We love all startups here at !ExitEvent, but let’s face it: not all startups do things your grandparents can understand.

Fortunately, the Cherokee Challenge accelerator is kicking off a new crop of startups you can write home about. Do you live on the earth? Congratulations, you’ll benefit from the environmentally-focused work these startups are doing.

As the inaugural accelerator class, LYF Shoes, JouleBug, and Sanitation Creations will get free Raleigh office space, $20,000 of seed funding, and a cleaner planet (well, technically, we’ll all get that). Here’s why even your grandparents will care:

LYF Shoes

LYF Shoes makes socks. No, I’m kidding, they make shoes. And grandparents definitely know about shoes, because they like to tell stories about how they walked five miles through the snow to school without them.

Truth be told, I’ve never actually heard any grandparents say that. Maybe that’s only on TV.

The soul of this company (couldn’t resist) is its dedication to local assembly, sustaintable design, and a custom fit. You might say they make shoes that fit you and the planet. Which is no small task, because the planet is like a size ten billion.


JouleBug makes a mobile app that helps you save energy. You know how grandparents love to tell you to turn off the lights? JouleBug pacakages that same directive into an app.

But instead of guilting you with Depression-era nostalgia, JouleBug rewards energy conservation with interactive points and badges. JouleBug will both gamify your energy use and give your grandma solid proof that she should really turn down her air conditioning.

Sanitation Creations

Toilets! We’ve all been there. It won’t take much explaining for grandpa to get this one.

According to the Cherokee Challenge press release, “Sanitation Creation is developing the Dungaroo: an odorless, waterless, hygienic and cost efficient portable toilet aiming to solve a worldwide sanitation crisis. Two billion people are without proper toilets, leading to sickness and death.”

All bathroom humor aside for a moment, how much would it suck if you didn’t have a real toilet? Hopefully soon, a few billion people won’t have to find out.

Even more incredibly, the Dungaroo will apparently turn poop in bio-gas. Holy crap. That’s so amazing I’m not even going to close with a joke about grandparents using Metamucil. After all, Everybody Poops.