NV: SSBCI Venture Capital Program Invests $500,000 Into Four Nevada Startups | Trade and Industry Development

NV: SSBCI Venture Capital Program Invests $500,000 Into Four Nevada Startups

Aug 22, 2023
Battle Born Venture, Nevada’s state-sponsored venture capital program operating under the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI),  provided $500,000 in capital to four Nevada startups: VisionAid, NeuroReserve, Adaract and Beloit Kombucha.

Battle Born Venture, Nevada’s state-sponsored venture capital program operating under the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI),  provided $500,000 in capital to four Nevada startups:

  • VisionAid
  • NeuroReserve
  • Adaract
  • Beloit Kombucha

“These four investments demonstrate that Nevada is both home to exciting startups and technologies as well as highly promising investment opportunities. Any Nevada startup currently raising an investment round should apply to us,” said Karsten Heise Senior Director of Strategic Programs & Innovation and SSBCI Program Administrator at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “We also strongly encourage any cross-regional or national venture capital or seed fund to reach out to us for participation in and benefiting from Nevada’s startup growth,” said Heise.

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed The American Rescue Plan Act, which reauthorized and funded the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The new version of the SSBCI program provides a combined $10 billion to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to empower small businesses to access capital needed to invest in job-creating opportunities as the country emerges from the pandemic. The funds will also support recipient jurisdictions in promoting American entrepreneurship and democratizing access to startup capital across the country, including in underserved communities. GOED oversees the Nevada SSBCI Program. It is operated by Nevada Battle Born Growth Escalator, Inc. a corporation for public benefit and 501(c)(3) non-profit created by GOED in 2016. Nevada’s SSBCI Program contains four loan programs and one venture capital program, Battle Born Venture.

VisionAid (Project Cornell) has developed to go to market as an electronic glasses product that is designed to improve visual performance for legally blind and low vision individuals.

"VisionAid, first known as 'Project Cornell', emerged from a profound personal mission,” said Dylan Stroud co-founder of the company. “My other co-founder Taylor Speegle and I initiated this journey to support my grandfather, Cornell, who faces the daily challenges of legal blindness. Stemming from this deeply personal motivation, our team pioneered the world's most advanced Eye Disease Simulator, now trusted by leading ophthalmologists and prestigious institutions like MIT. Gazing ahead, we're further delving into the vast potential of mixed reality, envisioning glasses designed to amplify human sight for the 350+ Million people suffering from advanced eye disease. In parallel, our CaneIQ smart cane initiative employs cutting-edge computer vision and ultrasonic technology, offering those with vision impairments a transformative way to navigate and engage with the world. The investment from Battle Born Growth at our critical early stages was pivotal in transitioning our personal mission into a global ambition,” said Stroud.

NeuroReserve, a nutritional supplement company focused on neurological health in the DTC/eCommerce channel. The company’s initial product, ELEVATE, is a brain supplement that fills the gaps between what most people eat, and the diets proven to be healthiest for the brain as well as reducing risk of neurodegenerative disease and dementia.

“There is a very personal motivation behind the founding of NeuroReserve, given my own family history of neurodegenerative disease,” said Dr. Edward Park, founder and President of NeuroReserve. Dr. Park, who holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA/MS from MIT, spent 16 years in biopharmaceuticals and medical devices before founding NeuroReserve. “My father’s battle with dementia and Parkinson’s disease had a tremendous impact on my family.  This experience, combined with my background in pharmaceuticals, nutrition, and experiences in start-ups and management consulting, led me to take the jump to form NeuroReserve.  We are proud to be a truly Nevada-wide startup, headquartered in Las Vegas with manufacturing and marketing of our products in Reno. In addition, we are committed and excited to transform brain degeneration preventive nutrition alongside researchers from UNLV and Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. The US faces an epidemic of aging-related brain disease, like Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and Nevada has the second fastest 65+ age population growth in the country, so it is natural for us to build NeuroReserve here,” said Dr. Park.   

“The commitment in research between the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Med School, Renown and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Biomarker Lab for Parkinson's/Alzheimer's shows that Nevada is a magnet for innovation in healthcare startups,” said Gene Wong Managing Partner of the Reno Seed Fund which led the investment round for NeuroReserve. “This co-investment with the SSBCI venture capital program builds upon RSF's commitment to healthcare-tech in this state,” said Wong.

Adaract is a Nevada-based startup that develops and markets high performance artificial muscle actuators.  Once developed, the resulting device would be lighter, stronger, and more affordable than currently available powered prostheses.

"Our work in the facilities at UNR together with our capital partners in Nevada, StartUpNV and Battle Born Venture, have propelled us forward in a significant way.  With the funding provided in this round, our novel actuator technology is seeing adoption in several industries from prosthetics to robotics and more" said Marcus D’Ambrosio co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Adaract.

"The public - university - private partnership in supporting Adaract is compelling" said Jeff Saling, Executive Director of StartUpNV which co-invested with Battle Born Venture under its accelerator arrangement. “I’d like to see more investments like this made in scalable university-based companies and founders like Adaract."

Beloit Kombucha (MightyWell Foods) manufactures and markets kombucha food products and additives to consumers that have claimed numerous health benefits including gut health.

“When we began the journey of bringing the very first powdered kombucha product to market, I could see right away that the Vegas area was a great hub for entrepreneurs. I didn’t, however, think that Nevada’s state-sponsored venture capital program Battle Born Venture (BBV) would be an option for us once we started to raise capital. Thankfully, I was wrong and pleasantly surprised when it became apparent that we had an opportunity to get them on our cap table. We just closed our seed round and BBV have been great partners. We look forward to their continued support and future collaboration and commitment as we scale up and keep growing the brand exponentially,” said Josh Sizemore, CEO, Mightywell Foods.

"gener8tor's partnership with Battle Born Venture enables early-stage investments into exciting Nevada startups such as VisionAid and Beloit Kombucha Company to kickstart community job creation. We are honored to continue our partnership with Battle Born Venture as it looks to support the next generation of Nevada entrepreneurs," said Joe Kirgues gener8tor’s co-founder.

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