NEW HAVEN — Ten local startups made a pitch for some prime investment to take their companies to the next level.
A total of 11 entrepreneurial teams took part in Connecticut Innovations Inc.’s (CII) TechStart Demo Day on May 18, where emerging technology companies got to pitch their companies to venture capital and angel investors in the hopes of winning funding though CII’s TechStart Fund.
The event was the culmination of CII’s TechStart program, which had the teams take part in a ten-week program at Yale’s CTech@Science Park, which provided up to $25,000 of initial funding per team, as well as resources and access to mentors and professional services, to make each company ready to launch.
Seven TechStart Fund teams made their pitches, three of which were born out of last fall’s Startup Weekend New Haven. Four teams in CII’s Pre-Seed Fund program also made pitches for follow-on investments.
The TechStart Fund was created to build tech companies in their early stages and help them determine whether future funding can be obtained. The PreSeed Fund is for companies younger than seven years with fewer than 25 employees, annual revenues of less than $2 million, and with technology in the development stage.
Only two of the 11 teams at the event — New Canaan’s My Luck Club (a social e-commerce site), and Hamden’s Snippet (an online portfolio for photographers and journalists) — were not from New Haven. TechStart teams also included Applivate, which created teen diabetes tracking app ShugaTrak; MeritBooster, a Kickstarter-like funding platform for students ages 13 to 19; industrial waste recycler Red Ox Technologies; liquid cooling developer Scaled Liquid Systems; and Seldera, a Yale-spawned startup developing touchless sensor controls.
The Pre-Seed Fund teams were C8 Sciences, developer of neuroscience-based cognitive improvement products; CMD Bioscience, which specializes in computer-aided analysis, modeling and design of therapeutic peptides; Green Life Guides, which connects eco-conscious consumers with green products and resources; and Grey Wall Software, which developed a mobile app to aid team collaboration during crisis events.
Applicants for the next TechStart Fund program can apply between June 15 and August 15, and the next group of teams will take part in the business accelerator program from mid-September through mid-December.
NEW HAVEN — Software developer Notifyi, LLC received a $150,000 investment from Connecticut Innovations Inc. (CII) to complete development of a cloud-based physician collaboration program.
The platform will allow doctors to communicate securely with other doctors via e-mail, texts, pager and fax; with recipients being able to choose how they receive messages. The system will also include conferencing functions, discussion forums and blogs, as well as message receipts.
Notifyi’s messaging system will adhere to privacy standards laid out in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The CII investment comes from the organization’s Pre-Seed Fund for Connecticut-based startups and early-stage tech companies.
WEST HAVEN — Biochemical company NanoViricides has received a fundamental patent for its anti-virus technology, which will last through 2026.
The US Patent (No. 8,173,764) for “Solubilization and Targeted Delivery of Drugs with Self-Assembling Amphiphilic Polymers” is for the tiny molecules the company has developed intended to combat viruses including influenza, hepatitis and HIV by tricking the virus into landing on artificial host cells that will then destroy the virus.
The patent will be in effect through October 1, 2026, and may be extended.
WALLINGFORD — Cloud hosting provider NextCloud has relocated its U.S. headquarters from Sacramento, Calif. to Wallingford, and the company is bringing some extra cash with it.
The firm, which provides cloud services to enterprise, smart building, health-care, government and education customers, has received a $1 million investment from Connecticut Innovations Inc.’s (CII) Eli Whitney Fund.
The company is developing management capabilities for servers, as well as storage, security, backup and disaster recovery.
WALLINGFORD — Biomedical company CyVek has received a $445,683 grant from Connecticut Innovations Inc. (CII) to continue development of a blood testing platform.
CyVek’s patent-pending system will allow for simultaneous measurement of multiple markers in blood samples; a device that could be useful in determining drug doses for patients.
The CyVek system will consist of an instrument with disposable cartridges, which will measure proteins in blood and other bodily fluids, which would reflect the presence or severity of a disease.
CII awarded the grant through its Eli Whitney Fund as part of $3 million series C round of funding. CII invested $802,500 in the company in 2010.
NEW HAVEN — Biotechs Axerion Therapeutics and MedImmune have joined forces to research and develop a commercial treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
MedImmune is the Maryland-based biologics arm of AstraZeneca, The agreement with Axerion is the first collaboration with AstraZeneca’s new Neuroscience Innovative Medicines Unit. Axerion has granted an exclusive sublicense to the company to investigate and commercialize a biological approach to binding A-beta oligimers to prion proteins. In return Axerion will receive upfront and milestone payments, plus research and development funding, as well as royalties on product sales.
STORRS — It looks like there will be a different set of wings over Storrs.
The University of Connecticut was granted authority by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly drone aircraft at the school’s campus.
The school’s mechanical engineering department says the authority was granted to build a self-flying helicopter so the United Technologies Research Center can conduct research.
The project involves using a large hobbyist remote control helicopter called the Maxi Joker 3, and will guide research into the development of autonomous navigation and guidance systems.
Project investigator Chengyu Cao says similar work is being done at other universities, including Virginia Tech.
UConn is one of 63 sites authorized to fly drone aircraft in the U.S., 25 of which are also institutions of higher education, though school officials had to dismiss the notion that the FBI would be using UConn to fly surveillance drones.
The project has not yet been funded, and no flights have taken place.
ROCKY HILL — Tech innovation hub Connecticut Innovations Inc. (CII) hopes to bolster state students’ technology skills for the workforce.
CII is launching the Technology Talent Bridge Program, an initiative to provide learning activity experiences for Connecticut college students (those at least studying for bachelors degrees) through mentored internships at small, technology-based businesses in the state.
The program is designed to ease students’ path to finding jobs post-college, and to keep graduates in the state by linking them with local companies. CII hopes the program will also strengthen school curricula by building industry skills, and stimulate job creation.
Eligible companies must present a student or team of participating students a project involving a technology problem that must be solved within three to nine months. The inaugural internships are set to begin at the end of summer 2012 and continue into the fall and winter months.
Participating companies will be eligible for grants of up to $25,000 for intern compensation.
NEW HAVEN — The Connecticut Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) is getting a boost to its computer-training program, thanks to First Niagara Bank.
The bank has awarded SAMA a $150,000 grant over three years to support its Empresario Computer Training Program at its offices in New Haven, Hartford and Willimantic. The program will give low- and moderate-income businesses and start-ups instruction in several Microsoft software programs, as well as in Quickbooks accounting software.
Each session will last ten weeks, with 30 hours of training per student, and will cap at 20 students per class. The program is offered twice a year.
The Empresario program was started in 1999 as part of the Empresario Development Center, which focuses on providing small-business owners and entrepreneurs, their family members and employees with education in management, finances, human resources, technology, health and safety.
More information can be found at samact.org.
FARMINGTON — Medical tech company Innovatient Solutions has received a $500,000 grant from Connecticut Innovations Inc. (CII) to continue developing an information system for patients.
The nVision Information Therapy Solution utilizes the television in a patient’s hospital room as a portal to connect with informational resources as well as with games, videos and the Internet.
The system allows patients to connect with health-care providers, clinical teams and family members to assist in the recovery process. The system also has the capability to interface with other hospital systems and medical records.
CII made an initial $500,000 investment in the company in 2011. The latest is part of a $2 million extended round of funding from CII and angel investors.
WALLINGFORD — Biotech company CyVek Inc. has received $3 million in funding for its drug discovery research.
The company is developing a testing system for performing bioassays, molecular diagnostics, and immunodiagnostics in drug discovery and point-of-care applications.
Founded in 2010, CyVek received $4 million in funding two years ago, which included a $802,000 grant from Connecticut Innovations Inc.