Iowa State affiliated startup ETALYC selected to highlight its technology, connection to federally funded university research
AMES, Iowa (May 18, 2020) – The Iowa State University Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) today announced Iowa State-affiliated startup ETALYC has been selected to participate in the 2020 University Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Showcase on September 10 in Washington, D.C.
ETALYC, a software as a service (SaaS) provider focused on improving traffic flow and safety, will be one of a number of university-affiliated startups featured in the showcase hosted by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU).
The event will spotlight startup companies from across the nation that have created products and services using federally-funded, university-based research.
This marks the third year Iowa State and one of its affiliated startups has been selected to participate in the showcase since the annual event’s 2017 inception. Gross-Wen Technologies, Inc. and N-Sense, LLC presented in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
“It’s an honor to be selected through this competitive process to represent Iowa State-based research and showcase our innovative technology,” said ETALYC Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Anuj Sharma. “We’re excited for the opportunity to highlight the important role of federally-funded university research in driving high-value entrepreneurship and the U.S. innovation economy.”
Dr. Sharma is an Iowa State associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, and a research scientist at the Institute for Transportation (InTrans). In 2016, Sharma and co-founder Vishal Mahulkar established ETALYC, which evolved from a novel traffic incident management system, called TIMELI (Traffic Incident Management Enabled by Large-data Innovations) the researchers developed at InTrans.
Using the latest machine learning and data analytics, TIMELI sorts through real-time traffic data to quickly find problems and alert the staff in traffic management centers.
“Our software platform harnesses data streams – such as cameras mounted on traffic signals, signal timing plans, weather information, traffic logs and even drivers’ cell phone data – to provide the vital information,” Sharma said. “Our cutting-edge solution aims to make daily commutes quicker, safer, less costly and better for the environment.”
Moving research towards commercialization
In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnerships for Innovation Building Innovation Capacity program awarded Sharma and his team a three-year $1 million grant to advance, adapt, and integrate the technology into a specified, human-centered smart service system.
As the project advanced, the researchers enrolled in Iowa State’s NSF-funded Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site program to gain valuable lessons on how to move their NSF-supported research toward commercialization. That led to completing the ISU Startup Factory, a 52-week intensive program which provides an avenue for students, faculty, and staff to create technology-based businesses.
“Before joining these programs, we didn’t have a clue about the business environment — how to translate our problem-solving innovation to the marketplace,” Sharma said. “But, through training received, we’ve been able to leverage our NSF-funded research and we now have the tools to advance our technology towards commercialization.”
Narrowed focus leads to paying customer, technology deployment
Participation in ISU’s I-Corps program also set the stage for the researchers to win a $50,000 National I-Corps Teams grant and the opportunity to meet more potential customers.
“Our original focus was really big – basically any transportation problem,” Sharma said. “But talking with potential customers narrowed our focus. We identified traffic signal managers’ immediate pain point and decided to focus on an adaptive traffic signal solution as our beachhead market.”
More recently, ETALYC was awarded $225,000 in Phase I SBIR funding from NSF to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of the promising technology.
“Our proposed solution has the potential to reduce traffic delays by 15-40%, save travel times by up to 25% while decreasing stops by 10-40%,” Sharma said. “Moreover, there is the potential to reduce fuel consumption by 10%, leading to a nation-wide savings of 170 billion gallons of motor fuels per year and a decrease in harmful emissions of 22%.”
Additionally, Sharma says adopting such a re-timing strategy will enable cities to see a reduction in implementation time as well as capital and maintenance expenditures.
ETALYC currently has a paying customer and is poised to raise additional capital for large scale deployment of its technology.
About the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations
The Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) at Iowa State University assists external stakeholders, both individuals and companies, in accessing Iowa State’s unique capabilities and services. EDIR is a single point of contact to streamline the process of making connections between industry and the university. For more information, visit econdev.iastate.edu
ETALYC is a software as a service (SaaS) provider focused on improving traffic operations through the integration of modern technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and big data analytics. ETALYC’s products harness the widespread data collected from various transportation modes, such as connected vehicles or GPSs, to analyze and optimize traffic flow in various areas. For more information, call +1-765-430-0023 or visit etalyc.com
Julie Lelonek, Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations Communications, 515-294-1562, firstname.lastname@example.org