The RIT Venture Creations incubator graduates five start-ups dedicated to innovation

Cellec Technologies employee James Donnelly has been involved in the development of the start-up company since he was a co-op student. He has witnessed immense business growth; the company has grown from four employees to 26 employees in just four years. This growth, along with the company’s commitment to improving the efficiency, safety and performance of lithium-ion storage, is why Donnelly, a 2022 graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s chemical engineering program, is excited about Cellec’s future in the battery industry. .

On June 16, Cellec joined four other commercial tech start-ups that graduated from RIT’s Venture Creations incubator with a commitment to continue engaging local and regional suppliers, expand the workforce locally and nationally and to have an impact on the regional economy.

Venture Creations, which was established in 2003, helps start-ups bring products to market and raise outside venture capital by providing businesses with coaching, connections with industry professionals, personalized programming and access to countless other resources.

“Venture Creations is an essential part of RIT’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Ryne Raffaelle, RIT’s Vice President for Research and Associate Provost. “As we continue to provide more entrepreneurship advice and instruction, it is essential that we have end-to-end capacity for start-ups, and the Venture Creations incubator provides the ‘last mile’ in the business creation process.

The 2022 graduates are:

Cellec Technologies: Founded in 2016, Cellec supports the aerospace and defense industry and has a patented approach to achieving 0-volt stability in lithium-ion cells. The company has also leveraged several state and federal programs that aim to create clean and sustainable energy solutions.

Casana: Raising over $46 million in total capital, Casana is a health technology company reinventing home health monitoring with The Heart Seat, a cuffless blood pressure monitor built into a toilet seat. Casana, which is seeking FDA clearance for The Heart Seat, is also investing in several studies to investigate the product’s potential value to healthcare systems. Leading the charge are Casana CEO Austin McChord ’09, founder of Datto Inc., and Nicholas Conn, founder and chief scientific officer, who earned three degrees from RIT – a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering in 2011 and 2013, respectively. , and a PhD in Microsystems Engineering in 2016.

Ecolectro: Ecolectro, a clean energy incubator company that operates in Ithaca, NY, uses chemistry to decarbonize the energy, manufacturing and transportation industries. It works to replace toxic old technologies, such as perfluorosulfonic acid polymers, in all applications including fuel cells, hydrogen generation, and water technologies, among other high performance applications.

inverSOL: Led by RIT graduate David Rodriguez ’92 (MBA), inverSol has developed a low-cost, maintenance-free solar generator designed to power basic household appliances. The company was established in March 2018 and six months later inverSOL opened a manufacturing and retail facility in Puerto Rico. InverSOL units focus on powering refrigerators, LED lights, charging stations, laptops, fans, TVs and radios via solar energy. InverSOL’s solar generator is based on technology that allows the unit to operate quietly, without gas or oil, and to be weatherproof and portable.

Owl Autonomous Imaging (OWL AI): OWL, which was founded in 2018 and joined Venture Creations in July 2020, has developed a patented 3D thermal camera, the world’s only solid-state camera to provide HD thermal video with high precision range for optimum safety. operation of the autonomous vehicle. OWL AI’s 3D thermal ranging solutions can identify pedestrians, animals, and cyclists much earlier than any other system on the road today, day or night, and in inclement weather. The system is based on specialized high definition thermal imaging and innovative computer vision algorithms. Operating in the thermal spectrum, these algorithms exploit angular, temporal and intensity data to produce ultra-dense point clouds and highly refined object classification. The company also recently secured $15 million in funding.

RIT President David Munson recognized the importance of thriving Venture Creations in the heart of Rochester’s downtown innovation zone.

“Nearly two years ago, we made the decision to move the incubator to 40 Franklin Street to allow corporate clients to work in spaces designed for positive ‘collisions’ between members, resulting in a close and fruitful collaboration. Additionally, this decision further advanced the university’s mission to have a meaningful presence in downtown Rochester. The location is the perfect place to take advantage of the extraordinary abundance of assets we have locally, including the intellectual talent and strong academic partners that start-up companies need, and the exceptional quality of life that results of an impressive group of cultural organizations. , unparalleled natural resources and a resilient and welcoming community.

Robert Putney, co-founder and CEO of Impact Earth, gave the keynote speech, a zero waste lifestyles company that graduated from Venture Creations in 2017. Putney spoke about his entrepreneurial experiences and how he has learned to communicate, change behavior and create long-lasting relationships with customers. “Don’t be afraid to take risks, and don’t forget ‘the grind.’ Work hard every day. Owning a business is very rewarding, but you will need help along the way. Stay grounded and humble and always be prepared for the unexpected. Be proud of what you have achieved. You you deserved it.”

Venture Creations director Johan Klarin noted many of the incubator’s achievements, citing that the incubator has graduated 47 companies, 11 of which have been acquired. Additionally, 81% of unacquired companies are still in operation, with 39 companies maintaining a regional presence. Over $350 million in capital has been raised.

“Participation in RIT’s Venture Creations program has been instrumental in transitioning OWL AI from a seed-stage company to a high-growth Series A company,” said Gene Petilli, Founder of OWL. HAVE. “The Venture Creations team has worked with us on many aspects of our business so that OWL AI is able to successfully articulate and demonstrate our unique security value proposition to the market and investors. We are expanding our team, we are expanding our market, bringing our unique 3D monocular thermal ranging solutions to market, strengthening our relationships with our strategic partners, and engaging with more customers every day. These are exciting times. And, we want to thank Venture Creations for their advice, ideas, encouragement and support.

Donnelly added, “It’s great to be among the many RIT graduates working for Cellec. It was so cool to see this start-up grow exponentially. I just can’t wait to see the sequel. »

Marjorie N. McClure