OwlSpark | Rice University Startup Accelerator | TeamWise: BlueCura
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TeamWise: BlueCura

Beko Jang developed the seed that would become the brainchild for BlueCura through his work with the immunology department at Baylor College of Medicine. For three years, he watched scientific practices progress and simultaneously integrate new technology. From data acquisition to presentation, every aspect of scientific research was being digitalized, except for the lab notebook. It drove Beko crazy that he and his coworkers had to manually cut and paste with scissors and glue from one notebook to another. Beko asked himself, “Why is my lab notebook not on a computer too?”

Beko met co-founder, Jonathan Jao, a few years prior when he was recruiting from the computer science department at Rice University for another project. After meeting and hitting it off, they maintained their friendship and two years later, reconnected to work on BlueCura. In that time, Beko met his other co-founder and Rice MBA, Colton Smith, after the two participated in the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship’s Ignite Silicon Valley Trek. The two of them made their way to watch the Connor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz fight at a bar one night on the trip, and became instant friends.

After assembling their team, BlueCura applied to OwlSpark to develop a digital lab notebook integrated into a research management platform. After being here for several weeks, BlueCura shared some of their favorite things about the accelerator program. Besides the free food and access to co-working space at TMCx, they enjoy the #startuplife culture.

The critical mass of entrepreneurs being in one space is inspiring. There is an appetite for entrepreneurship that self perpetuates.

Along with being in such a stimulating environment, BlueCura expressed that the network of interactive mentors and connections to Houston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem were some of the most invaluable resources that the OwlSpark program provides.

Outside of the program, the members of BlueCura have had some very…unique experiences.

Beko served in the Korean Augmentation to the United States Army for two years. While serving, Beko had the opportunity to participate in several joint-combined military exercises between South Korea and United States where he was able to act as an interpreter for commanding generals. He also flew some cool helicopters.

Colton once was stranded in Thailand without an identity. After losing his passport and all forms of identification on his way to China, he was forced to backpack around making friends and scrounging for a roof over his head for close to a week. His friends had to leave for China before him, but Colton was able to survive with the little bit of cash that they left him and eventually reconnected with them in Shanghai.

And finally, Jonathan once survived a drive-by shooting. As he and his friend were leaving a Teahouse in Sugar Land, a gunman began to shoot at the tea bar. As they pulled out in their car, the gunman turned to them, made eye contact with the two of them, and fired two rounds into the side of their car. No one was hurt, but after speeding off and calling the police Jonathan’s affinity for America’s favorite boba tea was never the same.

Besides their near death experiences, the founders of BlueCura lead relatively normal lives. Beko enjoys playing golf, Colton likes to play sports and mountain bike, and Jonathan is an avid fan of video games. When asked what they were most looking forward to at OwlSpark, they all said they couldn’t wait to present at the Bayou Startup Showcase in August.

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