UConn Awards Commercialization Funds

The University of Connecticut’s Office of the Vice President for Research, today announced that five early stage ventures have been awarded funds to help commercialize new technologies in Connecticut. The grants will fund proof of concept experiments, prototype development and testing, manufacturing design, and customer validation — all key steps to bringing new technologies into the marketplace.

According to Dr. Jeff Seemann, UConn’s Vice President for Research, funds will be made available from two unique programs aimed at filling the gap between research support and private investment. The Accelerator Fund, administered by the University and funded by the Department of Economic and Community Development, is designed to support innovation throughout the state (e.g. Yale, UConn) The University Prototype Fund, derived from the University’s patent revenue, is focused on supporting commercially viable innovations from UConn.

Voda, a UConn student startup, was awarded a $50,000 Accelerator Fund grant to support pre-manufacturing design for the company’s SmartWell beverage dispenser. SmartWell provides consumers with a choice of flavored and nutritionally enhanced beverages, while offering a green alternative to bottled beverages.

A $25,000 Accelerator Fund grant was awarded to 109 Design, a company formed by three recent Yale graduates, to develop a smart strap for scoliosis braces. The braces increase compliance and enhance the effectiveness of this important non-surgical treatment for the condition.

A $50,000 Accelerator Fund grant was awarded to Yale startup GestVision to create and test a new Point of Care diagnostic test for Preeclampsia. This award leverages a $100,000 grant the company recently received from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Innovation Fund.

UConn startup Valhalla Specialty Polymers, LLC, founded by Dr. Gregory Sotzing, was awarded a $50,000 UConn Prototype grant to create flexible antennae on fabrics for real-time transmission of health information of the wearer.

A $25,000 UConn Prototype grant was awarded to UConn startup Q-pro Bracing Technologies. Q-pro, advised by Dr. Kazem Kazerounian, is developing of a revolutionary knee brace for patients suffering from osteoarthritis, especially those who are too young for knee replacement.

These programs demonstrate how university research can be the catalyst for innovation, startup creation and economic growth in Connecticut” said Dr. Seemann, “UConn is delighted to support the work of early stage companies developing technologies discovered at Connecticut’s two leading research universities — UConn and Yale. We applaud DECD’s foresight in awarding funds to support commercialization of university-based innovations. As a sign of our commitment to Connecticut’s economic prosperity, we are pleased to leverage DECD funds with UConn’s Prototype Fund.

Media Contact: Rita Zangari, 860 486-3010