The Bridge Grant Program bolsters efforts to commercialize innovations developed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and foster the development of startup companies that improve the Wisconsin economy. The program leverages the grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Capital Catalyst Program to invest in early stage startup enterprises developed at UWM. Now more than ever our startups need help to bridge the so-called valley of death faced by most entrepreneurial leaders.
UWM has a broad array of scientists working in many fields of discovery, and commercialization outcomes vary depending on the stage of discovery or the technology. But in all cases, the common thread is the dedicated and creative researchers – faculty, students, and staff – that make it all happen. The Program is designed to focus on areas where UWM has the greatest potential to impact the local economy through commercialization activities including science and engineering.
UWMRF is still looking for donors to support this program. If you are interested in supporting, please contact Jessica Silvaggi.
Dr. Konstantin Sobolev, Professor of civil and environmental engineering, formed Concretology to explore the commercialization of a superhydrophobic spray on coating (water repelling) that can confer corrosion protection, hinder transport of water and chemicals through porous materials, provide self cleaning, prevent icing, and also provide antimicrobial properties. While concrete is the proposed initial surface, this material can be used on a wide array of surfaces including ceramics, metals, and wood for a potential of several years.
Annually, about 3.7M babies are born in the USA. Maternal and infant outcomes vary across populations, with well-known adverse mother/infant outcomes, especially for African American, Native American, Hispanic women, and in rural areas. Pregnant people need, aside from medical/nursing care delivered in medical offices or clinics, a trusted, informed, community network and support system that helps them navigate and manage their health throughout pregnancy and prepare for childbirth and family life. The MaternityMetrix webapp informs and guides unlicensed community workers and social network members with regional based reporting, and relevant topics that are linked with clinically vetted and curated content from official, professional sites supporting a healthy pregnancy outcome.
Intelligent Composites LLC is an advanced materials and manufacturing company specializing in the commercial development and use of metal matrix composites (MMC’s) created by Dr. Pradeep Rohatgi, Distinguished Professor of materials science and engineering and CTO of the company. Their novel materials platform makes aluminum stronger and stiffer than traditional aluminum alloys and adds properties of self-lubrication. With the electrification of transportation, there is more interest in optimization of vehicle structures for weight and performance in both electric and internal combustion engine vehicles. The team is working with specialty traditional engine manufacturers to test their alloys in cylinder liners and pistons for snowmobiles and military drones.
NanoAffix is developing a portable handheld tester and sensor for rapid onsite testing with the goal of selling this product to provide quantitative, real-time, onsite detection of lead and other harmful compounds in drinking water to point of use customers. The target markets include water service providers, schools/daycares, home inspectors, water treatment facilities, well drilling contractors, and other end use customers interested in testing tap water or well water for contaminants. The sensor is more sensitive and less expensive than its direct competitors. The company has already begun a soft launch with some beta testers, and will use the bridge grant to focus on scaling up sensor manufacturing, marketing, and customer outreach and business development.
Any start-up product/service type is eligible for funding. The Bridge Grant Program will make “Gap Fund” awards to foster development of projects further along the continuum toward commercialization.
Full proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee of five members. The committee will include judges such as angel investors, venture capital investors, serial entrepreneurs, business development leaders in industry, or senior research leaders in industry. Each application will be scored.
Eligible Costs: Applicants are expected to justify their funding requests based on specific milestones to be reached. Eligible expenses can include, but are not limited to:
Ineligible expenses include:
Investor Evaluation Criteria for Gap Fund Applications: Reviewers will be asked to rank the proposals based on the following criteria:
Confirmation: You should receive a confirmation that your proposal has been received within one business day of submitting it. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact the UWM Research Foundation immediately.
Questions should be directed to the UWM Research Foundation: Jessica Silvaggi, firstname.lastname@example.org, 414-906-4654 or Brian Thompson, email@example.com, 414-906-4653
The National Science Foundation (NSF) created the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program to help accelerate the transfer of academic research into the marketplace. Leading entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley have worked to adapt the “lean launch” methodology for faculty around the country to help researchers better understand the markets of their technologies. In 2015, UWM and the UWM Research Foundation were awarded a three-year grant from NSF to bring this important program to Milwaukee, creating the first NSF I-Corps Site in Wisconsin. This methodology is a natural complement to the Catalyst Grant Program. The Catalyst Grant Program pairs strong science with strong commercial potential, and I-Corps helps researchers understand and validate the commercial potential for their work. Several teams funded by Catalyst Grants have used I-Corps to better understand the path to market. And I-Corps is now used on the front end of the Catalyst Grant Program.