Entrepreneurs’ Center Tech Start-ups Secure $1M in Grant Funding

Posted by Anne Kane on April 26, 2024

The startup ecosystem in Dayton is gaining momentum, with five tech companies leading the way.

DAYTON, OH, April 26, 2024 – Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC) technology clients Argos Advanced Solutions, CapV, Kalix, Lyceum, and Nabu Optical Systems secured $1,000,000 in grant funding from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission. The five competitively awarded Technology Validation and Start-up Fund (TVSF) grants will help accelerate these Ohio-based companies in the development and commercialization of innovative products that hold the potential to transform industries and improve lives.

“We are grateful to the Ohio Third Frontier Commission and the Ohio Department of Development for awarding these grants to five remarkable companies,” said Scott Koorndyk, President of the EC. “There is no better place to build a business than the Dayton Region, and we are proud to support each of these companies on their path to success.”

Argos Advanced Solutions secured $200,000 to develop immersive simulations that enhance the training and decision-making process of Peace Officers and Warfighters by understanding their physiological and neurological level during high stress.

“EC’s guidance was crucial for our success with TVSF. Their input helped us navigate our proposal and emphasized the importance of HeartID, our AI-resistant authentication solution,” said Ahmad Khan, COO at Argos Advanced Solutions. “TVSF funding will help us develop our technology for commercialization and Series A funding. EC’s ongoing support is invaluable as we move forward. Partnering with EC ensures success for startups by providing essential expertise and guidance.”

CapV secured $200,000 to develop its patented varactor technology, which has software tunable hardware solutions for Defense and Telecommunication applications. CapV is a woman owned, minority owned Propel Dayton startup company.

“TVSF funding will help fabricate our first products with CapV logo, hire engineers to verify, validate, and establish product development kits (PDKs) for potential customers,” said Sudha Mani, CEO of CapV. “As an EC client, we are blown away by the support and guidance provided for our business development plan and marketing.”

Kalix secured $200,000 to develop a portable, low-cost, real-time system for medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and food/water quality analysis. Kalix is a pioneer in on-site disease detection and management using advanced molecular diagnostics systems and reagents and artificial intelligence aimed for the animal, dairy, poultry and agricultural markets. An agricultural technology company pioneering, 

“Kalix was delighted to learn of the TVSF Phase II award. It will make a critical difference in moving forward with the technology and to grow our disease testing kit portfolio and conduct field trials with farmers and end users,” said Vamsy Chodavarapu, CEO of Kalix. “The support we received from the University of Dayton’s Propel Dayton program and the Entrepreneurs’ Center was essential in getting to this point.”

Lyceum AI secured $200,000 to develop purpose-built AI technology to assist educators, enabling them to focus on what they do best: engaging with students and making a meaningful impact on their learning journey. Lyceum is a company built around the principle that teachers are the drivers of education. They are pioneering the future of education by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to support and empower teachers in the classroom.

“The EC has helped Lyceum AI immensely in our journey. They helped us narrow down our broad idea into a useable product and then connected us with possible funding sources that would help us get started,” said Russ Hamer, CEO of Lyceum AI. “We were only able to receive the TVSF grant with their help, and that grant money will help us finish our MVP and get our product into market.”

Nabu Optical Systems secured $200,000 to develop a tool (now in beta 2.0 stage) for optical lithography based on non-traditional photoresists and lenses to enable low and mid-volume manufacturing for nanotechnology applications. The tool (called ANU) will solve a large problem for startups and even larger corporations looking to increase the speed to market through rapid prototyping and demonstrate sales through low-volume manufacturing.

“The EC was of immense value for Nabu Optical Systems especially in navigating the difficult path from academic research to a viable tech-focused business. Understanding the market, our value proposition, and how to present ourselves within the domain of advanced manufacturing was critical in securing funding,” said Imad Agha, CEO of Nabu Optical Systems. “This will enable us to build our first viable products for manufacturing at the nanoscale, and will help immensely in securing additional capital and talent in the coming year.”

Argos Advanced Solutions, CapV, Kalix, Lyceum, and Nabu Optical Systems are clients in the EC’s Entrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) program, supporting Dayton’s technology startup and early-stage companies throughout the region with strategic assistance to accelerate their growth and help them achieve significant success, which in turn stimulates the local economy.

“Since 2021, we’ve helped 24 companies successfully access the TVSF program—that’s over $3M in early-stage funding to help transition lab technologies to the marketplace,” said Paul Jackson, EC’s VP of Strategic Programs. “We are quite proud that nearly half of the TVSF awards made so far in 2024 were secured by EC clients.”

About Entrepreneurs’ Center

The Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC) is a modern economic development organization that powers progress and prosperity through entrepreneurship. Annually, the EC works with over 1,000 entrepreneurs to start and grow companies, create jobs, generate revenue, and attract investment. The EC empowers main street and technology businesses through complimentary professional services, including business planning, mentoring, training, networking, commercialization, and capital investment. The EC’s talented and experienced team of advisors, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and staff design and facilitate diverse, world-class business acceleration programs on behalf of corporations, higher education institutions, and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense from their headquarters at The Hub Powered by PNC Bank in the historic Dayton Arcade. Learn more at EC Innovates.

About Ohio Third Frontier

Managed by the Ohio Department of Development, Ohio Third Frontier (OTF) is an internationally recognized $2.1 billion economic development initiative supporting technology entrepreneurship and growing jobs across the state of Ohio, positively changing the trajectory of its economy. Through a statewide robust network of resources, entrepreneurs with compelling business models for near-term market opportunities based on technology and tech-enabled products and services have access to the technology, business assistance, capital, and talent to turn great ideas into thriving companies. OTF is driving this expanding, vibrant community of high-growth technology companies and making Ohio a top destination for tech entrepreneurs. Learn more at Ohio Third Frontier.

About Entrepreneurial Services Provider Program

The purpose of the Entrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) Program is to fill gaps in the entrepreneurial system for high-potential Ohio concept, seed, and early-stage technology companies. Its goal is to significantly increase technology-based entrepreneurial commercialization outcomes in the State. Each ESP represents a coordinated network of high-value services and assistance providers that is visible and easily accessible to technology-based entrepreneurs and small tech-based companies. The ESP providers take an approach that tightly integrates sources of deal flow, entrepreneurial support, and capital to effectively grow each region’s startup ecosystem. Reaching out to minorities, women, veterans, and rural entrepreneurs, the program seeks to position Ohio as a leader in inclusive technology and entrepreneurship. Learn more at ESP Program.


For More Information, Contact:
Leslie Klenke, Director of Marketing
Entrepreneurs’ Center
[email protected]


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