FuzeHub, a not-for-profit organization responsible for assisting small to medium-sized manufacturing companies in New York State, is pleased to announce the winners of the FuzeHub Commercialization Competition 2018, which took place Nov. 7-8 in Albany. Seven companies were awarded $50,000 each from the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which FuzeHub administers.
During the competition, 18 finalists from across New York State pitched their innovations in front of a live audience. A panel of 12 industry experts selected the seven award recipients based on the commercialization potential of their technology:
Bonbouton: A technology platform for preventative diabetic health care. Bonbouton’s first product, a smart insole with a proprietary embedded graphene sensing system, passively monitors the skin’s physiological signals in order to detect early signs of foot ulcers. (New York City)
Capro-X Inc.: A startup developing a natural and sustainable solution for converting dairy industry wastes into valuable platform chemicals. (Ithaca)
Íko Systems: A smart tabletop micro-greenhouse for the sustainably minded foodie. (Ithaca)
Lux Semiconductors: Developing a patent pending technology aimed at producing flexible, lightweight, and low-cost semiconductor substrates that are compatible with high throughout, roll-to-roll manufacturing. (Albany)
MicroEra Power: A system integrator designing CHPplus, an onsite power system with high-efficiency hardware, thermal storage, and smart software to provide businesses and utilities with energy security and a fast payback. The FuzeHub project will prototype the thermal storage hardware and develop the POWERBROKER software functions for optimal cost savings and reduced carbon emissions. (Rochester)
RemWell LLC: Company addressing public health and energy issues associated with groundwater contaminated by an emerging class of chemical contaminants, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), with a novel treatment reactor. (Potsdam)
VitaMe Technologies, Inc.: Provides fast, accurate, and mobile nutrition deficiency testing. (Ithaca)
“These seven innovators—and truly, all 18 finalists—are a testament to the vitality of New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said FuzeHub Executive Director Elena Garuc. “It is clear that New York has a bright future in manufacturing, and FuzeHub is proud to do its part, and to support the competition winners with the funding to help advance their commercialization strategies.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Congratulations to the seven awardees from this year’s competition, who exemplify New York State’s legacy of innovation and will use this funding to bring cutting-edge ideas to the marketplace.”
The finalists’ pitches and award presentations were the highlights of a two-day event sponsored by the Rensselaer Center for Automation Technologies & Systems (CATS), the New York State Science & Technology Law Center at Syracuse University College of Law and Innovate 518. The program included speeches, panel discussions and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs, executives and investors.
Arber Ruci, Director of the New York City Innovation Hot Spot, said “Credit goes to FuzeHub for putting together a great competition. It is really exciting to see so many promising young ventures and so much diversity in the room. For us judges, it was really hard to pick the winners, which is usually a great sign.”
The Commercialization Competition was launched in 2017 to support pre-revenue businesses at a specific stage in their product development. Prize money must be used to produce or improve upon a working prototype or beta phase, to enable the company to pursue additional investments and customers, leading to commercialization of their product. The awards were expanded from last year, when five companies shared in $250,000 in award money.
“The FuzeHub Competition is at the center of the maturing of our economic and startup ecosystem.,” said Robert Manasier, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Innovate 518. “Funding focused on commercialization, not just research and customer discovery, is always needed. The focus on selling products, technologies and services has to be our goal because that is what drives sustainability and growth for any business, region, initiative.”
Launched in 2016, the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund supports activities designed to promote technology development and commercialization across New York State, including Manufacturing Innovation Grants, the Commercialization Competition and an Innovation Challenge that will be announced this month. The fund provides $1 million annually over five years. FuzeHub administers the fund as part of its role as the Empire State Development-designated statewide Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center.
About Jeff Lawrence
During his more than 20 years at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate in the Capital Region where he served as Executive Vice President and MEP Center Director, Jeff Lawrence directed programs of direct assistance to manufacturers and technology companies to increase their competitiveness. He is remembered for being an invaluable and generous mentor to many in the area’s business community and a tireless advocate for manufacturing innovation throughout New York.