Graduation day arrives for one incubator start-up
Dec. 8, 2011
by Kelly Sorensen
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One of the start-up companies hatched at RIT’s Venture Creations business incubator has left the nest.
Vnomics, a company that has developed a system to monitor the performance of commercial trucks and light-armored vehicles, recently moved into a 8,500-square-foot facility in Bushnell’s Basin.
Originally called Liban Inc., Vnomics employs 25 people, doubling its workforce over the past year.
“We received a number of commercial contracts that allowed us to expand and move out of Venture Creations,” says David Chauncey, chief executive officer of Vnomics. “We now have thousands of vehicles that are utilizing our software.”
Researchers at RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies developed the vehicle health system technology and originally partnered with one of the nation’s leading defense contractors to install the software in military vehicles for the U.S. Marines. While military vehicles were the original clients, Chauncey conducted a market analysis and expanded the technology application to the commercial freight industry.
The software offers proactive maintenance to allow the customer to know whether there are issues that are fixable before they lead to bigger problems. For example, if the vehicle has a small coolant leak, the technology would alert the driver.
“If these maintenance issues are caught early, it can be easily fixed before it turns into something catastrophic,” adds Chauncey.
One of the company’s key selling points is that its technology offers an estimated $4,000 annual savings per truck. The operating cost per truck is $1,000 each year. Fuel economy, maintenance and driver safety are the cost-saving areas.
“By monitoring driver behavior, we have found when it comes to fuel efficiency that our customers save 6 percent on the low-end of the spectrum up to more than 20 percent,” adds Chauncey.
Chauncey also says Venture Creations creates a good environment for start-up companies.
“From offering physical space to helping with communications, even a copier machine, the resources are there at Venture Creations. More importantly though is the staff that helps refine your business plan and makes sure that your marketing plans and raising of capital is on track. Venture Creations is also a collaborative environment where other companies are striving to do the same things that you are, so we received feedback and suggestions from other companies.”
There are currently 24 companies in Venture Creations.
“Vnomics evolved out of a 10-year research project for the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies and represents the sweet spot of what Venture Creations is all about,” says Bill Jones, director of Venture Creations. “It’s our goal to help start-up companies get off the ground and succeed in the marketplace. Vnomics teed up a home run on the first pitch.”