Research Foundation News

January 21, 2016  

Purdue startups advance to 'Gold' level funding in Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund

INDIANAPOLIS and WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Three Purdue-affiliated startups each received $60,000 in the first round of "Gold Award" funding from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund.

The fund provides support to new companies that are commercializing a Purdue University innovation. Startups can advance to a Gold Award level only after they have received a Black Award from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund.

"The Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund was established in 2014 as an initiative to provide funding to startups in the form of a $20,000 Black Award for their first round of funding and a Gold Award for a second tier of funding. The Gold Award is an incentive for these startups to progress and meet certain milestones," said John Hanak, director of venture capital and funding resources for the Purdue Foundry. "This is the first disbursement of funds for the Gold Award, and we are pleased with the advancement of the startups and with the success of this program."

Since its founding, the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund has committed Black Award funds totaling $620,000 to 31 startups.

"We are very impressed with the product development or revenue milestones these applications have been able to demonstrate" said Chris LaMothe, Elevate Ventures CEO. "Many of these companies have the potential to become viable investment candidates for other seed and early stage investment funds in the near future and propel their growth forward."

The startups receiving funding in this Gold Award round are all developing innovations that originated at Purdue University. These companies are:

* Akanocure Pharmaceuticals LLC, a life sciences startup developing a technology that could synthesize and develop anticancer chemotherapeutic drugs derived from natural sources.

* Jewell Laboratories LLC, a life sciences startup developing novel cyclodextrin polymer materials for applications in Niemann-Pick Type C disease, magnetic resonance imaging, and delivery of biotherapeutic agents.

* Skyepack LLC, a technology startup that is reducing the cost of education by helping to transition printed textbooks to a digital content platform.

Purdue students in the Student Managed Venture Fund provided due diligence reviews for companies that were eligible to receive Gold Award funding. The student teams are composed of competitively selected graduate students and seniors in the course, which is offered through the Krannert School of Management in collaboration with Purdue Research Foundation and the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

"The course is an experiential learning opportunity where students work directly with entrepreneurs working hard to make their startups a success," said Richard Cosier, the Leeds Professor and Krannert Dean Emeritus. "The reports that the students generate and present evaluating the startups applying for funds are comprehensive and provide invaluable information to the selection committee."

Students participating in this year's Student Managed Venture Fund course were Nicholas DeNardo, Mitchell Griffin, Haejin Kim, Ravindran Rajesvaran, Dana Relation, David Rennard, Maria Rompf, Joel Stubbs and George Symons.

The Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund is operated jointly by the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurial and startup hub located on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus, and Elevate Ventures, a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-potential businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies.

Startups eligible to receive funds from the program also must be a Purdue Foundry client, be led by Purdue students, faculty or staff, and/or based on intellectual property patented through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.

As part of the collaboration to support entrepreneurial activity in Indiana, Elevate Ventures also provides support for four entrepreneurial advisers to work in Purdue Foundry.

The program is part of a three-year, $2 million targeted investment program through collaboration among Purdue Foundry, Elevate Ventures and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

For more information, entrepreneurs can contact an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Purdue Foundry or John Hanak at 765-588-5255,

About the Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship where professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. The Purdue Foundry is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the International Business Innovation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at

About Elevate Ventures

Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-potential businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies. Elevate Ventures accomplishes this by providing access to capital, rigorous business analysis and robust advisory services that connect companies with the right mix of resources businesses need to succeed long-term. As a not-for-profit organization, Elevate Ventures is able to offer unbiased, in-depth perspective and recommendations. To learn more about Elevate Ventures, its team and its funds under management, visit 

Media Contacts: Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340,

Alex Bowers, 317-252-0258,   

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