Innovative Tech Startups Primed to Pitch Live at the AFRL Commercialization Academy’s 2018 Spring Demo Day Event in Rome, New York
Five startup teams will pitch live for the chance to win up to $15,000 in prize money at the AFRL Commercialization Academy Spring Cohort’s Demo Day on May 31, 2018
Rome, NY – The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI), along with Griffiss Institute and Wasabi Ventures, will hold the AFRL Commercialization Academy Spring Cohort’s Demo Day on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 5:00 pm EDT, at Griffiss Institute, 725 Daedalian Drive in Rome, New York.
Five innovative, tech startup teams from the Spring 2018 AFRL Commercialization Academy Cohort, two of which, are local to the Utica-Rome area, 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.
“We continue to grow the Commercialization Academy to have a greater impact on the local and state economy and technical ecosystem. Our expectations are that this effort will continue to be recognized by the Department of Defense and New York State, with increased positive support by each entity for future growth,” says Griffiss Institute Technical Director, Frank Hoke.
The Spring 2018 AFRL Commercialization Academy Cohort began in January, led by Program Director of Wasabi Ventures Academy, Michele Pesula Kuegler, and began with five 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 five startups competing at Demo Day are:
AudioStaq – Baltimore, MD – AudioStaq is a publishing and monetization platform that allows podcasters to host, distribute, and monetize content by connecting them with relevant advertisers through their programmatic marketplace.
Go Figure – Utica, NY – The Contractor’s Mobile Office. Tape measures, ladders, and note pads. This is how contractors get measurements, build estimates, and create proposals for remodeling jobs – inaccurate and inefficient. A 3+ hour process. Go Figure knows this because they, themselves, are contractors. Also, over-ordering materials cuts into margins and creates other hidden costs. Go Figure wanted technology for their residential contracting business that would dramatically reduce the time to provide a proposal to a customer, from 3+ hours to just minutes, and to accurately order materials for a job. They couldn’t find that technology, so they built Go Figure.
idoolocal – Clinton, NY – idoolocal, the local adventure company, wants you to do local! idoolocal works with local businesses only, (no chains!), to create out-of-the-ordinary experiences, like learning how to make sushi from the chefs at The Lotus Garden, or gourmet chocolates alongside the chocolatiers at Sweet Escape, to learning the art of making fresh pasta at The Savoy. idoolocal creates these unique experiences for you and your friends and family, so you can create a local adventure and memories that will last forever.
Off the Cuff – Baltimore, MD – Off the Cuff is a refreshing look at many of the financial issues facing this country. The United States of America will face major financial implications in the coming years, and many people only look to major news outlets for the interpretation of these financial issues. Oftentimes these outlets become boring and unwatchable; Off the Cuff aims to change that! Their channel’s goal and intent is to simplify and communicate in a truthful, and semi-funny way, many of these issues. Off the Cuff will cover finance, current events, and much more on this channel.
Pulse – Hanover, NH – Pulse is a survey platform on a mission to provide a reliable source of student opinion on college campuses. Launched at Dartmouth College in the October of 2016, Pulse has an active user base of 92% of the student body and regularly achieves response rates 10-15X higher than competitor survey platforms. Since expanding into the rest of the Ivy League in January of 2018, 12K students have signed up and nine universities have requested to use the platform, including Stanford and MIT. After cornering the college market, Pulse plans to welcome all types of communities onto the platform, including high school, geographic, and even interest-based communities.
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 Spring 2017 team, Intake, as well as Fall 2017 alum and Judges’ Choice winner, Good People Energy Technologies. Intake is a digital health company developing next-generation diet-tracking technologies. Using advanced biosensors and wireless technologies, Intake has developed a tool that eliminates the need for food diaries and journaling. Good People manufactures an energy-saving product, an adaptive fan controller for small HVAC systems. It typically saves 15-30% of the energy used by HVAC systems and pays for itself in 3-5 years.
The Spring Cohort Demo Day is a free event and open to anyone interested in startups, entrepreneurship, technology, and interesting intellectual property. RSVP at https://demodayspring2018.eventbrite.com
The 2018 Spring AFRL Commercialization Academy Cohort and Demo Day were made possible by the following generous supporters: Oneida County Industrial Development Agency, NYSTEC, The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Rome Industrial Development Corporation, M&T Bank, Wasabi Ventures, InfluenceLogic, Community Bank, and Mohawk Valley EDGE.
Inside the Lab