CATTEC V Retrospective

Agenda Highlights


  • “A Fund of funds manager’s perspective on Early Stage Midwest investing”, keynote speaker Paul Cohn – Vice President and Regional Director, Ohio Capital Fund
  • “The Changing Landscape of Early Stage Investment In An Era Of Global Austerity And Opportunity”, keynote speaker G. Steven Burrill, Chairman and CEO, Burrill & Company
  • “Accessing University Technologies Worldwide – AUTM Global Technology Portal”, keynote speaker Jodi Talley, AUTM


  • “The Venture Capital – Angel Interface: How Angels and VC’s Are Making The Most Of The Handoff”
  • “New Models For Early Stage Financing”
  • “Angels in Tech Transfer- Come Fly with Me: New Ways to Engage Angels in University Deals”
  • “Connecting Midwest High Tech Startups With International Tech Hotspots”

Armchair Discussion

  • “Leveraging Global Opportunities For The Midwest”

Presenters – Fast Pitch Presentations

Note: All company bios listed below reflect information at the time of the event in 2012

John Flavin
Interim CEO
Cell Habitats, Inc.
Woodridge, IL, A PROPEL Company
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Cell Habitats (“CH”) is redefining the field of tissue regeneration by using biophysical cues to harness the body’s’ own stem cells to restore normal function to damaged or diseased tissue. CH’s novel approach, which doesn’t involve delivery of stem cells, is accomplished by injecting biodegradeable, biomimetic, microstructural devices (“Regenerod(s)”) that attract endogenous stem cells and behave as a surrogate cellular habitat that promotes endogenous stem cell growth. This innovation could potentially improve outcomes in the treatment of heart muscle injury, and may serve as a platform for the regeneration of other tissues such as bone, cartilage, muscle, and nerve tissues.

Yaser Maksoud
Nerve Access, Inc.
Chicago, IL, A PROPEL Company
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Nerve Access is developing a high-potential Alzheimer’s therapeutic (NA135) that is believed to be effective and easy to administer. An effective Alzheimer’s therapeutic could create $5B/year in a market that can easily expand to $20B. The FDA has placed NA135 on a quick path to approval requiring only short-term studies. We are close to filing an IND and we need $3 to $4 million to place NA135 in Phase II of clinical trials which is a very attractive milestone for big pharma to get involved. We filed for Utility and PCT patent protection in June of 2012.

Josephine Polich
Cearna, Inc.
Naperville, IL, A PROPEL Company
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Cearna provides a family of products designed to reduce bruising, swelling & pain in trauma and surgical procedures. The first product to market is a plastic surgery product and is 50X more potent than any other competitor in the market. It is designed to reduce recovery time by 5-7 days. The market in the US for Cearna products is $33 billion and the plastics market alone is $237 million. The company began selling its product in the US in September 2012. Cearna has 2 patents pending and we are seeking $700,000 in funding.

Elie Geisler
Founder and CEO
Evanston, IL, An Illinois Institute of Technology Company
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DecaBooks is a e-publishing company of academic text and reference books in the business and social sciences. Our market are schools of business and we specialize in less-priviledged community and junior colleges. We price all our e-books at $10, regardless of their size or disciplinary area. We have the advantage of maintaining high quality by a strict peer-review process of book manuscripts. We introduce several innovations such as advertising in our e-texts as well as DecaBucks which are coupon-;like certificate of $1 each. Our team of experts in place and we are ready to launch in a few months.

Daniel Gibbs, Ph.D.
General Biomass Company
Evanston, IL, An Illinois Science + Technology Affiliate
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General Biomass Company develops advanced enzymes to convert nonfood biomass to sugars for cellulosic biofuels, renewable chemicals and bioplastics. Sugar is the new oil ( Technology for producing biofuels and renewable chemicals still relies on food sugars from corn and sugar cane. Our technology converts selected gene data to physical enzymes, enabling a flexible yet highly specific approach to convert nonfood biomass to cheap sugars. Thermophilic (70-90°C) enzymes made with our technology can hydrolyze biomass 50% faster than competitors’ mesophilic (40-50°C) enzymes. Milestones: $600K seed funding for first 12 months, first enzymes, first patent application, ship first product, first partnership.

Jack Heinemann
Ebullient LLC
Madison, WI, A Hybrid Zone X Company
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Ebullient’s technology is based on using an environmentally friendly dielectric refrigerant through proprietary cooling modules mounted on the hot surfaces in the computer. It incorporates an evaporation process that results in high density heat removal. The innovation is based on design of tooling modules and system integration: Cooling modules are based on two-phase impinging jets and surfaces enhanced to amplify the heat transfer, careful design of jets is necessary to obtain a uniform heat removal from computer chips, with a minimum pressure drop. System integration of multiple modules is obtained by arranging the modules in series to cool multiple surfaces on same server.

Joe Kremer
Madison, WI, A Hybrid Zone X Company
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Slipstream has developed an integrated web and mobile-based platform targeted at the recreation sports market. Using technology Slipstream provides the nation’s 12,000 Parks and Recreation agencies a free web based application to manage their park, facilities, programs, volunteers and members. For recreation participants, families and volunteers, Slipstream, in partnership with the National Recreation and Parks Association, provides an easy way to search out programs, register, maintain personal statistics, review programs, and stay updated on schedules and locations through a web and mobile interface. The Company will generate money through multiple revenue streams. The company is seeking $250,000.

A.J. Noronha
Co-founder, interim President, & Director of Business Development
Citrics Biomedical
Chicago, IL, A PROPEL Company
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Our lead product, CitrOSponge, is an innovative nanocomposite solving large needs in the $3.5B orthopedic market. We have successfully completed prototyping & 1 year of in vivo testing, demonstrating improved healing time & bone formation. The FDA 510k pathway provides an efficient pathway to market, creating an excellent opportunity for company & investors to reach commercialization within 2-3 years for $2-3MM in funding. We have worked with IBIO PROPEL (our endorser) for over three years, were a finalist in their Business Plan Competition, and have also received recognition from numerous Midwestern universities, including University of Chicago, Northwestern, Purdue, & Notre Dame.


Kate Holt
Memcine Pharmaceuticals
Iowa City, IA, A University of Iowa Research Foundation Company
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Memcine Pharmaceuticals is developing ImmunoplexTM, a platform technology aimed at transforming the $26B global vaccine market. ImmunoplexTM promises to deliver cost effective needle-free vaccines without side effects associated with traditional vaccines. Proof of concept has been achieved. Composition-based patent applications have been filed in collaboration the University of Iowa Research Foundation. Memcine’s business strategy is to function as a discovery engine and out-license by field and territory. Memcine is in active partnering discussions around influenza and ebola vaccines. Memcine seeks early stage financing to complete ongoing preclinical studies and advance the lead influenza vaccine to IND filing by 1Q 2014.

Jeff Banker
Biophotonics Solutions, Inc.
East Lansing, MI, A Michigan State University Technologies Company
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Biophotonic Solutions Inc. is an innovative laser-technology company with global sales of $1.5M annually. Its products are integrated onto other firms’ laser systems, “turbo charging” them and incredibly boosting their performance. BSI has exclusive license to disruptive technology that unleashes latent capabilities of ultra-fast “femto-second” lasers. BSI’s vision is driving the transition of ultrafast lasers from research labs – a sizable opportunity itself – into high value, real-world applications. To capitalize on its opportunities and grow sales to $52M by 2017, BSI plans two infusions of capital: a $750K seed round in Q4/2012 and a $1M Series A in Q3/2013.

Joe Provorse
FxRedux Solutions LLC
Iowa City, IA, A University of Iowa Research Foundation Company
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FxRedux Solutions provides pre-operative planning services for articular fracture surgery. We utilize 3D puzzle-solving software and complementary technologies to help surgeons more precisely restore broken bones. A surgeon requests our services at the time that they request a standard CT scan. CT studies are sent to us over the internet for analysis, and we return a report to the surgeon well in advance of surgery. The U.S. market, based initially on only three types of fractures, is approximately $111 million. We have established proof-of-concept functionality, but there is a gap of approximately $500,000 standing between us and entering the market.

Patrick Shanley
Advanced Cooling Therapy (ACT)
Chicago, IL, A PROPEL Company
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Advanced Cooling Therapy (ACT) is developing a patented, disposable medical device enabling cost-effective patient temperature control that saves lives. ACT provides a revolutionary and innovative platform technology that enables easy implementation of therapeutic hypothermia, solving a significant, unmet customer need by providing clinicians with a safe, efficient, and easy-to-use method to control a patient’s temperature, and addressing a $1B market with >15% annual growth. ACT’s device is less invasive than competitors’ methods and has strong market pull. To support a targeted launch in 2013, ACT is currently seeking $1.2M in convertible debt, with 1/3 soft-circled to date.

Dr. Prasad S. Kodukula
Chicago, IL, An Illinois Institute of Technology Company at University Tech Park
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Neochloris, Inc. has developed a patent-pending photobioreactor to efficiently capture carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources and convert these to algae biomass. Unlike competing ponds, our innovation enables algae production in any geographic location. We reduce energy inputs, increase algae yields, minimize contamination and boost biofuel production, enhancing project economics. Full-scale Neochloris algae systems will have an ROI of less than two years, producing algae biofuel for less than $2.00 per gallon. A utility customer has offered us a coal-fired power plant as a test site, and we seek funding to build a large-scale pilot plant to demonstrate the technology.

Ken Dirkin
Zon Labs
Lansing, MI, A Michigan State University Technologies Company
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MSU’s Confucius Institute developed Zon, an on-line role-playing game with a $1.5M grant. Zon immerses users in a virtual Beijing, where every situation is a language learning encounter. Early users are K-12 students, generating $100K+ yearly in license revenue. The MSU team recently formed Zon Labs, LLC to reach $100M+ in revenue by 2017. It will drastically expand education sales, targeting the 100K U.S. students studying Chinese. Further, 100M+ “Serious Learners” globally pay $1,000 on average to learn Chinese. Zon Labs seeks a seed round of $750K in Q4/2012. Mid-term needs will be covered in a $1.5M+ infusion by Q3/2013.

Dr. Samuel Dudley
President and CEO
ROS Technologies
Chicago IL, A PROPEL company
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ROS Technologies is a small biotechnology company developing its first product,
PulsePredicTM. PulsePredicTM is a blood test which discriminates with high predictive power who will and will not need an implanted defibrillator to prevent abnormal heartbeats and subsequent sudden death. In the US, the market opportunity for a blood test to predict arrhythmic risk includes at least 550,000 people per year, 5,000 hospitals, and 20,000 cardiologists. The technology is protected by patents. Pricing is anticipated to be $200/test. ROS has received a $270,000 STTR NIH grant. ROS is seeking $5 million in capital to conduct a validation trial suitable


The 70 attendees included equal numbers of investors and university members.

Event Photos