UConn Innovation Fund provides early-stage funding to two additional tech startups
The University of Connecticut (UConn), a college known for its great basketball team and one of the top 25 public research universities in the nation, is a research leader in the fields of advanced materials, additive manufacturing, biomedical devices, cybersecurity, energy, life sciences, sensors and nanotechnology. In 2016, the college established UConn Innovation Fund (UIF) to serve as a critical early-stage revenue stream for in-state business startups that will allow them to stay in Connecticut and grow. The Fund was created in partnership with Webster Bank and Connecticut Innovations (CI).
Today, the University of Connecticut, in partnership with Connecticut Innovations (CI) and Webster Bank, announced that they have awarded funding to two more early-stage companies from the $2,250,000 UConn Innovation Fund (UIF). The total amount of funding was not disclosed.
The companies receiving funding are:
- QRfertile LLC: Developers of a kit that allows customers to perform a male fertility test in the comfort of their own home. Borne from UConn’s School of Engineering PhD program, the company promises comprehensive results within 15 minutes of taking the test. The results are posted in the accompanying app and there is no need for lengthy lab testing.
- Savkar Inc.: Conceived by a faculty leader in UConn’s Math Department, the enterprise software platform known as Stemify gives students personalized, interactive online instruction-as-a-service and predictive performance analytics to help students succeed and better inform instructors.
Both companies are also part of UConn’s Technology Incubation Program (TIP) in Farmington.
Established to provide financial support to early-stage companies and startups affiliated with UConn, the UConn Innovation Fund generally provides investments of up to $100,000 to companies founded by students, faculty members, alumni of the university and companies in UConn’s Technology Incubation Program (TIP) with an in-state business startup tied to research, advanced technologies or innovations developed at UConn. Including QRfertile and Savkar, 14 companies have now received funding commitments totaling $1.4 million since the fund’s inception in 2016.
“We are excited to support these two promising UConn startups and provide them with critical early funding through the UConn Innovation Fund portfolio,” says Radenka Maric, vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship at UConn and UConn Health. “These startups are providing solutions to problems faced by our community, and UConn is committed to helping them advance their technologies and support economic development in the state.”
The UConn Innovation Fund (UIF) serves as a critical early-stage investment for in-state business startups that will allow them to stay in Connecticut and grow. The fund’s investors evaluate a company’s strength and existing resources, management team, market opportunity, innovative technology, potential for commercialization and likelihood of obtaining additional external funding, among other factors. The 14 companies within the portfolio represent technologies and platforms across a multitude of industry sectors, including medical diagnostic testing, clean energy, education technology, cyber security, medical devices, cancer immunotherapy and consumer pain relief products.
“Early-stage companies face a number of obstacles and can benefit greatly from the type of funding provided through the UConn Innovation Fund,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “QRfertile and Savkar are well deserving of this award, and we look forward to continuing to support their growth and commercialization efforts.”
The fund and its operations are managed by the UConn Innovation Fund (UIF) Investment Committee comprised of representatives from UConn, CI and Webster Bank with assistance from the UIF Evaluation Board and UIF Fund Managers.
The fund permits Connecticut Innovations—the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies—to continue its support of new business startups established through UConn. Webster Bank provides the key financial and banking expertise needed to help new companies grow. All investment decisions are made by a unanimous vote from UConn, CI and Webster Bank.
“We are pleased to continue our support for Connecticut-based entrepreneurs through the UConn Innovation Fund and are excited to follow the progress of these companies as they work to develop and bring to market their exciting ideas and innovations,” said Peter Hicks, senior vice president of the emerging growth banking group at Webster Bank.