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TechCelerator Companies Graduate From Business Bootcamp

by and on December 24, 2014 3:45 PM

The capstone event of a 10-week business boot camp delivered by Ben Franklin Technology Partners took place at the Technology Center at Innovation Park at Penn State.

The graduation included presentations by all six companies participating in BFTP's TechCelerator program.

"The TechCelerator program helps get ideas (for business startups) off the ground," said Don McCandless, program director. The TechCelerator boot camp challenges entrepreneurs to focus on the many demands of running a successful business.

"Our foundational premise is, 'Don't build something that nobody wants,'" said McCandless. "Fascinating science is not enough. The marketplace picks the winners."

John Vidmar, director of transformation services, welcomed representatives of the six companies making presentations and their guests.

"The TechCelerator program started as an effort to encourage more startups and to educate and motivate potential commercial opportunities," he said. "Our goal is to establish a vigorous entrepreneurial ecosystem — a regional activity that will recognize innovation and support it with enthusiasm."

Following each presentation, a panel of successful entrepreneurs questioned the individuals delivering the presentations. The panel included Alan Darr, who has created seven successful startups over the past 20 years; Bob Fiore, a top-ranked sales manager for Armstrong World Industries, 3M, and Time and Sports Illustrated magazines; and Dave Stevens, founder of Conduit Internet Technologies and a serial entrepreneur.

The panel awarded the $10,000 prize to OurFleet, a startup company that has developed a resource and traffic management mobile application and "control center" software that assists the oil and gas exploration/production industries manage on-site asserts.

Company founder Doug Carnahan, who delivered the OurFleet presentation, stated that the system would result in a 24 to 40 percent reduction in operational costs for companies.

"OurFleet is the only traffic management system that allows complete 'air traffic'-like control over resource deliveries at fracking sites."

Other presentations were offered by Blue Spin, Ares Drones, HICO Tech, deZen Technologies and Digital Measurement Partners.

Blue Spin's Patrick Lenahan discussed his firm's new method of doing magnetic resonance measurements on solid state electronic devices. "Our new tool helps companies understand all paramagnetic defects," he said. "Current technology is big, expensive and inadequate. Blue Spin's prototype is a desktop instrument that is 10 million times more sensitive than current technology."

Ares Drones' spokesperson was Justin Miller. "We have created a drone that everyone can fly," he said. "It is fast and easy to use. Currently, drones are difficult to use for average people. Ares will simplify the process and allow everyone to capture content." He foresees many useful applications for the real estate, agriculture and insurance industries.

Dezhe Jin, of deZen Technologies, discussed his startup's novel speech-recognition system based on systems neuroscience principles.

Jim DiPerna, of Digital Measurement Partners, is developing an online mental health assessment tool that will improve outcomes for students at risk. "There are 400 students at risk for every mental health professional," he said. " There are many challenges that school psychologists face. We'll be able to leverage technology to make this a more streamlined process. It's a time saver for teachers, parents and psychologists."

Finally, Donghai Wang, of HICO Tech, presented his firm's technology that will create lithium-ion batteries that are cheaper to make and last longer without a charge.

"Tesla Motors currently has a battery that will last 275 miles. Our battery will be half the cost — $15,000 versus $30,000 — and last for 412 miles before a charge is needed."

The new technology will help smartphone batteries last much longer as well.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Harry is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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