The entrepreneurial spirit at UConn has led to the launch of high potential startups across a variety of industries. Faculty, students, and alumni have grasped the resources available to help turn their ideas into products and services that improve lives. Learn about some of the UConn-supported businesses make a lasting impact on Connecticut’s economy and the future of industry.
Bastion is developing an in-home device with a smartphone-based automated analyzer to measure semen quality. The testing process requires the user to load a semen sample on a disposable paper-based device, which reacts with the reagents in test zones on the paper and produces an array of colors; the user then images the result with his smartphone. From this point on, the process is automated: the smartphone rapidly returns measurements of sperm count, sperm motility, fructose, and pH.
Potentiometric Probes develops and supplies voltage-sensitive dyes for academic and pharmaceutical industry researchers. These fluorescent dyes are used to stain cells, tissues, and whole organs and allow electrical activity of the brain and heart to be studied optically using microscopes. Voltage-sensitive dyes are used in basic research, as well as for drug discovery and cardiac safety screening of developmental drugs. Potentiometric Probes is developing new voltage-sensitive dye technology that promises to have rapid response as well as high sensitivity for the highest resolution and most informative optical voltage recordings possible.
LambdaVision Inc. was based on research by Robert Birge, professor emeritus in UConn’s Department of Chemistry. He first considered using bacteriorhodopsin, a light-activated protein, more than 15 years ago to correct age-related blindness. Today, LambdaVision is commercializing its technology in the hopes of restoring vision for millions of patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. The company is led by UConn alumni CEO Nicole Wagner and CSO Jordan Greco, who were both former students in Birge's lab. LambdaVision has raised funding from Connecticut Innovations and recently won a $5M award from NASA. They have taken advantage of many of UConn's entrepreneurship programs and are located in the UConn Technology Incubation Program (TIP) facility in Farmington.
Each year, 350K STEM graduates enter the workforce to fill 3.5M jobs. With this many opportunities and the focus on STEM education, what’s going on? The culprit is the M in STEM. UConn math professor, Amit Savkar, saw the problem firsthand and wanted to find a solution. Through his startup, Savkar.AI, he and his team are developing Stemify, a web-based platform that uses adaptive instruction, machine learning, and analytics to replace traditional remediation at a fraction of the cost. Stemify software identifies gaps in student knowledge that can be traced back as far as 9th grade algebra in real-time. Based on students’ responses—whether correct or incorrect—Stemify generates personalized study plans that address specific areas of difficulty to keep students from falling behind, withdrawing, or failing out of math courses that are foundational for all STEM disciplines. UConn replaced traditional remediation software with the beta version of Stemify in 2016 and has seen double digit drops in failure rates. Switching to the homegrown Stemify platform has also saved the university thousands of dollars a year. Savkar.AI is currently piloting their product with beta users and have been actively marketing the platform since early 2020.
ACW Analytics was founded in 2018 by a team of researchers at the University of Connecticut. They believed that they could apply their expertise in predicting the impacts of severe weather to address pressing needs in the electric power industry. ACW Analytics is able combine an understanding of the weather and natural hazards with expertise in data science and artificial intelligence to understand the impacts to electrical infrastructure and beyond.
Oral Fluid Dynamic
Oral Fluid Dynamics, LLC is currently developing a type of dental implant medical device to treat Xerostomia, a medical condition characterized by chronic dry mouth. Xerostomia affects an estimated 20 million patients in the USA either due to side effects of prescription drugs, radiation therapy or Sjögren’s Syndrome. There are 4 million Sjögren’s patients in the US and this population is the initial focus of our efforts.
Biorasis was formed by Professors Faquir Jain and Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos to commercialize a minimally- invasive glucose and bio-analyte biosensor for use in drug development and eventually in human on-demand metabolic disease management. Biorasis Inc. is currently targeting the drug development and immune suppression/control markets and has a long-term goal of targeting the clinical market.
Encapsulate is developing an automated tumor-on-a-chip system that can grow patients cancer cells outside the body, and test the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs against them to advocate for the best course of treatment. This can help the oncologists in deciding the first-line of treatment for patients prior to starting treatment. Using this platform and choosing the most efficient cancer drug from the beginning will I) reduce the number of chemotherapy cycles a patient undergoes, II) lower the costs and duration of treatment, III) increase the success rates of treatment, and IV) improve the patient’s overall quality of life. Our mission is to offer personalized cancer therapy screening in the most accurate, expedited, and cost-effective manner.