While many associate the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative with  recently dedicated buildings  on university campuses and world-class  researchers, USTAR also has reach throughout the  state with its Go-To-Market grant program. The program is independently  administered on a regional basis through USTAR’s Southern, Central, and Northern  technology outreach teams.  The grants focus on bringing innovative new  technologies to market in partnership with Utah’s public universities and  colleges.

The teams are located at Utah Valley University (UVU), Weber  State University (WSU), and Dixie State College (DSC) with a satellite office at  Southern Utah University (SUU). Before being selected for the GTM grant, a  company must complete USTAR’s “Nail It Then Scale It” training program held in  each of these regions. After successful completion of the training program,  companies are then eligible to apply for a GTM grant.

A select group of  innovative startups from across the state have recently won Phase  I GTM grants.
The winners will use the funds for product development and  to aid the completion of customer validations of their startup company before  initiating equity fundraising or sales efforts.

The USTAR South team has  awarded three phase I grants. Referal.IM, InfoSiftr and Progress PI each were awarded a  $5,000 grant to help develop their products.  Each company presented a  15-minute presentation to a professional and peer panel.  Following the  pitch, voting took place to decide which companies would receive the  grants.

“Southern Utah has a unique market of companies. Each one has a  specific niche in their industry group, and have found a technology solution  within that industry to solve problems,” said Jill Elliss, USTAR Southern Utah technology outreach  director.

Infosiftr offers  a novel way to sift information. The service allows customers to filter, select  and receive only specified information through a push-network. The second  company, Referral.IM, transfers physician or  medical referrals immediately and effectively from one provider to another while  keeping the patient involved in the process.  Lastly, Progress PI developed  a mobile application that allows home builders and buyers to communicate more  productively and effectively.

“We plan on using the funds to help improve  our Filter Engine’s performance and lower our cost of operations,” Justin  Steele, the General Manager of InfoSiftr said. “We also plan on conducting more  focus group research to help refine InfoSiftr’s solution. We want to get  InfoSiftr out of private beta and launch the service sometime in late spring of  2013.”

The Central Utah office located at UVU has awarded five phase I GTM grants of $5,000. The awards went to Likester, Vygent, TranquilMed, ForeUp, and Continuum iCare.

Each of these companies has  developed innovative products useful to the public such as Likester,  which has developed a mobile application to allow users to interact with social  media and write instant reviews.

ForeUp  has developed a golf management software system that can be used to manage tee  times and integrate pro shop sales in one convenient application.  Vygent targets the food production industry by using  nanotechnology to increase profitability through targeting natural animal health  and disease prevention.

The last two winning companies focus on the  medical industry. TranquilMed is a  device designed to calm Restless Leg Syndrome with the use of LED lights.  Lastly, Continuum iCare is a company that created  a medical software application to effectively communicate electronic medical  records and streamline electronic treatment plan  management.

Ryan Angus, associate director of USTAR’s Central Region  technology outreach office, has been awarding  these companies Phase I grant money since August, when the GTM grant program  became effective.  “UVU has held the ‘Nail It Then Scale It’ training  program monthly allowing companies to apply for GTM grants each month and  awarding promising innovative companies Phase I of the GTM grant,” Angus  said.

Jeff Jackson, associate director of USTAR’s Northern Region, has  taken a different approach at WSU. “The USTAR North office at Weber State will  disperse our GTM grants each fall semester in a single competition for any  startup creating jobs in Weber or Davis County” he said.

With this  format, USTAR North has announced six startup companies who were awarded $15,000  phase I grants. These included Protein Fusion, Chi Tester, Double XL Ads, Fenex, Telio, and Learn Stack.

Like the Southern  and Central region awardees, the USTAR North  winners represent a diverse crop of innovative ideas.  Protein Fusion  offers a solution to researchers using eGFP  (enhanced green fluorescent protein) and provides a library of linkers between  proteins that are designed to minimally alter function and migration for  optimized research.
Two of the winning companies are focusing on the  education sector. Chi Tester has developed software to improve the testing  workflow and reporting metrics for schools and universities. It gives teachers  real-time feedback on student performance to ensure security and streamlines  workflows. Secondly, Learn Stack has created a toolkit for developers which aids  in developing applications for educators.  It combines user management,  directed learning, and analytics in an easily accessible database.

Double XL Ads is working on growing  Utah’s digital media sector with the company’s mobile ad platforms for niche  industries like gardening and home improvement. The last two awardees  have developed solutions for the automotive industry. Fenex produces off-road drivetrains  that have proven to be stronger, more durable and lighter than their  competition, and Telio, which offers an easily installed, long- term oil  filtration system for trucking and non-commercial drivers.

Each one of  these companies now will have the opportunity to win a $10,000-$15,000 phase II  GTM grant upon their ability to generate $5,000 in sales revenue within the next  12 months.