CT Start-Ups Receive Financial Assist to Spur Development

Six early-stage Connecticut companies now have additional funds to help fuel their growth, after participating in the Entrepreneur Innovation Awards (EIA) provided by CTNext, the state’s resource organization for entrepreneurial support. Following presentations from 10 finalists at the recent event, the judges awarded $10,000 grand prizes to the following Connecticut-based companies:

  • Payball (Norwalk): Developing an easier, digital way for amateur sport organizations to pay officials, event staff and coaches.
  • Peak Performance Leadership (Killingworth): Creating a variation on a rope protection system for military and first responders to increase product lifespan.
  • Raise Green (New Haven): Creating a crowdfunding portal to finance renewable energy and climate solution projects; developed by students at Yale.
  • YouCOMM (Farmington): Developing a patient-caregiver communication system that will replace antiquated call bell systems.

“At its core, Raise Green is a two-sided marketplace that provides people who want to build solar or other types of climate-solution projects with the tools they need to do that and to get it financed,” said Franz Hochstrasser, chief executive officer and co-founder of the start-up. 

According to the University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program website, YouCOMM is a novel low-cost tablet based communication device to provide effective patient-caregiver communication. The device has 20 need buttons that allow patients to send specific needs to a nurse’s on-call phone.

Two additional companies also received recognition, and funds:

  • Lactation Innovations, a Canterbury company developing a non-invasive sensor that detects the volume of milk a baby ingests and provides feedback to the mother, won the $2,000 Crowd Favorite award.
  • Secure Election Systems of Westport, a startup developing an iPad-sized electronic absentee voting booth, took home the $2,000 Judges’ Favorite prize.

“The EIA Awards continue to showcase some of the most innovative and promising young companies across the state,” said Glendowlyn Thames, CTNext’s executive director. “We are looking forward to following the progress of the companies and wish all the competitors the best as they work to advance their ideas and visions.”

The six Connecticut companies were among 10 startups that presented their project ideas to a panel of judges for an opportunity to secure $10,000 awards to help support business growth.

Last fall, CTNext awarded $54,000 in grants to six Connecticut-based startups.  Receiving $10,000 were:

  • Actively AI – Creating an automated assistant for wellness businesses that handles customer experience and streamlines operations for staff
  • Dualflo – Creating a self-seal technology to eliminate the need for open surgery in cardiopulmonary bypass procedures
  • Encapsulate– Producing an effective chemotherapy solution with a fully automated tumor-on-a-chip pre-prescription analysis
  • Encaptiv– Developing a web-based presentation, sales and marketing software that integrates AI and machine learning
  • Kolb Consultants– Developing a process to manufacture “Ray-Board,” a kickboard with a new shape that distributes the body weight evenly when swimming

In addition, Kolb Consultants won the $2,000 crowd favorite award, while VigorSential took home the $2,000 award for judges’ favorite. VigorSential is developing and testing “MycoZaps,” a low-dose vaccine to control Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis), a bacterium mainly affecting cattle that is resistant to common antibiotics.

CTNext’s goal is to build a more robust community of entrepreneurs and to accelerate startup growth by providing access to talent, space, industry expertise, services, skill development and capital to foster innovation and create jobs for people in Connecticut.

CTNext (www.ctnext.com) has more than 2,500 members in its network.