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In this Issue: | WET Member Highlight | In the News | Team Member Highlight: Lonny Grafman | Upcoming Events & Webinars | Funding & Other Opportunities | Did You Know?
A Year in Review!

As the year comes to a close, we would like to take a trip down memory lane and share a few standout stories, key impacts, and successes. This year, we most certainly (and boldly!) provided access to commercialization services that dramatically accelerated the rate of innovation and growth of water, energy, and ag technology in the Central Valley and beyond. 

Standout Stories   

May - WET Center facilities expansion – Renovations complete and WET North is open for business 

Renovations were completed at WET North! The 2,700 sq. ft. facility doubles the number of office spaces available for startups and provides more flexible meeting and working space. 

Two Valley Ventures cohorts graduate this year! 

COhort 1

cohort 2

July - BlueTechValley holds first CEO Crash Course

The three-day course kicked off on July 18th, providing 20 entrepreneurs with the opportunity to learn from experts. Key areas of running a business were covered with concrete steps to take to advance their ventures including marketing, human resources, funding, and business model development. 

October - Perigo Welding Works receives $150,000 grant from the California Clean Energy Fund Awards as a CalSEED Concept Winner

Perigo Welding Works was selected as the recipient of the CalSEED Concept Award out of a field of more than 400 applicants. The CalSEED award will help Perigo Welding Works continue their mission to use knowledge, experience, and resources to assist those in the greater Central Valley and beyond. 

November – The 2018 Central Valley Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum announces winners 

The 2018 Central Valley Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum continued their mission - to boldly shape the Valley’s entrepreneurial landscape. Congratulations to Mazen Animal Health, Inc. for winning the Entrepreneur Showcase Judges Award, MadJack Snow Sports for winning the Entrepreneur Showcase Innovation Award, and to Five Microns for winning the Stock Exchange Audience Award!

 To view more stories visit our press room

what a spectacular year

Key Impacts

We are proud to share that in 2018 we had:  87 ventures engaged with BTV, 72 events, workshops, and webinars, 44 million dollars raised by BTV ventures, 33 Technology Innovation Evaluation (TIE) meetings, and 27 Valley Ventures Accelerator graduates!
Our success is made possible by so many dedicated, hardworking people including the BTV Innovation Cluster team, Hubs, and Partners; the WET Center incubator and Valley Ventures accelerator; our industry instructors and mentors; and the inspiring inventors and entrepreneurs we have the pleasure to work with. We wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and look forward to a busy 2019. 

Wells Fargo donates $25,000 to the WET Center!

Wells Fargo has graciously donated $25,000 to the WET Center to support the continued development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, which includes programs such as the BTV Innovation Cluster and Valley Ventures.

Funding is part of Wells Fargo’s Clean Tech and Innovation Philanthropy commitment, which supports incubator, accelerator, and university programs that foster innovation and support entrepreneurs in developing clean technology and agricultural technology solutions. 
Donations like these help us continue to make a bold impact in water, energy, ag technology and beyond.
  WET Member Highlight

We are proud to highlight Upcycle & Company for this month’s WET Member highlight!

Upcycle and Company is a regenerative and sustainable agriculture company offering natural, chemical free, inexpensive fertilizer made from organic waste that can grow nutrient-dense fruit and vegetables.

Founder and CEO of Upcycle & Company, Jared Criscuolo, spoke to us what inspired him to create his company and how BlueTechValley has helped them.


“BlueTechValley and in particular the CEO Crash Course and Valley Ventures Accelerator has been a pivotal part of the development of Upcycle & Co.,” said Criscuolo. “The connections and relationships with the university were extremely helpful in honing in on our commercial niche, building out our sales funnel, and identifying prospects within those niche markets.” 

“Upcycle was started with the intention of solving an environmental problem (managing waste that is being landfilled or shipped around the United States and in some cases globally), but ended up exposing a far greater and global problem set that we are honed in on today.” 

Criscuolo said that he is extremely grateful for the opportunities and new relationships that the CEO Crash Course and Valley Ventures have provided. 

“It introduced us to an entirely new network of people directly in our space - both potential customers and other entrepreneurs who are working to help farmers and the agricultural community be more profitable, and to help deliver healthier, more nutrient-dense and cost-effective food products to Americans and foreign customers,” said Criscuolo. “I highly recommend startups to early-stage businesses, and would encourage established agricultural businesses in this space apply and participate.”

Click here to learn more about Upcycle and Co., click here.


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  In The News     

waterbit precision ag


Precision agriculture by water and air

Anderson Barkow, VP of Finance at BoxPower, on replacing the world’s diesel generators – Princeton Profile  Central Valley Angel Group Invests in Biotech Company – Mazen Animal Health

WET Center resident Waterbit is helping farmers and agronomists combine data with instant access into real-time irrigation decisions with a goal of monitoring soil moisture more accurately and improving water use efficiency!  

Click here to read more.

Valley Ventures member, Anderson Barkow of BoxPower was recently highlighted on Princeton's Profile Blog, where he discusses how BoxPower came to be, the challenges he faced, and more. We are proud to assist entrepreneurs in starting and growing their innovative business ideas! 

Click here to read more.

The Central Valley Angel Group (CVAG) of Fresno has recently added 2018 Central Valley Innovation and Entrepreneurship award winner, Mazen Animal Health Inc. to its investment portfolio for their innovative progress made in the field of animal science.

CVAG collaborates with the WET Center, BTV Innovation Cluster, and Valley Ventures programs.  

Click here to read more.

 Helping our sister campuses affected by wildfires

The wildfires raging in multiple regions of our state continue to have devastating effects, and many members of the CSU family have been directly impacted. With holiday giving in mind, please consider lending a helping hand to our fellow CSU students, faculty and staff who are still dealing with or recovering from the recent wildfires.

Links for the recovery fund sites to support faculty, staff, and students within the CSU can be found here.

Let’s find solutions:  California’s first Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit

wildfire technology summit

California's Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is sponsoring the Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit on March 20-21, 2019 in Sacramento. The Summit is designed to initiate an ongoing dialogue between the technology industry, academic researchers, utilities and government on the needs and tools to address wildfire challenges.

“We cannot just accept devastating wildfires as the new normal. California is the global leader in technology and innovation. We can develop game-changing solutions and get ahead of this problem,” says CPUC President Michael Picker. 
For more information, click here

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  Team Member Highlight: Lonny Grafman  
  lonny 2

Lonny Grafman spearheads the BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster Hub at Humboldt State. For over a year and a half, he has been reaching out and finding underserved entrepreneurs in remote communities in Northern California. Grafman has also spent many years collaborating on a wide variety of projects in the United States and all over the world. “I enjoy bringing students and community members together to learn and build things.”

Grafman serves as Sustainability Advisor and Project Manager for Swale, a public floating food forest that travels to piers in New York City. “It goes from neighborhood to neighborhood, dock to dock,” Grafman said. “People can come aboard and pick food for free and learn about soil, plants and sea level rise.” 


He and his team work with local grade schools, junior highs, and high schools to create 

curriculum about renewable energy projects and also about water and agriculture. “We work with schools to develop sustainable infrastructures like edible landscaping, rainwater catchment, gardens, and renewable energy” 

“I love my work because it is challenging every day,” Grafman said. “When you’re working with projects, community development and entrepreneurship, it can take a really long time to know if you’re being successful.” He feels that while the technological challenges are difficult, the interpersonal challenges are really intriguing. “I love the interpersonal challenges,” Grafman said. “You can’t solve them, but you can always try to get better and better.” 

Grafman earned dual degrees from Humboldt State University in physical science and mathematics and is now an engineering instructor within the university’s Environmental Resources Engineering Department. He is the CPO of Nexi, a company that makes energy visible. His favorite hobby is dancing and he is the proud author of To Catch the Rain.


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   Upcoming Events & Webinars


Berkeley Law New Business Practicum Legal Workshop 

BlueTechValley, in partnership with Berkeley Law’s New Business Practicum, offers FREE webinars and workshops that focus on different legal areas of establishing and running a business. The next event is:

Planning Your Trip to Capital Land
December 21, 2018 at 11:30 a.m.
Click here to register.

Economic Forecast Conference 2019 - Redding
Thursday, January 10, 2019 
8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Join the North State's top leaders for a solution-oriented, engaging day where we will explore ‘The "New Collar" Workforce’, ‘How are We Preparing for the Next Era’ and more!

Click here for more information or call 530-898-4598.

economic forecast conference 2019

Start Up
Monterey Bay
January 25-27, 2019 at CSUMB University Center

Each January CSUMB hosts the local Startup Weekend, a 54-hour immersive event in which budding entrepreneurs, developers, and designers gather, pitch an idea, or just join a team, and spend the entire weekend designing the next great venture.
Come pitch your great idea and become the next big thing in this region!
Click here for more information.


Big Bang! Business Competition

Define and Validate Your Business Model

Thursday, January 17, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
UC Davis, 1213 Gallagher Hall

A new venture’s business model defines how the venture brings together the technology, market, and business opportunities available to it, as well as how the business plans to make money (and how much). This workshop covers basic business models and provides hands-on instruction on how to evaluate the best model for your business.

RSVP here.
Watch Livestream here.

COMPETITION DEADLINE: Early Round 1 Deadline (Optional)

Friday, January 25 by 11:59 p.m.
Early submissions will receive feedback on Executive Summary prior to February 21 Revised Executive Summary deadline.  

For more information, click here

Define Your Customer and the Market + Customer Calls
Thursday, January 31, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
UC Davis, 1213 Gallagher Hall

Understanding the needs of your customer is one of the most important first steps in any new venture. Learn to identify your market segment and customers, and evaluate whether (and how much) those customers value your product, service or business solution. This session will help you develop questions to ask a potential customer in order to better validate your market, competitors, and customers.

RSVP here
Watch Livestream here.

Cleantech Meetup -- Solar Energy
Thursday, January 24, 5:30 - 8:30 pm

Cleantech Meetup is a technology-focused monthly gathering that features presentations about products and technologies from companies that are already in operation! This Meetup focuses on solar energy. 

Click here to RSVP. 


Funding & Other Opportunities 

  U.S. Department of Energy - SBIR/STTR Grants

Grant applications are sought in the following topics: 

1. Cell-Free Biochemical Platforms to Optimize Biomass Carbon Conversion Efficiency
2. Reshaping Plastic Design and Degradation for the Bioeconomy
3. Algae Engineering Incubator

Grant applications are sought in the following topics: 

1. Technology Transfer Opportunity: Real-Time Series Resistance Monitoring in Photovoltaic Systems
2. Technology Transfer Opportunity: PV Module Soiling Spectral Deposition Detector
3. Storage Technologies to Enable Low-Cost Dispatchable Solar Photovoltaic Generation
4. Hardened Solar System Design and Operation for Recovery from Extreme Events
5. Rural Solar
6. Affordability, Reliability, and Performance of Solar Technologies on the Grid


To learn more about these grant opportunities, please click here.

Food Production Investment Program Second Solicitation Released
Deadline to Submit Application: February 11, 2019, by 5:00 p.m

The second solicitation for the Food Production Investment Program has been released. There is $30 million available to fund drop-in energy technologies and emerging energy technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions at food production facilities.

Click here to learn more information.

Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities
for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program

The Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to non-profits to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector.
Click here to learn more.

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 Did you know?
  Did you know that the Technology Innovation Evaluation (TIE) is a vetting process that inventors and entrepreneurs may utilize to move their new technology from concept to commercialization?

Creating and supporting innovation economics is the overall goal of the TIE process. Click here to learn more.

  Our offices will be closed December 24, 2018 through January 1, 2019.

We will see you in the New Year!

happy holidays 

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