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UW’s Fisher Innovation Launchpad to Culminate in Virtual Event Nov. 30

November 29, 2021

IMPACT 307, the University of Wyoming’s business incubator program, will host the sixth Fisher Innovation Launchpad (FIL) Pitch Day Tuesday, Nov. 30.

The program will be livestreamed and available to the public online at

The FIL is designed to support and accelerate ventures originating from UW by providing the critical first investment needed to take businesses past concept stage into real-world first article builds and initial sales. The platform emphasizes innovation and bridging the gap between academic research and commercialization.

“A significant part of the process of creating these new ventures is that the teams have done significant validation work on their premise. They have to prove that the problem they think they are solving is real and that their proposal is differentiated from existing solutions,” says Fred Schmechel, IMPACT Laramie interim director. “Starting a new venture isn’t the case where one can just move forward based on an agenda or a gut feeling. There must be data that supports it.”

Starting at 10 a.m., this year’s Pitch Day will feature three student-led companies. The finalists will present their business ideas to a panel of independent judges, who have the task of deciding how the 2021 seed fund will be distributed. The winners will be announced shortly after 2 p.m. Nov. 30.

The three companies competing for funding are:

-- Bedrock Outdoors aims to get more people involved outdoors. The business provides training to customers of tourism-focused businesses and covers topics such as gear use, recreation opportunities and sustainable practices. The company was founded by Emma Dixon, a UW senior from Lawrence, Kan., who is double majoring in environmental systems science, and outdoor recreation and tourism management.

-- GigaChar employs a strategy to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels through the use of biomass. GigaChar was founded by Alexandra Howell, a UW Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering from Morrill, Neb., and Erica Belmont, an associate professor and head of the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering.

-- InsurXcel has created software to keep insurance providers up to date on industry trends while putting cybersecurity first. Finley McIlwaine and Kegan McIlwaine, both UW computer science graduate students from Cheyenne, founded the company.

IMPACT 307 is a statewide network of innovation-driven business incubators committed to growing and strengthening Wyoming’s entrepreneurial community by providing resources and support for founders to thrive. To get started, email IMPACT 307 at or call (307) 766-6395.

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