Two Berkeley graduate alumni, Connor Landgraf and Anna Schneider, were recently recognized for their contributions to energy and healthcare in Forbes 30 Under 30 — the magazine’s list of young innovators in various industries.
Prior to graduating with a Master’s in Engineering in 2014, 24-year-old Landgraf co-founded Eko Devices, a company that produces digital stethoscope attachments for smartphones. When the digital stethoscope is connected to the software, doctors can accurately read and record heartbeats using cloud computing. The device gives physicians automatic feedback that allows them to diagnose conditions such as heart murmurs. Landgraf’s company is currently sponsored by SkyDeck, Berkeley’s startup accelerator that supports entrepreneurial teams by providing them with mentorship, contacts, and office space.
In addition to healthcare, recent graduates are also making great strides in the field of energy conservation. 29-year-old Schneider, who graduated with a Ph.D. in Biophysics in 2013, was recognized for her work with WattTime — the first source of real-time data that indicates where electricity is coming from throughout the day and when the energy source is the cleanest. Schneider co-founded WattTime with Gavin McCormick, a Ph.D. student in Agricultural and Resource Economics, who conceived the idea and worked on the project as a SMART mentor.
The team is currently focusing on creating smart devices such as the Wiser plug-in, which connects to appliances that will only use electricity at optimal times. “Everything around you can automatically use the cleanest energy available,” Schneider says.
As the lead software developer at WattTime, Schneider says that the expertise she gained writing computer software at Berkeley has been indispensable to her current work. While she was pursuing her PhD, she was also an editor at the Berkeley Science Review, which she says helped her “build connections and get experience communicating complicated ideas to different types of people.” She is now using her communication skills to write grant applications and speak with investors.
She also credits The Foundry@CITRIS, a technology incubator at Berkeley, for WattTime’s recent success. “The Foundry team has been extremely supportive of our mission, vision, and technology, and the off-campus resources they’ve connected us to have been far beyond our expectations,” Schneider says. She adds that being named in Forbes 30 Under 30 list is “validation that our idea is on the right track.”
The application deadline for The Foundry’s Spring 2015 cohort is Sunday, February 22. Berkeley graduate students with start-up ideas can learn more by visiting The Foundry’s website.