Black & Veatch selects 18 companies for COVID-19 accelerator

Initiative seeks innovative solutions in the fight against coronavirus pandemic

Less than four months after launching the initiative to find innovative solutions to the coronavirus pandemic, Black & Veatch has chosen 18 partners for its ambitious IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator intent on developing and deploying emerging technologies to the fight against the disease.

Hear directly from many of these companies during the upcoming IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator Virtual Showcase from 2-3:30 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday. Register here

The partners – an array of startups, established businesses and universities – were selected from more than 300 applications to the initiative launched in late March as a push to build, grow and scale solutions that would soften COVID-19’s impact on communities. The response accelerator also sought to prepare the Black & Veatch’s core businesses for a post-pandemic future.

Applications came from engineering, construction, health-tech spaces and beyond, with Black & Veatch choosing the 18 partners after a rigorous three-month evaluation process.

Black and Veatch is providing $250,000 total in grants or in-kind services as a part of the program, as well as access to their network of more than 10,000 employees in over 100 offices around the globe, enabling both a faster runway to commercialization but also valuable connections between mentors, customers and investors.

“As the pandemic struck and began impacting our lives and work across the globe in untold number of ways that are creating a new normal, we recognized we needed new approaches to fight these new challenges,” said Steve Edwards, Black & Veatch’s CEO. “We turned to our Growth Accelerator team to apply their innovative mindset to crowdsourcing solutions, and they have brought aboard 18 exciting partners with technologies that we think can push back against the devastating effects of COVID-19 on our economy, our health and our daily lives.”

IgniteX also brings outside partners from diverse industries, including Advance Concepts Studios, Brightidea, KC Digital Drive, LaunchKC and the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering.

“Black & Veatch and LaunchKC began a great relationship last year as we partnered to advance and implement the IgniteX Cleantech Accelerator which successfully recruited seven tech startups to Kansas City, put them through a rigorous curriculum, and helped them rapidly grow their businesses. This year, as the pandemic unfolded, we felt an urgency to help Black & Veatch address and mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus through the COVID-19 Response Accelerator,” said Tommy Wilson, an architect of LaunchKC.

“We were delighted to help them find growing startups who can play a role in reducing the severity of the coronavirus outbreak,” Wilson said. “We are confident this accelerator and Black & Veatch’s vast network of employees and mentors can help these companies commercialize and rapidly deploy their technology to help our communities better navigate our current challenges.”

The partners in the inaugural IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator include innovative solutions in categories ranging from disinfection and filtration to health screening, tracking and tracing, wearables, data intelligence and communications. Those partners include:

  • Aquisense: Desktop ultraviolet (UV) disinfection of masks
  • Motega:  Developed a multi-day persistent sanitizer for surfaces and hands.  Company has formulation specialists in pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, foods and chemicals.
  • NanoGuard: Reactive gas (ozone) disinfection for food and other markets
  • Windgo: Smart UV lighting
  • University of Missouri: Biosensor for rapid pathogen detection
  • InnovaPrep: Concentration device for pathogen detection
  • Fluid Robotics: Automated sampling devices and wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE)
  • Transcend H2O: Automatic site design for the portable, quickly deployable Rapid Modular Health System (RaMHS)
  • Field2Base: Mobile data collection partner for COVOPORATE
  • Translational Pulmonary & Immunology Research Center: Health partner for return-to-X assessments
  • OneScreen: Infrared temperature scanner
  • Energy Cloud: Air filtration system
  • MySidewalk: City intelligence platform
  • OnFrontiers: Platform for enterprise knowledge networks
  • Cykyl Springs: Constant force/air pressure for medical and other devices
  • Avatour: 360-degree virtual telepresence
  • Ubudu: Small wearable for social distance compliance and contact tracing
  • EB Systems:  Indoor/On-Site tracking, contact tracing, and real-time alerting systems

This year marks the second for the IgniteX accelerator; last year’s program focused on clean technologies.

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