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Making a difference

We’re not interested in innovation for innovation’s sake — we back technologies that promote the social good. Learn more about our companies’ impact here.

Are you an awardee and have a success story to share? Tell us about it.

Custom digital voices for those unable to speak

More than 10 million people worldwide live with voicelessness. Many of them rely on text-to-speech devices and apps, all of which use the same few generic, mechanical voices to mimic human speech — a solution that’s practical but that diminishes users’ unique vocal identities. VocaliD creates custom digital voices by taking a tiny sample of someone’s voice.

To learn more, visit https://www.vocalid.co/.

Growing bricks with bacteria

More than 80% of global construction uses bricks. Each year, 1.23 trillion bricks are produced, resulting in 800 million tons of carbon emissions, according to bioMASON, a small business funded by the America’s Seed Fund.

To learn more, visit biomason.com.

Making plastics conductive

PolyDrop CEO Volha Hrechka wants to “complete the plastics revolution” by making plastics more conductive. Her company’s revolutionary product has its roots in the aerospace industry. “The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is 70% carbon-fiber composites,” Hrechka said, “but these don’t conduct electricity.” This poses efficiency and safety issues; excess static-charge buildup in planes can interfere with sensitive electronics and navigation systems. Making plastics conductive will make planes lighter and extend the functionality of those plastics, ultimately reducing costs and potentially saving lives.

To learn more, visit polydrop.net.

Sustainable synthetic bait

Each year, commercial crustacean fishing outfits spend nearly $20 billion on forage (bait) fish. The costs incurred aren’t just monetary, however. Bait fish usage in this sector could lead to overfishing and depletion of forage fish species, which may, in turn, harm other animal populations. Kepley Biosystems hopes to reduce these harms.

To learn more, visit kepleybiosystems.com/organobait/.