Diana Hall is the owner and founder of Pueblo-based ActivArmor, which makes splints meant to overcome the shortcomings of traditional casts.
Diana Hall is the owner and founder of Pueblo-based ActivArmor, which makes splints meant to overcome the shortcomings of traditional casts.

Pueblo-based ActivArmor, which creates water-safe, breathable and hygienic custom-fit “exoskeletal support devices,” was one of 15 companies statewide to receive an Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program award from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Owner Diana Hall said her company received $250,000 and will use the money to expand into 12 clinics in major metropolitan areas across the country.

ActivArmor, which utilizes 3D body imaging and 3D computer aided drafting to create the custom-fit splints, was founded by Hall in 2014.

More than 80 companies statewide applied for the OEDIT grant and 19 companies were invited to participate in an initial pitch session this month. Of the 19, 15 won an award. Total funding amounted to $3.2 million.

According to a news release issued by the Southern Colorado Small Business Development Center, three of the 15 companies, including ActivArmor, are located in rural areas.

“ActivArmor’s recent award is a testament to Pueblo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem available to support such innovative and technologically advanced companies,” Caroline Trani, executive director of the Southern Colorado SBDC, told the Business Journal. “Diana has done a great job getting to know and utilizing a variety of local and statewide business development resources that have been beneficial in helping the company reach their strategic initiatives, including the Southern SBDC, from starting her business years ago to recent growth opportunities nationwide.”

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ActivArmor was the first winner of the SoCo Entrepreneurship Competition in 2014 and Hall was the 2015 InnovateHER Competition champion, a statewide pitch competition sponsored by the Small Business Administration and hosted by the Southern Colorado SBDC.

“ActivArmor has had incredible support to start up in Pueblo through The SoCo Entrepreneurship Competition, CSU Pueblo, PCC, the SBDC, PEDCO’s incubator program, PTAC, EGDIS, and local philanthropists like Dave Feamster,” Hall said in the release. “The network of support and resources in Pueblo has provided us with the tools that we need to be successful.”

The AI Accelerator Grant Applications were reviewed by committees of business, technical and financial experts, as well as by an industry-specific reviewer, according to a news release issued by OEDIT.

The next application cycle for proof-of-concept and early stage capital and retention grants will open Jan. 1 and applications will be due March 1. The infrastructure grant cycle will open Feb. 1 and close April 2.

Other recipients of proof-of-concept and early stage capital grants include:

AQ BioMed – AQ BioMed has created a revolutionary long-term implant solution for the 60 million people at risk for blindness due to glaucoma. Its revolutionary design is foldable so the surgical incision is 10-times smaller than the incisions needed for the current shunts on the market.

Beeper – Beeper is an intuitive collision avoidance system that uses 3D audio alerts to direct pilots to nearby intruding aircraft. Beeper does not consume valued space on the instrument panel, reduces distractions and maximizes safety.

Cetya Therapeutics – Cetya Therapeutics is a next-generation histone deacetylase inhibitor company that can target its drug candidates to a particular cell type or tumor. Targeting can reduce toxicity and, as a result, open up new therapeutic areas outside of oncology to treatment with HDAC inhibitors.

Colorado State University, Researcher Dr. Gary Luckasen – The proposal is to develop a drug delivery system that is designed to replace needle injection of medications and enhance any topical medication administration. This technology can be applied to skin and accessible mucosa including the oral cavity.

Couragion – Couragion’s career readiness and workforce development apps inspire underrepresented youth to pursue careers in STEM. They link education to industry with diverse role models, a best-fit career assessment, personal learning plans, occupational challenges and accomplishment portfolios.

Erickson Electronics – Erickson Electronics is building a 100 kW Smart Solar String Inverter using new silicon carbide components with ultra long life and low maintenance and handling costs.

gaugewear – gaugewear is creating the first wearable, non-invasive, core body temperature sensor to help soldiers, firefighters, outdoor workers and elite athletes prevent heat-related illness and maximize performance.

Lacuna Diagnostics – Lacuna diagnostics is using digital pathology technology to allow veterinarians to upload images of their slides for near-instant review by a pathologist. This technology leads to increased survivability of the pet, reduced cost of hospitalization and decreased stress to pet owners.

Parsyl – Parsyl provides a way to collect data about supply chain conditions by providing small, low-cost wireless sensors and smart cloud software to provide shipment data visualizations, analytics, integrations and device management.

PrecisionProfile – PrecisionProfile enables oncologists to deliver state-of-the-art precision oncology by providing oncologists with a comprehensive, actionable view of genomic profiles, diagnostic reports, treatment guidelines and drug trials.

ProStar Geocorp – ProStar provides geospatial intelligence software specifically designed for asset-centric industries. Stakeholders will be able to see where they are relative to critical location data including a line map, dig zone, street address, site boundary and buried utility lines.

Tailwind Nutrition – Tailwind Nutrition manufactures and sells endurance sports and recovery drinks for athletes training and competing in two-plus-hour sports. Tailwind solves stomach/GI problems and adds the “perfect protein” for rebuilding energy stores and muscle tissue.

University of Colorado, Researcher Dr. M. Karen Newell Rogers – The proposal is to prove why the success rate for ICI drugs in treating melanoma is limited to 30-40 percent and to prove that ICI drugs in combination with a targeted peptide will substantially improve the success rate of ICI drugs in the treatment of melanoma.

Well Data Labs – Well Data Labs is a modern web application that helps petroleum exploration and production companies at managing, analyzing and reporting completions data. The platform enables instant graphing, analysis and comparison of well treatment stages across individual and multiple jobs.