RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Startups are hurting during this downturn, but the North Carolina Biotechnology Center can now offer one Research Triangle Park company some targeted relief.
The Center won a $50,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program this week to help a local cleantech startup Advanced Animal Diagnostics.
In total, 18 channel partners were selected to share the award totaling $900,000. The aim: to help startups retain staff and stay on track to bring their potentially “game-changing solutions” to market, even during a pandemic.
“We know that small businesses across America are being hit especially hard right now,” said Trish Cozart, IN2 program manager. “Our Channel Partner ecosystem represents a wide range of experts. Innovation can and will persist — even during times of contraction — and this expedited funding is designed to support that.”
NC Biotech said it would funnel the award to Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) based in the Research Triangle Park.
AAD is a young ag tech firm that is “repurposing” its QScout blood test platform, which is usually used to detect disease in cattle, to now be used for humans in the fight against COVID-19. NCBiotech has provided financial and other support to help the company grow.
The company is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization for the test with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It recently conducted a study using donated human blood, which it says proved that the test works.
No doubt, it’s hard times for some startups.
Startup Genome’s research on the impact of COVID-19 on tech startups – based on what it called the “first-ever global survey” on the topic — has now been answered by close to 1,500 respondents. It reveals that four out of every 10 startups globally are in the “red zone” — they have three months or fewer of cash runway.
For startups that have raised Series A or later rounds, 34 percent have less than 6 months of cash — a danger zone in the current situation where fundraising is difficult.
IN2 is a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
It said it expedited the funding phase from September 2020 to provide immediate support for pre- and post-revenue cleantech startups in markets across the country through its Channel Partners – a network of technology incubators, accelerators and university programs that refers promising startups to IN2.
The awards program – a $5 million total fund – aims to strengthen sustainable technology initiatives and address barriers that startups face on the path to commercialization.
Besides NCBiotech, other grant winners include: ACRE — New York University, AgLaunch, AgStart, Austin Technology Incubator — University of Texas, BRITE, CCIA, Clean Energy Trust, Cleantech Open (West), Daugherty Water for Food — University of Nebraska, Imagine H2O, Launch Alaska, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), MaRS DD, NECEC, New Energy Nexus, Texas A&M TEES, and VertueLab.