October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

CSU STRATA wins U.S. Department of Commerce grant to build startups at CSU, launches Lab to Life venture studio

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

A federal grant and matching funds valued at $1.6 million to CSU STRATA open new opportunities to commercialize university-grown startup technology companies under a program called Lab to Life, or L2L.

The goal of the program is to launch 15 new companies in three years by providing startups leadership and infrastructure to scale. Four companies spawned from three CSU colleges, including Agricultural Sciences, Engineering and Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, are already in the program. The businesses provide sustainable manufacturing, treatment to reduce food spoilage, a method to safely convert manure into fuel, and a non-invasive diagnostic tool for inflammatory bowel disease in animals.

Jim Poss
Jim Poss

“Faculty inventors now have a new path to starting companies – they do the inventing, and we’ll do the legal, marketing, sales, websites, pitch decks and fundraising,” said Jim Poss, director of venture creation at STRATA, who leads the new companies enrolled in the program. “Our goal in L2L is to get top CSU companies staffed and funded – and we’re the interim C-suite to get you there.”


CSU STRATA is the new company name representing the joined services of CSU Ventures and the Colorado State University Research Foundation; the U.S. Economic Development Administration grant is the first awarded to the organization since the unveiling of the new name this past August.

CSU STRATA was chosen from among 180 applicants by the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is one of 51 awardees nationwide. It is part of the agency’s “Build to Scale” program, which provides capital to accelerate startups. CSU STRATA’s federal award is $746,117 with a match of $872,628 dedicated to the L2L program.

The L2L team consists of four executives in residence, who bring decades of experience with startups and have collectively raised over $150 million, as well as five entrepreneurs in training, who are top entrepreneurship students from CSU. Since the EDA grant was awarded, the L2L team has begun recruiting new team members.

For select technologies, the L2L team will work for up to two years to launch and build a new company. After, the plan calls for adding a permanent CEO and initial seed investment. L2L is open to CSU faculty, staff and students across all technology areas, with high interest in Cleantech and sustainability startups.

Fluent Renewables logo‘A godsend’

“L2L is a godsend for my company,” said Lucas Loetcher, founder of Fluent Renewables, which uses CSU-developed anaerobic digester technology to serve a multi-billion-dollar opportunity to produce renewable natural gas from cattle waste. “I’ve been developing this technology for 10 years and now I finally have the team to build my company and bring it to the world.”

The other companies in L2L are:

  • Curable Composites from Mostafa Yourdkhani in Mechanical Engineering. It uses novel 3D printing technologies to build high-strength, low-weight composite parts for the windmill, aerospace and medical hardware industries.
  • XLSOR from Ioannis Minas in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. It tackles the problem of food waste with a novel technology platform to predict ripeness and reduce the 61% of fruit that is lost between the orchard and the buyer.
  • Quandary Diagnostics from Steven Dow and Michael Lappin in Clinical Sciences. It provides bowel disease diagnostics for animals via stool sample, reducing the need for intrusive methods.



Full story: CSU STRATA wins U.S. Department of Commerce grant to build startups at CSU, launches Lab to Life venture studio

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