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Innovative Tech Startups Primed to Pitch Live at the AFRL Commercialization Academy’s 2017 Fall Cohort Demo Day Event in Rome, New York

You help decide who wins at Demo Day with the audience vote

Four startup teams will pitch live for the chance to win up to $15,000 in prize money at the AFRL Commercialization Academy Fall Cohort’s Demo Day on November 30, 2017

Rome, NY The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI), along with Griffiss Institute and Wasabi Ventures, will hold the AFRL Commercialization Academy Fall Cohort’s Demo Day on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at 5:00 pm EDT, at Griffiss Institute, 725 Daedalian Drive in Rome, New York.

Four New York State innovative, tech startup teams from the Fall 2017 AFRL Commercialization Academy Cohort have been selected to take the stage to compete in a live pitch competition in front of a live audience and a judges' panel. The panel will consist of Commercialization Academy alum, the Upstate New York investor community, and event sponsors. A judges’ vote and a live audience vote will be held, with $15,000 and $5,000 cash prizes, respectively, to be given to the two best pitches of the day.

The judges’ panel will evaluate each startup based on such factors as: the ability of the business to affect Upstate New York's start-up ecosystem and high-tech economy, the culture of innovation that has been created within the startup due to incorporating AFRL technology, the sustainability of the solution beyond the initial startup period, and marketing strategy.                                   

The startups were incubated by early-stage venture capital firm, Wasabi Ventures, while embarking on an acceleration process to either build a sustainable startup, or enhance technology from an already existing startup, with Department of Defense intellectual property from the Information Directorate.

The AFRL Commercialization Academy is an entrepreneurial education program sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate and run by Griffiss Institute. Griffiss Institute has partnered with Wasabi Ventures, a successful venture capital firm, to run the academy since 2015. The program is designed to develop entrepreneurial leaders through the commercialization of federal intellectual property to facilitate the growth of Upstate New York’s economy through tech startups, and potentially speed technology products back into the hands of the Department of Defense.

"The AFRL Commercialization Academy has been an outstanding success for the local area and upstate New York, highlighting the technology within the Information Directorate, right here in Rome, New York, and the entrepreneurial spirit in this area. Since 2014, this effort has enabled 26+ startups, all of them are still viable companies, and we will be adding another four startups to that list, at this Demo Day,” says Frank Hoke, Tech Transfer Director at Griffiss Institute.

The Fall 2017 AFRL Commercialization Academy Cohort began in August, led by Associate Dean of Wasabi Ventures Academy, Michele Pesula Kuegler, and began with four startup teams commencing a 4-month commercial viability process. Each entrepreneur sought to develop and test strategies to build sustainable startups eligible for licensing, investing, and partnership opportunities. 

The four New York State-based startups competing at Demo Day are:

GivDapps – GivDapps, operating out of New York City, provides crowdfunding opportunities to families in need and specific community projects that have been vetted by other charitable organizations. GivDapps is a non-profit organization leveraging technology and the power of community relationships to promote transparent charitable giving within local communities.

Good People Energy Technologies - Good People is a benefit corporation with offices in Cooperstown, New York, and Utica, New York. The Phoenix Fan Controller provides 10-30% energy savings with improved quiet and comfort and can be added to existing small fan HVAC systems (PTACs, fan coils, split systems, etc.) to extend their useful lives. It is well suited to institutions like government buildings, schools, colleges, and hospitals, as well as commercial buildings, office parks, hotels, and multi-tenant residential buildings.

Inky’s Bookshelf – A lot can be learned about someone just by taking a look at their bookshelf. At Inky, from Loudonville, New York, curated selections of books are created based on your reading history and interests. The product is simple, send in a picture of your bookshelf, and once a month a book will be sent to your doorstep.

Let’s Chat About It - Let's Chat About It is a wellness support platform and online community for those struggling with mental health and substance abuse. Let's Chat About It, out of Saratoga Springs, New York, is a comprehensive online platform that builds a community to share, support, and gain confidence to combat substance abuse and to better their overall mental health.  Let's Chat About It provides on-site resources such as licensed therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists via video sessions. Their added benefits include blogs, a 24/7 chat support with professionals, sober event meetups, progress incentives, as well as connecting others who are going through the similar struggles. Let's Chat About It’s platform will be a supplement to professional support mechanisms as they help users re-assimilate to their life as well as provide a connecting space for users in all stages of recovery. Through this platform, users will be able to connect with each other and licensed health care providers to help each other get out of the darkness together.

These entrepreneurs have received an abundance of tools and resources, including a startup educational platform that teaches the logistics of building a startup.

Attendees at Demo Day will also receive updates on progress from the founder of Spring 2017 Demo Day Judges’ Choice winner, Mentis Technologies, as well as Fall 2015 alum and Judges’ Choice winner, InfluenceLogic (formally, VidFall). Mentis is a cyber security company focused on preventing viruses and all forms of malware from infecting your computer through internet browsing, while at the same time, protecting your privacy. InfluenceLogic is building tools to help both businesses and creators work together in mutually beneficial, win-win ways by powering the video content revolution.

The Fall Cohort Demo Day is a free event and open to anyone interested in startups, entrepreneurship, technology, and interesting intellectual property. RSVP at https://demodayfall2017.eventbrite.com/

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