Business program in central Kansas boosts startup companies
June 25, 2017
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Explaining embryo transfer, genetics maximization and how his new company, Embruon, in Salina, can assist cattle producers was a major obstacle for owner Matt Barten.
"It's hard to give a two-minute elevator pitch on what I do," he told the Salina Journal (http://bit.ly/2rOPgq6 ) of the company he started in a small lab in Salina.
Embruon is one of 11 startup companies in Kansas State University's Launch a Business Program, which runs through June 29.
"The real value is in the people you meet and the relationships you build, the mentors that you have," Barten said of the program. "Conversing with a lot of them, that have new ideas, they filled in the gaps. One of the biggest things is, I feel like they helped me refine what I present to people, what the value of what I do is. If you show people where they can save and you make them money, they are probably going to do it."
Now, he can sum it up in one sentence.
"Embryo transfer is increasing the chance that you are going to get the next LeBron James," he said.
Tony Salcido started REV-E3 four weeks ago in Beloit and is involved in the Launch a Business summer program.
"The mentors have been a tremendous help telling us what we are doing right and giving us feedback on our ideas," he said.
Launch a Business is specifically intended for early stage companies to provide the building blocks for turning a concept into a successful venture.
"We believe our faculty, students and alumni each have tremendous value that they can provide to support company growth," said Chad Jackson, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration. "Through Launch a Business, our faculty provide educational workshops, our students conduct business research projects for the companies and our alumni serve as mentors to the companies."
He said the program started in 2014.
Explaining REV-E3 is as difficult as explaining Embruon.
"We handle electronic waste recycling for rural parts Kansas," Salcido said.
The company will take electronic equipment in a 12-county area.
"If it takes a battery or plugs in, we take it," he said. "Other than anything that has freon in it, like your refrigerators we can't take. We've even taken in a few coffee pots."
The company tests the electronic devices and refurbishes those that still have life to sell online.
"If not, then we break it down and they get sold as commodities," Salcido said.
Barten said one of the problems facing cattle, unlike swine or chickens, is the generational interval, which is rather long.
"So from the time a pregnancy is created to the time you can do anything with that animal takes a couple years," he said. "I am telling you exactly what that embryo is going to be as it resides frozen in the semen tank."
Embruon assists in testing the embryo to ensure it meets the requirements of the breeder.
"Some want females, some want males," he said. "I am going to tell you before if it is a male or female."
The process involves transferring the embryo from the cow to a surrogate to complete the gestation period and birth.
"If you are a producer and you have the No. 1 cow and the No. 1 bull, you are going to make one pregnancy a year. By using embryo transfer conventionally you can flush that cow every six weeks. The national average is going to give you seven embryos you can do something with. You just made far more offspring out of the animals of the breed than you would have otherwise.
"You won't feed a world just breeding a bull and a heifer. We are doing more with less," he said.
Barten said that during the application process, he didn't think he'd be accepted into the K-State program.
Dr. Glenn Engelland and Carl Garten, Extension director in Saline and Ottawa counties, encouraged him to apply.
Jackson said a committee reviews the applications and selects those who are the best fit. Criteria for selection include identifying a real problem and an innovative solution; demonstrating the drive to succeed and ability to incorporate feedback, and showing commitment to the idea.
"I got picked for a second interview. After, I told Jen (his wife), 'That went terrible.' But they took me," he said.
The selected businesses take part in a monthlong summer program, receiving much-needed resources, including faculty-led workshops, hands-on student research teams and access to the university's world-class alumni mentor network.
Double L Manufacturing, of Clay Center, also is involved in the program. Owned by Thomas Mulligan, Double L manufactures skid steer and tractor attachments for use on the farm or job site.
Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com