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Drexel Announces Second Cohort of Innovation Fund Investments

May 17, 2024

Gerri LeBow Hall

Drexel University has selected the three University-affiliated startups to receive support from the second cohort of its Innovation Fund. AER Cosmetics, a sustainable cosmetics brand founded by a Drexel student, and 1DNano, a nanomaterial cleantech company; and MXene, Inc., a company focused on the commercialization of nanomaterials called MXenes; will each receive an investment of $150,000 from the fund.

1DNano is commercializing hydroxides-derived nanostructures (HDNs) which are one-dimensional nanofilaments discovered in 2021 by Michel Barsoum, PhD, Distinguished professor in the College of Engineering and Hussein Badr, PhD, who was a doctoral researcher, in the Layered Solids Group within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering. Using HDNs, 1DNano aims to significantly reduce the cost of green hydrogen.

MXene, Inc. is working to become the leading supplier of MXenes, a 2D nanomaterial discovered in 2011 by two groups of Drexel researchers, led by Barsoum and Yury Gogotsi, PhD, Distinguished University and Bach professor in the College of Engineering. MXenes are a class of two-dimensional inorganic compounds that consist of atomically thin layers of transition metal carbides, nitrides, or carbonitrides. Their versatility in composition, arrangement, surface chemistry, and tunability creates potential benefits in a wide variety of applications such as energy, electronics, optics, catalysis, biomedical and environmental sectors.

AER Cosmetics, founded by alumna Paige DeAngelo, created a patent-pending, environmentally friendly cosmetic tool: The Dissolving Mascara tablet, an elongating and lash-defining refillable mascara formula that reduces carbon emitted from mascara waste. AER has won prizes in multiple startup competitions including the Drexel Startups Fund, GSEA Philadelphia, GSEA National, and the Draper Competition. 

The Drexel University Innovation Fund invests in early-stage Drexel student and postgraduate-led startups, as well as startups founded to commercialize the results of scientific research developed at Drexel. The fund, which launched in 2023, aspires to play the role of a “friends and family” investor and encourages Drexel problem solvers to dream big and take on society’s most pressing challenges. The fund is an evergreen fund where all returns are re-invested through the fund in future Drexel startups.

“The Innovation Fund plays a crucial role in Drexel’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. I am very proud of the startup founders who went through a very competitive process and wish them well in their journeys to make our world a better place,” said Shintaro Kaido, vice provost for Innovation and executive director of Drexel Applied Innovation. “I am grateful to our Investment Advisory Committee for their invaluable insights on the finalist startups. I would also like to thank the Drexel students taking the ENTP T380 course to assist the Investment Advisory Committee and to the faculty at the Charles D. Close School for guiding the students.” The application window for the next investment cycle will open in June 2024.

For more information on the Drexel University Innovation Fund, visit: or contact