Governor Northam announces almost $2.5 million in funding for emerging technology businesses

Governor Northam announces almost $2.5 million in funding for emerging technology businesses
Kevin O'Shea, co-founder of Lumin, explains solar technology. (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Twenty-six businesses and four universities are about to share millions of dollars in grant money from the Governor’s Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund.

Almost $2.5 million dollars in grant money will distributed to businesses across the state, including four businesses in Charlottesville.

Lumin, a solar technology business located on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall, will receive almost $70,000 from the fund.

“This grant is gonna help accelerate the development of what is a very important piece of technology that Lumin can bring to the market,” said co-founder Kevin O’Shea. “So yeah, we’re pumped.”

O’Shea said the grant will curtail excess production processes and costs.

“What the grant opens up is the ability to focus on the production side. That’s what makes it exciting and super relevant for the Commonwealth,” O’Shea said.

The fund is geared toward helping commercialize research and technology production in five emerging technology sectors: clean energy, cyber security, data analytics, life sciences and unmanned systems.

“These entrepreneurs and innovators are on the front lines of bringing new products and technologies to market, while driving job creation and supporting Virginia’s economic recovery efforts,” Governor Northam said in a press release. “I am pleased that the Commonwealth is able to support these growing companies as they develop high-potential solutions in emerging industries and build businesses from research started right here in Virginia.”

Ameer Shakeel, co-founder of Agrospheres, an agriculture technology company, says the money the business receives will mitigate costs to hire talented professionals from across the globe.

“We’ve been able to pull a lot of talent into Charlottesville. When people think about Charlottesville, they don’t think about the bio-tech hub or the agriculture-hub,” Shakeel said. “For agriculture, we unfortunately lose to Virginia Tech but we have been able to pull people from California, Boston, even internationally.”

Shakeel said the support will also help keep Agrospheres and other emerging technology businesses in Charlottesville for years to come.

“It’s commercially viable. This is really where we want to build this company,” Shakeel said.

Both O’Shea and Shakeel said Charlottesville has the potential to become a hub for innovative technology due to the grant and other means of support.

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