SCRA’s SC Launch Invests in Two SC Start-Up Companies: Hoowaki and iTekka, Inc.

SCRA Press Release
May 13, 2010

SCRA, a global leader in applied research and commercialization, announced today that its affiliate, SC Launch, is presenting an investment to two South Carolina companies tomorrow at InnoVenture Southeast in Greenville, SC: Hoowaki and iTekka.

Hoowaki LLC, an advanced surface engineering company based in Upstate South Carolina, is receiving a $200,000 investment from SC Launch. The company has developed a proprietary micro-molding technology to transform polymer, ceramic, metal and organic surfaces to increase product performance at a low cost. iTekka, Inc., receiving a $100,000 investment today, develops time and activity software that enhances productivity and revenue for its clients.

“The SC Launch investment will enable us to file additional product patents, scale-up our current products and initiate deeper R&D for future products,” said Hoowaki President Ralph Hulseman. William King, Associate Professor and Kritzer Faculty Scholar Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign serves as the company’s CTO, and John Warner, InnoVenture founder, serves as CFO. Hoowaki is already serving clients in the automotive, aerospace, biomedical, advanced materials, fast moving consumer goods, and food packaging industries.

iTekka technology was developed by its CEO, Alexander Abrashkin. “SC Launch has helped our young company create important partnerships to fuel our growth through its Resource Network,” said Abrashkin. “This investment will help us complete product testing, get to market and help our clients achieve increased productivity and cost savings with our tekktoc™ software.” Abrashkin has extensive business development experience and formerly held posts at Procter & Gamble and Alcatel. James H. Byrum, iTekka’s COO, has more than 35 years of experience in business development and consulting, including a director-level post with the SC Governor’s office. The company is based in Columbia, SC. Its technology was developed by Abrashkin during his graduate work at the University of South Carolina and is licensed from the university. The company plans to create 20 knowledge-based jobs by 2014.

“These two knowledge-based companies are prime examples of the industries that SC Launch continues to support in South Carolina,” said Dave McNamara, SC Launch Executive Director. “We are happy to recognize them today at InnoVenture.” McNamara and SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney will be on hand to present both of these knowledge-based companies with an SC Launch “big check.”
SCRA has provided funding and support for 149 new knowledge-based start-ups in South Carolina since its inception in April, 2006, through its SC Launch program. There are more than 270 entities total in the SC Launch program. That program has attracted more than $100 million in add-on, private equity investment in South Carolina companies. SCRA operations have made a cumulative economic contribution of more than $13.7B to South Carolina.

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About SCRA
SCRA is a global leader in applied research and commercialization services with offices in South Carolina, Ohio and in McLean, Virginia. SCRA collaborates to advance technology, providing technology-based solutions with assured outcomes to industry and government, with the help of research universities in SC, the US and around the world.

About SC Launch
SC Launch, an SCRA program, assists entrepreneurial start-up companies with up-front counseling, seed-funding, and access to a powerful resource network. The SC Launch mission is to help generate knowledge economy jobs in South Carolina, enhance the state’s quality of life and provide opportunity for all South Carolinians in the new economy.

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