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Two Startups Win Big at Commercialization Academy Demo Day; $50,000 Awarded

UTICA, NY — Griffiss Institute and Wasabi Ventures hosted investors, entrepreneurs, and tech transfer enthusiasts to watch eight startups, that had completed the 2016 Spring Commercialization Academy, pitch to judges, and an audience of 100+, on how they have been disrupting the market with Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) technologies as a pivotal part of their business model, during the Academy’s Demo Day, Tuesday evening, at the thINCubator’s new location in Downtown Utica.

$50,000 was up for grabs as teams took the stage for four minutes each, to pitch audience members and a panel of judges, in order to see which startup company and AFRL/RI technology-based products and services were most deserving of the money.

The eight startup teams who took the stage on Tuesday evening were; Inara, OneTouchTrust, Covrt Security, GeoPixi, Xompass FaaS, SwitchNote, Sravel, and CFO Technology Corporation.

Xompass FaaS, a service platform that provides intelligence to assets in the energy industries, walked away with the judges’ vote and $25,000, while a company that combats online identity fraud, OneTouchTrust, won the audience vote and $25,000.

Patrick Harris, vice president of Xompass Faas said, “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this group, and the Air Force Research Lab has done great things for our technology. Hopefully we can continue to develop the product to incorporate some more of the research lab’s patents and make the world a better place.”

“I am very excited to win! I have been so grateful to be a part of this program. It’s made a huge difference in my business, and helped me to make connections that I wouldn’t have been able to make outside this organization, so I’m really, really, excited to be a part of it”, says Crystal Taggart, founder and CEO of OneTouchTrust.

The judges looked at how each team is using AFRL/RI technologies, and the innovative ways they each currently bring, or will bring, these technologies to the public market.

The Commercialization Academy is blazing a path in Department of Defense (DoD) IP Tech Transfer; fundamentally changing the way a startup gets built by pairing hungry entrepreneurs with AFRL technologies, creating new companies to impact local ecosystems. The Commercialization Academy is creating the building blocks for a stronger community in the Mohawk Valley.

"The Commercialization Academy represents a transformative approach to doing tech transfer at a research lab. The combining of hands-on mentoring, local funding, founders with domain expertise, and world-class intellectual property from the labs, has created the ability to create scalable companies that impact the entire ecosystem,” said Wasabi Ventures general partner TK Kuegler.

Over the past six months, the Spring 2016 Commercialization Academy, run by Wasabi Ventures, has seen 18 individuals setting out to transform Air Force Research Laboratory technologies into new startups, with eight startups developed. With the full support of Wasabi Ventures’ mentoring and education, including hundreds of constructive meetings and thousands of interactions, each team was able to accomplish a tremendous amount. All eight teams were able to create a legal entity, license their piece of Intellectual Property (IP), spec up product designs, learn the proper way to pitch their IP, develop a go-to-market, and define their growth strategies, which all lead up to the Spring 2016 Demo Day.

The Commercialization Academy is looking for the next great founder. The next program begins in June 2016. Contact Griffiss Institute for more information at 315-838-1696.

Photo (l-r): Brian Abbe, ORTA at AFRL/RI; Patrick Harris, Xompass FaaS vice president; TK Kuegler, Wasabi Ventures general partner; Crystal Taggart, OneTouchTrust founder and CEO; and Daniel Goddard, Director at AFRL/RI.

Photo Credit: Simon Eisenbach Productions

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