Connecticut Innovations will invest $3.9 million over two years in Upward Labs, a Hartford-area program focused on developing and nurturing early-stage companies developing pilot programs in the smart building and aged care market segments.
Connecticut Innovations’ financial commitment will be used by Upward Labs to invest in portfolio companies accepted into the program, as well as provide support to those companies in the form of recruitment, infrastructure and other operating expenses during their time in Hartford.
“Early-stage companies often lack the resources and direct access to larger organizations where they can test ideas, pilot projects and demonstrate proof of concepts,” said Philip Siuta, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Connecticut Innovations.
He continued, “This initiative will allow larger corporations to identify and connect with innovative technologies and continue to grow the talent in the city. We are excited to announce this investment and look forward to welcoming a host of young and innovative companies to Hartford in the coming years.”
The Upward Labs project is establishing two physical labs in downtown Hartford, where companies in the smart building and aged care industries accepted into the program will live and work for six consecutive months. During this time, portfolio companies will have the opportunity to pilot their product with well-known commercial, residential and senior care program partners and to work closely with established corporations to test their pilot programs and prove efficacy. In all, Upward Labs intends to invest in a total of 40 companies and execute four different six-month cohorts with 10 companies in each.
“In addition to the prospect of bringing a wave of innovative young companies to Hartford, Upward Labs is itself an innovative and cutting-edge example of a public-private partnership that is uniquely suited to helping transform Hartford into a thriving environment where millennials and others want to work, live and play,” said Michael Cantor, Co-Managing Partner at Cantor Colburn LLP and chairman of the board of directors at Connecticut Innovations.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to establish and foster an ecosystem of young innovators and tech-forward thinkers in Hartford, and Connecticut Innovations is proud to support this effort,” he added.
“We’ve intentionally focused Upward Labs on two industries that are exploding in both size and demand for increased efficiencies through innovation and technology,” said Shana Schlossberg, Founder and CEO of Upward.
“Aged care and smart buildings are two categories that no city has really taken the lead on, yet their impact spans generations the world over. In Hartford, we understand the value and the potential of Upward Labs to elicit such transformation—from corporate leaders to the wider Hartford community. There’s no city more qualified to lead the charge in taking these industries to a new level,” she said.
About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm, providing funding and strategic support to early-stage technology companies. In addition to equity investments, Connecticut Innovations provides grants that support innovation and collaboration through CTNext, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals.
Upward is global incubator with a vision to re-invigorate second-tier cities through a generation of innovators with ideas that are fostered through connection, learning, and experience. In the last year, Upward’s foundation city, Hartford CT, has started to transform into a thriving ecosystem and Upward has facilitated pilots and deals between startups from all over the world and major Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city. With the introduction of Upward Labs, Upward is inviting startups globally to be a part of this movement and maximize their potential to effect real change.