Cincinnati’s local startup scene has grown tremendously in recent years. Composed partially of new endeavors in the life science and biotech fields, business is booming, and it’s due in part to partnerships and funding from CincyTech.
CincyTech serves as one of the most active sources of seed funding in the Midwest and has helped entrepreneurs evolve. It has played an instrumental role in the development of 40 active portfolio companies and the creation of 1,049 jobs.
One such company is Eccrine Systems, Inc., which was launched by Professor Jason Heikenfeld, who serves as vice president for commercialization of the University of Cincinnati’s Office of Innovation, in addition to director of its Novel Device Laboratory.
Eccrine Systems develops “sweatronics,” or wearable technology capable of measuring sweat noninvasively to garner valuable data — key when it comes to knowledge needed for advancements in fields pertaining to medicine, industry, and sport.
“At UC, I knew our sweat biosensing was a startup — not a license play — but I was struggling envisioning the right business model,” Heikenfeld says. “That all changed within the first 15 minutes of my meeting with Robert Beech who was at that time a CincyTech entrepreneur-in-residence, and who went on to co-found the company with me in 2013.”
Eccrine Systems grew out of the UC Accelerator — a partnership consisting of UC, CincyTech, and the state of Ohio, which helps seed new startup opportunities.
Heikenfeld says he is fortunate to have so many powerful regional partners, as it’s what enabled Eccrine Systems to go from an original concept of monitoring the physiological status of Air Force personnel during missions to the development of an accurate and first-of-its-kind device that biosamples and measure sweat.
“We hope to partner even more frequently and deeply with the region as well, as we launch this year our new physical UC Accelerator for startups in the 1819 Innovation Hub,” Heikenfeld says. “You can absolutely bet biotech will be one of our major foci.”