On November 5, kickstart your morning along with hundreds of local tech entrepreneurs, investors and other members and friends of Cincinnati’s vibrant startup community. Get to know up and coming tech companies in our startup showcase, and, as always, fuel up on good coffee, breakfast sandwiches and seasonal pastries!
WorkFlex Solutions LLC (“WorkFlex”), the industry leader in Intelligent Intraday Automation® solutions for contact centers announced today the release of new iPhone and Android apps for their Intelligent Agent-Self-Service product suite. WorkFlex empowers contact center agents with the flexibility to instantly change their schedules anywhere/anytime while ensuring that each change helps optimize staffing levels.
“The way WorkFlex has transformed the agent experience for self-service scheduling similar to how FedEx has transformed the customer experience for self-service tracking,” said Mitesh Desai, COO WorkFlex Solutions. “Our new WorkFlex mobile apps extend work-life balance empowerment literally into an agents hand.”
Read the full release here.
CincyTech has won a State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) 2014 Excellence Award for Technology Based Economic Development (TBED). CincyTech won in the Increasing Access to Capital category.
SSTI is a national nonprofit organization that leads, supports and strengthens efforts to improve state and regional economies through science, technology and innovation. Its current chairman is former Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge. Previous chairmen include Governor’s Dick Thornburgh of Pennsylvania, John Engler of Michigan, and Dick Celeste of Ohio.
SSTI’s nationwide competition recognizes organizations it believes can serve as models for states and regions trying to grow their innovation economies and create high-paying jobs.
“Although a young program, CincyTech has done an outstanding job increasing access to capital in the Cincinnati region,” said Dan Berglund, SSTI president & CEO. “Based on the resources they have been given, CincyTech is helping create a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship.”
“SSTI represents some of the most thoughtful, successful, and innovative practitioners in the country.” said Bob Coy. “It is an honor to be recognized by SSTI and a jury of our peers.”
CincyTech is one of five programs recognized by SSTI across five categories. This year’s winners received the awards at SSTI’s Annual Conference in Chicago, attended by more than 300 economic development leaders from 42 states.
A strong showing for CincyTech portfolio companies at the 2014 VentureOhio Awards:
-Akebia Therapeutics won Exit of the Year.
-LISNR won Financing of the Year, Early Stage Companies, in a category of finalists comprised entirely of CincyTech portfolio companies: Aerpio Therapeutics, Ahalogy, and Roadtrippers.
-Assurex Health was a finalist for Financing of the Year, Growth Stage Companies.
CincyTech president and CEO Bob Coy said, “In a time when the availability of early stage capital is in question it is gratifying to see many of our companies are are able to secure it.”
Akebia, which is developing a drug to fight anemia related to chronic kidney disease, went public in March, with an IPO that raised $107 million.
LISNR, an audio-based mobile audience engagement platform, recently closed a $3.5 million Series A round of financing, led by Cambridge-based Progress Ventures, with participation from Progress Partners, Mercury, Jump Capital, CincyTech and Serra Ventures.
Airway Therapeutics, a biotechnology company working to prevent a debilitating lung condition in extremely premature infants, has secured $4.6 million in Series A financing. CincyTech led the round, with participation from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Queen City Angels and private investors.
Airway Therapeutics has developed a protein, recombinant human surfactant protein D (AT-100), that could prevent Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), a serious, chronic lung disease that develops in preterm infants who require ventilation shortly after birth. These babies– tens of thousands every year– are at risk for BPD because they are born before their bodies produce surfactant, the substance that allows lungs to inflate with air. While ventilators help these babies to breathe, they can damage the immature lung tissue in a way that impedes full lung development and leads to BPD. Babies with BPD often have repeated pneumonias, hospitalizations and a higher incidence of asthma. Pre-clinical data suggest treatment with Airway’s AT-100, in addition to the commercial surfactant that is currently available, more effectively prevents the infection and lung damage than does the current standard of care.
“The funding will enable Airway to propel the development of AT-100 significantly forward,” said CEO Marc Salzberg, MD. “It will allow us to make progress along three critical and parallel paths: formulation, manufacturing and the design of the animal testing required in preparation for clinical trials involving patients.”
“The business case for bringing AT-100 to market has never been stronger,” said Mike Venerable, Managing Director at CincyTech. “This promising therapeutic is based on world class science and guided by an experienced team.”
Airway’s treatment is based on a decade of pioneering research by Dr. Jeffrey Whitsett, MD, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “Cincinnati Children’s is proud to be a part of this funding cycle to help accelerate AT-100 into the clinic,” said Nicole Robinson, PhD, Assistant Vice President of CCHMC’s Center for Technology Commercialization. “This much needed therapeutic has the potential to improve the outcome for some of our smallest and sickest babies.”
In the months prior to the financing round, the case for AT-100 gained momentum on two continents. Both the US Food and Drug Administration and European regulators granted orphan designation to Airway. Orphan designation is an important milestone for companies working to cure rare diseases, offering financial incentives, prioritized review and market exclusivity.