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Ithaca Startups Win 3 of 7 Awards for Funding at 2018 Commercialization Competition

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Ithaca Startups Win 3 of 7 Awards for Funding at 2018 Commercialization Competition

FuzeHub, a not-for-profit organization responsible for assisting small to medium-sized manufacturing companies in New York State, announced the seven winners of its Commercialization Competition on November 8. The seven companies, including three with Cornell ties, were awarded $50,000 each from the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund. Cornell startups Capro-X, Iko Systems and VitaMe were among the winners.

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.

The Cornell startups with winning pitches included:

Capro-X Inc.:A startup developing a natural and sustainable solution for converting dairy industry wastes into valuable platform chemicals.

Juan Guzman Ph. D ’17 began Capro-X in Cornell University’s Commercialization Fellows program, a specialized track for engineering doctoral candidates that provides training on commercializing research.

The startup was then accepted into the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps, a seven-week program to train researchers to keep and entrepreneurial mindset. After completing I-Corps, Guzman received a $225,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop Capro-X’s bio process. Shortly thereafter, Guzman and Capro-X earned a sport as a top-20 finalist in Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s 76West Clean Energy Competition. Most recently, the company joined the incubator Rev: Ithaca Startup Worksto further its development.

Íko Systems:A smart tabletop micro-greenhouse for sustainably minded foodies.

Íko Systems was created by a team of Cornell students: Michael Eaton ’18, Santiago Alegria ’18, Liad Hare ’18, Jaiveer Singh ’18, Sivan Sud ’18, and Benjamin Sword ’18. They developed the company while taking part in both Cornell’s student accelerator program eLab and Cornell Engineering’s Kessler Fellows Program. eLab is a nationally recognized for-credit program that provides mentorship and training for teams of students, from any field of study, who want to launch a business. The Kessler Fellows Program is a premier donor-funded undergraduate entrepreneurship initiative that selects a niche group of junior engineers for a unique and fully funded yearlong educational and experiential program.

Earlier in 2018, Íko Systems won a Cornell Engineering Innovation Award for the most innovative and developed concept. The company was also awarded funding to participate in the Cornell Center for Materials Research Jumpstart Program, supported by NYSTAR. Íko is continuing to perfect its prototype using the hardware lab at Rev: Ithaca Startups works.

VitaMe Technologies, Inc.:Provides fast, accurate, and mobile nutrition deficiency testing.

Li Jiang, Ph. D ’14, CEO of VitaMe Technologies, Inc. is working with David Erickson, the Sibley College Professor at Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, to developa low-cost, portable diagnostics platform that can determine micronutrient deficiencies. Named “VitaScan,” the compay is working with Cornell to develop a medium-scale manufacturing and packaging process to build the company.

The FuzeHub Commercialization Competitionwas launched in 2017 to support pre-revenue businesses and assist them in improving upon a working prototype or beta phase. The goal is to support companies to pursue additional investments and customers, leading to commercialization.