7 Questions: How to tap into resources for student startups

You’re on a roll with your startup. You’ve completed customer discovery and research and realize that your idea has legs. Now, what resources can you use to turn your idea into a product? Innovate Carolina spoke with UNC student entrepreneur Aditya Bhatt to get his take on finding the right tools and services to grow your idea.

Aditya Bhatt
March 2, 2021
By Shellie Edge
Photography by Aditya Bhatt

Aditya Bhatt, a UNC Chapel-Hill undergrad double-majoring in physics and computer science, is co-founder of UltraLoop, a company working to reduce the spread of infectious disease within communities by using different applications of UVC light to hopefully prevent those most vulnerable within society from contracting diseases.

1. What is UltraLoop, why is it unique, and what does the product hope to accomplish?

UltraLoop is a sanitization device you can trust. It sanitizes 99.9% of pathogens within its chamber. This process only takes about 45 seconds to complete and is perfect for any setting. Instead of one-time use sanitization products with variable effectiveness, the UltraLoop O lasts for years and sustains its efficacy throughout. What makes UltraLoop unique is the record low disinfection timing and proprietary design of its inner chamber.

2. When you decided to launch UltraLoop, what resources did you find helpful at UNC to help you?

The advice we obtained from various faculty members throughout the University has played an essential role in getting Ultraloop’s certifications and testing. The biology department has given us connections to experts in microbiology who gave us invaluable insight into our product’s efficacy. Innovate Carolina and Suford Program have been supportive as well.

3. How vital was it for UltraLoop to participate in Launch Chapel Hill and 1789? How did those programs help the product move forward?

Launch Chapel Hill has a fantastic staff that would respond quickly to all of our questions. We developed a valuable sales structure to contact potential customers. When we were looking for our first customers, EIRs from Launch Chapel Hill helped us navigate our way through. We developed a valuable sales structure to contact potential customers.

4. What type of impact will UltraLoop have?

Ultraloop will play a crucial role in the fight to reduce infectious diseases throughout the community. Large public spaces with high foot traffic can follow the essentials of social distancing while minimizing the chances of spreading covid to those most vulnerable. We are actively working with underfunded and impoverished communities within the US to supply our device and effectively reduce the impact this pandemic has had on these people. 

5. How did receiving the Dreamers-Who-Do funding help you? 

We used the Dreamers-Who-Do funding for customer discovery, host events for our crowdfunding campaign, and travel to show UltraLoop demos across the US. The fund came in handy for us during our customer discovery phase and right before we launched our crowdfunding campaign.

6. What advice do you have for other student entrepreneurs?

The most significant piece of advice is for student entrepreneurs to leverage the vast UNC network of Alumni and professors as their base to help their startup get their initial sales and grow. Professors are more than willing to help students who have never taken their classes. Don’t feel afraid to send follow-up emails to get what your startup needs to succeed. The worst thing someone can say is no, and getting over that fear has played a massive role in us getting to where we are now. 

7. Where do you see yourself and UltraLoop in the next year? 

We are in the process of developing our current line of products to meet the needs of consumers after the pandemic. We see a multitude of opportunities that are available in the UVC sanitizing space. With sights of expansion for large warehouse sanitization products and increases in efficiency and selective output of UVC light in certain areas within the device to maximize UVC light’s focus. We are filing for multi-UVC lamp patents that would use a more efficient usage of energy within the product.