New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) spinout OculoMotor Technologies is gaining worldwide attention for the creation of virtual reality games that help optometrists offer vision therapy to their patients.
The startup, founded by a management team including NJIT graduates John Vito d’Antonio-Bertagnolli and Chang Yaramothu and NJIT professor Tara Alvarez, recently became the third company to benefit from rent support through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) NJ Ignite Program following its move to NJIT’s VentureLink business incubator.
NJ Ignite helps startup companies realize the benefits of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces by providing up to nine months of rent support for startup technology and life sciences businesses that move to an approved collaborative workspace.
Statistics have shown that startups that operate from collaborative workspaces are far more likely to succeed than companies going it alone.
OculoMotor Technologies’ virtual reality games focus on helping patients correct a condition known as convergence insufficiency, in which a person’s eyes are unable to work together when looking at nearby objects. OculoMotor Technologies’ virtual reality games address this by training patients to cross their eyes to look at objects and then transition those skills to everyday life.
“I’ve always had an affinity for virtual reality, so I was excited to use my time at NJIT to combine this passion with my interest in biomedical engineering to develop the concept for OculoMotor Technologies,” d’Antonio-Bertagnolli said in a statement. “We’ve been fortunate to benefit from the combination of support from NJIT amenities and talent pool, State resources, and investments from local investors. The sense of entrepreneurial community is one of the main reasons we chose to stay and grow in New Jersey.”
OculoMotor Technologies announced late last month it received a $500,000 commitment from Princeton-based Foundation Venture Capital Group LLC, an affiliate of New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF).
In addition to developing tools to correct vision, OculoMotor Technologies is creating opportunities for emerging innovators. OculoMotor said it routinely hires NJIT students as interns.
“OculoMotor Technologies is a rising star at our VentureLink facility and within the industry,” NJIT President Dr. Joel Bloom stated. “NJIT has repeatedly been cited as a Top 50 university worldwide and it’s a credit to graduates like John and Chang, who are committed to the success of the next generation of entrepreneurs, that we remain as a leader in innovation and education.”
VentureLink is New Jersey’s largest technology and life science business incubator and is one of more than a dozen collaborative workspaces approved to offer rent support through NJ Ignite. The 108,000-square-foot center currently hosts more than 60 member companies, including NJIT students and alumni. Tenant companies frequently collaborate and share resources and ideas.
NJ Ignite is made possible through a combination of support from the NJEDA and the collaborative workspace, with the NJEDA covering up to six months’ rent and the workspace covering rent for half the length of NJEDA’s commitment. Due to its affiliation with NJIT, VentureLink can offer its companies participating in NJ Ignite an additional month of rent support.
“Investing in New Jersey’s entrepreneurial community is critical to jumpstarting New Jersey’s innovation economy,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “Collaborative workspaces such as VentureLink are ideal for young companies that have limited resources and entrepreneurs who have a desire to network with other innovators. We are thrilled to see how NJ Ignite is positively impacting this vital sector.”