its debut on the App stores for both Android and iOS. Joshua Choi, the frontman and the originator of the idea, explains the unmet need that Pear addresses. “Other matchmaking apps, like Tinder, may work for a lot of people, but I knew that there was an audience for something like Pear, an audience whose needs weren't currently being met by existing products.” 

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Caribé Juice: Pressing Passion(fruit)

This is the first post in CBIC’s series, “Grounds for Innovation: Student Entrepreneurship at UVa”

You may have seen these bright bottles of delicious exotic fruit juice at some well-known retail locations around Charlottesville, such as Little John’s, Whole Foods and Greenberry’s Coffee. But what is Caribé? As its co-founders describe it, “Caribé is juice done right. Nutritious, really fresh, and helping fruit growers: the three things every juice should have.”

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Taking the Plunge

There I was suspended with my body standing perpendicular against the wall of a 50-foot rappel tower.  Above a Marine drill instructor was barking at me.  I could see his veins popping out of his forehead.  “Lean back, look over your right shoulder, and double-time backwards!  Do it, now!”  

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