Alaska Seed Fund Awards Ten Prototyping Grants
To grow Alaskan products and companies
Alaska — March 6, 2017 — The Alaska Seed Fund has awarded ten grants to assist Alaskans with prototyping their inventions, launching products, and growing companies in the state.
The Alaska Seed Fund is a collaboration between several nonprofits that assist innovators in Alaska: the Alaska Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (UAF OIPC), the Alaska Small Business Development Center (AK SBDC) at the University of Alaska Anchorage Business Enterprise Institute, and the Launch : Alaska startup accelerator.
With $50,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation, the group launched a competition in December to help Alaskan inventors, creators, and developers fund their prototypes. The top applicant received $20,000 while nine other applicants received more than $3000.
“Awards from the Alaska Seed Fund might seem small, but for startups, this capital is oxygen,” said Joe Morrison, Director of the 49th State Angel Fund. “It’s efficient, no-strings funding that helps innovators prove out concepts.”
The group received over 70 submissions for projects that focus on solving problems in fields such as energy, healthcare, drug addiction, cybersecurity, tourism, food security, and more.
“For the organizations running the Seed Fund, this competition is a clearinghouse,” explains Adam Krynicki from the Alaska Small Business Development Center. “It gives us the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurs across the state and the obstacles they face. From there, our individual organizations can reach out to them and offer to help.”
The following ten projects will receive awards to further develop their products and services in Alaska:
GRAND PRIZE WINNER ($20,000)
CognitiveDoc, LLC offers a virtual caregiver service (“Carebot”) that helps hospital patients improve outcomes after surgery and save money on healthcare. Using mobile phone technology, text messaging, and artificial intelligence algorithms, CognitiveDoc helps patients avoid readmission to the hospital after surgeries like knee and hip replacements - thus improving patient outcomes and potentially saving hospitals millions of dollars in readmission costs.
KICKSTART GRANT PRIZE WINNERS
Here and Now Systems, LLC will provide StepAway – an empirically supported mobile application that helps people “Step Away” from alcohol addiction. The mobile application helps users set a goal and monitor progress through a daily check-in with the app. The app uses algorithms to provide users with notifications at high-risk times when cravings are most likely. Additionally, StepAway teaches users how to manage cravings or when to seek support from a loved one, physician, or other professional.
Activate Alaska, LLC reduces the cost of water purification, air purification, and carbon sequestration worldwide by replacing coconut-based water filters with carbon filters made from Alaska Birch trees. The company plans to manufacture and sell activated carbon filters to help municipalities, industries, and consumers filter water by using an inexpensive, proprietary, and chemical-free process. Because the company is using waste birch to make the filters, the company will be competitive internationally even with all shipping costs considered.
Pinga, Inc provides software for utilities that makes it easy to maintain microgrid infrastructure in rural communities in Alaska and around the world. The solution also includes an Uber-like crowdsourcing platform connecting local microgrid operators with maintenance professionals in remote communities.
Pandere Shoes, Inc. makes shoes for people with medical conditions that affect their ability to find shoes that fit. Millions of people worldwide suffer from medical conditions like diabetes, lymphedema and a host of other illnesses that cause lower limb swelling. Because certain conditions can make it nearly impossible to find shoes that fit, Pandere plans to sell fashionable yet customizable shoes for the wearer.
Attently, Inc. addresses the problem that Americans fear more than death – public speaking. Using webcams and the company’s online software, Attently analyzes the attention and emotion of audiences, tells the speaker how engaging their presentation is, and points out areas for improvement. Attently will target the software at public speaking coaches and communications professionals initially, but will expand the capabilities of the software for pollsters, politicians, and mass media.
Heather’s Choice, LLC will advance their line of nutritious but delicious dehydrated meals for adventurers worldwide. The company currently has a menu of 18 options, including wild caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, and will expand their menu by offering lightweight snack packs for long distance cyclists, runners, backpackers, hunters, fishermen or yoga enthusiasts.
North Arrow Enterprises, LLC provides highly insulated, pre-manufactured buildings designed for the harsh Arctic environment. With their proprietary wall panel system, the company plans to increase the energy efficiency of Alaskan buildings while reducing the upfront cost of a building. The company has sold products to the North Slope, and is currently providing products for a 24-unit apartment building.
Coastview, LLC will continue to develop their mobile app that turns an ordinary commercial flight into a flight-seeing experience, and a cruise liner into a kayak tour. Along with stunning photos, CoastView features information about local ecology, history, and culture bringing to life the striking beauty of the coasts of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon as visitors fly over, cruise past, or explore from the comfort of home.
Culture Story, LLC is a unique online marketplace for carefully curated, high-quality goods from Alaska Native cultures. Culture Story adds monetary and emotional value to the goods by connecting customers with the artists’ and products’ stories and cultural significance through multimedia. The company plans to expand their service offering to other native cultures around the U.S.
Avant Medical Systems, Inc. – A Vital Signs Smartboard that assists medical professionals by providing accurate measurements and helping them provide the proper amount of medication
Bambino's Baby Food, LLC - Advancements in providing healthy baby food using Alaskan products
Best Practices Packaging LLC - Smart packaging that ensures that patients take the correct amount of medication
BhaisaPi Tech, LLC - A portable fluorometer for scientists who study memory and learning
Coppa - A line of Alaskan sodas using unique Alaskan ingredients
Coupi, Inc - Multi-physics software that is capable of simulating granular material (like sand or soil) and interactions with natural and engineered objects
Devil's Club Brewing, LLC - The first ever brewpub in Juneau, Alaska
Fairbanks Fodar - Technology that significantly reduce the cost of airborne topographic mapping
Fairbikes - Business model to develop bike sharing programs for smaller communities around the world
Gwen Holdmann - Fuel flow meter that can be attached by anyone to measure heating oil consumption, air temperature, and the amount of fuel remaining in the tank
The Mini Shinny - Hockey shin pad for hockey and goalie coaches that allows them to slide on the ice while demonstrating routine goaltender movements
Clint Ragan - Snowshoes that have an advanced binding and stronger structure designed for racing
SnowHydro, LLC - A probe that can provide accurate determination of how much snow, run-off, biomass, or feed is present in a land area
VADAPT, Inc. - A user-friendly, online software portal to perform simulations of airborne hazards such as pollution or volcanic ash
Vertical Hydroponics – A complete hydroponic plant production facility inside a standard shipping container that can be used in rural communities around the world
About the Alaska Seed Fund
The Alaska Seed Fund (www.alaskaseedfund.com) is a collaboration between the University of Alaska Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization, the Alaska Small Business Development Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and the Launch : Alaska startup accelerator. Support for the awards is provided by Alaska EPSCoR NSF award #OIA-1208927.