It’s called “America’s Seed Fund” for a key reason: funding that start-ups receive through the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are the nation’s largest source of undiluted capital.
Yesterday, to spotlight both programs and how they are helping entrepreneurs de-risk their new ventures while not having to give-up equity, the U.S. Small Business Administration hosted its first-ever “America’s Seed Fund Start-up Expo 2022.” It was an all-afternoon, virtual event that spotlighted 12 start-ups in four sectors that have won SBIR or STTR awards. None of the entrepreneurs selected to present was located in Tennessee, but one – re:3D – has an active engagement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Located in Houston, re:3D is focused on medium and large manufacturers that want to directly 3D-print from recyclables as well as those located in geographies whose supply chains constrain access to imported feedstock. The company’s active project at ORNL is to develop a granulator to pair with the Gigabot X pellet and granulate 3d printer. The granulator will be able to granulate water bottles with liquid still in them to the 1-5mm diameter granules that are feedstock for the 3d printer.
The 12 entrepreneurs had a pre-recorded session to describe their start-up followed by a live Q&A with a moderator. The sessions, moderator and presenters were:
Climate and Energy, moderated by Ryan Panchadsaram, Advisor at Kleiner Perkins, featured:
- Amorphic Tech (Allentown, PA);
- FGC Plasma Solutions (Middleton, MA); and
- Hydroplane (Lancaster, CA).
AgTech and Food Security, moderated by Laura Appenzeller, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Innovation at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, featured:
- General Probiotics (Saint Paul, MN);
- Nucleic Sensing Systems (Saint Paul, MN); and
- Shellfish Solutions d/b/a Blue Trace (Castine, ME).
Supply Chain Resiliency, moderated by Javier Saade, Partner at Fenway Summer & Impact Master Holdings, featured:
- Chromatic 3D Materials (Golden Valley, MN);
- Delta Development Team (Tucson, AZ); and
National Security and Defense, moderated by Wes Spurlock, Chief of Strategic Capital at AFWERX, featured:
- BadVR (Pacoima, CA);
- Enduralock (Lenexa, KS); and
- PSYONIC (Champaign, IL).