Nuravine’s first encounter with FuzeHub came in October 2018, when it attended a FuzeHub Solutions Forum in New York City–a match-maker style event where manufacturers meet directly with hand-picked business and technology resources in one-on-one consultations. Babich said this helped the company immensely by connecting it with M-Corps, NYSERDA’s cleantech energy program. Nuravine spent the better part of 2019 with M-Corps, visiting manufacturing facilities, learning about their processes, and gaining valuable insights into how to manufacture products and sell them to customers.
Shortly after attending the Solutions Forum, Nuravine asked MTEC for support with enhancing its prototype, which it already was selling. MTEC went to work with Babich and Logan on the design for manufacturability for a second-generation of The Elixir. Nuravine also applied for and won a $10,000 Innovation Incentive Prize for Food, Agriculture, and Beverage from the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, which FuzeHub administers.
Julianne Clouthier, Industry Engagement Manager for FuzeHub, oversaw the Innovation Incentive Prize and described it as targeted to small and early-stage companies with innovative solutions that could help the agricultural, food and beverage processing industries become more profitable, more efficient, safer, and/or more environmentally friendly. She said that Nuravine, whose application noted helping farmers increase their yield by 10 percent, “checked all the boxes.”
FuzeHub’s $10,000 Innovation Incentive Prize supported Nuravine’s work with MTEC on a printed circuit board for two components of The Elixer: the “brain,” which controls the system, and the pumps, which connect to the brain to add the nutrients to the water. In early 2019, MTEC applied for and won a FuzeHub Manufacturing Grant, also part of the Jeff Lawrence Fund, for $44,043 on behalf of Nuravine.
In April 2019, Nuravine attended FuzeHub’s Build4Scale AIM Onshore event and received an $8,000 Build4Scale grant. Kim Lloyd, Director of Special Projects for FuzeHub, said the purpose of the Build4Scale fund was to assist cleantech and other hardware manufacturers to improve their manufacturing readiness. She noted that Nuravine had beta-testers–in the form of farmers–who were waiting to try their product. “The funds helped Nuravine accomplish this short-term goal,” she said, “and ultimately assisted them long-term by addressing the fast-growing local urban farming and indoor cultivation revolution happening in New York State.”
Incerto described the relationship between MTEC and Nuravine as strong and positive, involving a lot of back and forth and debates about the best way to do things. “I think we ended up with a better product as a result,” he added.