FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 17, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that nine innovative Kentucky companies will receive over $1 million in state matching grants to support high-paying jobs and further grow the state’s technology sector.
The $1,072,404 in grants are part of the commonwealth’s nationally recognized Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program. The funds will match, in part, $7.45 million in federal grants the businesses will collectively receive.
“The only way to ensure Kentucky remains at the forefront of innovation is to heavily invest in the resources that these tech companies need to grow,” said Gov. Beshear. “The program provides incredible opportunities for innovative, startup tech companies throughout the commonwealth to succeed and create well-paying jobs. Creating an economy of the future starts with the actions we take today, and I am thrilled to see all that these companies can achieve here in the commonwealth.”
Monique Quarterman, executive director of KY Innovation, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is encouraged by the SBIR-STTR program and what it can bring to companies in the commonwealth: “KY Innovation is proud to support Kentucky companies that have secured federal investments for good ideas that make our world an even better place to live and thrive. The matching funds program works alongside the product development milestones to help the companies hire and retain these high-tech, high-paying jobs in Kentucky.”
The nine Kentucky-based businesses awarded matching funds are using technology to advance multiple fields, from health care and lithium-ion battery technology to environmentally friendly hydrogen production. Recipient companies include:
Bioptics Technology LLC (Lexington):
Bioptics Technology is developing a revolutionary noncontact optical brain imager for noninvasive imaging of cerebral blood flow and resting-state functional connectivity across distinct regions of the brain in small animals. The Global Small Animal Imaging Market size is estimated to reach $3.5 billion by 2029, driven by growing demand and adoption of preclinical, multimodal and optical imaging systems.
Faradine Systems (Lexington):
Faradine Systems, in partnership with goTenna, seeks to develop a device to serve as a Team Awareness Kit/Tactical Assault Kit meshed networked node. This solution will enable warfighters to create rapidly configurable signaling devices to extend situational awareness and visual/data communications through overt/covert light devices on the complex battlefields of tomorrow.
Degranin Therapeutics LLC (Louisville):
Degranin Therapeutics is an early-stage Kentucky business formed to translate academic research performed at the University of Louisville into a commercially successful drug that saves lives and reduces health care costs. Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a rapidly developing, life-threatening lung disease occurring in 200,000 to 250,000 hospitalized patients in the United States each year, with an average cost of $70,000 per patient and a 30% to 40% mortality rate. There are no drugs currently approved that alter the severity or mortality of the disease.
DesiCorp Inc. (Louisville):
DesiCorp is working to help advanced biomanufacturing plants so that in the event of mass contamination cells or large-scale cell death the cell lines or other bioprocesses can be quickly restored to an operational system. DesiCorp’s freeze-dried cell lines will help prevent costly downtime within plants and labs to recultivate or completely regrow their cell lines.
FetalLife LLC (Louisville):
FetalLife is creating a myFetalTronics system for telehealth and usability in an at-home setting for expectant mothers. The system monitors contractions and fetal heartbeat while the platform provides online medical services and resources.
Hexalayer LLC (Louisville):
Hexalayer is focused on the development and commercialization of next-generation, high-performance lithium-ion battery technology. The company’s next project incorporates a powder for the roll-roll anode manufacturing process. Hexalayer’s solution for powerful batteries will have a significant worldwide impact on the energy density of current and emerging Li-ion batteries in both consumer and military markets.
Pascal Tags Inc. (Louisville):
Pascal Tags is focused on continued development and optimization of their chip-less inventory tag. The technology uses a resonator to enable a magnetic field to be created when in the environment of radiofrequency waves. The tags offer a radiofrequency identification functionality with an extremely cost-effective tag. The tags have many unique applications of being durable, as the tags can be directly printed and embedded into a product, to act as a universal serial number for the life of a product.
PCC Hydrogen Inc. (Louisville):
PCC Hydrogen (PCCH2) has developed a patented process to produce net negative CO2 green hydrogen by reforming ethanol fuel. The company will develop applications for the hydrogen produced through its novel production process. PCCH2 has identified battery electric vehicle (BEV) recharging stations as an attractive application for PCCH2’s hydrogen product. Given the dynamic growth of BEV’s, there is an urgent need to expand the number of Level 3 fast-charging resources for Kentucky drivers. PCCH2’s net negative CO2 green hydrogen, when coupled with a fuel cell, can cost-effectively deliver environmentally friendly Level 3 charging power to prospective customers. Since those chargers are independent of the grid, deployment can be accelerated.
The-Corps (Locating from California):
The-Corps’ TRL 7 Acclimate technology system combats heat stress and heat illness by providing smart, active cooling to the user coupled with hydration that is compatible with donned gear configurations. This enables the user to train harder, perform better and fight longer. Acclimates’ dual-use technology is at the forefront of the Human Capital Sustainment and Human Performance Enhancement revolution for troop and athlete endurance training, meeting both Department of Defense and commercial sector needs.
Kentucky’s SBIR/STTR program, overseen by KY Innovation, provides critical non-dilutive capital for promising early-stage tech companies by matching all or part of federal SBIR/STTR awards received by Kentucky-based businesses or companies committed to relocating to the state.
William Boatright, managing director of VerraGlo, which received SBIR/STTR funding in 2021, noted the advantages the program provided to his company: “The Kentucky SBIR/STTR Phase I matching funds award was critical as bridge funding between our USDA Phase I and USDA Phase II projects. The program allowed for continued product development and development of commercialization activities at VerraGlo. It is quite likely that without the Kentucky SBIR/STTR Phase I matching funds award our SBIR Phase II award would not have been possible.”
To date, Kentucky SBIR/STTR-awarded companies have leveraged the state’s matching program to receive $4.70 in federal or private capital for every $1 in state funds. These businesses also have created more than 731 well-paying jobs, 88% of which have annual salaries over $50,000. Match recipients have 235 patents and generated more than $56.90 million in sales and licensing revenue. Kentucky has made 319 match awards to 152 unique companies since the program’s inception, leveraging $158.5 million in federal funding coming into the state.
More information on Kentucky’s SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program and awarded companies awarded is available at kyinnovation.com/sbir.
The SBIR/STTR-awarded companies furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
Last month, Gov. Beshear announced there are more than 2 million jobs filled in Kentucky – the most in state history – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its federal survey of business establishments. And the Governor highlighted that 57,000 new jobs have been filled since the beginning of his administration.
The Governor recently announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 860 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $26.8 billion in announced investments.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduces its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.
Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history. In July 2023, the state reported receipts for fiscal year 2023 totaling $15.1 billion, which exceeded budgeted estimates by $1.4 billion, making it the largest revenue surplus in history.
Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.