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Wyoming Technology Business Center

Fisher Innovation Challenge

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Unlock the Entrepreneurial Code


The Fisher Innovation Challenge is a new competition launched in the Spring of 2016, supported through the generous financial gift of Mr. Donne Fisher, and matched by the University of Wyoming Office of Research and Economic Development. The Fisher Innovation Challenge seeks to catalyze Wyoming technology start-up businesses and provide the opportunity to apply for seed money to take the business past concept stage and into real-world first article builds and initial sales. The competition has identified finalists who are eligible to pitch for the chance to apply to a $100,000 seed fund.

The FIC is for new, independent businesses in the seed, start‐up, or early growth stages that are focused on technology and/or innovation. Generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, franchises, online retail, brick and mortar retail, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing corporations. Licensing technologies from University of Wyoming research labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously.




Founder:  Dylan Knapp, Mechanical Engineering graduate, 2017           

Hop harvesting and conversion to the standard pelletized hop product used in beer production is not well organized, and for small growers, pelletizing is controlled regionally by a single company. As such, hop quality is not maintained rigorously except for big brewers; small brewers sometimes even have difficulty obtaining hop product for their brewing.

• JB Tech

Founders:  Brandon Preston, Senior in Mechanical Engineering and Jonathan Mattison, Senior Business Management        

The logistics of de-icing airplanes are complicated and expensive. Large airports, such as DIA, must keep large crews on staff full time during the winter months, when in reality they only worked 66 days deicing planes during the 2015-2016 winter. Additionally, time is a critical factor in deicing planes. A recent reorganization of DIA’s procedures eliminated 3 minutes per plane of deicing time, and saved them just under $6 Million in jet fuel costs each year.

• Turbulence Solutions

Founders: Chris Rumple, 3rd Year Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Marvin Perry, UW Staff

Wind tunnels have proven effective in testing wind turbine design, but most are only able to create a laminar airflow. This does not match real world conditions. Developing an active grid producing turbulence to correct this is a significant investment of grad student labor and time. Turbulence Solutions has developed a removable turbulence generator that can be placed at the front of the airflow within a wind tunnel and can replicate a variety of wind turbulence simulations.

• A&M Ergonomics

Founders: Maycee Spence, Music graduate 2017 and Andrew Gomez, Masters in Music Performance

Most musical accessories and products are designed with concerns for the sound quality and not the safety of the instrument or the long-term health of the player. A&M Ergonomics will design, build and partner with strategic partners to sell accessories with a primary focus on player health and comfort.

• Emina Tech

Founders: Sabrina Kauffman, Computer Science and Graphic Design graduate, 2017, and Emma Jane Alexander, UW Staff

This company’s 3D Virtual Reality technology provides services to the medical sector with focus on the specific target customer (obesity treatment). Products are geared towards providing non invasive virtual reality treatment for life changing experiences such as: achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, preparing for surgery, and nurturing your mental health.

• IOTherm

Founder: Kennan Oyen, 4th Year Ph.D. in Biology

The IOTherm heating and cooling systems are small customizable units, designed to perfectly accommodate standard laboratory glass vials in which temperature controlled combinatorial biology or chemistry can be performed. The unique design of the controlled temperature block provides researchers with dramatically better options and specific sample temperature control as compared to any commercial bulk system known.

• Weaver Solutions

Founder: Ben Weaver, UW Alumnus, CEAS Land Surveying certificate program,

The Weaver concept uses a high velocity blower to blow back the fire line onto itself, locally, removing the fuel side of the burn equation. The product, Fire Dragon, will provide a tool to farmers, ranchers and firefighters that does not require a water source of the traditional water based methods.

• To the Corr Innovations

Founder: Genie Corr, Senior in Mechanical Engineering

To the Corr Innovations system is a fully sensored wheel assembly for early detection of potential tractor trailer wheel hub failures, and actively alerting the driver through on-board warnings. Mitigation of potential problems can then occur before catastrophic failure.

• Monarch Mobility

Founders: James Francis, Senior in Mechanical Engineering and Nicholas Reh, Masters in Business Administration

Monarch Mobility has developed a wheelchair accessory that has a planetary gearing system to create an ergonomic motion, provide multiple gearing options, and braking without direct wear on the hands. The accessory is believed to be able to work on any wheelchair body, but targets higher end wheel chair users.


2017 Fisher Innovation Challenge General Overview

2017 Fisher Innovation Challenge Rules & Regulations

2017 Timeline

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Wyoming Technology Business Center

1938 Harney

Laramie, WY 82072

Phone: 307-766-6395


Wyoming Technology Business Center

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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