Local Company Ranks First in Texas A&M New Ventures Competition | Latest titles

With thousands of dollars at stake, six Texas companies had to impress a panel of judges with a 20-minute presentation and question-and-answer session at Thursday’s Texas A&M New Ventures competition.

Local company FluxWorks LLC received the top prize of $35,000 for its magnetic gear technology, which improved reliability and reduced maintenance costs compared to its mechanical gear counterpart.

Bryton Praslicka, President and CEO of FluxWorks LLC, said they are pursuing the free drone market due to the growth in the industry. Using its magnetic gear technology, Praslicka said the company plans to reduce drone noise by 83% and reduce CO2 emissions by having more operational electric delivery drones.

Praslicka said the contest is hugely important for startups like his and goes far beyond the cash prize. One of the reasons the company entered the contest was to find more business leaders to join their team.

“To be in a room full of experienced Aggies who have taken companies from an idea to a commercial product, getting this intangible wisdom from them, this mentorship from them, and just getting the feedback from the judges has been amazing,” said Praslicka.

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The company is in partnership with Texas A&M University and was built from 13 years of research and development at the university’s Advanced Electrical Machinery and Power Electronics Laboratory, Praslicka said.

“We love this community,” he said. “This community has given us back; we want to give back to this community, and then there is also the proximity to research and the excellent talents that are here.

Over the next two years, FluxWorks LLC will use three Small Business Research Innovation Grants to develop six units of its product, the Magnetic Gear Integrated Motor, Praslicka said. By 2023, Praslicka hopes to be able to put its product on a drone platform and conduct pilot testing at the Bush Combat Development Center.

“It’s exciting. It means people believe in our technology and see the value in it not just because it’s clean, not just because it’s green, but because it makes business sense. Praslicka said, “This is my PhD work. I worked on it around the clock for three years.”

What stood out from FluxWorks LLC was its highly technical founder who knew exactly what to surround himself with going forward, said contest judge Alex Arevalos, CEO of Starling Medical and winner of last year’s event. .

“Just the number of potential applications from a market perspective for this technology, the speed at which they could bring it to market and a lot of the narrative made sense of how they could bring value to their customers,” Arevalos said.

Arevalos said start-ups have the opportunity to prove their ability by delivering their story in the competition. After winning last year, Starling Medical reinvested the prize money into product development to enable the generation of key data milestones that led to additional funding, Arevalos said.

“These small cash prizes mean so much to start-ups where they can continue to turn this into further success,” he said. “Small businesses just need a little break and if they have the right team, then they could turn that little break into something big.”

Unlike other competitions, Texas A&M New Ventures does not limit companies based on their type of technology as long as their technology is related to science or engineering, according to Chris Scotti, president of the Texas A&M New Ventures competition and Director of New Ventures, TAMU Innovation Partners.

“It’s different in that it’s not like your student or idea competition,” Scotti said. “It has to be real companies that have a management team in place. They have real technology that is patentable or protectable.

The event both recognizes and catalyzes the growth of top Texas startups while providing them with the resources and connections to succeed, Scotti said. This year, $475,000 was split between finalists and semi-finalists who participated in a one-minute whirlwind pitch contest.

“For companies at this stage, it’s extremely difficult to find financing,” Scotti said. “It’s hard to find traction and recognition in the market. Finding the right mentors or even a new CEO for the company is difficult. »

Scotti said the competition also offers companies the opportunity to do business with Texas A&M or possibly move their business to the Brazos Valley. The Texas A&M Health Science Center sponsored an award this year that would provide a grant to perform sponsored research at Texas A&M, Scotti said.

“One of our major sponsors is the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation,” Scotti said. “The reason they’re doing this is that they’ll have the opportunity to stand in front of these businesses to kind of expose them to all that our area has to offer.”

The event has given away $2.4 million in prizes over eight years and more than $376 million has been raised by competing companies. Scotti said 98% of finalists and 86% of semi-finalists are still active.

“We’ve had former contestants come back and do something called the Winner’s Circle Legacy Prize,” Scotti said. “These are past winners who have done well to come back, write a check and choose a special prize winner, so it’s like giving it back.

“It’s like completing the cycle. Look for something, grow the business, that business gives back to the organization that helped it, and I can see this one snowballing. It’s exciting to see.

Gladys T. Hensley