Alaska Accelerator Fund invests in UAA startup

Aug. 23, 2017

University of Alaska Anchorage startup company Arctic Heat Technologies Inc., formerly CFT Solutions LLC, received a healthy boost thanks to an initial $75,000 investment by the Alaska Accelerator Fund. An additional $225,000 investment is slated to arrive later this fall.

Managed by Alyeska Venture Management, the fund supports Alaska startups through direct investment and by leveraging the expertise of Alaska managers, advisers and business leaders.

Dr. Helena Wisniewski, UAA vice provost for research and graduate studies and president of UAA’s Seawolf Holdings LLC, arranged and negotiated the deal with Ky Holland, one of the fund’s managers.

“We are very excited about this investment by the Alaska Accelerator Fund,” said Wisniewski. “It illustrates UAA’s capability to commercialize research and contribute to the state’s economic development.”

Joey Yang, professor of civil engineering, founded the startup in 2013. Yang is the inventor of the company’s patented technology Tundra Tape, a carbon fiber-based tape that can be placed beneath concrete to heat surfaces keeping them free of snow and ice. It has been successfully installed in two walkways on UAA’s campus — the main entrance to the new Engineering and Industry Building and the north entrance of the University Lake Annex. Additionally, Cook Inlet Housing Authority installed the tape for a melting pad at its senior housing complex on Peck Avenue.

According to Wisniewski, the fund’s management team will enable the startup to grow more rapidly. Under the new corporate structure, Alaskan Tim Allen will be president of Arctic Heat Technologies, bringing worldwide industrial product and marketing experience. The initial board of directors will include Yang and Wisniewski along with Forrest Nabors, UAA assistant professor and Alaska Accelerator Fund member, and Carl Swanson, accelerator fund investor, who recently retired from Davis Constructors.

UAA launched Seawolf Holdings in 2012 establishing a pathway toward commercialization of UAA research. To date, UAA has 50 invention disclosures, with 52 patents filed and 11 patents issued. Arctic Heat Technologies is one of four startups formed in Alaska based on the research of UAA faculty.

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