The Blog


Founders of Skida and Filabot Dig Deep into their Startup Experience in #StartHere Interviews

Burlington, VT (April 9, 2018) – Securing a place on the prestigious Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list is no simple feat. The selection of youthful visionaries is carefully performed by a combination of seasoned reporters, A-list expert judges and an online community, and the end result is an annual collection of creative young stars disrupting their respective industries. This year, two Vermonters rose to the top and are featured among the leaders in Manufacturing: Corinne Prevot of Skida; and Tyler McNaney of Filabot. VCET recently sat down with the two young leaders for its #StartHere podcast, and the interviews are now available.

“Being interviewed on Start Here was a ‘full-circle’ moment, bringing me back to Skida’s early stages while I attended Middlebury College,” said Prevot. “VCET is one of many great resources and has always been a staple in Vermont’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The community here is very receptive to a locally-made product and I feel lucky to have so much support along this journey!”

VCET, which is home to active, aspiring, and accidental entrepreneurs, chatted with the acclaimed founders about their inspiration, successes, and the forbidden “f” word: failures. The interviews are featured on VCET’s #StartHere podcast, which has listeners worldwide and is available for streaming via iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play, and most recently, Spotify.

“It was such a thrill to speak to Corinne and Tyler about their recent brush of fame with the Forbes listing, and the different ways each of them scratched the proverbial entrepreneurial itch,” said David Bradbury, President of VCET. “The stories they share in the podcast are so interesting, inspiring and valuable to everyone. Whether it’s hearing about Corinne’s campfire analogy to starting a business, or Tyler’s first venture turning acorns into pencil caps in elementary school, these interviews will entertain and make you proud of what we are doing here in Vermont.” McNaney commented, “Vermont is a phenomenal place to have a business. Amazing support systems, nature at your door, and independence that inspires.”

Innovation and entrepreneurialism go hand-in-hand with higher learning, and when united, that trifecta can produce leaders who have the potential to revolutionize an industry and help generate jobs in Vermont. VCET brings together higher education, economic development and entrepreneurs through programs like Middlebury College’s ‘Midd Entrepreneurs’, which Prevot attended while in school, and the organization hosts over 190 coworking and startup members across three facilities, and has advised more than 1,600 businesses and entrepreneurs across Vermont.

About VCET

Advancing innovation and entrepreneurship, the non-profit Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) provides expert business mentoring, technology professional networking, three coworking and accelerator facilities in Middlebury and Burlington, innovation programs, and early-stage venture capital. VCET manages the Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP, a revolving $5 million venture capital investment fund. In 2013, VCET was named #11 globally and #5 in the U.S. by the UBI Index. Visit www.vcet.co,

follow @VCET and listen to #StartHere podcast.

Burlington, VT (March 13, 2018) – Small satellite propulsion technology developer Benchmark Space Systems announced it is well positioned to launch and scale now, thanks to a recent round of venture capital seed funding.

The groundbreaking team of aerospace engineers, who are nurturing their company’s growth through their involvement with the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) and the University of Vermont’s innovation programs, develops chemical propulsion systems for small satellites that enable them to be remotely steered in space.

As space exploration and the desire to connect the world digitally via satellites increases, so too does the need to manage the positioning of the satellites and mitigate the risk they pose to the space ecosystem. When large, billion-dollar satellites coexist in space with thousands of small satellites, the opportunity for collision increases. The result ranges from costly to hazardous.

“For several years now, Benchmark Space Systems has been working on a breakthrough solution that allows small satellites, including CubeSats [cube satellites], to be relocated using a propulsion system that is safe, reliable, and inexpensive,” said Ryan McDevitt, co-founder and CEO of Benchmark Space Systems. “Colliding satellites in space produces hazardous debris and impacts the operations of vital communication, defense and navigation satellites. Our product offers a way to safely steer CubeSats and other small satellites amongst other space traffic to prevent collisions and reduce harmful waste.”

In addition to making small satellites safer, Benchmark Space’s propulsion systems can significantly increase the value of each satellite by increasing the amount of time they stay in space.  “Small satellites are typically launched into low altitude orbits,” explains McDevitt. “At those altitudes, a small satellite will deorbit and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere in a few years or even as little as a few months.  Our DFAST propulsion system has the potential to double the life expectancy of a small satellite.” With the average cost to build, launch, and manage each small satellite mission running over $750,000, increasing the mission duration is an important benefit for customers.

“Benchmark Space is a great example of why Vermont invested in VCET’s Vermont Seed Capital Fund,” said Vermont’s U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy. “Early investment support for Benchmark Space has allowed the company to develop right here in Vermont the next generation space technology to address one of the greatest hazards to satellites: space junk.  

Benchmark is an industry leader in space technology, and that is good for Vermont and our country.”

Leahy added, “With this latest round of seed-stage funding, this team is in the right place at the right time to uniquely serve the top 20 global small satellite operators and several government agencies. This next-generation space technology will be used globally.  It’s being developed right here in Vermont, and that’s incredibly exciting.”

Benchmark Space Systems has used its funding to invest in the hiring of two engineers.  Joining the company are Paul Shepherd, Ph.D. in electrical engineering, and previously an engineer for Sonos; and Matt Walton, B.S. in mechanical engineering, and recent graduate from the University of Vermont.  Expert space and business advisers have been added that include former NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck and serial venture-backed CEO Everett McGinley.

“Quite literally, two rocket scientists walked thru our doorway,” said David Bradbury, president of VCET. “This is what we do at VCET: we support entrepreneurs – from rocket scientists to coders to beverage makers – and help them pull together the necessary elements to get them to the next level of success from wherever they are in the growth stage. It’s been extremely rewarding to watch and support the Benchmark Space team take off and develop proprietary capabilities that solve the rapidly growing challenges with space traffic, debris and life expectancy of satellites.”

About Benchmark Space

Benchmark Space Systems is working toward a future where small satellites provide easy access to space for businesses, scientists, and universities.  From offices in South Burlington, VT, Benchmark Space serves customers around the world with innovative space technologies. Visit www.benchmark-space.com and follow @benchmarkspace

About VCET

Advancing innovation and entrepreneurship, the non-profit Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) provides expert business mentoring, technology professional networking, three coworking and accelerator facilities in Middlebury and Burlington, innovation programs, and early-stage venture capital.  VCET manages the Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP, a revolving $5 million venture capital investment fund. In 2013, VCET was named #11 globally and #5 in the U.S. by the UBI Index. Visit www.vcet.co, follow @VCET and listen to #StartHere podcast.

 

Leaders from University of Vermont and Champlain College Help Unite Entrepreneurialism, Innovation and Higher Learning at VCET

Burlington, VT (January 10, 2018) – To support and inspire the growing number of student and alumni entrepreneurs, the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) expanded its board of directors with the appointment of two leaders from the higher education sector. University of Vermont (UVM) Provost Dr. David Rosowsky and Champlain College President Don Laackman are the newest members of the VCET board, and emphasize the necessary role higher education plays in driving innovation and economic development at the campus level and across Vermont.

Dr. Rosowsky has served as provost and senior vice president of UVM since 2013. He came to UVM from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he served as dean of engineering. He holds BS and MS degrees in civil engineering from Tufts University, and a PhD in civil engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Laackman was named president of Champlain College in 2014. Prior to this position, he served as president of Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, and held leadership positions at Civic Consulting Alliance and the global consulting firm, Accenture.

Founded by the Vermont Technology Council, UVM and U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy in 2005, VCET serves as the innovation epicenter in Vermont where higher education, economic development and entrepreneurs intersect in order to start and scale new business ventures.  VCET hosts over 190 coworking and startup members across three facilities in downtown Middlebury, and in Burlington at UVM and the FairPoint Technology Hub, and has advised more than 1,600 businesses and entrepreneurs across Vermont.  

“The addition of innovative leaders like Don and David bring immediate benefits to the entrepreneurs and Vermont communities VCET serves,” said David Bradbury, VCET President. “This is awesome news and we are so thankful for their time and expertise.”

Dr. Rosowsky and Mr. Laackman join VCET’s current board members which include:

  • Frank Cioffi, president of GBIC
  • Lisa Ventriss, president and CEO of the Vermont Business Roundtable
  • John N. Evans, PhD, adviser for Business Engagement, UVM
  • Elizabeth Robinson, associate dean of the College for Creativity, Engagement & Careers, Middlebury College
  • Mike Lane, private investor and co-founder of Dealer.com
  • Janette Bombardier, senior vice president at Green Mountain Power
  • Briar Alpert, president and CEO of BioTek Instruments, Inc.
  • Gavin R. Berger, entrepreneur and entertainment executive
  • Scott Bailey, executive director for North America, MassChallenge
  • Dr. Richard Schneider, president of Norwich University

About VCET
Advancing innovation and entrepreneurship, the non-profit Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) provides expert business mentoring, technology professional networking, three coworking and accelerator facilities in Middlebury and Burlington, innovation programs, and early stage venture capital.  VCET manages the Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP, a revolving $5 million venture capital investment fund.  In 2013, VCET was named #11 globally and #5 in the U.S. by the UBI Index. Visit www.vcet.co, follow @VCET and listen to #StartHere podcast.

 

(July 6, 2017) – The Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) announced the promotion of Samantha “Sam” Roach-Gerber to Director of Innovation, a role in which she will continue to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Vermont.SRGheadshot

Since starting as VCET’s Manager of Community Engagement and Operations in February 2016, Roach-Gerber has expanded membership to over 170 members across three locations, launched and co-hosted VCET’s podcast, Start Here, and spearheaded the Female Founders Speaker Series, which highlights some of Vermont’s most innovative women entrepreneurs.

“Sam adds value to entrepreneurs and Vermont’s innovation ecosystem in so many ways,” said David Bradbury, President of VCET. “She is moving the needle forward for Vermont’s startups and the VCET organization.”

Roach-Gerber will take on the role of Director of Innovation beginning July 1st, working to expand the organization’s programming and partnerships for the continued benefit of Vermont’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. She will also take on a more active role in coaching and consulting the 300+ entrepreneurs that come through VCET’s doors each year seeking business advice and mentoring.

 

Congratulations to VCET member Artur Adib on the launch of AllYouCanTech, a resource that alleviates a problem we’ve all faced: finding tech employers, jobs, and events in Vermont. You can read more about the launch of AllYouCanTech in this press release.

Read on here…

Start Here co-hosts Sam Roach-Gerber and David Bradbury had the pleasure of joining the team at Fox 44 this morning to discuss entrepreneurship, podcasting, and innovation.

Check out the full interview here, and be sure to subscribe to Start Here on Soundcloud and iTunes!

Today, we are proud to announce the official release of Start Here: a podcast sharing the stories of active, aspiring, and accidental entrepreneurs! Hosted by David Bradbury & Sam Roach-Gerber and produced by Ryan Bahan, Start Here bridges the gap between entertainment and inspiration by showcasing the raw, unfiltered stories of today’s top innovators. It is available on Soundcloud now, and will be streaming on iTunes beginning 12/14/16!

Keep up with the podcast here, and make sure to subscribe!

 

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Hey VCET Members!

“I’ll never understand why Superman wears the same outfits every day.”

Us either, Harley.

 

So here’s your chance to wear a totally different outfit, dress up for Halloween, win some swag, and drink some beer!

On Monday, VCET is hosting a Halloween Photo Contest. Get dressed up in your most impressive costume, snap a photo, put it up on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and tag us!

Submit your photos by 4pm on Monday, 10/31, for a chance to win some awesome VCET prizes!

There will be an awards ceremony at 4 at the downtown BTV office. Feel free to come in costume! We’ll look through all the entries, drink beers, eat candy!

To tag us use the following accounts:
Twitter: @VCET
Instagram: @vcet.co
You really put the ‘fun’ in funeral. 
 Contact Hunter@vcet.co with any questions.

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What’s your story? How did you get here?

Ethan has a fairly extensive professional history in healthcare management and IT. Personally, he’s been working in the field for twelve years, but his family is also involved in the same industry. Because of all of that experience, Ethan knew he wanted to impact patient care, so he started working on solutions to improve healthcare using innovation and his entrepreneurial instincts.

Break down OhMD for us in a one-liner. Go ahead and brag about your successes!
Essentially, OhMD is WhatsApp for healthcare; a secure messaging system for doctors and patients. Ethan and OhMD put emphasis on understanding consumer trends to leverage them for healthcare benefits. One of those trends is that people prefer texting over calling. The other is that patients and healtcare professionals both have universally frustrating experiences with doctor patient communication. For Ethan, combining the two phenomenon seemed a natural choice. Investors agree. Recently, OhMD has raised a seed fund of $1.2million from some very experienced healthcare IT professionals, which is HUGE. He has big plans for how this funding will be used for the benefit of the app, but he did also get some t-shirts made, because swag is important.

What’s coming next down the OhMD pipeline?
The company has found its product, found its product market fit, and secured funding. The next step is making it scalable and getting it in front of people. OhMD is currently taking off and growing efficiently.

What’s your favorite thing about working with VCET?
According to Ethan, “VCET is a place you feel good about going to everyday”. I didn’t even ask him to plug us, but he legitimately had nothing bad to say. He said that it’s easy to want to work at home, but the office is a more productive environment. It’s a great physical space, as well as networking opportunity because almost everyone in this community has some sort of expertise you can leverage.

Finally, if you had to give up either chocolate or cheese, which would you choose?
He must be some kind of monster. He didn’t even hesitate to cut out cheese, because “There is no other chocolate”. We admire your dedication, Ethan.

Check out OhMD here