I am pleased to inform you of a prestigious award that my Nashville-based startup company, PurSolutions LLC, has received from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that you may find interesting and suitable for a news report. The award is a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant to fund the development of novel STEM educational products. Notably, only 12% of applications from across the nation were awarded. Tennessee is among the lowest ranking states for securing NSF-SBIR funding, being outpaced nearly 5 times by our neighboring states. As a small disadvantaged business and bootstrapped entrepreneurial venture, we are proud to be among those awarded federal R&D funding. Below I have summarized a few aspects of PurSolutions and more details about the NSF SBIR grant for your review.

I started PurSolutions in 2015 with two other individuals upon graduating from Vanderbilt University with a Ph.D. in cell biology. We work at the intersection of biomanufacturing and engineering with the overarching mission of harnessing naturally-occurring phenomenon for synthetic applications. We believe that evolution has engineered the most creative, powerful, and efficient mechanisms imaginable. We aim to mimic these phenomena to develop innovative products that solve palpable societal needs. This mission has the added benefit of doubling down on taxpayer dollars by translating federally funded scientific research into commerce that feeds back into the economy.

As a small team of scientists, PurSolutions takes a unique approach to our business practices in that we apply the scientific method to our commercialization efforts. We are driven by hypotheses rather than assumptions and use consumer-generated data to inform product design. This method enables us to develop products that optimally fulfill the needs and expectations of the end user. Our lean organization and product development strategy ultimately serve to efficiently and effectively create a strong product-market fit.

The NSF has recognized our intellectual merit and business acumen by awarding PurSolutions an SBIR Phase I grant. This award will fund the development of laboratory kits that assist undergraduate instructors in teaching emerging scientific phenomena. These kits will not only convey some of the most timely and relevant scientific discoveries but also emphasize the potential commercial applications of each concept. In this manner, we aim to unlock the creative potential of each student and, in turn, inspire future innovation. We believe that investing in STEM education ensures compounding societal benefits as students mature into the next generation of scientists and engineers.

NSF Award No. 1746992
SBIR Phase I: “Prototyping a Laboratory Kit to Assist Undergraduate Instructors in Teaching Self-Assembly”