The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center at CIT - In the News
PACKAGE DELIVERY: Teams made great strides on the package delivery front during IPP, and that progress will continue in BEYOND.
The Virginia team, led by the Center for Innovative Technology and with the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) FAA-designated UAS test site managing the projects, began the first residential drone package delivery program in late 2019 under Wing’s leadership. Drones now deliver goods from Walgreens, packages from FedEx, library books, orders from local restaurants and even Girl Scout cookies to Christiansburg residents, MAAP Director Tombo Jones said.
The deliveries began after about six months of community engagement, Jones said. Citizens had the opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns, making them comfortable with the drone flights—a key component of both IPP and BEYOND.
What Wing learned through this community outreach will carry over as delivery operations expand, Head of Regulatory Affairs Dallas Brooks said. Collaboration also has been critical, and is the only way to get to the regulations that will make drone delivery viable.
Writen by Nick Serfass, rvatech/CEO
The Commonwealth of Virginia recently announced that 34 small technology-focused businesses in Virginia will receive a total of $3.4 million in Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) grants to commercialize research in an array of sectors. Five of those companies hold strong ties to greater Richmond. In case you’re wondering who they are and what they do, we have the answers!
Two technology companies in Tysons have each received $100,000 grants as part of a new state initiative intended to support projects that turn research into commercial products or services.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday (Monday) that Virginia will award $3.4 million in grants to 34 small, technology-focused businesses for the inaugural round of the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF), which launched in 2020 to help advance promising technology through the development process.
The Tysons-based recipients are the cybersecurity company Onclave Networks, Inc. and Jeeva Informatics Solutions Inc. (JEEVA), which is developing a cloud platform to help medical researchers recruit and work with patients for clinical trials.
The CCF consolidated Virginia’s existing Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund and Virginia Research Investment Fund. Each of the Fiscal Year 2021 recipients received $100,000 and will provide matching funds.
June 17, 2021 - By John Furner, CEO and President, Walmart U.S.
In our ongoing effort to get customers the items they want, and fast, we know it will take a well-coordinated network of delivery solutions that span the streets, sidewalks and skies. Some of these solutions are still emerging, but they’re already showing encouraging results.
Last year, we partnered with DroneUp, a nationwide drone services provider, to launch trial deliveries of at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits. The trial demonstrated we could offer customers delivery in minutes versus hours. Now, after safely completing hundreds of drone deliveries from Walmart stores, we’re making an investment in DroneUp to continue our work toward developing a scalable last-mile delivery solution.
February 07, 2019 | CIT GAP Funds Invests in DroneUp to Revolutionize Commercial Drone Pilot Services | ‘Mission Match’ platform tracks pilot certification, experience and guarantees qualified pilots are alerted for matching missions
From left to right: Jackson Ward Collective co-founders Kelli Lemon, Rasheeda Creighton and Melody Short - Courtesy of Jackson Ward Collective - Story By Kaitlynn R. Copinger - June 07, 2021
While some progress has been made in diversifying Richmond's startup ecosystem, Black founders say they still lack access to a crucial piece of the puzzle - capital
"Now that the Richmond ecosystem has been talking about the challenges facing Black and other underrepresented founders for more than a year, what’s changed? And — perhaps more importantly — what work remains?"
"Funding: The Crucial Piece"
"...The Center for Innovative Technology, or CIT, launched the Virginia Founders Fund in 2018 and has since directed more than $3 million toward founder who are women, BIPOC and veterans, as well as those located outside of Northern Virginia.
There are aspirational, strategic and programmatic goals throughout the Fiscal Year 2022 operating plan that are dedicated to furthering our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts - especially in light of the national conversation about systematic racism,” spokeswoman Sara Poole
Last fall, CIT Gap Funds hosted a roundtable event to bring together BIPOC founders to discuss barriers to forming and funding minority-led startups, a discussion that is expected to yield changes going forward..."
"Acoustic lighthouses" broadcast sound to reduce avian collisions with manmade structures | CIT CRCF Awardee | In the News
Funding: This work was supported by the Center for Innovative Technology's Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund award MF18-029-En (https://www.cit.org/) to JPS, by the Animal Welfare Institute (https://awionline.org/), the Virginia Society of Ornithology (https://www.virginiabirds.org/), the Williamsburg Bird Club (http://williamsburgbirdclub.org/), and the Department of Arts and Sciences at William & Mary to TJB. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
A SpaceX advisor and other industry figures explain why the company's NASA partnership signals a new space age as they prepare for the Artemis mission | CIT GAP Funds Marco Rubin quoted in this article
By 2025, TemperPack wants to be the world’s largest sustainable packaging company. Four years ago, a $12 million investment from SJF Venture marked a turning point to helping the company reach that goal, Powers said.
More early stage funding can help the next clean tech startups take off, he said.
That’s where organizations like the Center for Innovative Technology are playing a role. CIT GAP Funds has made equity investments in 16 early-stage clean tech companies since 2007, investing $50,000 to $500,000 in each company over time, said Marco Rubin, Senior Investment Director...
With recent investment from CIT GAP Funds, the Northern Virginia software company plans to embrace the virtual office trend and boost small businesses.
CIT GAP Funds Portfolio Company recognized by Fast Company - The 10 most innovative dining companies of 2021
From restaurant ordering platforms Tock and Slice to dining innovators like Panera, Chipotle, and White Castle, these companies are feeding the industry with innovation.
Thanks to its comprehensive flight test sites, miles of open roads, a long coastline with access to open water and world-class rocket launch facilities, Virginia is a natural location to support all domains in the unmanned systems (UxS) industry: air, ground, sea and space. Despite a challenging year due to a worldwide health pandemic and the sluggish economy created by the virus, UxS continued to accelerate in Virginia as the industry accomplished many new milestones and achievements.
The project to connect Stafford County like never before is well underway.
Dubbed “Smart City Test Bed,” the project to remake the county into the state’s first-ever 5G-connected community is focused on how to reduce traffic, how to predict and detect flooding, and, maybe someday, guide a tourist to get a juicy hamburger at a locally-owned restaurant.
“Smart is bigger than technology,” said Stafford County Economic Development Director John Holden.
Last summer, the county signed an agreement with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), Virginia’s quasi-governmental agency, promising to work together to first blanket the area around the county’s courthouse with 5G wireless technology. That work is happening now.
Richmond-based startup AnswersNow has raised $1.8 million to help expand its online counseling service
A Richmond-based startup company that operates an online platform to help counsel parents of children with autism has raised $1.8 million to expand its services.
AnswersNow, which was founded in 2017, announced Tuesday that it had completed the seed funding round led by the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact and Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology.
As a result of the recent growth, Fringe has raised $2.2 million in new funding, in a round led by Sovereign’s Capital, with participation from Felton Group, Manchester Story, the Center for Innovative Technology, and angel investors, including Jaffray Woodriff. As part of this investment, the company also added longtime advisor William Boland, Senior Director of Corporate Development and Strategy at Mission Lane, to its Board of Directors.
A family of funds managed by the Center for Innovative Technology has invested about $1.8 million into Richmond-area startups in recent years.
Through partnerships with Richmond-area groups like Lighthouse Labs, Trolley Ventures, 1717 Innovation Center, Virginia Commonwealth University and Startup Virginia, CIT GAP Funds is “actively cultivating a growing pipeline,” said Managing Director Tom Weithman.
Stafford’s Smart City is beginning to materialize.
(Updated at 11:55 p.m.) More than 100 people have signed up to compete in Virginia’s inaugural Smart City Challenge, and organizers expect more to join in the coming weeks.
The proceedings kicked off on Saturday (Jan. 23) with remarks from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and panel discussions on how technology could be used to address societal challenges, from COVID-19 and natural disasters to the availability of healthy food and efficiency of traffic lights.
The month-long competition will conclude on Feb. 18 when participants pitch projects designed to improve modern communities by tackling issues in housing, transportation, health, education, and other sectors.
Named Virginia’s most active investor by CB Insights for the past six years, CIT GAP Funds’ investments have helped create more than 6,500 new jobs in the Commonwealth in the last 15 years, it reported this month... By Michelai Graham / STAFF
By Kaitlynn R. Copinger | January 19, 2021, 09:56am EST
A Virginia nonprofit organization wants to help young companies in strategically important industries commercialize their technology and create jobs in the commonwealth.
The Center for Innovative Technology believes a new fund will help them do just that.
The Commonwealth Commercialization Fund recently kicked off its first funding round with a plan to disperse $7 million in grants of up to $100,000 in 2021.
Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Technical Advisory Board ready to help make Virginia a global cybersecurity leader
The CCI Technology Advisory Board inaugural members are: (from top left) Elisa Bertino, Tracy Gregorio, David Ihrie, and Jim Mollenkopf; (from bottom left) Melur “Ram” Ramasubramanian, Zachary Tudor, Sennur Ulukus, and Dan Woolley.
The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) has tapped top cybersecurity leaders to provide strategic guidance as part of its inaugural Technical Advisory Board.
“The inaugural members represent some of the highest levels of industry, academia, and government and bring a wide array of experience and expertise, including running large research groups and developing innovation programs, said Luiz DaSilva, CCI executive director. “They’re also strong advocates for the initiative and their expertise will help us develop programs to further enhance cybersecurity workforce development and innovation within the commonwealth.”
The Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) on Thursday opened the application process for $7 million in grant funds from its new Commonwealth Commercialization Fund, focused on promoting innovation and technology commercialization initiatives.
"Richmond is home to a host of business incubators, nonprofits and educational initiatives that foster innovation and creativity; we look at what they do, the projects they support and what’s on the horizon..."
“CIT is focused on the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship in all sectors of Virginia, or all regions,” says Bob Stolle, president and CEO of CIT. “We have a variety of programs that provide direct investment into early-stage companies and seed-stage investment for equity positions in early-stage startups.”
3x CIT CRCF Awardee AgroSpheres, Inc. has been named a “top 20 innovative company to watch” for 2020 by Business Worldwide magazine
Cville-based AgroSpheres, Inc. has been named a “top 20 innovative company to watch” for 2020 by Business Worldwide magazine & featured in their latest issue! Check out pp. 40-43 to learn more about what this 3x CRCF awardee is developing:
The city of Fredericksburg is partnering with the Center for Innovative Technology to make Riverfront Park a "smart" location.
Running Headfirst into the Regulations
“At DroneUp, we run head first into the rules, not away from them” - Tom Walker, CEO
Around the same time Wing was obtaining its Part 135 certification, DroneUp was testing the limits of Part 107 with funding and researchers from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). At the former campus of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, the team conducted 200 drone flights and successfully delivered 1.275-pound payload packages to 10-foot diameter targets on 1500-foot round trips using off-the-shelf commercial tech within FAA Part 107 flight rules. This Operation Last Mile exercise involved 10 pilots working through seven test scenarios, including one dubbed “E-VLOS to determine variables in performance between test operations within visual line of sight of the remote pilot in charge (RPIC), and operations where visual line of sight (VLOS) of the RPIC is occluded by terrestrial obstructions.”
Fast forward in time. DroneUp is now routinely conducting short-range final mile deliveries of COVID-19 at-home self-collection kits under Part 107. At locations in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cheektowaga, New York near Buffalo and, more recently, El Paso, Texas, DroneUp is flying home self-collection and contactless at home COVID test kits with a forty-five minute turnaround time from order placement to doorstep. In a little more than seven weeks, the company has racked up 1,340 miles, 114 flight hours in local neighborhoods and hundreds of deliveries.
CIT Press 2020-2021