Prof. Amin Khodaei and Dr. Rozhin Eskandarpour Awarded a Colorado Advanced Industries Grant
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Approves Grant for University of Denver and Other Organizations to Support Advanced Industries
A Colorado company with revolutionary technology to create telepresence robotics, designed to expedite adoption of robotic arms in advanced industrial and commercial applications was among 37 Colorado start-ups approved for funding as part of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT)’s Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program. A total of $7,657,811 was approved during the first grant cycle of 2021 for Proof-of-Concept and Early Stage Capital and Retention Grants that support Colorado’s advanced industries.
“The Advanced Industries grants expand Colorado’s vital innovation ecosystem that supports our economic growth,” said Katie Woslager Senior Manager – Advanced Industries. “These innovative companies create jobs and leverage additional investment in Colorado, and are even more important as the nation focuses on economic recovery.”
Proof-of-Concept grants are open to Colorado research universities, federal labs located in Colorado and other labs with valid technology transfer offices in Colorado for pre-commercialization research and commercialization preparation. Early Stage Capital and Retention grants fund companies commercializing innovative technologies to create viable products that meet a market need and can be created or manufactured in Colorado and exported globally.
The AI Accelerator Grant program received 100 applications this grant cycle. Applications were reviewed by committees of business, technical and financial experts, as well as an industry-specific reviewer. 24 companies were invited to participate in a pitch session in October with the full AI committee. Final recommendations were approved by the Economic Development Commission on November 19, 2020.
The next application cycle for Proof-of-Concept and Early Stage Capital and Retention Grants will open on January 1, 2021 and applications will be due March 1, 2021.
The Advanced Industry Accelerator Programs (AIA) were created in 2013 to promote growth and sustainability in Colorado’s advanced industries by driving innovation, accelerating commercialization, encouraging public-private partnerships, increasing access to early stage capital and creating a strong infrastructure that increases the state’s capacity to be globally competitive. AIA encompasses three distinct grant programs: Proof of Concept, Early Stage Capital and Retention, and Collaborative Infrastructure. To date the program has deployed $86.5 million and has leveraged over $1.66 billion in follow-on funding back into the state.
Proof-of-Concept and Early-Stage Capital Grant Recipients
Advanced Environmental Technologies, LLC.– Fort Collins, CO $169,200 – AET has developed a novel technology that can benefit both the coal industry and agriculture by converting low-value coal like lignite into an organic soil conditioner and fertilizer that raises soil quality and improves crop/plant growth. AET is seeking funding to build a 100-metric ton/year demo plant in Colorado for farmers, ranchers, gardeners, and others to increase their yields and maintain soil health. Meanwhile they provide a substantial valorization to the coal industry.
Agile RF Systems, LLC. – Berthoud, CO $250,000 – ARS specializes in sophisticated directional wireless systems for radar, communications and remote sensing. They are developing products in each of these areas at exceptionally low costs given their below industry average cost structure. They are proving electronically steered antennas are affordable.
Big Metal Additive, LLC – Denver, CO $250,000 – BMA is advancing manufacturing with its unique, groundbreaking multi-axis metal additive manufacturing process. BMA produces complex design metal products that cannot be built with conventional manufacturing. They use the most advanced manufacturing grade software to easily work with customer CAD models and convert them to large metal products. They build parts quickly. Instead of waiting months for a replacement cast part, they can have it delivered in a few days.
Bond Pet Foods, Inc. – Boulder, CO $250,000 – Dogs and cats thrive on meat-based diets, but Bond Pet Foods are not fans of how meat is sourced and made. At Bond they are reinventing pet nutrition, making dog and cat foods sourced from real animal protein, without the animal. Using some of the same processes that are employed in craft brewing, they grow high-quality animal proteins through fermentation, harvest them to better meet the nutrition requirements of companion animals, and use the ingredients as the foundation of their complete recipes.
ClearSight, LLC. – Aurora, CO $250,000 – ClearSight’s accommodating intraocular lens will treat two extremely prevalent conditions in the aging population, presbyopia and cataract, with a single device. Via its uniquely sensitive refractive system, a complete range of youthful vision will be restored, without the visual side effects present with competing technologies. Such a solution will provide a greatly improved quality of life for millions.
Colorado Research Partners, LLC. – Aurora, CO $250,000 – Alcoholism affects one in eight people, and Colorado leads the nation for the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths. Current drugs used to treat alcohol addiction are minimally effective and have side effects. Colorado Research Partners have discovered a causal link of sugar with alcohol, and have developed a new class of sugar inhibitors that block alcohol craving with minimal side effects. Their wish is to refine our prototype to make it a once a day drug and take it through for IND approval. Saving lives matters.
Cosmero, Inc. DBA McSquares – Thornton, CO $250,000 – McSquares make whiteboarding products that help people think, that inspire team creativity, that foster learning, and that cultivate organizational collaboration. They were recently featured on Shark Tank.
Darwin Biosciences, Inc. – Boulder, CO $250,000 – Darwin Biosciences’ CoVLab is improving the way the world manages infectious disease by offering end-to-end screening to detect pathogens associated with COVID-19 in asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals. The portable lab service enables rapid collection and analysis of saliva in a highly tolerable, noninvasive, and cost-effective manner. CoVLab’s saliva-based screenings are conducted at the point of need and deliver rapid, same-day results, potentially stemming the spread of disease.
EdCuration – Golden, CO $250,000 – EdCuration curates the most impactful instructional resources to get them into classrooms faster to increase student success.
ForCast Orthopedics, Inc. – Longmont, CO $250,000 – ForCast Orthopedics provides superior, localized delivery of life-saving drugs. They are initially focused on targeted antibiotic treatment of orthopedic infections. Today, patients suffer under current treatments exhibiting a high failure rate, extended morbidity and risk of amputation or death. Intraarticular antibiotic injection using our RIDDS device will improve outcomes, reduce patient risk, and significantly reduce the cost of care, in some cases saving over $120,000 per patient in treatment costs alone.
Kestrel Labs, Inc. – Boulder, CO $200,000 – Kestrel Labs’ HemeOx™ will replace every pulse oximeter in healthcare today, a multi-billion-dollar opportunity. Its proprietary laser-based technology adds noninvasive measurement of total hemoglobin, an invasive lab test ordered over 400 million times annually in the U.S. alone, to the world’s most accurate pulse oximeter. And it does so with no additional sensors. Once HemeOx™ is on the market, no healthcare facility would risk the liability of missing a case of occult anemia.
KineticCore Solutions, LLC. – Loveland, CO $200,000 – KineticCore Solutions, a Colorado-based startup, has designed, patented, built, and is introducing the world’s greenest, most affordable, and safest battery. Unlike the chemical-based batteries in your car or cellphone, our batteries are kinetic. Lithium batteries are plagued with safety, ecological, and useful life issues. We do not have those problems! These batteries are carbon-negative, last 25+ years and are designed to thrive in the same operational environment as solar and wind farms.
Menogenix, Inc. – Aurora, CO $108,000 – Building on broad patent protection and positive, placebo-controlled clinical trial data, MenoGeniX is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a naturally-occurring protein as a new and potentially safer alternative to hormone therapy, antidepressants and pain medications for the 70 million women that seek therapy for hot flashes and related vasomotor symptoms associated with natural, surgical and chemically-induced menopause.
Mighty Oak Medical, Inc. – Englewood, CO $250,000 – Mighty Oak brought personalized surgery to the spine with its FIREFLY 3D printed patient-specific platform, and will soon be manufacturing FIREFLY in-house. This type of vertical integration for Mighty Oak will strengthen its competitiveness in the global marketplace and enable it to gain market share as an affordable and accessible form of navigation that is particularly well-suited for pediatric scoliosis and other types of complex spinal fusions.
Mindful Mamas Club, Inc. – Englewood, CO $250,000– Mindful Mamas is a mindfulness and meditation app designed specifically for mothers at every stage of motherhood, known as matresence. The app gives mothers customized sips of mindfulness throughout their day, incorporated into the things they are already doing. The Mindful Mamas App includes Guided Meditations, Mini Pauses (1-3 minute activities to be done anytime during the day), Breathing Techniques, Mantras, and a content library called Get Centered for a quick transition from chaos to calm.
Peak Diagnostic Partners, LLC. – Westminster, CO $250,000 – Peak Diagnostic Partners has created a NextGen Sequencing diagnostic to help Severe Asthma patients return to normal lives. This cannot happen currently because existing diagnostics do not deliver the sensitivity or breadth required to support the physician in this decision. There are 800,000 patients in the US with a TAM of $1.2B annually. Their launch partnerships represent over 8000 patients at CU, Mt. Sinai and National Jewish Health using existing billing codes to capture $12M in revenue.
PickNik, Inc. – Boulder, CO $248,400 – PickNik is creating telepresence robotics to expedite adoption of robotic arms in advanced industrial and commercial applications by leveraging mixed autonomy. The problem companies adopting robotic arms face is that the cost to deploy a 100% robust and reliable automation is astronomical; even the biggest tech companies struggle. With their solution, a software library on the robot allows a human in a call center to remotely unstick a confused robot arm, increasing uptime and reliability.
POPvr – Boulder, CO $250,000 – Imagine you’re out with friends at a nightclub, a little bored, when the DJ throws your crew into a mini adventure that livens up the evening. Rocking out to a band, and suddenly engaged in dueling guitars with the lead. Live entertainment has evolved little, but POPvr aims to change that. They are inventing the next gen of live entertainment that adds engaging interactive virtual experiences to physical events, with a platform that can be scaled to venues everywhere.
QuikRStuff– Grand Junction, CO $150,000 – Bike sales–especially heavy eBikes–are growing rapidly. Inventor Cal Phillips has 20 years experience with the highly successful Quik Rack bike rack. Now enter his new rack, the Quik Rack Mach2. With a 300-pound capacity, it’s ideal for carrying multiple heavy eBikes. It is the only rack that can do this. It’s intuitive, toolless, quick, and easy to attach, remove, fold, and store. Being modular, customers can purchase the main rack–which holds one bike–and up to three additional add-ons.
Rolling Energy Resources- Boulder, CO $250,000 – Adoption of EVs is predicted to grow exponentially in the next decade, yet the electric grid is not prepared to handle this growth. RER allows for this growth by managing the electric load of EVs. They connect directly to vehicles, similar to each manufacturer’s smart phone app, which allows for rapid, low-cost enrollment and scaling. Their solution reduces charging during peak periods, maximizes charging during renewable peaks, and educates customers on their energy impacts.
Scythe Robotics, Inc. – Longmont, CO $250,000 – At Scythe, they are reinventing how they care for the outdoor world. The chronic labor crisis and the terrible realities of air pollution converge in the $200B+ worldwide landscaping industry, and they are beginning to relieve those pains by building first of their kind, all-electric, self-driving mowers targeted (B2B) first at commercial landscapers. They help commercial landscaping companies provide lower cost mowing services, solve their extreme labor shortages, and eliminate noxious mower emissions.
Serenity App, Inc. – Denver, CO $150,000 – Serenity Engage is a secure group messaging application that brings everyone providing care to an older adult together on a single platform to communicate and collaborate, thereby improving quality of care and quality of life.
Terra Ferma, LLC – Colorado Springs, CO $249,869 – Terra Ferma Designs, Develops and Manufactures’ Rugged PoE products. Their technology enables users of critical remote sensors, communications equipment, surveillance & security equipment, infrastructure devices and lighting with reliable and consistent power to remote devices via a common ethernet cable. Their devices support power supplied from virtually any source cleans, conditions, isolates and protects the output power consumed by mission critical equipment all via a simple ethernet cable.
Think Bioscience, Inc. – Boulder, CO $250,000 – Think Bioscience uses engineered microbes to build targeted, readily synthesizable drug leads. Their focus departs from contemporary efforts to use microbial systems for the synthesis of existing drugs and their precursors by using biology to build new molecular function. They can hit difficult drug targets quickly. With microbes, Think Bioscience can accelerate the rate—and reduce the cost—of pharmaceutical development.
Titan Robotics, Ltd. – Colorado Springs, CO $250,000 – Titan Robotics is a leading manufacturer of state-of the-art industrial 3D printers. Titan’s technology enables its customers to use 3D printing for production, from manufacturing more cost-effectively to making new products. As an additive manufacturing solutions provider, Titan works with its customers to implement 3D printing in their production processes. Titan also provides consulting and 3D printing services, enabling R&D, process validation, and new product and materials development
Transitional Energy, LLC. – Aurora, CO $500,000 – Transitional Energy recycles oil and gas wellbores into clean power generators utilizing modular geothermal power units. They will utilize existing wells and infrastructure within proven oil and gas basins and become a pioneer in sedimentary geothermal power generation.
Ubiterra Corporation – Denver, CO $175,000 – Today’s O&G companies use horizontal drilling to unlock vast resources. For the best results and margins, those wells must be drilled in the best rock. But with today’s drilling rates, the necessary geoscience to stay in that rock can’t be done. ZoneVu is a breakthrough cloud product that lets geoscientists work together in real-time from any location to keep the drill bit in the best rock.
Veloce Corporation (SmartTab) – Denver, CO $250,000 – SmartTab is on a mission to advance digital drug delivery systems for effective therapies that improve patient outcomes. A patient-centered wireless drug delivery platform comprised of an ingestible capsule with a microprocessor, proprietary smart polymer actuator, and active ingredients. Starting with TargetTab for precise targeted drug delivery to the colon and then InjectTab, a biologics delivery system, making needles and syringes a thing of the past.
Vertical Solutions, Inc. DBA VSi Parylene – Broomfield, CO $160,700 – As technology evolves things are getting smaller, functionality is increasing, and consumers are demanding ruggedized products with longer lifecycles. Parylene coatings advance evolving technology by adding a protective thin film coating. VSi Parylene is here to help your business incorporate parylene conformal coating into its production processes.
Proof of Concept Grant Recipients
University of Colorado- Denver, Researcher Emily Gibson – Aurora, CO $150,000 – Miniature multiphoton fiber-coupled microscope for non-invasive neuronavigation in deep brain surgeries
University of Colorado- Denver, Researcher Yuwen Zhu- Aurora, CO $149,040 – Therapeutic CD112R antibody development
University of Colorado- Boulder, Researcher Carson Bruns- Boulder, CO $142,080 – “Invisible Melanin”: Permanent Transparent Tattoos that Reduce Skin Cancer and Aging Rates
University of Denver, Researcher Amin Khodaei- Denver, CO $149,966 – Quantum Computing-Enhanced Security and Sustainability for Next Generation Smart Grids
Colorado School of Mines- Researcher Dylan Domaille- Golden, CO $150,000– Urine Color-Changing Diagnostics to Alert Patients to Transplant Rejection
National Jewish Health- Researcher Stephen Humphries- Denver, CO $35,180 Clinical implementation of an artificial intelligence method for lung fibrosis quantitation on CT
National Jewish Health- Researcher Michael Strong- Denver, CO $35,176– Advancing Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Therapeutics Research & Development in Microgravity
National Jewish Health- Researcher Raphael Sung- Denver, CO $35,200– Informed Consent Program
Shared from the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade's website.