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CenterState CEO awards nearly $100,000 in funding to five startups

By Eric Reinhardt (


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — CenterState CEO recently awarded a total of nearly $100,000 in funding to five Tech Garden startups through its new “Fund of Funds” program.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — CenterState CEO recently awarded a total of nearly $100,000 in funding to five Tech Garden startups through its new “Fund of Funds” program.

It created the program by streamlining resources from multiple pools of funding and existing programs managed by the Tech Garden, CenterState CEO’s business incubator.

“We know that access to funding continues to be a challenge for startups, especially in Central New York,” Rick Clonan, VP of innovation and entrepreneurship at CenterState CEO, said in a statement. “This pressure is even greater given the current economic climate, as investors are more risk averse. The program’s incremental support structure provides these high-potential companies with staged funding as they continue on the path to commercialization, ultimately gaining an opportunity for follow-on investment with less risk.”

The startups recently awarded funding are at different stages in the development of their business. Through the “Fund of Funds” program, “Ideation” stage companies can apply for up to $10,000 Ignition grants. “Acceleration” stage companies can apply for funding through programs like GENIUS NY or the Clean Tech Center, or for up to $25,000 in pre-seed funding. “Incubation” stage companies can apply for seed funding, which typically takes the form of a convertible debt note between $25,000 and $100,000. “Expansion” stage companies are provided matching funding opportunities to help incentivize investors by offering a match on their investment in return for equity or convertible debt up to $100,000.

Fund of Funds awardees

The firm Promptous secured $40,000 as it works to create a “disruptive software solution” using blockchain technology to address major issues currently found in the health-care insurance industry with its initial focus in the dental industry. The company will use the funds to launch a pilot program along with OneGroup and support surveying research. OneGroup is a risk management, insurance brokerage and employee-benefits firm located at 706 N. Clinton St. in Syracuse.

Ducted Wind Turbines was awarded $25,000. It designs, sells, and produces small wind turbines for both commercial and industrial markets. The firm has built a first-generation working prototype, which has been in operation on the roof of Clarkson University since April 2019. Ducted Wind Turbines is using its funding award for a prototype design for their generation two product.

CenterState CEO also awarded three firms $10,000 Ignition grants. They include Blurpop, which is a mobile app for “influencers that want to monetize their videos.” It allows users to watch videos and tap to expose additional content. Blurpop is using the funds to continue working on customer discovery and patents.

The firm Cocoon Construct offers a “rapid deployment high-efficiency” retrofit platform to “significantly transform” the long-term energy performance of low-rise buildings. The startup is currently enrolled in the Clean Tech Center, funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). It is using the money for market research, product development and market strategy.

CenterState CEO awarded the third Ignition grant to Liberation Lactation, a firm that is working to design a “discrete and silent” breast pump that women can wear while in public to enable them to fully participate in work, school, and life while pumping. The funds are being used for prototype design, customer discovery, and company entity formation.

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