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Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund invests more than $500,000 to 11 startups to help advance companies

May 15, 2018

Heliponoix Massey
Scott Massey, Heliponix LLC chief executive officer, examines the development of plants growing in a GroPod, a dishwasher-sized appliance that fits under a kitchen counter and grows produce year-round. Heliponix was among five companies selected to receive $80,000 investments from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund. (Chris Adam/Purdue Research Foundation Image) Download image


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund has invested more than a half-million dollars in 11 Purdue University startups to help them advance their companies, including five companies each receiving $80,000 for achieving “Gold Award” investment status.

The five companies selected for Gold Awards in the latest round of investments are Vinsense, Brightlamp, Socio,Heliponix and Explore Interactive. All but Socio had previously received $20,000 Black Awards through the fund, a joint venture between Elevate Ventures, a private venture development organization, and the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator.

Seven startups were selected for tier-one Black Awards of $20,000 each: UniBubbles, HaptImage, HySonic Technologies, UniRide, MediTrak, Cyber Inform and Socio. Socio was awarded both the Gold and Black awards at this time. The funding helps entrepreneurs to advance their startups and innovations through various commercialization activities including market research, product development and prototype creation.

“The early success that these startups have shown demonstrates the strong pipeline of innovation taking place at Purdue,” said Chris LaMothe, Elevate Ventures CEO. “The Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund is designed to support entrepreneurship and help Indiana-based companies move on to the next level as they create jobs and foster economic growth.”

The startups were selected by the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund’s Investment Committee.

“This funding is critical for startups as they further develop their technologies and advance their companies to the next level,” said John Hanak, Purdue Ventures managing director. “This funding helps these entrepreneurs commercialize Purdue innovations. These are companies that have good ideas and have shown a strong potential for success.

Ella Easley (left) and Marinda Thompson work to complete a circuit challenge on Explore Interactive’s augmented reality platform. Explore Interactive was selected to receive $80,000 investments from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund. Download image


Among the Gold Award winners, Vinsense uses technology licensed from Purdue to design software and perform in-field analysis to help wine grape growers and winemakers improve crop quality and sustainability. Brightlamp has developed a downloadable app that can detect concussions in real time. Socio has developed a social media application that links users’ information, including email, phone number and social media accounts, into one profile that makes it easier to swap information.

Heliponix has created an appliance that fits under a kitchen counter and grows garden vegetables year-round. Explore Interactive has created a platform that allows children to use augmented reality via mobile devices to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics while having hands-on fun.

Among the Black Award winners, UniBubbles is a college laundry service that allows a student to fill out a laundry or dry cleaning request and then notifies the student when their order is accepted. HaptImage is a graduate student-owned startup that is creating technologies to help individuals with visual impairments instantly experience images through real-time haptic feedback and tactile responses. HySonic Technologies specializes in the development of computational models for the simulation of flow problems of interest to the defense industry.

UniRide is a technology platform that aiming to connect students on college campuses with affordable long-distance transportation through ridesharing (carpooling) with fellow students. MediTrak Life is a medical device startup that focuses on using devices to collect vital signs and other data to improve health conditions. Cyber Inform has created BlueBoxAlert, a proactive safety application dedicated to providing real-time alerts of dangerous areas in an individual’s surroundings.

The Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund provides money for Purdue-affiliated startups with pre-seed, seed and early-stage investment and co-investment programs. Since the program’s beginning in 2014, the fund has committed to invest $2.5 million in 59 Purdue affiliated startups.

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Tom Coyne, 765-588-1044, 

Source:   John Hanak, 765-588-5255,