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First statewide accelerator program unveils its inaugural 10 startups

November 19, 2012

Arizona's first-of-its-kind statewide technology transfer startup program, AZ Furnace Accelerator, is pleased to announce it has selected the first 10 startups that will participate in the business accelerator program.  As part of the competitive process, a panel of judges selected the 10 winners from a group of 22 finalists and more than 50 applicants. 

The AZ Furnace Accelerator is a groundbreaking initiative that encourages entrepreneurs from across the country to find and commercialize innovations developed within the state's universities and research institutions. These 10 winning companies utilized innovations from Arizona State University, Dignity Health Arizona, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona. They represent a wide array of technologies and innovative solutions, from biomarkers for disease diagnosis to new methods for massive data storage to repurposing discarded tires for new concrete and construction materials:

Attometrics will use a novel technology capable of rapidly detecting protein, metabolite and DNA analytes with unprecedented sensitivity. Attometrics will sell an automated, multiplexed detection system that can handle high sample throughput to detect and identify groups of biomarkers for cancer and infectious diseases.

CYMEDX will develop assays for the early detection of mitochondrial diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Earlier detection enables earlier therapy, and development of personalized medicine solutions. Our vision is to help millions of people avoid the physical, emotional and financial burdens of these

DataWare Ventures will be a software development firm catering to the Large Data Analytics and Database Management System (DBMS) Optimization segment of the industry. 

Fast PCR Diagnostics will develop PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology to amplify and quantify the presence of a specific DNA/RNA sequence. PCR is omnipresent in all biological/medical applications. PCR is also the gold standard for identifying bacterial/viral infections. Fast PCR Diagnostics will commercialize a system for super-fast, portable, and accurate diagnosis of blood infection, which can be best utilized in medical diagnostics especially within the emergency room (ER) setting.

IMANIN will make ultrasound-based preventative diagnostic tools for cardiovascular disease more efficient and available for widespread clinical adoption. There is a clinical need for an efficient software solution for carotid intima–media thickness (CIMT) interpretation. To meet the clinical need, IMANIN has developed an innovative prototype, which is highly efficient and user friendly for CIMT image interpretation. 

PiVoT will commercialize an improved concrete mixture where specific quantities of crumb rubber are added to the concrete mix, resulting in improved thermal cycling resistance without the expense of additional cement. The concrete is lighter and displays increased traction, reduced contact noise, and superior crack resistance. This technology provides an attractive end use for the millions of rubber tires discarded each year.

Rarus Innovations will be an EdTech company focused on delivering e-learning through Mobile Apps and Internet using gamification principles and social media.  Through the partnership with GreenCave, Rarus seeks to at first create innovative and fun Android and iOS based apps. 

RehabDev will provide safe, wearable, low-cost stroke rehabilitation products for use at home or in the clinic. The technologies promote repetition and task-oriented use toward effective and efficient stroke recovery. The wearable wireless products offer an unobtrusive and discreet solution that can be taken and used virtually anywhere.

SiO2 Nanotech will develop VitreOx™ for applications in vitro-retinal surgery, and other procedures and surgery involved with endoscopes and laparoscopes. VitreOx™ inhibits fogging on intra-ocular lenses and endoscopes/laparoscopes lenses by changing the condensation on the surface. The invention not only saves the vision of a patient undergoing vitro-retinal secondary cataract surgery, it also reduces operation time by 40 percent in endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures.

Traken Technologies will be a Veteran owned start-up, developing an access control system with a secure mobile-cloud data acquisition system to help local, national and multi-national convenience stores reduce loss due to theft, while protecting critical data belonging to the retailers and their customers.

These 10 startups will each receive $25,000 in seed funding from the Arizona Commerce Authority and BioAccel, as well as incubation space throughout the state of Arizona. Arizona's three universities traditionally spinout about 20 companies each year; AZ Furnace has ensured an additional 10.

"AZ Furnace encourages entrepreneurs from around the world to look at Arizona technologies in new ways, bringing to life some of the amazing intellectual property held within our university system and research institutions," said Sandra Watson, president and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. "This program fosters innovative business creation, a key initiative of the ACA, ultimately growing and strengthening our overall economy."    

"The ability for the Furnace initiative to provide a pipeline of new companies in support of our partnership with the City of Peoria and BioInspire clearly reflects how important the integration of all of these programs are to the companies and also to Arizona's overall economic development,” said MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel.

AZ Furnace is statewide, public-private partnership among the Arizona Commerce Authority, BioAccel, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona Technology Enterprises, and Dignity Health Arizona.  The program will connect these early stage startups with other programs available across the state to ensure their ongoing sustainability.  A longer-term objective is to replicate the AZ Furnace model in other states across the country.