University of Illinois Contributes to Successful Midwest Startup Formula

On December 23, techcrunch.com published the article “The Midwest Startup Formula Will Change The Status Quo For Building Businesses,” which emphasized how the Midwest is taking a different approach to startups and contributing to business success. The Midwest model of entrepreneurship creates solutions that attract early paying customers that lead to sustainable companies. The University of Illinois is an integral part of this formula.

The article states “The University of Illinois’ Research Park is home to more than 50 startup companies that are commercializing technology, and more than 90 established companies that employ more than 1,400 people and more than 450 interns.”

Nanomedical Diagnostics Announces Scientific Advisory Board of Top Scientists and Medical Researchers

Nanomedical Diagnostics, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, announced its scientific advisory board of leading scientists and medical researchers on December 11. Nanomedical Diagnostics is a biotech company developing and commercializing cutting-edge graphene biosensor technology for use in research and diagnostics.

The scientific advisory board provides key strategic input, technical guidance, and research expertise to the company as it prepares AGILE Research, its new graphene biosensor for small molecule and protein analysis, for commercial release early next year.

Serionix Featured in Champaign News Gazette

Serionix, a Serra Capital I portfolio company, was spotlighted in the Champaign News-Gazette on December 6. Serionix develops high performance, affordable technologies for water and air purification.

The article interviewed CEO Jim Langer on the team, product, and the background of Serionix, and what the future holds for the company.

Three Serra Companies Listed Among “Illinois Startups to Watch Outside Chicago”

The state of Illinois is often only viewed of in terms of what is happening in Chicago. However, tech and startup success is no longer solely defined by a location on a map. Champaign-Urbana ranks in the top 10 for venture deals per capita, and has a tech ecosystem with direct connections to Silicon Valley. There is a lot of innovation happening outside of Chicago.

On December 7, ChicagoInno created a list of start-ups to keep an eye on that are based outside of Chicago.  OceanComm, Agrible, and IntelliWheels made the list, each of which are Serra Capital portfolio and Champaign based companies.

Source: http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2015/12/0...

Agrible Featured in Champaign-Urbana’s Smile Politely Magazine

Agrible, a Serra Capital II company, was featured in Smile Politely magazine on December 2. Smile Politely is Champaign-Urbana’s independent online magazine, providing the community with a passionate, trustworthy, informed point of view on local music, arts, culture, food & drink, sports, politics and news.

The article calls Agrible “the farm in your phone,” and features their new promotional video. The piece also lists Serra Ventures as an investor.

Agrible takes the best agricultural data and combines it with the latest science, and packs that into practical products for use today and tomorrow to boost yields and efficiency.

Kypha Raises $2.1 Million in Debt Offering

Kypha, a Serra Capital II company, was featured by the St. Louis Business Journal on November 13. Kypha is an early-stage company developing new products to improve the way inflammation and immune activity is monitored and treated.

Kypha has raised $2.1 million in a debt offering, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The article also listed Serra Ventures as an investor.


Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/blog/bi...

Phi Optics Featured on Illinois Engineering News

Phi Optics, a Serra Capital I portfolio company, was featured on the University of Illinois Engineering news website on November 3. Phi Optics has created a light microscopy device with label-free, non-invasive, quantitative, nanoscale, 3D tomographic and real-time information capabilities.

The article claims that Phi Optics has a “new optical method promising more accurate diagnosis and prognosis for cancer patients” and further explains the benefits and details of the technology – which includes the breakthrough ability for determining if tissue is cancerous or not.

Source: http://engineering.illinois.edu/news/artic...

Serra Ventures Named a Top Ten VC Deal Maker in the Great Lakes Region

Serra Ventures was ranked #8 among the top ten VC deal makers in the great lakes region on November 4 by ChicagoInno.com. The state of Illinois received the highest percentage of deals (35%) and the largest percentage of capital invested (46%) among all the Great Lakes states. Pitchbook ranked the investors by the number of deals made since 2012. Serra Ventures came in at #8 on the list with 24 deals made.

Source: http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2015/11/0...

Olio Devices Listed Among 42 Disruptive Wearables Companies by CB Insights

Olio Devices, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was recently listed among 42 “disruptive wearables” companies by CB Insights. Olio Devices creates luxury lifestyle products for the modern professional by collaborating with brand name fashion designers.

The next step in computing beyond smartphones and tablets could be wearables. Startups in the space are taking aim at large industries like apparel and healthcare. The selected 42 companies raised a combined $1.9B in investment over 105 deals. More than one quarter of the chosen startups were early stage companies. Serra Ventures was one among two listed as investors of Olio.

Source: https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/wearable-c...

Learnerator’s New Platform Featured on ChicagoInno.com

Learnerator, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured on ChicagoInno.com on November 2. Learnerator helps prepare students for Advanced Placement (AP) and other exams, with thousands of free practice questions with detailed solutions to help gain hands on experience.

In December, Learnerator is launching Albert.io, a study platform for high level math and science courses, as part of a rebranding effort that will become complete next year. Being the “go-to” company over the past few years for ACT, SAT and AP prep, Learnerator’s new aim is to provide helpful study guides not just for the ambitious high school student, but for future engineers, physicists, and mathematicians.

Source: http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2015/11/0...

LISNR Raises $10 Million Series B Round Led By Intel

LISNR, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured on Techcrunch on November 3. LISNR is an audio-based marketing and content distribution platform that activates the sound around consumers to deliver content intelligently and easier than ever before.

The audio-beacon start-up has just raised a $10 million series B round led by Intel Capital to further advance the product as “a true protocol to connect devices across a number of different verticals,” LISNR co-founder and CEO Rodney Williams told TechCrunch.

Earlier this year, Intel announced it would be creating a $125 million diversity fund, to invest money in startups with female or minority founders. Intel’s investment in LISNR is the latest one that comes from this fund. 

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/03/audio-bea...

Diagnostic Photonics Wins 2015 PROPEL Competition

Diagnostic Photonics, a Serra Capital I & II company, was named the winner of the 2015 PROPEL business plan competition on October 29. Diagnostic Photonics, based on technology from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, is a medtech company developing a handheld, high-resolution imaging system for cancer surgery.  The Foresee™ (4C) Imaging System will provide new, crucial information and insight on the extent of disease at the microscopic level.

Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra Ventures, was quoted in the article, “In the last few years, the Diagnostic Photonics team has made tremendous progress in bringing a powerful cancer imaging technology to market. I’m pleased to see the recognition of this progress with the company’s first place win in the 2015 PROPEL Business Plan Competition. Serra Ventures is proud of its investment in and affiliation with this promising company.”

PROPEL is dedicated to increasing the number and success rate of early-stage life sciences companies in Illinois. The competition consisted of 20 companies from the Chicagoland area, and Diagnostic Photonics walked away with the $15,000 cash prize.

Source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/2015...

RINGR Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

RiNGR, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured in the Champaign News-Gazette on October 12. RiNGR provides an app for interview audio at a quality never before possible on radio or podcasts.

The article features an interview with RiNGR CEO, Tim Sinclair, on the cutting edge app and how it came to be.

Nanomedical Diagnostics Announces Raise of $1.6MM in Series A Funding

Nanomedical Diagnostics, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured on news.gnom.es on October 13. Nanomedical Diagnostics is a biotech company developing and commercializing bioelectronics for use in research and diagnostics. The company announced the completion of a Series A financing round of $1.6 million, which was led by Serra Ventures.

Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra Ventures, was quoted enthusing “This company is applying a very novel and powerful technology to a current hot issue– personalized healthcare. Nanomed has a bold, expansive vision, but the team has built interim products and revenue opportunities on the road to their end goal of putting information in people’s hands to make educated health choices.”

Source: http://news.gnom.es/pr/nanomedical-diagnos...

Agrible Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

Agrible, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured in the Champaign News-Gazette on October 4. Agrible takes the best agricultural data and combines it with the latest science, and packs that into practical products for use today and tomorrow to boost yields and efficiency.

Farming has never been more international than right now. Paul Miller, Chief Scientific Officer of Agrible, explains “Agrible offers tools for farmers to know what’s happening with weather and yields in their own fields and in China, if they like.”

Agrible has raised $4.1 million in investment in the last year, including funding from Serra Capital.

Diagnostic Photonics Featured by Research and Development Magazine

Diagnostic Photonics, a Serra Capital I and II portfolio company, was featured by R&D Magazine on September 16.  Diagnostic Photonics has developed a hand-held probe based on a technology called optical coherence tomography, which is used for surgical guidance and the real-time assessment of breast cancer tumor margin.

The tool which uses light to make sure surgeons removing cancerous tumors “got it all” was found to correlate well with traditional pathologists’ diagnoses in a clinical study, showing that the tool could soon enable reliable, real-time guidance for surgeons.

The interdisciplinary research team led by Stephen Boppart, a Univ. of Illinois professor, performed the study on 35 patients with breast cancers at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Ill. The results appear in the journal Cancer Research.

Source: http://www.rdmag.com/news/2015/09/surgical...

Olio Devices Paves The Way For Wearable Tech

Olio Devices, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured on fashiontimes.com on August 13. CEO Steve Jacobs shares the origins of Olio and how they are paving the way with high tech, yet fashionable technologies.

The Olio Devices team debuted its first limited collection of roll-out of watches called the Model One on March 26 of this year. After quickly selling out of its first round of Black and Steel Model Ones, the brand recently released a follow up collection of limited edition timepieces at the very end of July.

Source: http://www.fashiontimes.com/articles/22873...

LISNR Selected as Part of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative

LISNR, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was one of three companies selected as part of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative, which challenged young companies to help Visa give people new ways to conduct transactions, inspire millennials and win loyalty with rewards programs. LISNR will help head the initiative to drive digital commerce and develop a new way to make mobile payments.

LISNR is an audio-based marketing and content distribution platform that activates the sound around consumers to deliver content intelligently and easier than ever before.

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news...

Earshot Partners With IBM

Earshot, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, made an exciting announcement on August 10 that they would be partnering with IBM Watson.

Earshot filters social media posts coming from locations of interest and converts them into real-time intelligence and relevant engagement opportunities. The partnership with IBM will further enhance Earshot’s real-time relevancy score Decibel Level™ through the power of cognitive computing.

Source: http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015...

Spinlight Studios Acquired by Codagami

Serra Capital is very pleased to announce that Spinlight Studios, a Serra II company, was acquired by Codagami on July 17, 2015.

Spinlight Studios is a premier educational app developer with an award-winning collection of titles loved by kids, trusted by moms and used by educators everywhere. Codagami is a global leader in enterprise solutions, providing custom desktop software, cloud migration and mobile applications for a long list of Fortune 500 companies.

Codagami CEO Jeffrey Young states “With the acquisition of Spinlight, we’ll be able to build a better class of applications and expand our mobile offerings. Our clients aren’t just technology-savvy. They’re consumer-focused, and they need a partner who can meet all of their software needs. Spinlight is highly skilled at building brands and creating an engaging user experience.”

Source: http://www.codagami.com/news-spinlightacqu...