Kyma Supports UNC Charlotte Professor & Student in NSF I-Corps Program

Kyma Technologies, Inc., a leading supplier of advanced materials solutions that promote safety and energy efficiency, today announced the participation of their CEO, Keith Evans, in the role of business  mentor for a UNC Charlotte led team in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps) program.

The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to foster entrepreneurship that will lead to the commercialization of technology that has been supported previously by NSF-funded research. I-Corps Teams have three essential members: the principal investigator, the entrepreneurial lead and the mentor. Over a period of six months, each I-Corps Team learns what it will take to achieve an economic impact with their particular innovation. The I-Corps Curriculum enables Teams to systematically identify and address knowledge gaps in order to understand the most appropriate path forward for their technology concept.

The principal investigator for the team is Professor Edward Stokes, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UNCC. His graduate student Matthew Conway took on the role of entrepreneurial lead.

Over the past couple of years, with support from NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program, Professor Stokes’ research group has been developing a High-Pressure MOCVD for III-Nitride Semiconductor Devices. Their high pressure MOCVD tool design benefits from advanced computer flow dynamics (CFD) simulations carried out by UNCC Professor Mesbah Uddin, associate professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science and director of motorsports.

In the I-Corps program, the team evaluated a number of business models with a goal of finding one or more exciting paths for commercialization of the high pressure MOCVD technology.

Professor Stokes commented, "NSF i-Corps is a great program. Our team learned an enormous amount during the “customer discovery” process about the needs and perspectives of potential commercial users of our research. Their answers to our questions were not always what we thought they would be. The i-Corps program was especially beneficial in giving all the participating graduate students a crash course in real-world business. Finally, we deeply appreciated the opportunity to interact closely during the process with an experienced CEO like Keith Evans as our mentor.”

Dr. Evans added, “The I-Corps program is an outstanding opportunity for academics with potentially disruptive technologies to experience both the exhilaration and the many challenges of a high tech startup experience. Ed and Matt put a lot of quality time and energy into it, and the program helped us to gain critically important insight into several business growth opportunities, including but not limited to those which might benefit from HP MOCVD.”

About NSF I-Corps

The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) is a set of activities and programs that prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects.

While knowledge gained from NSF-supported basic research frequently advances a particular field of science or engineering, some results also show immediate potential for broader applicability and impact in the commercial world. Such results may be translated through I-Corps into technologies with near-term benefits for the economy and society.

Combining experience and guidance from established entrepreneurs with a targeted curriculum, I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches grantees to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to student participants.

I-Corps Teams--composed of academic researchers, student entrepreneurs and business mentors--participate in the I-Corps curriculum administered via online instruction and on-site activities through one of several I-Corps Nodes. Upcoming I-Corps Sites will catalyze additional groups to explore potential I-Corps Team projects and other entrepreneurial opportunities that build on basic research. Together, the I-Corps programs strengthen the innovation ecosystem at the local and national levels.

About Kyma Technologies

Kyma’s mission is to provide advanced materials solutions that promote safety and energy efficiency. Kyma’s products include a diverse portfolio of crystalline nitride semiconductor materials, crystal growth and fabrication equipment, and power switching electronics. Additionally, the company is developing a suite of novel chemical and electromagnetic field sensor technologies.

For more information about Kyma Technologies, visit www.kymatech.com, e-mail info@kymatech.com, or call the company directly at 919.789.8880.

Kyma is a registered trademark of Kyma Technologies, Inc.

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