TechNexus Launches Year Two of its Venture Collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, Catalyzing First Responder Innovation

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Following the model it has taken with corporate partners and the success of the pilot EMERGE accelerator last year, TechNexus continues its partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) and the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) with support from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to accelerate the development of innovative technology for first responders.

TechNexus and its partner, CIT, are working together again to drive innovation in the first responder market with the Department of Homeland Security and dozens of police, fire and emergency agencies across the country. The goal is to reinvigorate and broaden the industrial base for public safety to include more innovative, agile, entrepreneurial companies and find cutting-edge commercial technology that is adaptable for first responders.

Over the past two months, TechNexus evaluated 261 ventures sourced and filtered from 224 ecosystem partners across 149 cities. After several rounds of diligence and evaluation, TechNexus today announces continued collaboration with one company from last year’s program and the selection of nine new ventures.

“When DHS came to us last year with the goal of engaging the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem to harness innovation, we were excited about the opportunity to work together. As with many of our corporate partners, aligning earlier stage ventures and innovation around harder problems to solve provides valuable insights, a more efficient path to market, and a smarter venture development model,” explains TechNexus CEO, Terry Howerton. “We’ve already seen the effectiveness of this model with several participating ventures gaining market traction and completing successful pilots with first responder agencies.”

This year’s EMERGE 2016: Wearable Technology continues DHS S&T’s emphasis to engage innovators to solve the most difficult challenges throughout the homeland security community. The focus is on finding the next generation of wearable technology to help firefighters, police and EMS keep their communities safe. First responders have a tremendous need for wearable technology, such as body-worn electronics, advanced sensors, and integrated voice and data communications embedded in responders’ gear. Dr. Reginald Brothers, DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology said, "It's so important to foster and find innovation for America's first responders from a broader community, and engaging entrepreneurial minds and businesses in the process helps us move quicker and better toward that goal.”

“These technologies are ultimately designed to keep the public and first responders safe,” explains David Ihrie, Chief Technology Officer for CIT. “But it’s also a great opportunity to open a very large and traditionally hard to reach market for entrepreneurs.”

Exelon, one of the nation’s leading competitive energy providers, is among the TechNexus corporate partners involved in the program again. Exelon field, utility, and nuclear employees often share many of the same needs of first responders and collaborate with them on the scene of disasters, accidents and other emergency situations. Consequently, the company has a great deal of insight into the needs of first responders.

“Our team will get a close look at these ventures, mentoring them in ways that will make them stronger and help them identify new and different ways technology can be deployed in the field,” said Brian Hoff, Exelon’s director of Corporate Innovation. “As a company, we’re always looking for emerging technology that can enhance service for our customers and improve the performance and safety of our employees.”

“We sought technology ventures that had market application to the first responder space, but with broader commercial viability in adjacent markets. Pairing this with the success of the program last year, and with DHS’s continued commitment to convene, focus, and foster venture innovation in new markets creates an exciting venture opportunity for us, as well.” said Howerton.

Building on the market traction and progress from last year, TechNexus will continue working with Human Systems Integration, advancing its progress and providing perspective to the new cohort of ventures this year.

Human Systems Integration created a multi modular integration for first responders and military with skin level remote physiological monitoring, providing a comprehensive plug and play wearable situational awareness and communications platform.

TechNexus welcomes the following ventures to the next round of the EMERGE program:

-Augmate is a provisioning and management software platform for wearable devices, helping IT departments more effectively track users and devices, collect sensor data, communicate with workers, and control approved applications and situational connectivity.

-CommandWear is a device agnostic software platform that integrates data from location and biometrics data from wearables and devices to provide real time personnel tracking, two-way text based communication and video sharing to help teams plan, execute, and review operations.

-HAAS Alert is a mobile vehicle-to-vehicle communication platform that utilizes acoustic sensors and location data to connect people, vehicles, and things in cities, streamlining the disaster and emergency notification process to keep all parties safer and more informed.

-Lumenus creates smart clothing that leverages LED lighting and connectivity to improve visibility of consumers and industrial workers and increase situational awareness among teams in the field.

-LuminAID creates durable, low cost, and low profile inflatable solar lamps that can be stored efficiently and deployed at scale in the event of a natural disaster, severe power outage, or public safety emergency.

-Pear Sports is a responsive coaching and training application that uses biometric signals like heart rate and VO2 max, as well as location and environmental data, to intelligently build training programs aimed at improving the long term health of users.

-Six15 Technologies produces rugged wearable devices for military and industrial use cases capable of streaming video and displaying data through augmented reality overlays to improve situational awareness.

-Vault Exposure Tracker VaultRMS is a software platform that leverages biometric and situational data from wearable devices and other inputs to build a long-term health profile of workers exposed to health-compromising environments, driving improvements in health, safety, and overall worker productivity.

-Visual Semantics integrates with cloud-enabled wearable cameras and heads up displays to provide real-time facial recognition and alerts to help first responders more intelligently assess and react to situations in the field.

For more information about EMERGE visit

About TechNexus Venture Collaborative,
TechNexus Venture Collaborative bridges the gap between the global entrepreneurial ecosystem and leading corporations, catalyzing meaningful engagement between the two. Blending elements of venture incubation, capital, and corporate innovation, TechNexus is a second-stage accelerator that invests in venture growth in collaboration with closely aligned corporate partners. Over 400 ventures have grown with TechNexus to date, and it operates a global network through which it sources, filters, and engages venture activity.

About the Center for Innovative Technology,
Since 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been Virginia’s primary driver of innovation and entrepreneurship. CIT accelerates the next generation of technology and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, market development and revenue generation services. To facilitate national innovation leadership and accelerate the rate of technology adoption, CIT creates partnerships between innovative technology start-up companies and advanced technology consumers. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71. Follow CIT on Twitter @CITorg and add the Center for Innovative Technology on LinkedIn and Facebook.

About Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate,
The United States Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) serves as the scientific, research and developmental, and analytical core of U.S. Department of Homeland Security. S&T supports the Homeland Security Enterprise in six core areas borders and maritime security, cybersecurity, chemical and biological defense, countering explosives, enhancing resilience, and first responder safety and security. To learn more, visit Follow S&T on Facebook and Twitter @DHSSciTech.

About Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,
Interdisciplinary teams at PNNL address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,400 staff and has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

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