Spring 2018 AFRL Commercialization Academy Demo Day Teams Announced
Five teams are preparing their startups to pitch live at the Spring Demo Day on May 31, 2018
ROME, NY – Griffiss Institute and Wasabi Ventures, together, are pleased to announce the five teams of the Spring 2018 AFRL Commercialization Academy Cohort, two of which, are local to the Utica-Rome area. These tech transfer teams are being incubated while building their startups around Department of Defense Intellectual Property (IP) from the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) in Rome, New York.
During a four-month commercial viability process, these entrepreneurs receive an abundance of tools and resources, including an educational platform that teaches the logistics of building a startup. Each lab technology, and entrepreneur, go through an intense vetting process to further explore the commercial viability of the technologies. The entrepreneurs seek to develop and test strategies to build sustainable startups, eligible for licensing opportunities. Every entrepreneur has embarked on an acceleration process to build a piece of IP into a sustainable startup.
The AFRL Commercialization Academy is a Griffiss Institute entrepreneurial education program sponsored by AFRL/RI. Griffiss Institute has partnered with Wasabi Ventures, a successful venture capital firm, to run the academy since 2015. The program is designed to be complementary to local startup programs, and to permit participants to leverage all additional non-program resources they may be eligible for.
“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.
Personal mentorship and incubation will be provided by Wasabi Ventures’ partners and staff, plus selected expert contributors, leveraging the firm’s resources and network of talent to build each startup.
“This spring we have a cohort of five teams, which cover five different business areas. These teams are comprised of dedicated and energetic founders, who have their eyes on the prize for Demo Day, and also are excited to access all of the resources that are part of this program,” says Michele Pesula Kuegler, Program Director, Wasabi Ventures Academy.
At the end of the program, teams will pitch to the local investment community, industry leaders, and other potential partners at a live Demo Day on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 5:00 pm EDT, at Griffiss Institute, 725 Daedalian Drive, in Rome, New York. A judges' vote and a live audience vote will be held, with two cash prizes of $15,000 and $5,000, respectively, to be given to the winners of the two best pitches of the day!
The event is free to attend, and includes networking, food, beverages by Copper City Brewing Co., and an opportunity to vote for the best pitch!
Here are the startup teams selected for the Spring 2018 Commercialization Academy Cohort:
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.
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.
Tickets to the FREE Demo Day event are available here: https://demodayspring2018.eventbrite.com
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