Great presentations at the ESPRIT Innovation Alliance Breakfast

I’ve written before about the Technology Transfer Office at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and I attend as many of their events as I can manage with my schedule. They address the greatest challenge that a modern research-based University has, which is how to “get it to market”.
More interesting is that here in Boulder we also have a second organization that acts as the “receiver” to the Tech Transfer group’s passes, the Boulder Innovation Center. Between them there’s a clear path between professors and grad students inventing and viable commercial marketplaces. Not many universities can boast that (and not many research centers in general. See Xerox PARC for an example).
This morning was the quarterly (annual? It’s a blur) breakfast where a few of the companies get to share what they’re doing and where they see their business going. It’s almost like their Quinceañera. đŸ™‚
Anyway, I was impressed by the companies this time. Every one of them seems like it’s going to be a home run in it’s field. Here’s who presented:
Xalud — they’re developing novel therapies for the treatment of neuropathic pain and other diseases of the central nervous system. Apparently, it’s quite common for people to still feel the pain from an injury, infection or even a cancerous growth after it’s been otherwise healed. Xalud (“salud but with an ‘X’ because it looks cooler”) has a non-opioid-based therapy and they estimate it’s a multi-billion-dollar market.
TechoShark — I’ve written about these chaps before: they’re focused on the intersection of location-aware advertising and location-aware social networks. A competitor to Foursquare and others, they have some very interesting back-end algorithms that are going to start being revealed as they unroll some of their newer features. In the meantime, join me on the Techoshark network by grabbing hoozat [iTunes link], their free iPhone app.
Tusaar — here’s one that I’m really interested in, though I have zero clue how it works: they have a patented system that creates much more efficient methods of purifying metal-laden acidic water. It doesn’t create toxic sludge and utilizes readily available raw materials from industrial suppliers. They also apparently have a broad patent which will help them profit from our need as a nation to clean up a lot of terribly polluted areas, mines, wells, and more.
Quest Product Development — the most boring name hides a very cool group that’s development and marketing “MicroFlex” technology, a new and far superior ultra-slim endoscope for non-invasive surgery. It’s pretty sci-fi, really, offering digital control over the shape of the endoscope, allowing it to fit in areas where traditional endoscopes just aren’t viable.
Mentor InterActive — the last presentation of the morning was a company that’s trying to tap into the desperate need for greater literacy in our youth in a world where they spend tons of time on video and computer games, watching TV and other passive activities, and rarely if ever have someone read to them. They’ve developed a line of reading games under the brand “My Virtual Tutor” and just a week or two ago released their first game, for the popular Nintendo DS.
All of these companies are worth watching. In their own way, whether they’re rockets to the moon or evolutionary stepping stones for further developments, they’re all going to make the world a better place. And that’s a great thing to see…

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