April 12 2024

Startup Tech Valley Returns amid Burst of Entrepreneurial Activity

Startup Tech Valley is returning to spotlight Capital Region tech entrepreneurs after a four-year hiatus triggered by the pandemic. The relaunch of the Startup Tech Valley series comes amid a burst of entrepreneurial activity in the region, with several local startups receiving their first federal research grants or contracts or patents.

On Wednesday April 17 at Brown’s Revolution Hall in Troy, entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, students, and startup employees will gather for the Startup Tech Valley event with networking and pitch sessions. Startup Tech Valley is supported through a collaboration between the Center for Economic Growth, Innovate 518 and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Their last event for this series was held in March 2020.

“Events such as Startup Tech Valley are critical to growing and supporting a connected and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. We have many entrepreneurs who work hard and take risks, and we should help put the spotlight on them not only so investors around the country can see them but also so people in the Capital Region know more about the amazing innovations emerging in their own back yard,” said CEG Chief Economic Development Officer Katie Newcombe.



The following startups will make informal pitches at Wednesday’s Startup Tech Valley event:

FurnitureBnB: This one-stop shop web platform helps outfit themed, short-term rental properties with thoughtfully curated collections of high-impact furniture. FurnitureBnB sources and selects photogenic pieces so investors or owners don’t have to, making beautiful designs quick and easily accessible.

Markets EQ, Albany: Markets EQ arms investor relations officers (IROs) with tools and expertise to become the most trusted communications guides for their C-suite. Markets EQ is the sole conversational GenAI solution providing competitive tonal analysis and previously unavailable understanding. It offers a strong defense against the tools leveraged by Wall Street, saves hundreds of hours a year and helps IROs and analysts reduce risk and gain control by comprehensively planning topics, analyzing earnings calls, and enabling near real-time post-event interactions.

Thin Air, Troy: Thin Air eliminates the concept of “tabs” on personal computers. It introduces a new computer interface enabling users to have more screen space with no additional monitors. Users can organize, work and collaborate like never before on Thin Air.

WolfJaw, Troy: This digital gaming studio develops online game services with a keen focus on player experience.

“Markets EQ is the most advanced generative AI platform for communicators. It’s like having a team of specialized advisors helping to ensure what you say is as clear and concise as possible. With the focus on AI globally, and being an Albany native, it is critical that we push the envelope in the Capital Region. The amount of support we’ve experienced from investors, talent and beyond showcases just how energized this can be for the 518,” said Markets EQ CEO and Co-founder Sean Austin.

“Thin Air eliminates the concept of ‘tabs’ and ‘folders’ on your computer. It introduces a new computer interface enabling you to have more screen space with no additional monitors, intuitively collaborate with others in a manner similar to Figma, and find anything you need without traversing a nested set of files. We’re excited to continue expanding our ideas into the Capital Region alongside the Startup Tech Valley and RPI community,” said Thin Air CEO and Co-founder Dan Lannan.


First Federal Seed Fund Awards

The following local startups since 2023 have received their first awards under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs:

CPEC Technologies, Scotia: Received a $149,799 SBIR award from NASA for a rotating detonation X-combustor (RDXC) turbine integration program that will boost the efficiency of aerospace industry hydrogen-fueled gas turbines.

Sangali, Albany: Received a $275,000 STTR award from the National Science Foundation for the development of a spectroscopy-based rapid characterization of wood-based materials that will encourage wood waste recycling and counter illegal logging.

Geminato, Schenectady: Received a $275,000 SBIR award from NSF for the development of a semiconductor manufacturing process that promises to simplify the process of making semiconductors while also doubling the density in computer chips.


First Patents

Further, since 2023, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the first time has awarded patents assigned to the following Capital Region businesses:

Capital District Physicians Health Plan, Albany: Tokenized healthcare service payments

MIR Scientific, Rensselaer: Methods for predicting prostate cancer

Pharmapotheca A, Delmar: Methods of treatment using amphetamine controlled release, prodrug, and abuse deterrent dosage forms

Pterra, Albany: Ground fault overvoltage detection using negative sequence voltage monitoring

Sun Hunter, Albany:  CIGS lamination structure and portable solar charger

Tirebib, Guilderland: Floor mat for tire cleaning



In addition to supporting Startup Tech Valley and Innovate 518, CEG is also a corporate sponsor of the Tech Valley Center of Gravity. CEG can help engage entrepreneurs in a Manufacturing Incubator Program and Prototyping Center. CEG is also an affiliate of the Capital Region Chamber, which provides support services for entrepreneurs include, loan programsentrepreneur boot camps, an MWBE program, and a BIPOC Business Growth initiative.


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