Arrow Electronics Incubator Summary

Dec 19, 2014 9:30 AM ET

At Arrow Electronics, corporate social responsibility means guiding innovation forward by encouraging the development of new technologies that improve the lives of others. In 2014, Arrow supported several incubators and accelerators that yielded cutting-edge designs by rising innovators.

“Innovation means taking a good idea and turning it into something of value that people need,” said Joe Verrengia, Arrow’s director of corporate social responsibility. “These programs help innovators not only find funding, but use the power of mentoring and competition to transform their ideas into viable businesses.”

The Collegiate Inventors Competition
Now in its 24th year, the competition at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office brings undergraduate and graduate school teams to the nation’s capital, where their inventions are judged by members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and USPTO officials. The invention must be the work of a student or team of students and a university advisor. Competing designs must not have already received a patent or been commercialized, and must be capable of being reproduced. Past judges have included the inventors of fiber optics, the Post-It Note and the implantable heart defibrillator.

This year’s first place winners are:

  • Katarzyna M. Sawika of SUNY Stony Brook University for Immuno-Matrix. This novel skin patch uses nanofibers to hold and effectively deliver a vaccine through the skin.  It's painless, self-administered and doesn't produce biohazardous waste.
  • Taylor Fahey, Charles Haider, Cedric Kovacs-Johnson  of the University of Wisconsin – Madison for Spectrom. This is the first device that enables Fused Deposition Modeling, or additive 3D printers, to print in full, variable color. The technology leverages the precise application and rapid changing of proprietary dyes to create crisp, multi-colored objects.

Clean Tech Open
The CTO is the world’s largest accelerator for cleantech startups. Based in Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs from 39 countries are mentored for months by experts and pitch their plans to judges from the investor community. Since 2006, the 865 participating entrepreneurs have received nearly $1 billion in venture funding.

The grand prize winner was NG1 Tech, a startup based on Florida’s Gulf Coast.  It developed a diesel exhaust for large trucks and other heavy equipment that can improve fuel economy up to 20 percent, while reducing noise and soot. NG1 Tech won $200,000.

The sustainability prize winner was Drinkwell, a micro-franchise model to establish local water businesses in India and other South Asian nations where groundwater wells are tainted with arsenic. Drinkwell’s system delivers substantially more clean water using far less energy than reverse osmosis, the technology most commonly used to filter water.

This Boston-based startup accelerator program awarded $1.75 million to 16 startups. Among the Diamond –class winners was SQZ Biotech. This startup by two MIT researchers invented CellSqueeze , a flexible system that delivers molecules into cells by a gentle squeezing process. Another Diamond Award winner was Disease Diagnostic Group, which uses simple technologies like refrigerator magnets and laser points in a handheld device to diagnose malaria.