q3 startup roundup



Want to find out what’s new with VentureWell’s early-stage innovator teams? Read the VentureWell Startup Roundup! In every Roundup, we share announcements, accomplishments, and other good news from teams in our community– compiled in a convenient quarterly report.

Funding & Investments

Hazel Technologies Closes $13M Series B
Hazel Technologies, Inc, a 2015 E-Team, announced the close of its $13 million Series B round. The round was led by Pangaea Ventures, a world leader in advanced materials venture capital, and S2G Ventures, a Chicago-based firm with investments across the food supply chain from soil to shelf. The oversubscribed round also included investments from The Grantham Foundation, Asahi Kasei Ventures, Rhapsody Venture Partners, Serra Ventures, Valley Oak Investments, Climate Impact Capital, ImpactAssets, and others. Hazel Technologies developed a revolutionary technology to control produce ripeness and reduce spoilage, extending the shelf-life of fruit and vegetables.

MITO Material Solutions Awarded $1.1M In Grant funding
MITO Material Solutions, a 2015 E-Team, was recently awarded $1.1 million in funding, through a $729,982 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Grant from the National Science Foundation and two additional grants from the Oklahoma Center for Advanced Technology. Small Business Innovative Research grants, also known as SBIRs, are a highly competitive funding source the government uses to advance the country’s research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). MITO Material Solutions developed a revolutionary nano-filler additive that can toughen fiber-reinforced composites by 100%. With this new funding, the company plans to advance product research, hire a new full-time employee, and sponsor another graduate student at Oklahoma State University, where the technology got its start. 

AgroSpheres Raises $4 Million In Series A Financing Round
AgroSpheres, Inc., a 2016 E-Team developing a novel delivery system for crop protection products, announced today that it has closed its $4 million Series A financing round. This round will fund the development and commercialization of AgroSpheres’ core Minicell technology, a natural fermentation product that enables efficient delivery of both organic and chemical pesticides to improve pesticide performance while lowering dosage rates and reducing environmental impact. Venture capital firm Ospraie Ag Science led the investment round.

AgroSpheres was also awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $225,000 to collaborate with North Carolina State University and conduct research and development work on an RNAi biological insecticide for the western flower thrips– one of the most economically devastating insect pests across the globe.

Sonavex, Inc. Awarded $3 Million Grant to Pursue New Vascular Surge
Sonavex, Inc., a 2013 E-Team focused on empowered patient care, received a $3 million Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health to use its EchoMark & EchoSure devices to support arteriovenous (AV) fistula maturation and long-term viability. The award provides capital for prospective clinical studies and continued research and development efforts.

The grant follows Sonavex’s FDA clearance for its EchoSure 3D ultrasound system earlier this year.

Instapath Raises $1.7 Million Series Seed Round
Instapath,  a 2018 ASPIRE team, closed a $1.7 million Series Seed round led by Draper Associates, with participation from existing investors. Instapath developed a microscopy system that provides an exact picture of cancer biopsies within seconds, providing essential biopsy quality evaluation to ensure an accurate final diagnosis. The investment will be used to expand the team as the company accelerates its R&D work into new medical devices for rapid, on-site pathology diagnosis. Instapath plans to launch its first FDA-cleared clinical system in early 2020.

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Infinite Composite Technologies Awarded SBIR Grant From NASA
Infinite Composites Technologies (ICT), in collaboration with Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, received a Small Business Research Innovation (SBIR) Grant from NASA. The 2010 ASPIRE team designs, develops, and manufactures advanced gas storage systems, using a simplified all-composite design provides an optimal solution for storing compressed and cryogenic fluids. The new funding will allow the company to test their materials use in cryogenic tanks outside the International Space Station (ISS) to see if they can withstand the harsh environment of space.

Healyx Labs Receives Investment From Mountain Pacific Venture Fund
Mountain Pacific Venture Fund (MPVF) announced today its investment into Healyx Labs, a 2019 ASPIRE team. The medical device company developed an easy-to-use wound vacuum technology that lowers total usage costs and treats a majority of wound types. The team plans to focus its initial commercial efforts on skilled nursing facilities and long-term care hospitals.

Aclarity Raises Over $1M in Pre-Seed Funding
Aclarity, LLC, a 2018 ASPIRE team, raised over $1m in pre-seed funding. Backers included Maroon Venture Partners Fund, Springfield Venture Fund (created by MassMutual), and the Alchemy Group. The Springfield, MA-based cleantech company has created an electrochemical technology to easily remove pathogens, metals, and other impurities from residential and commercial water systems. The company launched its core patent-pending product earlier this year, and will use the capital to accelerate a go-to-market strategy, expand into new product lines, and scale operational capacity.

Technology Breakthroughs

Aptus Bioreactors Announces Launch Of New Technology and Patents
Aptus Bioreactors announced the launch of its new technology: The Rotating Cell Seeder (RC Seeder). The RC Seeder will be used in the development of novel tissue-engineered heart valves by allowing for location-specific cell seeding to heart valve roots. Aptus Bioreactors, a 2015 E-Team, is creating technology that can subject a heart valve to normal or disease conditions experienced in the human cardiovascular system, which will help researchers test and develop tissue-engineered heart valves.

The company was also awarded a new patent which will provide crucial protection to the company’s technologies and associated products.

Competitions & Awards

Respira Labs Founder Named to Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award
Dr. Maria Artunduaga, CEO of Respira Labs, was named to Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award. Each year, the publication selects 40 men and women to honor for their accomplishments and contributions to the community. The 2018 E-Team is creating a device that continuously monitors patients’ lung function and collects lifestyle and other medical data to improve the management of COPD.


mobius Featured In Fast Company
mobius, a 2018 ASPIRE team, was recently featured in Fast Company. mobius has developed a low-cost platform of biodegradable and compostable plastics made from lignin, a waste product from paper and biofuel that naturally degrades in soil, saving time and money associated with plastic disposal. It’s the first commercial application of a new biodegradable plastic made from a waste product from paper manufacturing.

Innoblative Welcomes Kelly Londy as Chief Executive Officer
Innoblative Designs, Inc. (Innoblative), announced the appointment of Kelly Londy as Chief Executive Officer. Innoblative, a 2013 E-Team, is a medical device company developing next-generation, advanced-energy surgical solutions that improve the way surgeons coagulate and ablate soft tissue to achieve better care for patients. Londy has more than two decades of experience in the healthcare field and will be a strategic asset in commercializing the company’s next-generation RFA technology.

Read More
Read our Startup Roundups from Quarter 1 and Quarter 2.


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