SioTeX Corporation, a company formed by an interdisciplinary team of Texas State University graduate students, has won the $10,000 top prize in the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) business plan competition during this year’s AUTM Venture Forum held during the AUTM 2016 Annual Meeting in San Diego.
SioTex is a San Marcos-based startup that manufactures a low-cost, eco-friendly alternative to fumed silica called Eco-Sil. Fumed silica is a common specialty performance additive, typically used to modify viscosity in hundreds of industries and applications including paints, plastics and tires. SioTeX uses rice hulls, an abundant low-cost biowaste, as a raw material. The specialty chemical company was formed in December 2013 and is built around advancing a technology developed by Haoran Chen, the first Ph.D. graduate in Texas State’s Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) program.
“Many manufacturers are experiencing pressure to switch to more sustainable raw materials. Switching to Eco-Sil will provide customers with an eco-friendly and low-cost alternative to conventional production on the market today,” said Lisa Taylor, co-founder and vice president of sales and marketing for SioTeX.
SioTex was among four finalists who made their pitch to venture capitalists at AUTM’s Venture Forum. The other finalists included Adranos Energetics, LLC (Purdue University), developers of a more powerful and environmentally-friendly solid rocket propellant; Clear Bio (Rutgers University), a biotechnology company providing researchers with improved bio-imaging of tissues; and InBrace (University of Southern California), developers of an invisible orthodontic appliance for faster, more effective treatment of malocclusion. The final four were selected out of 46 total submissions.
"The AUTM Venture Forum is an exciting example of the many ways new technologies are coming out of research universities all over the world and moving into the commercial marketplace,” said AUTM President Dave Winwood. “It allows us to bring real-world examples of how universities are working with industry to create products and services that are truly improving lives and making the world a better place.”
The AUTM 2016 Venture Forum, which was sponsored by Haiyin Capital, Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP and Startup Compete, provided attendees an opportunity to hear from and interact with some of the top institutional and corporate venture investors in the country.
The Association of University Technology Managers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing research to life by supporting and enhancing the global academic technology transfer profession through education, professional development, partnering and advocacy. AUTM’s more than 3,300 members represent managers of intellectual property from more than 350 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals around the world as well as numerous businesses and government organizations. To learn more about AUTM, visit www.autm.net.