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Firms from Ithaca, Potsdam win funding in FuzeHub commercialization competition

ALBANY, N.Y. — Three Ithaca startups and one from Potsdam each captured $50,000 in prize money in FuzeHub’s commercialization competition held Nov. 7-8 in Albany.

FuzeHub is an Albany–based nonprofit organization that works to help small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies in New York.

The Jeff Lawrence manufacturing-innovation fund, which FuzeHub administers, provided the award funding.


Capro-X Inc., Íko Systems, VitaMe Technologies, Inc., all of Ithaca, and RemWell LLC of Potsdam were among seven companies awarded a total of $350,000 in the second annual competition. A total of 18 companies made pitches during the event.

During the competition, the finalists from across New York pitched their products in front of a live audience. A panel of 12 industry experts selected the seven award recipients “based on the commercialization potential of their technology.”

“These seven innovators — and truly, all 18 finalists — are a testament to the vitality of New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Elena Garuc, executive director of FuzeHub, contended in the release. “It is clear that New York has a bright future in manufacturing, and FuzeHub is proud to do its part, and to support the competition winners with the funding to help advance their commercialization strategies.”

The finalists’ pitches and award presentations were part of an overall program that included speeches, panel discussions, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs, executives, and investors.

The two-day event was sponsored by the Rensselaer Center for Automation Technologies & Systems (CATS), the New York State Science & Technology Law Center at Syracuse University College of Law, and Innovate 518.

Innovate 518 works to “drive commercialization within the New York State Capital Region by leading the development of a supportive innovation infrastructure and connecting entrepreneurs to the startup ecosystem,” according to the University at Albany website.

About the Lawrence fund

Launched in 2016, the Jeff Lawrence manufacturing-innovation fund supports activities designed to promote technology development and commercialization across New York State, including the commercialization competition and manufacturing innovation grants.

The manufacturing-innovation fund, which was established with $1 million annually for five years, supports activities designed to “spur technology development and commercialization” across New York state.

FuzeHub administers the fund as part of its role as the Empire State Development-designated statewide Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center.

Lawrence, who died in 2015, was a top executive at the Albany–based Center for Economic Growth, the MEP Center for the Capital Region, and a supporter of New York manufacturing and entrepreneurial communities.

Regional prize winners

Capro-X Inc. is developing a natural and sustainable product for converting dairy-industry wastes into “valuable” platform chemicals, per the FuzeHub release.

Íko Systems is described as a “smart tabletop micro-greenhouse for the sustainably minded foodie.”

VitaMe Technologies, Inc. provides “fast, accurate, and mobile” nutrition-deficiency testing.

RemWell LLC is a company addressing public health and energy issues “associated with groundwater contaminated by an emerging class of chemical contaminants, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), with a novel treatment reactor.”

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