OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Advantage Accelerator adds five new companies to Oregon economy

02/05/2015

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Five more private companies have successfully completed the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator program, designed to boost their chances at commercial success.

Since it began, the Advantage Accelerator has helped turn 21 business startups into viable companies. Twelve of them have completed the program and generated $5 million in revenue and grants. Officials say that as the program continues, it should lead to the successful launching of about five sustainable new companies a year by 2017.

This graduating cohort included businesses in fields ranging from energy storage to improved grass seed.

“This was an exciting class that made a lot of progress,” said Mark Lieberman, chief startup officer and co-director of the OSU Advantage Accelerator. “Four of the companies already have sales, orders or are developing investment support. We are encouraged that the design of our program is working well, and will help invigorate the Oregon economy with new businesses and jobs.”

The Advantage Accelerator is designed to bring more university research and community ideas to the commercial marketplace. Other components of the OSU Advantage form partnerships with industry and allow OSU students an opportunity to be part of real-world business development, providing them valuable experience before they graduate.

Companies who complete the Advantage Accelerator program develop a portfolio of accomplishments, including training to attract investors, formation of a valid business model, planning for the future, and creation of an initial product to show prospective customers, investors or manufacturers. The initiative includes mentoring with industry and entrepreneurial experts, consulting sessions, access to seed grants and the OSU Venture Fund, as well as meetings with active investors and workshops on pertinent topics.

Some of the previous companies served by the program include a firm that produces electricity from waste water while also cleaning it; a chemical manufacturing company making high-value chemicals for several industries; and a company developing ways to compress natural gas in a vehicle, a technology that could potentially revolutionize the way America drives.

One of the companies that just completed the program, NRGIndependence, may play a key role in the nation’s energy future. It’s working to optimize energy storage technologies by addressing the issues that interfere with their market competitiveness.

“I see the future of NRGIndependence as a chemically innovative research and development company,” said Alexander Bistrika, founder and chief executive officer. “We believe our technology is going to be a game-changer in the billion-dollar battery market.”

Bistrika said the company’s goal is to clear the roadblocks to cheap, large-scale energy storage. This could allow better integration and proliferation of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, which are held back by the intermittent nature of their energy production.

Other companies that completed the program this winter included:

  • KW Associates, creator of “arc position sensing” technology that should increase revenue while decreasing losses in the specialty metals and industrial microwave industries;
  • Bosky Optics, a designer and manufacturer of premium eyewear products using natural, renewable materials, which already is selling a line of wooden sunglasses and bioplastic goggles;
  • TAPS, a chemical startup company which provides stainless steel surface modification technology that offers advanced corrosion protection in high temperature applications; and
  • Baker Seed Technologies, an environmentally-conscious producer of the only grass seed coating technology that can infuse nutrients, fungicides and other materials into seed, creating a quality lawn for half the cost in half the time.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is one component of the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or Oregon RAIN. With support from the Oregon legislature, collaborators on the initiative include OSU; the University of Oregon; the cities of Eugene, Springfield, Corvallis and Albany; and other economic development organizations.

All the participants are focused on creating new businesses, expanding existing business, creating jobs and helping to build the Oregon and national economy.

Oregon State University Advantage

About the Oregon State University Advantage: Oregon State is committed to innovation that leads to new businesses, jobs and economic growth for Oregon and the nation. That commitment now includes the Venture Accelerator, to move promising ideas out of the laboratory and into the marketplace; and the Industry Partnering Program, which helps improve the success of existing business and industry.