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March 11, 2013

CT stakes $950K in 6 New Haven tech startups

Contributed photo Green Life Guides in New Haven got $100,000 from Connecticut Innovations Inc. to expand its e-commerce site. Left to right: Kristin Hayashi, marketing representative for With Green Life, Max Boehlke, shop director; Alex Harrison, operations assistant; and CEO Kate Harrison.
Contributed photo Standing in front of RPM Sustainable Technologies' patented biodiesel reactor are (left to right): Richard Parnas, its chief technology officer; Pierre Coquatrix, president, RPMST France; and Mike Pomykala, UConn graduate student.

Six more fledgling New Haven County tech firms got a combined $950,000 financial lift from Connecticut's quasi-public technology-investment promoter.

Connecticut Innovations Inc. in Rocky Hill announced Monday the investment through its Pre-Seed Fund.

Ancera LLC ($150,000) is developing a rapid, portable technology platform for the separation, quantitative detection and identification of minute concentrations of various pathogens from whole blood or other bodily fluids. Ancera's platform is based on technology it is licensing exclusively from Yale University. The technology uses magnetic fields to manipulate biologic cells via a ferromagnetic fluid. Ancera anticipates that its technology platform will be useful in food safety testing (e.g., testing for the presence of E.coli bacteria), point-of-care diagnostics and in vitro diagnostics. The platform will be sold initially to research labs as well as CLIA labs working in pathogen detection. Other investors in Ancera's pre-seed funding round include LaunchCapital and angel investors.

Green Life Guides LLC ($100,000) operates the e-commerce site Green Bride Guide (, a comprehensive resource for engaged couples seeking eco-friendly wedding ideas, products and services. Visitors to the Green Bride Guide website will find information on more than 1,000 vendors of "green" wedding products and services, as well as "green" wedding gifts, honeymoons and décor. Prior to receiving this pre-seed funding from CI, GLG received pre-seed funding of $150,000 in 2011 and $100,000 in 2012 from CI. Other investors in the current pre-seed round for GLG include Advantage Capital and angel investors.

Pattern Genomics LLC ($150,000) is developing a novel software platform, called Daydreamer, that will enable simultaneous pattern analysis of DNA sequences and molecular assay design based on large-scale DNA sequencing data. The software will substantially reduce the time and cost of assay development by replacing ad hoc research with a general assay design process based on proprietary bioinformatics. The company will offer an assay design service to the diagnostics and pharmaceutical industry, CLIA laboratories, governments and foundations. CI was joined by an individual investor in the current pre-seed round for Pattern Genomics.

P2 Science Inc. ($200,000) is a specialty chemical company dedicated to producing high-value, high-margin consumer and industrial product ingredients from biomass. The company has developed a novel chemical process, known as hybrid ozonolysis, that enables the conversion of biomass, including vegetable oils, into aldehydes for use in fragrances and flavors and into di-acids for use in cosmetics and polymers. The products, derived from soy, canola, palm and other oils, will replace chemical ingredients previously only available from petrochemical sources, thus meeting the demand for "green" alternatives in the marketplace. P2 Science has licensed some of its intellectual property from Yale University and has established a collaborative relationshi p with the University of Alberta. In addition to receiving this pre-seed funding from CI, the company received pre-seed funding of $150,000 from CI in 2012. Other investors include Elm Street Ventures of New Haven.

RPM Sustainable Technologies Inc. ($150,000) is a chemical process development and equipment marketing company for the biofuels and biochemicals industries. The company has developed a patented continuous flow reactor to produce ASTM/EN-quality biodiesel as well as a proprietary preprocessor, which can use feedstocks ranging in quality from virgin vegetable oils to algae oil to fats, oils and greases (FOG) from wastewater treatment facilities. Two of RPMST's biodiesel production systems are current ly operating at UConn, and CI's pre-seed funding will enable additional pilot testing of the system. Other investors in RPMST's pre-seed funding round include the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority and ProFlow (RPMST's manufacturing partner), along with company management and private investors.

Shizzlr LLC ($200,000) has developed Groupcentric, a simple and robust software development kit and platform that enables developers to add private sharing and group chat into iPhone and Android mobile apps within minutes. It allows users to privately share rich content with groups across the many applications that use Groupcentric. Shizzlr has released 15 apps thus far that have generated over 1,500 downloads and 10,000 messages across apps. The company plans to build several additional apps as a supplement for outside developers utilizing the software development kit. In addition to receiving the current pre-seed funding commitment from CI, the company received pre-seed funding of $150,000 from CI in 2011. Other participants in the current pre-seed round include a strategic investor and individual investors.

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