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Published February 24, 2020
Four Wyoming startups, with a science business focus, will pitch their businesses to a panel of expert judges 1-4 p.m. Thursday, March 26, at the Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC) at the University of Wyoming.
The Microbial Ecology Collaborative Startup Launchpad (MECSL) will award business capital to further the ventures of new Wyoming startups. This statewide entrepreneurship platform plans to disburse $25,000 in startup capital funded by the National Science Foundation and Wyoming’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
“Startup funding makes an incredible impact in our communities,” says Fred Schmechel, assistant director of the WTBC in Laramie. “Giving these emerging businesses a debt-free way to build capital is a game changer for startup growth in Wyoming.”
This startup launchpad is one of many initiatives of Wyoming EPSCoR’s five-year Micro Program. The Micro Program supports microbiome research in the state, including the application of modern genomic sequencing and data science methodology to answer questions about how microbes affect our ecosystem. As part of the broader impacts of the Micro Program, MECSL promotes the commercialization of research and development activities statewide.
Wyoming EPSCoR partnered with the WTBC to administer MECSL, the first statewide WTBC program that focuses on microbial ecology and data science startups. The WTBC supports innovative startups in Wyoming through regional startup challenges, business counseling and business incubator space in Laramie, Casper and Sheridan.
“All four teams have significant potential to shape business in Wyoming, and all contribute to protecting or commercializing microbial ecology in some way,” says Eric Schlidt, director of the Casper WTBC.
The business finalists are as follows:
-- Livestock Wx, located in Casper and founded by Chad McNutt, provides timely and authoritative weather information for beef, pork, poultry and sheep producers with a focus on impacts to livestock health and well-being. For more information, go to www.livestockwx.com.
-- Theraneutrics, located in Laramie and founded by Christoph Geisler, is an innovative biomedical startup working to solve gout through engineered probiotics. For more information, go to www.theraneutrics.com.
-- Enviro Cast, located in Pinedale and founded by Loren Wilcox, is focused on reducing microplastic pollution one cast at a time with the company’s completely natural and biodegradable fishing line. For more information, go to www.enviro-cast.com.
-- AsimicA is located in Laramie and founded by Nikolai Mushnikov and Grant Bowman, co-inventors of Microbial Stem Cell Technology (MiST). AsimicA seeks to improve biomolecule production efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry using MiST. For more information, go to www.asimica.com.
Three of the teams have presented their businesses in similar startup challenges previously. The Southeast Wyoming Innovation Launchpad saw Theraneutrics as one of the top contenders in February. The Southeast Wyoming Innovation Launchpad winners are eligible to apply for additional funding from a private seed fund raised in Laramie and Albany counties.
Livestock Wx competed in the 2018 Casper Start-Up Challenge, which boasted a $50,000 seed fund. AsimicA also was a contender for the 2018 Fisher Innovation Launchpad, which gives UW student entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive capital from a $125,000 seed fund.
“We are really excited to see how high these companies reach,” says David Bohling, director of the Laramie WTBC. “All four MECSL companies are established in Wyoming and will continue to serve as great examples of entrepreneurship in the Equality State.”
The March 26 event is open to the public and will be broadcast over the internet. The program will be followed by a short networking reception. Those who plan to attend should RSVP at http://uwyo.startuptree.co/event/shared/MicrobialEcologyColl.