NOAA CAP Contract

Larta Institute has scored another win in our continuing quest to set the standard for commercialization acceleration assistance for technologies emerging from government funding.

In September, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded Larta with a contract aimed at developing and implementing a commercialization assistance program (CAP) for its active SBIR Phase II awardees. The pilot program, entitled the NOAA Commercialization Assistance Program, or NOAA-CAP, is the first of its kind for the agency.

“Given Larta’s continuing work with companies who have developed technologies in environmental technologies and climate-resilient innovations, the NOAA win is further validation of our approach to commercialization”, said Rohit Shukla, CEO of Larta Institute. “Technologies funded by NOAA are focused on sources of food, sources of and management of energy and on the overall environmental footprint on our planet. This dovetails well with Larta’s own emphasis on technologies that feed, fuel and heal the world,” he continued.

“We couldn’t be better aligned”

“NOAA is an estimable agency with a mission sympathetic to our own. We couldn’t be better aligned” remarked Carlos Guiterrez, Chief Strategy Officer at Larta, and who helped close the contract with NOAA.

Indeed, both organizations look to the advancement of science and technology as an economic driver. Larta Institute is a technology accelerator that has helped thousands of companies transform ideas into commercialized, socially-beneficial innovations in science and technology. NOAA’s science and technology focus is on the health of our planet’s most precious resource, water. NOAA’s products and services simultaneously support the environments of our climate, oceans and coasts, as well as help economic vitality thrive to the tune of more than one-third of America’s GDP.

Gutierrez concluded that NOAA’s contract was awarded due in part to Larta’s “expertise across the board in topic areas aligned with NOAA’s mission areas, with experts in areas like climate and environmental tech-based solutions, and their markets.”

Larta’s professional mentor network has been doing similar work with ag, bioscience and energy and cleantech companies for nearly a decade. “The NOAA contract gives Larta Institute the opportunity to work with a new group of innovators looking to make a market impact,” says Gutierrez.

“Folks tend to silo industries,” he added. “But the truth is the sciences are interrelated. We see it every day in our work at Larta: bioscience in agriculture, agriculture in cleantech and energy, and IT cross industry lines and disciplines with zero prejudice.”

About the program

With the contract formalized, Larta Institute has its sights set on program rollout, headed by Senior Programs Manager, Marco Henkel, and Program Associate, Sharon Senko.

NOAA-CAP seeks to address the funding and value chasm facing SBIR Phase II companies in the the “post-grant” space where funding runs out and companies scramble to prove their value to customers and partners.

Larta’s solution is two-pronged: first, companies develop a Commercialization Strategy Report (CSR), which outlines a sustainable and actionable “roadmap”, with a focus on execution, including timelines, outcomes, budgets and staffing.

Second, NOAA-CAP participants will undergo, as Senko put it, “execution of the roadmap,” or implementation of the CSR, complete with a Market Ready Presentation that enables companies to pitch a segmented version of their CSR to potential funders, partners, and investors.

Henkel emphasized the significance of Larta’s partnership with the NOAA: “The NOAA-CAP is a ‘pilot program,’ the first of its kind for NOAA. Initially we will work with no more than 14 companies in the pilot.”

Just-in-time advisement

The narrow focus and specialized programming of NOAA-CAP will also enable Larta to provide its trademark just in time acceleration assistance, where additional industry experts, drawn from Larta’s Industry Advisory Board (IAB) and other sources, can provide companies with timely feedback and counsel on what they need, why and when they need it. This “feedback loop” is vital to the practical, capital-efficient steps entrepreneurs need to take to meet market need.

Larta just conduced a virtual information session this month for the pilot group of 14 Phase II companies. Beginning in January 2017, the NOAA-CAP be officially launched, and the companies paired with a Larta Principal Advisor. A training workshop will be held for participants in Washington, D.C. in March. This year’s program is set to end in June 2018.

 Larta Institute’s mission is to energize the transformation of technology ideas into solutions that elevate economic opportunities and make lives better for people around the world. Through our partnership with NOAA, we seek to continue and expand our mission into the new year.