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accelerator

  • sam patrick posted an article
    ZIAN, MUSC to commercialize new OR tool see more

    The Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences, a technology accelerator at the Charleston-based Medical University of South Carolina, said it will commercialize its surgical suction de-clogging tool.

    MUSC neurosurgeon Stephen Kalhorn, MD, invented the tool, named VayuClear, to address the problem of vacuum-assisted suction devices clogging during surgeries. These clogs, which occur as often as four to five times an hour, can take one to three minutes to de-clog or replace, but VayuClear is designed to de-clog surgical suctions in one to three seconds using pressurized saline. 

    "We commonly see clogged suction lines and suction tips during operations, leading to delays," Dr. Kalhorn said in a news release. "Delays in surgery are frustrating and mean more time under anesthesia for the patient."

    The technology already has received a U.S. patent, and it's on track to be FDA-registered and commercially available as early as mid-2022, according to the release.

    The accelerator has partnered with South Carolina company Medical Access Partners to commercialize the tool.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Robert and Margaret Hill create Furman endowment see more

    It’s easy to get Robert Hill ’83 talking fondly about his alma mater.

    “It’s fun to talk about Furman,” says the retired executive and member of the Furman Board of Trustees. “I think it’s a really special place. It’s a great school with strong leadership.”

    Hill and his wife, Margaret Hill ’83, have shown their dedication to their university in many ways through the years, including service as past chairs of the Richard Furman Society executive committee and past members of the Because Furman Matters Campaign executive committee. The Hill Atrium and Hill Courtyard of the Trone Student Center are named in their honor, as is a biogeochemistry lab in the Townes Center for Science. They also support the Partners Scholarship Program and the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection.

    And now they are supporting the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship with an endowment fund. To recognize that commitment, the institute will be known as The Robert and Margaret Hill Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    Anthony Herrera, Furman’s chief innovation officer and executive director of The Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    The naming is fitting, says Anthony Herrera, Furman’s chief innovation officer and executive director of The Hill Institute, noting the Hills’ initial “seed” investment that prompted the institute’s founding.

    “They were such a catalyst in getting the university to take the first step to launch this institute,” Herrera says. “They started the journey that brought me to campus to take this role on. Not only have they been supporters, they’ve been partners in building it step by step and brick by brick.”

    The Hill Institute was launched in August 2018 with Herrera’s hiring. With the mission of developing leaders into entrepreneurially minded thinkers and doers, the institute has helped introduce the Furman Business Innovation Accelerator, the GVL Starts program, the Class E podcast and the Paladin Pitch competition.

    These accomplishments, and the success of The Hill Institute as a whole, have their roots in The Furman Advantage, says Robert Hill.

    “I think that really enables us to do some neat things as a university and invest in our student body appropriately,” he says. “That’s an important anchor – and I’m not sure we’d invest if we didn’t have a healthy strategy around The Furman Advantage and creating those experiences for students.”

    The Hills’ endowment will allow the institute to continue its ongoing work and create more connections across campus, Herrera says.

    “When you think about a domain that can connect chemistry and communication studies, or philosophy and business – that’s innovation and entrepreneurship,” he says. “That’s where the institute is so transformational.  This will bring all the departments, all the disciplines, all of our divisions across campus together in a common ground. We’re just barely starting to scratch the surface.”

    Herrera’s leadership, as well as that of Furman President Elizabeth Davis, is inspiring to the Hills, they say.

    “The Hills have worked tirelessly to position the institute to have a continued, significant impact on the student experience and in the Greenville community, as well as in South Carolina and beyond,” said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis. “The Hills’ commitment will establish a significant foundational endowment for the institute that will help it to build on and expand its efforts. We are immensely grateful for their support.”

    “When you’re making a gift to Furman, you’re investing behind people, too,” Robert Hill says.

    As Furman alums and parents – their son, Marshall Hill, graduated in 2012 – “Furman has been good to us through the years,” Hill says.

    “A little bit of this is giving back to people who gave to us when we were students there,” he says. “We were impacted by great professors, and we made great friends at Furman, and that’s been uplifting, too. It’s an important time to give back.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Applications pipeline opened in four new areas see more

    Flywheel’s early-stage investment and accelerator program announced today it is expanding in regions ranging from the North Carolina Core to Upstate South Carolina. New Ventures opened applications this month to four separate application pipelines and areas of focus through June 7, 2021.

    The expanded accelerator program offering is coupled with a fourfold expansion of the corollary investment funds. “Our ability to replicate the New Ventures program as we expand our network of innovation centers along the I-85 corridor is based on the success of the program over its first five years,” says Peter Marsh, a cofounder of Flywheel and administrative member of the New Ventures LLCs.

    “As we expand geographically, the regions we serve all find that access to inception- and early-stage capital fills a gap in the entrepreneurship ecosystems and helps stimulate formation and attraction of scalable technology companies,” he continues.

    Page Castrodale, the Executive Director of Economic Development for Cabarrus County where Flywheel just opened it’s third location adds, “We believe that economic development is just as much about organic job creation as it is about recruiting new companies to our community. The expansion of the New Ventures program to our region will stimulate economic development at the earliest stages, and we know the impact of that will be immeasurable.”

    Flywheel’s affiliated Foundation administers the accelerators using their Learning Management System to deliver the core curriculum and subject matter experts to deliver insights in the market verticals. The development of the hybrid developmental model was in response to the pandemic.

    “The silver lining from 2020 is that it forced us to be innovative with a virtual cohort experience,” says Adrian Smith, Executive Director of the Flywheel Foundation. “That enables us to run multiple accelerators simultaneously, and the participating companies gave us the best ratings out of any year so far.”

    The accelerators will run from August 3 through Demo Days on October 28-29.  Companies accepted into the program also enjoy a residency at Flywheel innovation centers during the 13-week program and for 3 months following.

    “The accelerator program offering is diverse and a reflection of the knowledge assets in the regions served as well as the economic and social impact mission of the Foundation,” says Adrian. Details on the four 2021 accelerators can be found at https://www.newventuresnc.com/. New Ventures is conducting information session for investors and founders throughout the application window and the dates are listed on the website.

    • Health, Wellness, and Nutrition – Focus is on the regional healthcare knowledge assets and partnering with the North Carolina Research Center in Kannapolis and the NC Food Innovation Lab.
    • AgTech - Greenworks of Lexington is a 64,000 sq. ft. agricultural lab and research facility with a 20,000 square foot Flywheel coworking innovation center opening in 2022. Flywheel is  partnering with SouthXCapital and anchor AgTech tenants on the accelerator.
    • B2B Software with focus on SaaS – This accelerator pulls participation from all of Flywheel’s innovation center locations and invites tech companies that intersect with our strongest industries and regional market verticals.
    • The Come Up Accelerator - Partnering with HUSTLE Winston-Salem to offer an accelerator for Black and Brown founders. Flywheel Foundation has acted as a fiscal sponsor for HUSTLE since its inception.

    This is the sixth year of the New Ventures Challenge and acceleration program which has created a portfolio of 21 companies over five cohorts starting in 2016.

    “We measure our success primarily by the valuation growth in the portfolio, customer growth, and the ability of our companies to secure follow-on financing to continue to develop their organizations”, says Patrick Turner, an investor in the first three New Venture funds and a fractional CTO that advises companies in the program.

    The 21 portfolio companies have grown from New Ventures’ first five years have grown in value to a combined $43,155,110, have received over $15 million in financing, and have created over 100 new jobs.

    “Flywheel and the New Ventures program are critical resources that fill a gap that will be catalytic for our Upstate entrepreneurial community,” says Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    New Ventures is an application-based program that invests an average of $50,000 in inception-stage startups. While the program intentionally seeks out in-state startups, it also invests throughout the Southeast and beyond.

    The expanded program not only reflects Flywheel’s increased reach geographically, but has also increased diversity and inclusion as a priority, partnering with HUSTLE to run the Come Up Accelerator focused on minority founders.  

    “With the Flywheel Foundation's New Ventures curriculum coupled with HUSTLE's cultural competence and commitment to disrupting biases for Black and Brown entrepreneurs, The Come Up accelerator is well suited to help scale people, community trust, and the bottom line of minority-owned businesses”, says HUSTLE Executive Director Magalie Yacinthe.