University of Minnesota launches record 19 startup companies based on researchers’ discoveries in FY ’19

August 20  

The University of Minnesota announced today that it launched a record 19 startup companies over the past year based on discoveries and inventions by its researchers.

The Venture Center, part of U of M Technology Commercialization, forms new companies to bring cutting-edge research beyond the lab and into the marketplace. The new startups, 11 of which are based in Minnesota, will help fuel the economy and contribute to the public good, both in-state and in regions across the globe.

“As a land-grant university, the U of M has a responsibility to ensure promising new technologies move beyond the bounds of academia and benefit Minnesotans’ health, environment, and quality of life,” said Russ Straate, associate director of the Venture Center. “These 19 new companies hold exciting potential to improve society by bringing research-based solutions to the public in a wide range of fields, from agricultural technologies to medical devices.”

The record number of new startup companies follows another recent success in the University’s startup enterprise: eight Venture Center-launched startups have been acquired or gone public since 2017, indicating the high potential of their respective technologies to larger, established companies capable of further developing them, as well as investors who can support their development. Most recently, this included educational assessment startup FastBridge Learning’s June 2019 acquisition by Illuminate Education.

“The Venture Center provided the crucial guidance and support we needed to begin developing and scaling our assessment technology to reach the point where we are now, with nearly 2 million students and educators using it almost every state,” said Terri Soutor, CEO of FastBridge. “Now, by teaming up with Illuminate, we are building off of this foundation to further accelerate our mission of transforming the way educators assess and address the learning needs of students.”

The 19 new startup companies are:

Anatomi (MN)—Technology that allows for rapid development of neuronal cells from stem cells, facilitating faster drug development.

Aurora Concussion Therapy (MN)—Technology to speed concussion recovery using infrared light therapy.

Belalcazar Consulting (MN)—Software measuring thoracic impedance that provides information on fluid load in patients with heart failure.

BGK, LLC—Intra-oral device that offers targeted drug delivery when placed in the mouth between the upper and lower teeth.

Cancer Therapeutics Labs (MN)—Cancer therapy focused on animals, with first application in canines.

Cerovations (MN)—Implanted, redundant drain line from the brain to the abdomen to improve the drainage of fluid off the brain after trauma.

Darcy Solutions (MN)—Novel heat exchanger that uses the flow of underground water streams to increase efficiency of residential and commercial heat pumps.

eaterpad—App that helps users better understand their eating habits using nutritional data from the UMN Nutrition Coordination Center.

Geofinancial Analytics—Satellite image analysis that delivers transparency on fugitive methane emissions from super-emitters to aid investment professionals in near real-time.

Hybridge Medical—Tool for taking biopsy samples from the lung.

Interventional Pulmonary Solutions (MN)—Medical device for placement, repositioning or removal of central airway stent.

Invisian—An orthodontic device system for simplified jaw fixation.

Jord BioScience (MN)—Biological plant control mechanism that promotes increased crop yields with a mixture of bacteria that can be optimized for a specific crop and for a specific set of physical and environmental conditions.

Plasma Tech Holdings (MN)—Process that uses a plasma energy field that reacts to soybean oil, the main component to produce biodiesel.

RetiSpec Inc.—Diagnostic that images the eye and analyze these images to provide very early detection of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sciamble Inc. (MN)—Enhancement to US3D software models enabling faster, more accurate and more scalable identification of high-speed aerodynamics characteristics, including aerodynamic heating problems.

Sollievo Pharmaceuticals—Novel compound and proprietary intranasal drug delivery device for treating epilepsy and other indications.

Stratix (MN)—Technology that enables researchers to grow high-quality biofilms with consistency and reproducibility that better model how biofilms exist in nature and in vivo.

Stryke Club—Grooming and acne skin care line for boys.

Since its founding in 2006, the Venture Center has launched a total of 154 startups, 78 percent of which are currently active. The majority of the startups, 75 percent, are based in Minnesota. The companies have generated more than $400 million in outside investment.

For more information or to see a list of all startups launched through the Venture Center, visit

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