LaunchLNK Grant Program Expands
Fueling Innovation with Six Lincoln Startups

The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development (LPED) is thrilled to announce the expansion of its LaunchLNK Grant Program, awarding $20,000 non-dilutive grants to six high-growth startups establishing or expanding their operations in Lincoln. This year’s program is an increase from five grants awarded in previous years, demonstrating LPED's commitment to fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the city.

Competitive Selection Process Produces Exciting Lineup:

The call for applications to the 2024 grant program received a healthy response, with 82 applications submitted, demonstrating keen interest. A rigorous two-round selection process, involving LPED economic development staff and a diverse external selection committee, ultimately identified 13 finalists and selected six exceptional startups to receive this year’s grants. 

The 2024 LaunchLNK companies are:

●    The Headset App - The Headset App solves the cross-industry (sports, trades, etc.) problem of outdated, clunky, and overpriced radio-based communication systems for teams by introducing a new app-based platform that offers teams a simple, affordable and superior experience with devices they already own. theheadsetapp.com.
●    Road Sentinel - Road Sentinel is an AI computer vision company.  Their AI inspection tool quickly determines if a road safety barrier or guard rail structure is damaged or not operational. Using proprietary high resolution 3D imagery and computer vision, Road Sentinel greatly reduces the time to inspect and prioritize repairs that in the U.S. could save three lives per day. www.roadsentinel.net.
●    Larkspur Upholstery Studio, LLC - Larkspur Upholstery Studio offers professional residential and commercial upholstery services ranging from repairs to reupholstery and custom furniture. They are poised for growth and expansion into retail.  www.larkspurupholsterystudio.com.
●    DARO, LLC - DARO is revolutionizing farm resiliency with cutting-edge pathogen surveillance systems that enhance livestock health, productivity and biosecurity. DARO's innovative solutions provide near real-time monitoring and analysis to detect, forecast and prevent diseases, empowering farmers to make informed decisions for optimal management and improved outcomes. www.usedaro.com.
●    ReUnite - ReUnite is an AI-powered data analytics platform for recommerce. Businesses that sell pre-owned items make uninformed decisions when deciding what to sell but do know they will eventually need to dispose of items that don’t sell quickly. ReUnite’s analytics tool acquires buyer interest data and provides insights that inform what items will sell quickly and who could be interested. www.reunite.eco/
●    Viosimos Agriculture LLC - VioAg will provide biofungicides for plant pathogens that are difficult to treat with conventional fungicides. Fungal pathogens are a major problem for agriculture in the USA and worldwide. The company is using proven core rapid screening technology and artificial intelligence approaches to develop and improve molecules to kill these pathogens.

Empowering Startups for Success:

Each LaunchLNK grant recipient receives a $20,000 cash infusion, along with valuable resources to accelerate their growth, including:
●    $20,000 non-dilutive capital
●    $4,000 toward startup accounting services with HBE LLP
●    $2,000 credit to utilize with Enterprise Legal Studio
●    $2,000 toward intellectual property services with Suiter Swantz IP
●    Package by Eakes Office Solutions for delivery, installation and planning
●    Membership to the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
●    Referrals, promotional activities, cohort meetings and coaching

The LaunchLNK Grant Program is one part of a vibrant ecosystem of resources and organizations for startups in the region, and works hard to be connected to other entities and offerings in a smart way. The LaunchLNK grant funds can be leveraged as matching funds for other programs such as the Nebraska Innovation Fund (NIF) Prototype Grant.

Proven Track Record of Impact:

Since its inception in 2018, LaunchLNK has been consistent in fueling Lincoln's entrepreneurial engine. Program alumni have collectively raised over $95.5 million in follow-on funding and grants, showcasing the program's effectiveness in propelling startups towards success. Enabling technology-based start-ups to scale their growth faster and become larger means greater innovation, productivity, and competitiveness for our economy.

Growth & Investing in the Future:

“We are incredibly excited to support these six dynamic startups with the LaunchLNK Grant,” said Kathy Andersen, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at LPED. “This expansion reflects our commitment to experimentation and fostering innovation and creating a thriving entrepreneurial community in Lincoln. We are confident that these startups will make significant contributions to our city's economic growth and vibrancy.”

“The City of Lincoln is proud to be one half of the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development (LPED), which continues to drive results and foster a vibrant local economy,” says Leirion Gaylor Baird, Mayor of Lincoln. “This expanded LaunchLNK Grant Program will enable six new startups to grow and enrich our economy and quality of life.”

LPED will open the next round of applications for the LaunchLNK program in the fall of 2024.

Stay Connected:

To learn more about the LaunchLNK Grant Program and its impact, please visit: http://launchlnk.com

About Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development 
The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development is the city's lead agency for new job creation and workforce development. The Partnership engages primary employers by looking for opportunities for growth as well as opportunities for new business start-ups and new business attractions. The Partnership is established by a contract between the Lincoln Chamber Economic Development Corporation and the City of Lincoln and has well over 100 private-sector partners. Together, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce,  Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and Visit Lincoln promote continued economic vitality, positioning Lincoln to be the best place to live, work and play. For more information, visit www.selectlincoln.org.

For more information, contact Kathy I. Andersen, Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, at (402) 436-2374 or kandersen@selectlincoln.org.  

Chris Whitney, Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, at (402) 436-2376 or cwhitney@lcoc.com

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