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Bay Area Business Accelerator Candidates


Meet the 2022 finalists and learn more about their work.

TOP FINALIST – $35,000 grant
Tero-Pekka Alastalo | CardioSignal
Tero-Pekka Alastalo, MD, PhD, is the president and chief medical officer of CardioSignal, a San Francisco area company that’s developed novel digital biomarkers for heart diseases. At the American College of Cardiology conference in 2022, Tero-Pekka won the ACC pitch competition with CardioSignal. He has more than 10 years of clinical and translational research experience and is an adjunct professor of pediatrics at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He specialized in pediatric cardiology and did postdoctoral training at Stanford University, where he won the Young Investigator Award at the Cardiovascular Research Institute. In 2012, he co-founded Blueprint Genetics, a genetic testing laboratory for rare diseases, which was acquired by Quest Diagnostics in 2020. He joined CardioSignal in 2021.

1st RUNNER-UP – $20,000 grant / FAN FAVORITE – $5,000 grant
Leigh Monistere | Cultivating Literacy
Leigh Monistere is the founder and executive director of Cultivating Literacy, a nonprofit that empowers families of youngsters through reading. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in education with an emphasis on technology. In 2019, she completed a reading and literacy credential through the University of Southern California. As an elementary teacher, Leigh saw how reading difficulties affect children’s confidence socially and academically. In response, she created Cultivating Literacy to increase access to high-quality reading instruction through family engagement. Through partnerships with community organizations and schools, Cultivating Literacy serves more than 200 families in the San Jose, California, area. Leigh also works with the nonprofit Project Invent to empower young entrepreneurs to create technology for good.

Dhaval Brahmbhatt | PHYchip Corp.
Dhaval Brahmbhatt and Manali Brahmbhatt founded PHYchip Corp. in 2002 as a woman/minority-owned company that focuses on applications of emerging technologies for the government and defense sectors. He’s been awarded 11 U.S. patents and is a serial entrepreneur. As founder and former chairman of the IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Vehicle Technology Council, he organized conferences and programs to implement nanotechnology-based solutions in the medical field, particularly in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Dhaval is a California state registered language interpreter in five languages and has helped patients, doctors, hospitals and injured workers with his language skills Dhaval has earned two graduate degrees, a master’s in physics and electrical engineering. He’s also a former faculty member at the Santa Clara University Graduate School of Engineering and Ohlone Community College. He’s the former chairman of the Economic Development Commission for the City of Milpitas, Calif., which worked to attract high-technology companies to the city. He’s represented the U.S. as a delegate at the International Nanotechnology Forum in Milan, Italy, and as the chairman of the International Nanotechnology Conference in New Delhi, India.

Navid Gougol | Yektasonics
Navid Gougol is the founder and chief executive officer of Yektasonics, a company that develops cost-effective ultrasound solutions in both the medical and nonmedical arenas. Focused Ultrasound, or FUS, has wide therapeutic application, involving more than 150 medical conditions. Yektasonics participated in the UC Berkeley CITRIS Foundry cohort in 2020 and the UC Hastings Startup Legal Garage in 2021, was highlighted in the Focused Ultrasound Foundation State of the Field Report in 2021 and took second prize at the UC Santa Cruz Launchpad 2022. Navid is a graduate of USC in Los Angeles and the University of Tehran in Iran. He named the company after his wife, Yekta, a word associated with “oneness.”

Ethan Yang | Nanovascular Technologies
Ethan Yang, MD, PhD, is the founder and chief executive officer of Nanovascular Technologies and a vascular surgeon who trained at the University of California, Los Angeles. He graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s and master’s in bioengineering and was awarded dual graduate degrees from the medical scientist training program at the University of Miami. Nanovascular Technologies is an innovator in heart failure monitoring with a device to reduce hospitalization. Ethan’s engineering background, clinical insights and experience in the medical device industry help the company navigate the engineering, clinical and regulatory aspect of the product life cycle. Ethan hopes to create a product that will make a great impact in the field of heart failure and later on other diseases.

Albert Yuan | ConKay Medical Systems
Albert Yuan is the founder and chief executive officer of ConKay Medical Systems, an early-stage medical device company developing a device to treat the millions of patients worldwide suffering from valvular regurgitation. He’s been working in the medical device sector for almost 20 years, developing a wide range of products: drug eluting stents, angioplasty balloons, devices for structural heart, and most recently, cerebral protection devices that prevent stroke during TAVR procedures. His next-generation cerebral protection device was a finalist for the Prix Galien award for best medical device of 2018. Born in Kingsville, Texas, and raised in California, Albert received his bachelor’s degree at UC Davis in biosystems engineering and received his master’s degree at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in biomedical engineering. Albert loves mentoring students and has mentored more than 30 to date. He’s an industry advisory board member for the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he’s served as a guest speaker for the biomedical engineering department. He’s the volunteer head coach for his daughter’s soccer team.