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USTAR Support Propels Utah Startup from Mars to Market

OxEon Energy, a rapidly growing Utah company, is working to unlock the potential in the $118B clean and renewable energy industry. OxEon’s core technology was initially developed to be used on the NASA 2020 Mars Rover launch. After getting the green light for that mission, OxEon turned to the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) to help build a product ready for commercial use on Earth.

OxEon Energy was one of the original tenants of the USTAR Innovation Center located at Hill Air Force Base Falcon Hill Research Park, providing the startup with not just office space, but with specialized lab space and equipment to develop, manufacture, and prototype products.

“The USTAR Innovation Center has been critical in providing initial office space and availability of product staging space in its high bay area,” said Lyman Frost, OxEon CEO. “It is an excellent facility for startup companies, such as ours. We received access to equipment that we could not afford to buy on our own.”

In addition to calling the Innovation Center their original home, OxEon received a Technology Acceleration Program (TAP) Grant in Fall 2017 that is allowing the company to acquire needed parts, make strategic hires, and begin making bids on new projects. To-date, OxEon has finalized contracts with the Kobe Steel in Japan, American Refining Group, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and signed a licensing agreement with Calvert Energy in Europe. OxEon is also in the process of bidding on a project worth over $100M.

The USTAR TAP grant directly made these contracts and bids possible by providing the necessary financial assistance to ready OxEon’s electrochemical technology for commercial scale. Beyond the Mars Rover launch, the grant is also enabling OxEon to pursue follow-on efforts with NASA.

In addition to utilizing USTAR office and lab space, and being awarded a USTAR TAP grant, OxEon has consulted with USTAR staff for assistance in business discussions, and attended USTAR entrepreneurship seminars and workshops. In addition to their other successes, OxEon successfully won funding through the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States.

“USTAR provides the necessary infrastructure to assist high technology companies to make that important first step,” said Frost. “Many good ideas don’t make it past that first step due to lack of state support.”

USTAR’s support of OxEon is already paying off for Utah by providing a return in high-paying jobs, local spending, and real estate use. At the end of the first quarter of 2018, OxEon has already grown from just three to 12 full-time employees, moved into their own 7,500 square-foot office and research space in North Salt Lake, signed contracts worth $2.5 million and put close to $1 million in salaries and purchased equipment into the local economy.

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