Happy 2024! We’re back with a New Year’s edition of Park Points. Get a quick recap of news, information and events relevant to the mission and vision of KU Innovation Park. Please note that the administrative offices for the Park will be closed on Monday, January 15, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Two Park companies on startups to watch list
What a way to kick off 2024! Two Park companies – Invary and Mpruv Sports – are 2024 Kansas City startups to watch, according to Startland News.
Why it matters: “They help reflect a new golden era in Kansas City,” writes Tommy Felts, the editor-in-chief of Startland News. Ten companies were selected for the 2024 class.
- Invary* is a cybersecurity-based company that finds hidden malware to prevent costly ransomware attacks. It even has a free Runtime Integrity Score (RISe) service that spot-checks for threats hiding in operating systems.
- Mpruv Sports is one of the newest participants in the Park’s accelerator program. The company connects people and businesses to golf, tennis and pickleball lessons, with the ultimate goal of driving access and inclusion.
ICYMI – Local honors for long-time Park leader
LaVerne Epp, the long-time leader of KU Innovation Park, will be honored as the 2024 Citizen of the Years by The Chamber of Lawrence.
Why it matters: LaVerne was a driving force behind the founding of the Park in 2008, then known as the Bioscience and Technology Business Center.
- LaVerne served as Executive Chairman for the Park until his death in September 2023.
- The award will be given posthumously at The Chamber’s annual meeting on January 26, 2024.
One Cool Discovery
Staying cool is making us hot. And the demand isn’t chilling, either. That’s why Icorium Engineering Company is blazing a trail in recycling refrigerants.
Why it matters: Refrigerants, like those used in air conditioners and grocery store coolers, are being phased out because of global warming concerns. The technology to separate the refrigerant mixtures and reuse the components in new products hasn’t existed.
- That is until Kalin Baca, Ph.D., MBA and Professor Mark Shiflett teamed up at KU.
- Icorium was granted an NSF Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award in 2023.
- A participant in the Park’s accelerator program, Icorium now has its own office space and is looking forward to its first commercial contract in 2024.
Park Company News
- Looking back at 2023 accomplishments, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly listed the state’s $43 million award to build affordable high-speed internet in remote and underserved counties. The grant was submitted in collaboration with a few agencies and providers, including KanREN.
- Merck took the top spot on Newsweek’s List of America’s Most Responsible Companies of 2024.
- Rubrik CEO Bipul Sinha appeared on Bloomberg Technology to share his outlook on cyberattacks for 2024.
- Check out our Careers in the Park page for openings at Park companies.
- The National Science Foundation is partnering with the Institute of Progress to test new mechanisms for funding research and innovation. As part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the NSF was tasked with considering alternatives to its traditional processes.
- The US Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a free virtual event to help entrepreneurs assess the strengths and weaknesses of a potential patent application. The event is February 27-28. Complete the interest form here.
News from the Hill
- Congratulations to Brian McClendon on being named to the 2023 Class of Fellows by the National Academy of Inventors. McClendon, the creator of Google Earth, is a research professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at KU.
- Observations of the ballistic movement of electrons in graphene made at KU’s Ultrafast Laser Lab were recently featured in a premier journal on nanoscience and nanotechnology.
- Check out the upcoming research and development training from KU’s Office of Research, including writing workshops for both the NSF and the National Institutes of Health.
What We’re Reading
- The Hill: Cutting federal funding for basic research will hurt the US economy
- McKinsey & Company: What early-stage investing reveals about biotech innovation
Have news and notes to share? Let Lindsey Slater, vice president of strategic communications, know by clicking here.
*KU Innovation Park is an investor in Invary.