Technology Bridge to Host Startup Pitch Day Dec. 19

By Luke Rucker | Communications Intern, UH Technology Bridge

Technology Bridge

The fall ushered in a wave of dynamic and innovative small business owners through the University of Houston Technology Bridge’s latest accelerator program, the Innovators to Founders cohort.

However, a notable hurdle that start-up hopefuls encounter is navigating the business aspects on the road to commercialization.

That’s where Tech Bridge comes in. Thanks to a collaboration with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), participants received access to Tech Bridge’s numerous resources in building business plans, sales pitches, and fine-tuning their ideas/products along the way. Now, these innovators will have the chance to sell their ideas in front of the community as well as potential partners and investors during Startup Pitch Day, which culminates months of extensive fine-tuning and progression toward commercialization.

The event shapes up as a pivotal showcase of ingenuity and groundbreaking solutions that may pave the way for a success story to emerge from the increasingly vibrant Tech Bridge community.

Founder and CEO of AltiSora, Jan Beetage, has developed a water insoluble thermo-reversible gel that has potential applications in water-proofing technologies, such as being applied to wood to prolong its durability and enhance its appearance. Beetage, whose company also works toward plastic waste solutions, is one of several who will pitch their ideas during the competition.

“Our mission is to identify problems and to build teams around the development of technical solutions as well as the subsequent commercialization of our technology. We want to solve problems that will be good for the people and the planet,” Beetage said. “Being part of the Technology Bridge allows us to pursue our research and develop objectives, but also helps to connect us to research groups at UH, where we have participated in joint projects with more to come. Tech Bridge also helped to connect us to other relevant players in the local innovation ecosystem.”

Fellow innovator Babak Vafaei concurred with Beetage’s sentiments. Vafaei’s startup focuses on providing solutions to cracking and weakness in concrete materials and structures. His product is an eco-friendly solvent that works to extend performance and longevity, ideally decreasing concrete production over time.
With the support and mentorship of Tech Bridge, Vafaei has been able to expand his entrepreneurial efforts and learn more about the business aspect of commercialization.

“Tech Bridge has truly served as a catalyst for my continuous learning and has been a valuable asset in propelling my business forward,” Vafaei said. “The provision of lab space and facilities for new start-ups has been a real advantage, facilitating the practical aspects of product development. Moreover, the guidance from the experienced and helpful advisors at the UH Tech Bridge has been a constant support throughout my entrepreneurial journey.”

Another promising cohort member is John Idoko, founder of ErgoTech, which utilizes artificial intelligence to assist students in planning, organizing and scheduling their academic and personal lives. In this ever-evolving new age of AI, Idoko envisions his idea becoming a valuable tool for students nationwide.
Idoko credited Tech Bridge for providing him the opportunity to consider new perspectives that he’s used to perfect his creation and ready it for society.

“The Tech Bridge has given me access to a group of like-minded individuals that can get you thinking about things you probably would not have on your own,” he said. “It’s also given me a supportive system aimed toward seeing you grow as an entrepreneur/business owner, which has been an amazing experience. The information and resources that the team has access to is definitely something everyone should take advantage of.”

Shoujun Xu, an innovator in biomedical research and development, is preparing to make his pitch during competition as well. He further emphasized the significance of the Tech Bridge's service in guiding potential commercialization.

“The service provided by Technology Bridge has given me a lot of knowledge on the steps needed … it is a great service that I cannot get from anywhere else,” Xu said.

Startup Pitch Day will be held Dec. 19 at 4:30 P.M. and is free for the public to attend. Learn more about this event and to RSVP.