Last year’s Innovation Accelerator competition, held by Wichita State’s WSU Ventures and funded through the Kansas Department of Commerce, has resulted in the addition of 15 jobs.
In early 2015, seven technology-based companies were awarded with $109,600 in funding through the Competitive Innovation Accelerator Shock Tank competition. The competition sought innovation with commercial applications and a market-ready timeline of 18 months.
Through the funds supplied to the companies, the accelerated projects added seven full-time jobs and eight student jobs during the term of the award. Four of these jobs were sustained beyond the term of the award. Of the seven companies involved, three had sales during the term, and six of them advanced their projects toward commercial outcomes as per the technology readiness level (TRL).
The investment resulted in product sales of $178,400 and $845,000 of additional investment during the award period.
Advanced Guard Concepts (AGC) is one of the seven companies that received funding to develop a technology to treat water used in industrial settings.
“AGC, in collaboration with Wichita State University, invented a process to address the large amount of water that is discharged from industry into sewers,” said Alan Goodnight, director of Strategic Investments at WSU.
Goodnight says the process developed allows companies to use the water in perpetuity without having to discharge wasted water into the sewage system.
Currently, industrial companies purchase water to be used for commercial purposes. The water obtained runs through the system a few times carrying out tasks such as cooling. After a few cycles, this water is no longer fit to function optimally. The companies then treat the water before they release it into the sewage system.
NMotion UAS also received funding through the competition. NMotion specializes in developing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to collect information that would traditionally be gained by placing humans at risk, especially in fields such as law enforcement.
Shortly after being shortlisted as a finalist in the Innovation Accelerator Competition, NMotion was granted an exemption by the FAA to operate their UASs commercially. This resulted in product sales of $92,000 during the award period. They were able to create and sustain two new jobs by the end of the award period.
Leachrod, a company that manufactures tools to assists in lifting heavy equipment, made around $35,000 in sales during the award period.
Brent Steven, vice president of Leachrod, says the company used the funds to set up in-house manufacturing to reduce costs and have sold 40 units in Canada.
Leachrod has also used the funds to file for an international patent for the blade-lift tool the company manufactures.
While some of the projects were undertaken by pre-existing companies, GoodFlight LLC is a company that was founded by WSU graduate student Georg Schirmer with the intention to bring market innovative research into pilot training. The programmers at GoodFlight are finalizing the development of a smartphone application that aids pilot training.
“A central goal of our company has been the involvement of WSU students and resources in order to provide hands-on experience in a fertile research environment, while developing a unique product that can compete in the market,” Schirmer said.