Startup Tech Companies Awarded Nearly $900,000 in Grants to Continue Growth in Kentucky

SBIR-STTR program helps support high-wage jobs and tech development in the commonwealth



FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 12, 2023) – Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced eight innovative Kentucky companies will receive nearly $900,000 in state matching grants to support high-paying jobs and further grow the state’s technology industry.

The $889,427 in grants are part of the commonwealth’s nationally recognized Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) matching funds program. The funds, in part, will match $3.15 million the businesses will collectively receive in federal grants.

“Continued investment in the resources, people and companies that are growing high-tech industry in Kentucky will always be a priority,” Gov. Beshear said. “Our SBIR-STTR matching funds program provides companies throughout the commonwealth with an incredible opportunity to grow and provide quality jobs in some of our country’s most high-paying fields. The future of Kentucky will be better because of these companies, and I am extremely excited to see their future success in the commonwealth.”

Monique Quarterman, executive director of KY Innovation’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Innovation, is encouraged by the SBIR-STTR program and what it can bring to companies in the commonwealth.

“The Kentucky SBIR/STTR matching funds program has been one of the longest-running and most popular programs from KY Innovation,” Quarterman said. “We are proud to support the commonwealth’s most innovative ventures to pursue novel solutions, attract and secure federal investment and grow right here in Kentucky.”

The eight Kentucky-based businesses awarded matching funds are using technology to advance multiple fields, from farming and pest solutions to Alzheimer’s disease care.

Recipient companies are:

1109 Bravo LLC (Crestwood):

1109 Bravo created the NeuroPak, a wearable neuromuscular training system that intuitively queues the body to achieve correct postural alignment and stability. Using a human-centered design approach, the NeuroPak increases neuromuscular activation, amplifies motor learning and maximizes mechanical performance across all movement patterns, improving resiliency, readiness and operational performance.

Adelphi Technology LLC (Bowling Green):

Adelphi is creating an integrated monitoring station to meet farmers’ current technology-monitoring needs while integrating their ethylene monitor, which the company developed for NASA space missions. Proper monitoring of environmental conditions in the data-based agronomy industry is one of the most important things farmers can do for their fields and employee safety. Sensor information allows farmers to plan times for sowing, protection, harvesting and other field activities to avoid negative weather effects and yield losses.

CircCure Corp. (Lexington):

CircCure is creating antisera against proteins that are indicative of early Alzheimer’s disease development. The antisera will be tested as biomarkers to detect early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and follow disease progression and possible therapeutic interventions for commercialization as a diagnostic and research tool.

Covert Defenses LLC (West Lafayette, Indiana):

Covert Defenses is moving to Lexington, Kentucky, to further develop the company’s Covert Cognizance (C2) technology, which focuses on the resilient and unimpeded operation of energy systems in the face of cyberthreats. C2 ensures that cyberthreats that compromise business networks do not have a physical impact on the process and is well-suited for critical infrastructure that continue to provide life-critical services to millions of Americans.

Lepidext Inc. (Lexington):

Lepidext is developing a revolutionary biopesticide for the reduction of the harmful pest Helicoverpa zea (H. zea), also known as the corn earworm. The company is preparing for product launch of InsterusHzTM on a commercial scale.

Thermisoln LLC (Lexington):

Thermisoln is developing a new post-combustion carbon dioxide capture technology, leveraging a novel alkanolamine absorptions solvent, which could significantly improve energy efficiency of carbon capture from a coal-fired power plant. This technology could also up-cycle gypsum waste into value-added limestone sorbents for flue gas desulfurization applications.

vCardio Inc. (Louisville):

vCardio is creating a noninvasive, real-time assessment of coronary stenosis for use in the catheterization lab. The software application runs a computational model on a 3D-image of coronary arteries to measure the amount of blockage and provides binary guidance to an interventional cardiologist regarding the need for a stent in the coronary artery. The application improves patient outcomes, saves money and fits seamlessly into the workflow of the catheterization lab.

Wicked Sheets LLC (Louisville):

Wicked Sheets specializes in bedding and sleep products. Their newest product, the Wicked Smart Pad, is a washable, sensored pad that wirelessly transmits data to caregivers. In partnership with the University of Louisville, the Wicked Smart Pad will test application use in the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias population.

Kentucky’s SBIR/STTR program, overseen by KY Innovation within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, provides critical nondilutive capital for promising early stage tech companies by matching all or part of federal SBIR/STTR awards received by Kentucky-based businesses or companies committed to relocating to the state.

Mark Fauci, Founder of Gen9 Inc., which received SBIR/STTR funding in the spring of 2022, noted the advantages that Kentucky provides to startups and tech companies looking to grow.

“The commonwealth supports innovators with more than words or gestures,” Fauci said. “It provides real financial and other support that is critical to small, emerging technology companies.”

To date, Kentucky SBIR/STTR-awarded companies have leveraged the state’s matching program to receive $4.60 in federal or private capital for every $1 in state funds. These businesses also have created more than 725 well-paying jobs, 70% of which have annual salaries over $50,000. Match recipients have 220 patents and generated more than $44 million in sales and licensing revenue. Kentucky has made 310 match awards to 146 unique companies since the program’s inception, leveraging $151 million in federal funding coming into the state.

More information on Kentucky’s SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program and awarded companies awarded is available at

The SBIR/STTR-awarded companies further recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.

In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits.

That momentum continued into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs behind nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.

The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010.

Gov. Beshear has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth. The Governor has announced over 42,600 full-time jobs and more than 800 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $24 billion in announced investments during his administration.

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