Innovation Blog

Catching Up with Our 2017 Winners – Cellino


Meet Cellino, a 2017 alum and CASIS/Boeing winner that enables gene editing with lasers and nanotechnology.

Sharing in a vision to create meaningful impact, the team is working to help gene therapy companies and research labs to deliver gene-editing cargo to cells with exceptional performance, which is a major challenge today.

We had a chance to catch up with Nabiha Saklayen, Co-Founder and CEO, about her experience going through the MC accelerator:

Take us back to MassChallenge Awards… what was going through your mind when you heard your startup name called to the stage?
Cellino is going to SPACE! Amazing!

As a winner, how do you plan to use the cash prize to further accelerate growth?
We are very excited for the opportunity to use this prize money to maximize our technology’s potential in a microgravity environment, which is enabled with access to the International Space Station. Thank you, CASIS/Boeing!

What would you say has been the key driver of your success throughout the program?
We were very open to feedback during the program, and it helped us develop a compelling narrative for the company. The team also worked together flawlessly across different locations, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
The hardest lesson learned is that there will be failures along the way, no matter how many wins there are. It’s important to prepare a mindset that allows founders to deal with the constant ups and downs.

What advice do you have for startups thinking about applying to MC?
Do it! Definitely, lean on the MC community and mentors to guide you, but establish a plan for yourself that isn’t dependent on others. At the end of the day, the startups that did well were very resourceful in every way possible. MC was an awesome opportunity, and I’m glad we did it!


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