News Release

U of M Venture Center launches record 17 startups in FY16

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The University of Minnesota announced today that it launched a record 17 startup companies over the past year based on discoveries and inventions by its researchers.

Launching new companies is one of the primary ways the University turns cutting-edge research discoveries into commercial products that fuel the economy and contribute to the public good. The 17 startups include 14 in Minnesota, with 13 of them in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and one in Duluth.

The FY16 record follows a milestone accomplishment in early June, when the University’s Venture Center announced it had launched its 100th startup since its founding 10 years ago, with 82 percent of those companies still active. A part of the Office for Technology Commercialization, the Venture Center matches intellectual property resulting from university research with experienced CEOs to provide a platform for that research to reach the public.

“We are pleased to see these new discoveries transform into companies that stand to strengthen Minnesota’s key industries and improve the health and well-being of its people,” said Jay Schrankler, OTC’s executive director. “Congratulations to the researchers who have partnered with experienced entrepreneurs and worked to bring these valuable inventions to market.”

The University’s collaborative research spaces and cutting-edge lab equipment cultivate an environment that encourages new discoveries and the development of new technology. Dedicated resources that support entrepreneurship and business development provide a pathway for these discoveries to then reach the market.

“I applaud the Venture Center and the Office of Technology Commercialization for their record of startup creation and for driving entrepreneurship inside and outside the University of Minnesota,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president & CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association. “A top research university is critical to our entrepreneurial ecosystem, both for the thoughtful, striving and skilled people it provides to our workforce, but also for the new ideas it brings to market.”

The 17 new startup companies are:

  • Advanced Road Patch (Duluth, Minn.) — Application of magnetite sourced from taconite to create durable road repair materials.
  • Antibiotic Alternatives (Minneapolis) — Novel antimicrobial agents that thwart infection by augmenting the production of naturally occurring antimicrobial proteins in mucosal epithelial cells.
  • Blue Therapeutics (Cambridge, Mass.) — Novel small-molecule therapeutic with greater painkilling potency than morphine and no abuse potential.
  • B-MoGen Biotechnologies (Minneapolis) — Tools and proprietary methods that enable the discovery of novel treatments by creating engineered cells for research and therapeutic applications.
  • Bolder Flight Systems (Minneapolis) — Software and hardware for a variety of drone navigation products and systems.
  • BSTM LLC (Stillwater, Minn.) — Product for enterprise companies that enables forecasting, strategic planning, R&D strategy and decision-making for technology roadmaps.
  • Digital Design Studios (St. Paul, Minn.) — Orthotic that provides comfort and facilitates an active lifestyle for people who suffer from bunions.
  • Discovery Genomics (Minneapolis) — Therapeutic genes created through Sleeping Beauty gene editing technology for patients that lack a functioning copy of the gene.
  • EmboMedics Gel Therapies (Golden Valley, Minn.) — Natural, resorbable gel product that delivers drug therapies into the body.
  • Good Libations (Minneapolis) — Food additive that addresses problems with harsh taste for various consumable liquids.
  • Innotronics (Stillwater, Minn.) — Engineered sensing solutions for non-contacting position measurement.
  • Photonic Pharma (Minneapolis) — Compound screening that enables visualization of cell activity for potential drug development.
  • ProValens (Minneapolis) — Database of resources that allows caregivers to curate relevant information and share it with patients.
  • ThermChem (Portland, Ore.) — Energy-efficient method for reducing wastewater sludge from municipal and agricultural sewage wastes and recovering lipids, phosphorus and nitrogen.
  • Tmunity Therapeutics (Philadelphia, Pa.) — Next generation therapies that unleash the immunological potential of T cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases.
  • UpTern (Minneapolis) — Aerial inspections and data analytics of large infrastructure, such as pipelines, transmission lines, rivers, roads and railways.
  • Valerian Materials (Roseville, Minn.) — Monomer and polymer components for high performance, bio-degradable plastics from renewable, green feedstocks.

For more information on recent U of M startups, visit:

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