Research ParkArchive for the ‘’ Category

Is the Government Voting on Bills that Hurt Your Startup? Find out on TrakBill

Article Source: TECH cocktail, Kira Newman, April 26, 2012

“We’ll figure it out later.”

That’s how some startups, who might be breaking laws or regulations, decide to deal with it. We’re so tiny that no one will care, right?

If you want to err on the side of caution, take a few minutes to sign up for TrakBill. Designed for lobbyists, this new service can also help small businesses monitor bills that could affect them (for free). You can sign up for notifications when bills reach specific stages – e.g., passed by the House or signed into law – and discover other relevant legislation.

Like CQ StateTrack, TrakBill focuses on state-level bills (currently just in Illinois), but they plan to expand to federal. The data comes from state websites, like, and THOMAS: Library of Congress.

TrakBill was showcased at our Tech Cocktail Champaign mixer on Tuesday.

Reduce Food Waste at Restaurants with Zero Percent

Article Source: TECH cocktail, Kira Newman, April 25, 2012

Urbana, IL’s Zero Percent is tackling a problem that’s already been accepted as the norm: food waste.

“As standard business practice, U.S. restaurants waste over $10 billion a year —Literally. When faced with the chore of trying to find use of excess fresh-food inventory, the easiest thing for a restaurant manager to do is just throw it away,” explains founder Rajesh Karmani, who delayed his PhD to start the company.

Their solution is a marketplace where restaurants can hand out excess food through discounts or donations and find volunteers to drop off the food at food banks.

But Zero Percent is still a hard sell: not only do restauranteurs expect to waste food, but they’re busy and not always tech savvy.

However, the issue of waste extends beyond surplus food to encompass various aspects of waste management, including proper disposal of non-food waste. For both commercial establishments and residential areas, adopting efficient waste bin solutions is paramount.

Companies like Skip Hire Rochdale Prices provide convenient and cost-effective waste management services tailored to the specific needs of businesses and households.

As the conversation around waste management continues to evolve, embracing solutions that prioritize sustainability and ease of use will be crucial in creating a more environmentally conscious society.

Still, the startup has managed to collect donations of over 1,000 pounds of food during its 8 month beta. It’s a start toward Karmani’s goal to create a movement:

“The Zero Percent Mission is to help all businesses in the United States achieve zero food waste. We started this service intending to do nothing less than initiating a cultural movement. We welcome collaborators and even competitors who will advance this mission and look forward to living in a world more conscious of food waste.”

The service is currently available in Champaign, and Zero Percent was showcased at our Tech Cocktail Champaign mixer last night.

IVCA Visits the Office of Technology Management and the Research Park in Urbana-Champaign for Faculty Presentations and Start-up Company Visits

Article Source: IVCA, April 11, 2012

On April 5th and 6thIVCA caught the vision for new company formation in the middle of Illinois at the “Share the Vision 2012: University of Illinois Technology Showcase”.  The event, organized by the Office of Technology Management attracted over 100 VCs, Corporate Development professionals and other interested constituents to hear about the excitement at the University of Illinois’ downstate campus.All of the “Share the Visions 2012” events were held at the University’s Research Park including 11 occupied office/lab buildings and a hotel/conference center. The facilities are beautiful but the impact of the research park is astounding:

  • Named “2011 Outstanding Research Park” by Association of University Research Parks
  • Named in the “Ten Technology Incubators Changing the World” by
  • Named one of “Ten Start-up Incubators to Watch” by
  • Houses over 90 companies with more than 1,200 employees
  • Research Park startups have raised $135 million and over $64 million in SBIR/STTR funding

The Office of the Vice President for Research led by Larry Schook, is committed to developing deep and meaningful relationships between U of I’s most innovative faculty and industry, government, and academic partners. The office includes the Offices of Technology Management (in Urbana & Chicago), IllinoisVENTURES and the Research Park. The Office of Technology Management’s mission is to transfer IP created on the Urbana-Champaign campus into practical use to benefit the public as quickly and effectively as possible.

Thursday’s agenda included presentations from 38 faculty members whose cutting edge research is making a different in today’s world. Presentations were divided into two tracks: Advanced Materials, Clean Energy & Sustainability and Systems & Devices for Health. Each presentation included a summary of their main areas of research and examples of how the research has been applied to solve important business and/or defense issues. An astounding number of the presenters have already commercialized more than one technology and launched new companies. Click here for a review of Speakers.

On Friday, we were hosted by Laura Frerichs, Research Park Director as we visited EnterpriseWorks, an incubation home to early stage technology companies with relationships or ties to the University. Visitors toured up to 8 companies focusing on two of four verticals: Computing, Biotechnolgy, Materials/Nanotech or Clean Tech. We moved around the EnterpriseWorks facility and other areas of the Research Park to meet with entrepreneurs in their workspace. EnterpriseWorks includes lab space, conference space, offices and server/co-location data center.

The trip South was a real eye-opening experience for the Illinois alumni. Hats off to the Office of Technology Management and the Research Park. It was easy to see why the facility has received so many accolades!

Data-analysis firm coming to UI

Article Source: The News-Gazette, Thu, 03/29/2012 – 8:00am, Don Dodson

CHAMPAIGN — Another publicly traded company is establishing an office in the University of Illinois Research Park.

This time, it’s Neustar Inc., which hopes to make strides in data analytics with the help of local employees and student interns.

The company plans to hire and recruit people with expertise in computer science, computer engineering, mathematics and statistics, said Joe Pasqua, vice president of the Neustar Labs division.

Neustar hasn’t determined exactly how many people it will employ at its “innovation center” at 2001 S. First St., C, Pasqua said.

But it will be in the neighborhood of a dozen or so the first year, he added. The company should have a better idea later this year of how much — and how quickly — it will ramp up operations.

Laura Frerichs, director of the research park, said the size of the space Neustar took “reflects optimism about the growth of the operation.”

The 3,550-square-foot space has seats for about 20 people already, she said.

The innovation center is to be dedicated this afternoon, with UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Neustar Chief Technology Officer Mark Bregman expected to attend.

Neustar, based in Sterling, Va., is probably best known for what it does to enable phone calls and Internet communications.

“If you’re going to make a phone call or look up something on the Web, we’re the first step in the process,” Pasqua said.

Neustar determines which phone numbers go to which carrier networks, he said. Plus, when people type in Web addresses, Neustar helps computers figure out how to get to the right place.

“We’re intimately involved in both the processes — completing telephone calls and Internet Web activity,” Pasqua said. “Those are just two of the services we do.”

Neustar collects “tons and tons of data” as it processes billions of queries a day from people’s computers, he said.

The company believes the data has “tremendous value” that can be used in providing new services to customers, he added.

Until now, Neustar Labs has mainly been concentrated in Sterling, Va., and San Diego and Mountain View, Calif.

Now it’s getting an outpost in the Midwest at a university well-known for computational talent.

“We did quite a bit of looking to find a place that has the right mix of university programs,” Pasqua said. “We made our final go-ahead plans toward the end of last year, in October and November.”

The goal of the Champaign innovation center will be “to generate new research results that will enhance product offerings,” he said.

But Neustar also wants to create a hiring pipeline for operations nationwide.

“We’re going to need more engineers and scientists in the company over the years, and we want to create a long-term relationship,” Pasqua said.

Pasqua cited two examples of projects the local center might handle.

In the first, Neustar has to determine where to put servers around the world to handle the billions of queries its gets each day.

“We have to look at and predict where the growth is going to be,” he said. “We have to analyze terabytes of data — what the trends are, where the load is, what the speed constraints are.”

A second project example involves helping Neustar customers detect fraud.

“How do we bring data to bear to better understand where fraudulent transactions might be taking place? It’s like finding the needle in the haystack,” Pasqua said.

To do that, Neustar needs to look closely at transactions from unusual places, transactions made at unusual times and transactions made from unfamiliar computers, he said.


About the company


Business: Provider of real-time information and analytics to more than 13,000 companies, many of them in the communications field.

Headquarters: Sterling, Va.

History: Once part of Lockheed Martin, it was divested in 1999. Neustar became publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. In 2009, it was listed among Forbes magazine’s “25 Fastest Growing Tech Companies.”

Employees: 1,488 as of Dec. 31, 2011.

Revenues: $620 million in 2011.

Net income: $161 million in 2011.

Web address

Innovation Celebration Award Winners

Innovation Celebration is recognition of those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County, the ongoing success of the University’s economic development mission and the growth of entrepreneurial talent and energy in your community.

Innovation Celebration is not merely an award for accomplishment, however, but a benchmark of success for those outstanding individuals, organizations and corporations who are nominated and selected to receive this prestigious award.  Additionally, Innovation Celebration serves as a tangible collaboration between the University of Illinois and the community that clearly establishes the power of cooperation and united vision.

Congratulations to the 2012 Innovation Celebration Award Winners!

Innovation Discovery Award

Recognizes an individual or group from the University of Illinois’ Urbana Campus who has disclosed to the University’s Office of Technology Management a groundbreaking discovery with potential for significant societal impact.

Yi Lu

A renowned faculty entrepreneur Yi Lu has already had commercialization success with his DNAzymes for detecting heavy metals in environmental water supplies, licensed to ANDalyze a company he cofounded.  His new discovery was in discovering that DNA can also be engineered to test for organic compounds such as glucose in blood and other organic markers in biological samples.

Yi Lu has actively engaged with the Office of Technology Management for over 15 years, has had 41 invention disclosures, 25 filed and 14 issued patents.

Technology Transfer Award

Recognizes an individual or group from the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus who has engaged with the University’s Office of Technology Management to successfully commercialize an innovation.

Dave Kranz

As co-founder of both Immuven founded in 2008 and Biodisplay founded in 1999 (which was later sold to Abbott), Dave has demonstrated his entrepreneurial vision and capability. Immuven is currently working on developing new drugs based on the engineering of T Cell Receptor proteins to treat infectious diseases such as strep and staph, as well as cancer. T Cell Receptors have significant advantages over antibodies, as such Immuven has received SBIR grants and funding from the NIH to advance the development of a suite of products that will detect and treat antibiotic resistant organisms. Dave Kranz has worked with the Office of Technology Management for over 22 years, has 21 invention disclosures and over 20 issued patents.

Innovation in Engagement Award

Recognition to an individual at Parkland College who has shown support of the college’s community engagement mission.

Brian Nudelman

The Service-Learning Program at Parkland College, under the coordination of Brian Nudelman, an Associate Professor in the Humanities at the College, has continued to explore and support innovative strategies by which academics and engagement in our community can work in collaboration and for the strengthening of both. From the creation five years ago of the Garden Hills Homework Club, and afterschool program that partners Parkland students and staff with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at Garden Hills Elementary, to the various trips the College’s Dental Hygiene Program have taken in support of dental health, both here and abroad, the Service-Learning Program at Parkland strives to put in action the College’s mission, “to engage the community in learning.”  As a direct result of these efforts, Parkland College was pleased to have been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service, recognition that the College’s support of community engagement and service-learning is recognized and valued at the highest levels of our community and country.

Social Entrepreneurship Award

Recognizes individuals who have served as change agents in our community by incorporating innovative approaches, improving systems and processes, and creating sustainable solutions to reshape society and benefit humanity, successfully implementing entrepreneurial principles to address social concerns.

IntelliWheels, Inc., Scott Daigle & Marissa Siebel

Scott and Marissa are intelligent, motived and passionate about their company, IntelliWheels.  While, growing their company to a profitable business is their goal, they have embarked on that mission with compassion and the hope that they are truly addressing a need that will help a group of people who are frequently overlooked.  Their product came out of their observations of wheelchair users who have a hard time getting around, whether it is on varied surfaces, inclines, or as a sign of age.  Outside of work, both work very hard towards promoting a world of acceptance as well as giving back to the local entrepreneurial community by mentoring those who are just starting out.

Student Startup Award

The Student Startup Award recognizes an organization formed by student within the past three years whose demonstrated success is a result of entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy, and whose future success is indicated by its current path.

Serionix, Inc.

Serionix has developed a revolutionary technology that substantially improves the efficacy and sustainability of the water purification process. Doctoral students Jim Langer and Weihua Zheng are working with Materials Science and Engineering Professor James Economy.

Jim is one of those high-energy, do-it-all kind of people whose determination and drive is something that should be awarded. While finishing his PhD, and raising a family, he manages to keep the momentum for moving Serionix forward.

New Venture Award

The New Venture Award recognizes an organization formed within the past three years whose demonstrated success is a result of entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy, and whose future success is indicated by its current path.

Nuvixa, Inc., Sanjay Patel

Nuvixa, Inc. is blazing a trail in the technology start-up ecosystem in Champaign-Urbana. This is no accident. It is a deliberate attempt of executing on a grand vision by the early founding team of Nuvixa.

Nuvixa was founded in 2009 by Sanjay Patel with a desire to make video a much more useful way of communicating. His technical vision of using new sensing devices, advanced algorithms, and new computing power to radically expand what is possible with video has led to the growth of his startup company. He is a pleasure to work with, spends time building relationships and is great at listening to advice and making the best use of resources around him.

Entrepreneur Advocacy Award

Recognizes those individuals or organizations in the community who have actively engaged, encouraged, coached and mentored entrepreneurs in the community, providing a broad base of support to help multiple entrepreneurs achieve success.

Liz Kellner

Throughout the years and in her various positions, Ms. Kellner has been fostering entrepreneurship in our community. By consistently visiting companies and businesses and bringing together young (and not so young) entrepreneurs, she has been pivotal in growing the synergy that is making Champaign-Urbana a high-tech community and brings us to celebrate this wonderful event. Liz has worked tirelessly in the C-U startup community for the better part of the past 20 years to help others realize their entrepreneurial dreams. Many clients recognize the entire Kellner family’s passion for the community and would go so far as to call them not only advisors, but friends.

Economic Development Impact Award

Recognizes those who have successfully commercialized innovations while demonstrating a commitment to local economic impact, with emphasis on beneficial outcomes.

Shahid Khan

A native of Pakistan, Shahid R. Khan came to the United States at the age of 16 to attend the University of Illinois. As a student, he began working at Flex-N-Gate, an Urbana-based company that manufactured flexible roll-up gates for pickup trucks. By 1975, he was chief engineer for the company, a position he held until 1978.

At the age of 27, Khan left Flex-N-Gate to start his own firm, Bumper Works, a company that produced an innovative, one-piece metal bumper design for trucks, eliminating welds that had the tendency to rust. The design is now considered the industry standard.

Entrepreneurial Excellence in Management Award

Recognizes those who have best demonstrated managerial acumen and skill in assembling resources, creating an organization, decision making under uncertainty, being forward looking, and implementing action plans, and creatively solving problems.

Brian Jurczyk, Starfire Industries, Inc.

Brian Jurczyk started Starfire Industries in a garage with his partner, Robert Stubbers. Over the last 7 years the company has grown to 17 employees and annual revenues of $1.4 million. They are the leaders in neutron sources and a number of other exciting technical innovations. Brian has built a fantastic team of people and found the best ways to fund the company and keep it going without any venture capital. This is an enterprise still wholly owned by him and his partners, yet it is brining real economic vitality to the region, and its products and future are extremely bright. Brian, as CEO, is in charge of finding the funding opportunities, writing proposals, negotiating contracts, making contacts, hiring, and promoting a fantastic elan within the company which has allowed it to succeed.

Longevity Through Innovation Award

Recognizes those who have successfully commercialized innovations while demonstrating a commitment to local economic impact, with emphasis on beneficial outcomes.

Betty Brennan, Taylor Studios, Inc.

Betty Brennan owns and has built a very successful business from scratch. Her company is now a leader in the museum exhibit fabrication industry and their unique, high quality custom made products are highly sought after. They have a world-wide client base bringing significant revenue to Champaign County from outside the community, state and country. She employs a large number of creative people and runs a well-managed, forward-thinking company using a very modern approach with a strong set of core values. For over a decade now her company has won dozens of local and national awards both inside and outside of the museum industry. Taylor Studios has been in Inc. Magazine lists 3 times so far. Betty is a caring and active part of the community, writes and shares about her business on a regular basis, and is both helpful and encouraging towards others in business. She exudes a true and classic entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for her business, her people, and her community.

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