SUNY Chancellor Johnson Awards $50,000 in Seed Funding to Winner of High-Tech Start-Up Pitch Competition at SUNY Polytechnic Institute

September 17, 2019

Event Connects High-Tech SUNY-Based Entrepreneurs with Nation’s Largest Source of Seed Funding

Re-Nuble Awarded First-Ever TAF MVP

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson today awarded the first Technology Accelerator Fund Most Valuable Pitch (TAF MVP) winner, a high-tech start-up company competition, which capped a day-long event for New York State entrepreneurs at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Re-Nuble, which develops an on-site nutrient system for farmers to manufacture their own fertilizer, won the competition and was presented with a $50,000 check as seed funding to help the start-up commercialize its product.

"This competition is a great example of New Yorkers, particularly our students and faculty, utilizing their talents, skills, and entrepreneur spirit to develop the latest cutting edge technology and innovation into valuable products," said SUNY Chancellor Johnson, an engineer and entrepreneur herself during her career. "I applaud Re-Nuble on their winning pitch, and will continue to follow the exciting work of each of these ten up-and-coming companies."

The competition featured pitches from 10 start-up companies currently working with some of the world’s most advanced technologies. Each start-up is affiliated with a SUNY campus business incubator or accelerator program. The pitch competition followed an all-day event hosted in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which welcomed the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Road Tour on its first-ever visit to Albany. SBIR is a major national source of funding for start-up companies on the verge of commercialization, investing $3 billion annually. Nearly two dozen agency administrators attended the event, meeting with about 275 entrepreneurs to provide feedback and help them refine their ideas.

"SUNY is proud to connect some of our most inventive and entrepreneurial minds to this key source of federal seed funding," said SUNY Polytechnic Interim President/SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Grace Wang. "We are committed to helping our SUNY-based start-ups convert cutting edge research into market-ready products and services that can stimulate economic growth and lead to advancements in a variety of important fields."

"Every year, we meet entrepreneurs from around the country looking to turn their big idea into another great American innovation story. We are committed to supporting America’s small businesses owners wherever they are," said SBA Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton. "This tour reflects our continued commitment to ensuring that these innovators are aware of SBA’s resources to help them reach that goal."

Joining SUNY and the SBA in sponsoring the Albany SBIR Tour are SUNY Summer Startup School, NY Small Business Development Center, Innovate 518, UAlbany Innovation Center,, NYSTAR, and Empire State Development.

The SUNY TAF MVP Competitors include:

  • Aviate Audio was founded in 2017 and is developing a wireless device for musicians who use traditional ‘effects pedals’ or ‘stomp boxes that can be controlled by the musician at the instrument. Aviate Audio is a University at Buffalo Incubator client.
  • beYOUty Tech was founded in 2019 and is developing technology to enable real-time personalization of beauty products for every user. beYOUty Tech is a member of the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator at Binghamton University.
  • Excelsior Biofilms was founded in 2017 and is developing a way to treat microbial biofilm infections beginning with wound dressings. Technology invented at Binghamton University. Excelsior Biofilms is also a member of Koffman Southern Tier Incubator at Binghamton University.
  • Ferric Contrast was founded in 2017 and is developing an iron-based replacement for gadolinium-based Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) contrast agents. Technology invented at the University at Buffalo. Ferric Contrast is also a University at Buffalo Incubator client.
  • FlexSurface was founded in 2014 and is developing a new catalyst technology which will meet the increasingly stringent emissions regulations and will replace systems that contain low levels of Platinum Group Metals. This technology was developed at Binghamton University.
  • Mechanismic was founded in 2017 and is developing a kit called SnappyXO which will deliver an all new way to engage students using STEM robotics. This technology was invented at Stony Brook University.
  • POP Biotechnologies was founded in 2016 and is developing a versatile platform that can be used for rapid, cost-effective screening, development and manufacturing of vaccines. POP Biotechnologies is a University at Buffalo Incubator client.
  • Re-Nuble was founded in 2011 and is developing an on-site nutrient system that enables farmers to manufacture their own fertilizer on-site using otherwise unusable waste produce. Re-Nuble is a client of the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program at Stony Brook University.
  • SupreMEtric was founded in 2019 and is developing a new tool for on-site crime investigation in the form of a portable device for non-destructive and confirmatory identification of all bodily fluids. This technology was invented at the University at Albany.
  • sxRNA was founded in 2017 and is developing a mechanism to perform RNA switches which can then be integrated into many applications new including RNA-based medicines, diagnostics, and molecular tools. This technology was developed at the University at Albany and SUNY Poly.
About SUNY’s Technology Accelerator Fund

Launched in 2011, TAF strategically invests in SUNY’s most disruptive innovations developed by faculty and students to accelerate their development and commercialization. SUNY and its Research Foundation have invested over $2.8 million to successfully advance the commercial readiness of 50 SUNY innovations. The program has also catalyzed the investment of an additional $14.5 million from external partners, including federal agencies, industry licensees and angel investors.


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications