Innovate 518 Awards $150,000 in ‘Shovel Ready’ Funding

MyLUA health team members stand indoors.
'Shovel Ready' winners MyLÚA Health. (Photo MyLÚA Health used by permission)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2022) — Innovate 518, the Capital Region’s Innovation Hot Spot, allocated its first round of Shovel Ready Tech Funding. This non-dilutive pre-seed grant will help local start-ups de-risk their companies and ultimately make their companies attractive to private investors. To be eligible, companies needed to be in good standing at an Innovate 518 Affiliated Partner. Many competitive applications were considered, but ultimately three early-stage tech companies were awarded $50,000 each: MyLÚA Health, Re:Charge, and Intelligent Medicine. The funding comes from NYSTAR through the Hot Spot grant.

MyLÚA Health (J'Vanay Santos, Michael Conward and Aishwarya Ravindran) provides a digital maternal care platform that delivers a personalized pregnancy experience to increase equitable care outcomes. Their predictive capabilities and patient-centric approach allow physicians to detect and mitigate the risk of life-threatening maternal conditions, thus reducing the number of misdiagnoses during and after pregnancy.

Re:Charge (Julien Bouget, Jeff Olson, Eric Gilliland and David Gibson) is a clean tech company developing unique wireless power transfer technology for e-bikes, scooters and other micro-mobility devices. Their solution will generate cost savings for shared-mobility operators, as well as improve safety, durability, and reliability for consumers.

Intelligent Medicine (Adam Ryason, Mac Harris and Mehedi Bappy) offers a model for simulated particle flow in populated areas, particularly for viral spread through healthcare facilities. These models can be used to guide the construction of new facilities and the implementation of preventative protocols in existing spaces.

The initial due diligence was completed by Ackner-Newman Fellows Clarissa Shaw and Rachel Orenstein, both undergraduate students in the University at Albany School of Business. University at Albany alumni Bill Newman and Linda Ackner Newman provided the funding for the fellowship when they endowed a named professorship at the School of Business to boost female entrepreneurship.

“This was an excellent learning curve with many eye-opening moments through hands-on mentorship and guidance with unique experiential collaboration with local business leaders,” Shaw said. “This experience has allowed me to explore the changing dynamics and paradigms of the business world and how to handle myself as a young female in the entrepreneur environment.”

Rachel Orenstein added, “I had not expected to learn so much from this fellowship. The true stakes of our work definitely taught us at a much deeper level than any classroom project possibly could. Interacting with these businesses developing real change really proved to us our capabilities as professionals.”

A collage photo of winners of the Innovate 518 grants for 2022
'Shovel Ready' winners Re:Charge, top, and Intelligent Medicine's Adam Ryason. (Photos provided by Re:Charge, Intelligent Medicine).

The Innovate 518 Advisory Committee, which is comprised of Olivia Goldstein, Alan M. Evans, John Pietrangelo, Joe Richardson, Matthew Wagoner, Peter Gonczlick and Todd Tidgewell, made the final decision over a two-day pitch session.

Innovate 518 Entrepreneur-in-Residence Heidi Knoblauch led the effort, bringing a unique perspective to the Shovel Ready Funding as a leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, small business owner who also teaches at UAlbany’s School of Business. The Shovel Ready Tech Funding’s mission focuses on providing start-up companies with connections to investors and, likewise, connecting investors to early-stage businesses, thereby giving them the tools needed to grow their business in New York State.

Innovate 518 hopes to make the Shovel Ready Tech Funding program available to companies in the region through the Hot Spot program. To learn more about opportunities, go to and sign up for the newsletter.

Innovate 518 is a collaborative effort of incubators and accelerators from New York's Capital Region, including Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties, managed by the University at Albany.  Geared towards innovating a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, Innovate 518 provides networking and mentoring, as well as educational and financial resources. Designated as the Capital Region Innovation Hot Spot, a NYSTAR initiative, Innovate 518 enables funding and a unique set of tax incentives.

Innovate 518’s Affiliated Partner programs include: the Center for Economic Growth, NYSTEC, SUNY ACC, the Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center (BACC), the UAlbany Innovation Center, NY Bizlab, SPARK Saratoga, NY - BEST, IgniteU, Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCOG) and S.T.E.A.M Garden.