Two tech companies get boost with state grants

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Assistance from the state Division of Small Business, Development & Tourismis helping two tech companies in Delaware.

“Growth in Delaware’s economy through projects like these stems from an ecosystem created in the state,”said Linda Parkowski, acting director of the Division of Small Business, Development & Tourism. “Delaware has a business environment that encourages research and innovation and has programs in place to provide the ready space and produce a well-trained workforce for high-tech companies.”

STF Technologies, which is based at the University of Delaware STAR Campus in Newark, develops advanced thickening materials that can change form between liquid and solid to improve the protective abilities of NASA spacesuits, making them more puncture- and impact-resistant.

Last year STF began manufacturing and selling shear thickening fluids. Previously a material mostly confined to research labs, these materials are now being used by a number of different companies to create next-generation protective materials and motion-control devices.

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At its February meeting, the Council on Development Finance recommended a $50,000 Technical Innovation Program grant went to STF to help provide a bridge between Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research funding from NASA.

“This technology could protect and save astronauts venturing to Mars,”said Richard Dombrowski, co-founder of STF Technologies. “It is gratifying to see the state showing confidence in the company by helping us find Earth-based markets for our materials. We are also grateful for the TIP grant, which helps us to maintain our research and product development activities between rounds of NASA funding.”

TrafficCast, which is based in Madison, WI, is relocating its East Coast Traffic Operations Center to Delaware. The company uses data from 1.5 billion GPS tracepoints and its own road-based sensors to monitor traffic flow nationwide and provides real-time traffic data to more than three-quarters of all in-dash vehicle navigation systems.

The company is relocating 10 jobs and creating an additional 58 new jobs in a new office at The Mill, a coworking space in downtown Wilmington. At its February meeting, the Council on Development Finance recommended awarding TrafficCast a $171,600 Performance Grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund.

Many of the new jobs will involve software development. Proximity to Zip Code Wilmington, which is also located at The Mill, was important selling point for moving the business, a release. Zip Code is a fast-track coding education program.

Both The Mill and Zip Code Wilmington have benefited from past assistance through the state’s economic development efforts.

“Delaware provides a great opportunity for TrafficCast to grow and create a footprint in a state-of-the-art location in Wilmington,”said Al McGowan, CEO of TrafficCast. “Access to the talent required for that growth attracted us to Delaware, and the support we have found here in the private sector and in state government has shown us it was the right choice.”

The small business/tourism division came after a portion of the former Delaware Economic Development Office was spun off into the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, a public/private group. The remainder of DEDO activities became part of the division, which is part of a large portfolio of services within the Secretary of State’s office.

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