Connecticut Innovations (CI) Chair Michael A. Cantor Tours New Haven Innovation Ecosystem
(11/12/2013) Today, Connecticut Innovations (CI) Chair, Michael A. Cantor toured New Haven’s “Innovation Ecosystem” in New Haven’s 9th Square with Kelly Murphy, New Haven’s Economic Development Administrator and Ginny Kozlowski, CEO, of the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven to meet with the City’s innovation leaders and meet young entrepreneurs who have recently been named as the inaugural class of The Grid Founders Fund Fellows.
New Haven continues to be aptly described as Connecticut’s “City of Innovation,” with the success of the New Haven Innovation Ecosystem, known as The Grid, and fast-growing entrepreneurial companies that have their roots in the city.
The Grid is a hub in the State of Connecticut’s “Innovation Ecosystem” program, connecting high potential companies and entrepreneurs around New Haven with resources to help them grow and succeed. The Program provides offerings to help propel entrepreneurs and innovators include space, talent, capital, mentoring, education, and community – all the elements that high potential businesses need to grow and flourish.
The tour today included stops at Grey Wall Software, Project Storefronts, MakeHaven, SeeClickFix, The Grove, and Applivate and ended with a meeting at The Grid to welcome its new Fellows.
The Grid Founders Fund Fellows are comprised of two start-up companies from the Yale Entrepreneur Institute. Dextro, is a four-person computer vision company based in New Haven, CT. Since a large proportion of the content consumed and created on the web is now photos and videos, it's important to be able to know what each photo or video is of in order to monetize the content, much like machines are able to do with text today. However, with little or no tagging, this visual content is a mystery to computers. Dextro has spent the last 18 months developing a system that identifies key objects in photos and videos, enabling content owners to draw insights on their data. Dextro is a fully automated, GPU-accelerated cloud solution for understanding visual content. The second company is Isoplexis, a proprietary single cell multiplexing immunoassay and software suite provides in-depth biological characterization of important immune and cancer cell subsets among heterogeneous populations. This tool enables discovery of novel biomarkers and accurate testing of molecules for clinical activity against these heterogeneous subsets.
Project Storefronts is an award-winning program that brings fresh, innovative arts -related businesses to life in formerly vacant retail spaces in New Haven, by encouraging artists and entrepreneurs to test the viability of art and creative-inspired businesses.
MakeHaven is a gathering place and workshop for makers, creators and tinkerers. This environment supports the development and collaboration on a wide variety of projects, including: mechanics, electronics, crafts, digital art, biology and woodworking. MakeHaven members can be seen partnering with folks at the Grove to model and test ideas for new products.
SeeClickFix is a mobile application that allows anyone to report and track non-emergency issues anywhere in the world via the Internet. Empowering citizens, community groups, media organizations and governments to take care of and improve their neighborhoods. The City of New Haven was its first client and now they are in 160 towns and cities.
“Innovation is a driving force in our community, and the benefits accrue not only to New Haven, but its surrounding cities and towns, and the state as a whole,” said New Haven Economic Development Administrator, Kelly Murphy. “We are particularly proud of the collaborations and relationships that have been developed as start-up ventures, and those that are little more than ideas in someone’s imagination, look to New Haven as the place to turn those concepts into thriving companies.”
Currently there are 90 companies receiving services from The Grid. Among the companies that are progressing rapidly is Applivate, which initially came together at New Haven’s first Startup Weekend in 2011, and has since received seed funding from the State of Connecticut to support its growth.
Applivate's mission is to use automated data capture and cloud-based analytics to transform the management of diabetes, and their first product is a mobile app called ShugaTrak. Co-founder and CEO John Fitzpatrick explains, “When someone with diabetes checks blood glucose, ShugaTrak gets the reading from the glucose meter and sends it in text messages and emails to loved ones, instantly and effortlessly. It's great for the parents of children with diabetes because it enables them to stay aware of their children's blood glucose levels when they're at school or playing with friends."
Another tech start-up in New Haven, Grey Wall Software LLC, has developed VEOCI - Virtual Emergency Operations Center. Veoci is a cloud-based, mobile-enabled SaaS platform for teams to share information, collaborate, and manage resources and responders during crisis situations and disruptive incidents.
Veoci can be used by municipalities, utilities, airports, universities, corporations and organizations that require coordinated multi-team handling of severe weather events, accidents, and outages. “Veoci is designed to provide process and situational awareness, optimize the response, work securely across organization boundaries, and reduce damage costs,” said Sukh Grewal, co-founder and CEO at Grey Wall. “Working closely with economic development officials in New Haven has been a critical component in our success to date – they have been a strong advocate and effective partner in supporting our growth.”
The company was founded in 2011 with a half-dozen former employees of General Electric under the leadership of Dr. Sukh Grewal. Grey Wall Software received pre-seed funding from Connecticut Innovations in 2012, and their Veoci software was used 24/7 by the City of New Haven during Hurricane Sandy and during the January '12 blizzard to manage the city’s response. That success led directly to the expansion to bring Veoci to all 30 municipalities in Connecticut’s south central region and customers in six other states.
New Haven is widely viewed as an economic hub for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, research, life-science industries and advanced manufacturing, and fertile ground for entrepreneurial activity and innovation across a wide range of fields. The city’s vibrancy in arts and entertainment, exceptional academic scholarship, notable retail community and supportive city government contribute to its attractiveness for individuals seeking to start and grow new businesses.
“New Haven has a deep-seeded appreciation for new ideas, an openness to fresh talent, and a willingness to try new approaches. Those are essential ingredients for entrepreneurial businesses, and at the heart of why they find New Haven so attractive,” said Michael Cantor, Chairman, Connecticut Innovations (CI). “The success of The Grid, and the vibrant mix of entrepreneurial activity across the City and the State, reflect a constant commitment to support and advance innovation.”
Continuing the local momentum, the next Startup Weekend in New Haven is slated for November 15-17, 2013 where innovators and fledgling entrepreneurs learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures come together. This will be the third Startup Weekend in New Haven, following well-attended events in 2011 and 2012.
Follow this link for more information.