Tech Incubator tends to business growth

Kevin Maher’s GyroStim machine has worked wonders for people with varying afflictions, from his own daughter to hockey superstar Sidney Crosby.

Kevin Maher’s GyroStim machine has worked wonders for people with varying afflictions, from his own daughter to hockey superstar Sidney Crosby.

The Colorado Springs Technology Incubator helps budding entrepreneurs with questions regarding all startup issues.

If a person needs a patent attorney, the connection will be made.

If the need is venture capital, staff will take the steps to find the money.

If the entrepreneur needs information on how to market, the incubator will help.

The Technology Incubator is run by Ric Denton, a Silicon Valley veteran with experience taking early-stage companies from concept to multi-million-dollar endeavors.

Since its inception in 1999, the incubator has helped launch 27 businesses and has been responsible for creating 86 jobs.

The incubator has helped the businesses create around 15 patents, and “that’s an indicator that’s broadly used in the incubator industry,” Denton said.

The incubator offers a wide range of business expertise, from giving guidance on how to operate a company, product development, filing patents, marketing strategy and more.

“There’s any number of mentoring issues that we frankly offer very sophisticated guidance,” Denton said.

The incubator is also home to the High Altitude Investors, a venture capital effort.

“Since starting the High Altitude Investors, we can directly count 15 investments in various companies. Of the 15, all but one were local investments,” Denton said.

Last week, Denton worked with a new company that sets out to improve security.

The idea’s founder “wanted to start a company, but he had no idea how,” Denton said. “I had a lot of background in government contracting.” So Denton helped find the right people to learn about creating a business.

Spherady

Spherady is like Facebook, only safer, said CEO Paul Engle.

Founded two years ago by three Air Force Academy educators and one other professional, Spherady’s purpose is to address privacy issues that relate to Facebook, and create a social network that is safer and more private, Engle said.

“If I take a photo and post it on Facebook, the data about where it was taken is buried in the data on Facebook,” Engel said.

Spherady’s purpose is to address privacy issues that relate to Facebook, and create a social network that is safer and more private.

If the person uploading the photo is a soldier in Afghanistan, “that’s a huge security risk,” Engle said. Soldiers have died “because the enemy intercepted the signal and sent a mortar to that location,” he added.

In another example, Engel said some people were photographing children and posting them to the Internet, which gave predators all they needed to act.

“These people figured out where the picture was taken, where the child lived, where the child goes to school and when and where she’s gone to the park,” Engel said.

Using Spherady, that information would not be broadcast. Spherady strips that information from the postings, Engel said.

“We want things to be quite restrictive,” he said.

There are some easy, inexpensive hacking programs available that make such information fairly simple to obtain from Facebook, he added.

Spherady creates social networks that will enable the user to better control the privacy, he said.

“The idea is to have a social network with this kind of power and simplicity and ease of use, but still connects with Facebook in a controlled way,” said Engel, adding that one of Spherady’s features is the ability to import the “friend” data from Facebook and automatically populate Spherady.

GyroStim

When his daughter was diagnosed with the precursor of cerebral palsy, Kevin Maher developed a device to help her. Her therapists recommended chair spins, somersaults and log rolls, so Maher created a chair that replicated and combined these motions.

The movements stimulate the bodily system that controls information from the ears, eyes, muscles and joints and adjusts heart rate and blood pressure.

In the years since Maher created his first chair for his daughter, the GyroStim, as it is called, has been automated and is now run by a computer.

Maher sold his first chair to the Air Force Academy, which uses it to prevent motion sickness in students. GyroStim chairs are now in Italy, Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands and two in Canada. Many are being used in sports performance enhancement.

People who have undergone treatment have reported improvements in their peripheral vision and reduced effects from concussions, both benefits to the sports industry, Maher said.

After treatment, the results are obvious.

“Colors are brighter. Peripheral vision is better, and if you’re playing sports, that’s really important,” Maher said. “We’re really on to something.”

The most recent development to further stimulate the nerves in the brain involves giving the client an objective to follow while spinning around. The objective might involve counting aloud by three or completing simple verbal math problems.

“It’s really working the brain out like a muscle, which helps with visual eye-hand coordination, sequencing skills, gross fine-motor skills,” Maher said. “Afterwards, all those things you’ve done before now are a lot easier.

“Brain scans show significant changes in the brain because of this,” he said.

In one of the more publicized examples, Pittsburgh Penguins hockey star Sidney Crosby used the chair after he experienced head injuries playing hockey, Maher said.

“He was cured after four days treatment on the GyroStim,” Maher said.

ConcealFab

The U.S. government doesn’t want to broadcast locations to the enemy, said ConcealFab CEO Jon Fitzhugh.

Fitzhugh began working for the company that developed a way to allow the government to conceal antennas with minimal impact to their ability to function.

It involves building boxes around the communication devices, but modifying the boxes to resemble their surroundings.

Using a ConcealFab structure, “antenna can receive and transmit,” Fitzhugh said. “If you look at the building, you might think it’s part of the permanent building structure.

“Similar with the military, you would think it’s a maintenance shed.”

“From a commercial angle, we maintain the aesthetics without impacting the overall serenity and beauty,” Fitzhugh said.

Commercial applications may take the look of a gray utility electrical pole or a wood-grained telephone pole or shaped glass that can resemble street lamps.

“It’s an interesting niche,” Fitzhugh said.

Through the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator, Fitzhugh met Mike Slattery, who instigated the development of the product. Also through the incubator, the business was infused with $1 million in venture capital, Denton said.

Fitzhugh is the new CEO, having graduated from Harvard with his MBA.

 

Website helps new businesses

The human genome project seeks to identify and map human genes. Among other goals, the Startup Genome project seeks to connect budding entrepreneurs with details of the community profiles where they want to grow.

“When I was working at Startup Weekend, I met folks who were mapping their start-up communities,” said Genome Project founder Shane Reiser. “We developed a tool so people can map their community.”

Startup Weekend is a program that helps businesses launch in a weekend, or 54 hours. The information from the Startup Genome is available to everyone and can be used by venture capitalists seeking talent.

The Colorado Springs arm of the site is four months old.

“It’s for budding entrepreneurs to find out who the other entrepreneurs and investors are in Colorado Springs,” Reiser said. “It just lets you visualize who else is out there.”

The site can be found at http://www.startupgenome.com/city/colorado-springs-co-us.