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June 9, 2020

UConn fund awards $200K in seed funding for two startups

Photo | Peter Morenus/UConn Photo The QRfertile lab at UConn Technology Incubation Program (TIP) space in Farmington.

The UConn Innovation Fund has awarded $200,000 in seed funding to two startups in UConn's Technology Incubation Program.

STEM distance learning company Savkar Inc. -- which does business as Stemify -- and male fertility test maker QRfertile LLC, each received a $100,000 cash injection from the fund.  The $2.25 million UConn Innovation Fund is run by UConn, Connecticut Innovations and Webster Bank.

Stemify uses artificial intelligence to customize individual curricula in STEM subjects for students, and teaches the material via an online platform. Executive Chairman Bill Moschella said Tuesday that the funding will enable his 15-employee company to hire sales and marketing people so it can progress beyond the research and testing phase.

"We're stepping into now the commercial aspect of the business," said Moschella, whose company has raised about $725,000, including the innovation fund seed money.

QRfertile makes an at-home male fertility kit, which shows results within 15 minutes, according to the company. The company was co-founded by Reza Amin and Khashayar Dashti.

Since 2016, the UConn Innovation Fund has awarded $1.4 million to 14 early stage startups with ties to UConn, according to the university. 

Radenka Maric, UConn's vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship, said Stemify and QRfertile are both working toward innovations in areas - that could help the public good.

“These startups are providing solutions to problems faced by our community, and UConn is committed to helping them advance their technologies and support economic development in the state,” Maric said.

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