By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2014, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
The universities and research institutions in Oklahoma produce some amazing inventions.
It’s particularly exciting when one of those technologies exits the research lab and becomes the basis for a new startup company.
Synercon Technologies (www.synercontechnologies.com), a spinout from the University of Tulsa, was founded in August of last year by Jeremy Daily, Ph.D., an associate professor of mechanical engineering and nationally recognized expert in traffic crash forensics. The company solves a real-world problem in determining the cause of accidents.
Modern trucks and most cars have electronic control modules (think “black box”) that collect data from the normal operation of the vehicle as well as additional data when the vehicle is involved in an accident.
The electronic control module data is extracted and used to help determine the cause of the accident, especially when there is serious injury or death. However, extracting the data from heavy vehicles requires equipment and software specific to the engine of the vehicle involved. Investigators will show up with tools, but they might not be the right ones. Additionally, moving the vehicle often destroys event data and other information pertinent to the crash.
The Synercon Forensic Link Adapter (FLA) solves this problem. The adapter is a self-contained computer that works with multiple types of vehicle engines and downloads forensic data in a safe, secure, and encrypted format.
Synercon is a great illustration of linking Oklahoma invention and Oklahoma jobs.
First, Synercon is built on technology transferred from one of our state’s many outstanding universities and research institutions. The University of Tulsa is an important contributor to the formation of high growth companies in Tulsa and the region.
Second, Synercon graduated from i2E’s Immersion Program, our venture acceleration initiative that helps startups like Synercon move faster from development to becoming a viable company.
“At Synercon we have all these outstanding science people who really understand all the technology but have never been exposed to the business world,” said Kay Sind, University of Tulsa graduate and business consultant to Synercon. “It was really helpful to go through the Immersion process together, determining who our customer was and what we needed to do to get our product into the market.”
Synercon is preparing for beta testing in preparation of rolling out commercial sales later this year. An equity round of investment is imminent.
When the state of Oklahoma cuts the funding that supports spinout technology, as they did recently, they make it all that much harder for Oklahomans to realize the benefits — jobs, wealth and revenue — that are the deserved byproducts of all our research and invention.
Reducing our state’s investment in the funding and initiatives that help new companies meet milestones and grow is not the way to expand Oklahoma’s innovation economy.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.