Melanie G. Watson, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering, recently received one of the first two awards from Indiana's Elevate Ventures' new Community Ideation Fund.
The funds will be used by Watson's company, Blaire Biomedical, in its work to develop a handheld device that performs multiple blood tests in real time when linked to a smartphone. The project already received a $1,000 micro-grant from the elevate northeast indiana Farnsworth Fund earlier in the summer.
The Community Ideation Fund, created in 2018, enables ideation-stage high-potential companies to move closer to a specific, measurable technology or product development milestones through an investment between $5,000 and $20,000. Eligible applicants include Indiana-based companies with headquarters in communities under a partnership with Elevate Ventures, and with no more than $50,000 in trailing revenue over the past 12-month period.
Elevate Ventures, a venture development organization based in Indianapolis, provides entrepreneurs with the expertise and resources needed to transform ideas into profit-making companies. The Community Ideation Fund $17,500 convertible note will help Watson move ahead with final development of the blood-testing device by hiring a part-time design engineer.
The device prototype is now in its eighth iteration, following more than five years of research and development, with significant research support coming from Trine University students. The project has been the basis of senior design projects over the past four years.
Trine student groups have developed methods of separating blood into components for the various medical tests, designed a case than can fit on an iPhone, developed a blood testing cartridge and developed an application to allow results to be read on the phone.