Serra Companies Honored at Innovation Celebration

Innovation Celebration provides recognition for individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County, the ongoing success of the University’s economic development mission, and the growth of entrepreneurial talent and energy in our community. Several Serra companies came away with honors from this year’s celebration, held on March 3.

Agrible (Ag Informatics), a Serra II company, won the New Venture Award. Agrible is an actionable predictive analytics provider in agriculture.  They predict how weather will impact crops, agricultural operations, and economic decisions.  They aim to make big data helpful instead of ominous, to innovate existing production methods, and to be the leading voice of recommendation for their agricultural partners. Above all, they value the role of the farmer, and work tirelessly to bring the most accurate, practical information to those who need it.

Rithmio, a Serra II company, won the Student Venture Award. Rithmio was co-founded in 2013 by Adam Tilton, a PhD student at the University of Illinois, and his then professor, Dr. Prashant Mehta. Their technology was originally focused on missile guidance and satellite control, however through participating in NSF Innovation Corps they realized the potential to focus on gesture recognition. Now a 7-person team with office in Champaign and Chicago, Rithmio’s gesture recognition software works with motion-sensing devices such as wearables, smartphones or connected sports equipment to understand motion as a specific gesture. Brands leverage Rithmio’s gesture platform to create personalized and accurate gesture-based products, such as a physical activity tracker for all gym exercises.

The Product Manufactory, a Serra I portfolio company, was a finalist for the Economic Impact Award. TPM provides creative engineering and design services to help businesses maximize their return on R&D investments. They were founded in 2012 and have since grown to employ an extended team of part-time contributors and 8 full-time professionals. TPM occupies 4,500 square feet of design and prototyping space in Urbana, IL and has a sales and design office in Chicago. In three years, their client list has grown to include more than 20 companies from small, high-tech businesses like Raptor Power Systems, LyteShot, and Oso Technologies to large enterprise clients including Whirlpool, Molex, and Procter and Gamble.

Innovation Celebration is not merely an award for accomplishment, but a benchmark of success for those outstanding individuals, organizations and corporations who are nominated and selected to receive this prestigious award. Additionally, Innovation Celebration serves as a tangible collaboration between the University of Illinois, Parkland College and the community — one that clearly establishes the power of cooperation and a united vision.