News

Startup ElectroCyt earns VentureWell grant

Rick Kubetz, Engineering Communications Office
7/13/2016

ElectroCyt, a technology startup from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been awarded $5,000 in Stage 1 of the VentureWell student grant program.

VentureWell is a non-profit that fosters new ventures from an emerging generation of inventors and supports the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems that are critical to their success. Its E-Team Program gives student teams the chance to move new technologies out of the lab and classroom and into the marketplace.

ElectroCyt's differential immuno-capture biochip takes whole blood as input, eliminating the need of off-chip sample preparation and effectively reducing the assay time.
ElectroCyt's differential immuno-capture biochip takes whole blood as input, eliminating the need of off-chip sample preparation and effectively reducing the assay time.
The ElectroCyt team has created a sepsis diagnostic tool that will improve accuracy when diagnosing. Sepsis—a life-threatening condition is responsible for millions of deaths worldwide. It occurs when harmful bacteria and their toxins enter the bloodstream through open wounds and trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. ElectroCyt is a faster and more accurate diagnostic tool than current methods—potentially saving many lives as well as billions in healthcare costs.

ElectroCyt utilizes several novel microfluidic and electrical sensing technologies originally developed in the laboratory of Rashid Bashir, a professor of bioengineering at Illinois, and by Dr. Bobby Reddy, Jr., an Illinois' ECE alumnus and researcher in electrical point of care diagnostic devices. ElectroCyt's “first degree sensing,” technology can detect and prevent a number of diseases and conditions well before debilitating symptoms present themselves.

The money awarded to ElectroCyt will enable them to attend a three-day workshop in Cambridge where they will learn how to better articulate the opportunity for the innovation in the marketplace. Any remaining funds are encouraged to be put towards the further development of the product.

Once an E-Team has completed Stage 1 training, teams have the opportunity to apply to the next two stages consecutively. Stage 2 teams receive an additional $20,000 in grants and attend a workshop to develop their business model hypotheses and plan how to test them. On top of the grant, the team will receive six monthly coaching sessions helping them to develop their business model hypotheses and keep the team on track. In Stage 3, also called the ASPIRE program, students receive their final training, including workshops offer sector-specific partnership and investment readiness training in preparation for investment and critical partnerships.

ElectroCyt is one of several teams that competed for funding at the 14th annual Cozad New Venture Competition (June 14), winning $10,000 worth of entrepreneurial support.