BROKEN ARROW, Okla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kurt Rouser said he didn’t exactly know what to expect when he first walked on stage last August during the UAS Tech Forum to pitch his new technology in unmanned aerial systems engine propulsion to a group of potential investors.
“I really didn’t know a lot about pitching before a large group of people like that. But my thought process going into the pitch session was that by participating, it might indirectly result in some sort of financial support for my research – which is exactly what happened,” said Rouser, an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University where he teaches classes in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Regarded as the anchor event for the Unmanned Aerial Systems Cluster Initiative of Oklahoma and Kansas (UASCI), a program funded through a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Tech Forum attracts a wide array of public and private sector professionals and leaders involved in the unmanned aerial systems industry. Entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, technology transfer professionals, economic development officials and other service providers get together for two days of networking, information sessions, technology presentations and investment opportunities.
For both the UASCI team and Tech Forum attendees, the pitch sessions have definitely been the favorite part of the event, according to Amanda Radovic, UASCI’s program manager. She said the 2018 Tech Forum is scheduled for Sept. 12-13 at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Broken Arrow, Okla.
“Our team sources technologies from around the country, calling on universities, labs, startups, incubators – anyone with technologies that can accelerate the UAS industry. Tech developers seeking funding, licensing or strategic partners are encouraged to apply online for their chance to pitch. Only the best of the best is selected to make a quick pitch,” said Radovic, who noted that an invaluable part of the pitch process is that each presenter is vetted, mentored and prepped in the weeks leading up to the event.
Radovic emphasized that individuals seeking a chance to participate in this year’s pitch sessions must first complete and submit a brief online application by April 27.
Forum participants will have the opportunity to participate in sessions featuring industry experts discussing all the hottest topics related to unmanned aerial systems, access vetted investment opportunities, make quick pitches and the chance to connect with the most sought-after industry partners and leaders.
Immediately following his own presentation at last year’s Tech Forum, OSU’s Rouser said he received inquiries from two angel investors that resulted in several follow-up meetings. He was then introduced to an owner of a UAS aerial services company who is collaborating on research to transition Rouser’s technology to the commercial market.
“Right now, we are in the process of drafting a $225,000 proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy, and I think we stand a very good chance. The project also has the potential of going to Phase 2, which would mean even more funding over a longer period of time,” Rouser said. “I’m also optimistic that the earlier meeting with the two angels will result in additional funding as well.”
The Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and the City of Broken Arrow will serve as co-hosts for the 2018 UAS Tech Forum. More than 200 people from across the region are expected to attend the two-day event. Last year, the UAS Tech Forum was held in Wichita, Kansas, where attendance reached record highs.
“We are very excited that Broken Arrow will be hosting the UAS Tech Forum in the fall,” said Kinnee Tilly, the Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development. “Our community has a strong aerospace presence, so this event is a great way to showcase what we have to offer to businesses involved in the UAS or drone industry. Our staff works diligently every day to create an environment where business innovation, excellence and entrepreneurship can thrive.”
“The UAS Tech forum is a tremendous opportunity for the City of Broken Arrow,” said Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond. “This is a highly-influential developing field which easily fits in with Broken Arrow’s current growth and progress as one of the region’s strongest emerging commercial centers. I am very delighted to be able to show off what Broken Arrow has to offer to businesses and other attendants for the Tech Forum.”
For more information about the 2018 UAS Tech Forum, please visit www.uascluster.com.
About the UAS Cluster Initiative
Administered by Development Capital Networks, the Cluster Initiative’s mission is to accelerate the growth of the UAS Industry by enabling established companies and emerging entrepreneurs, in particular those located in Oklahoma and Kansas, to connect, work together and gain access to national technologies, global capital, advanced business models and global markets. It accomplishes this through a variety of activities and events, including webinars, SBIR workshops, roundtable discussions, student UAS competitions, the UAS Tech Forum and other networking opportunities.
About the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce
The Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce plays an active role in the development of Broken Arrow. Approaching its 80th anniversary, the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce continues to be the voice of business and has a staff eager to serve all members. Each year, the Chamber provides over 80 opportunities for networking, education, business exposure and governmental advocacy. Everything we do is centered around one thing: helping promote and grow businesses.
About the City of Broken Arrow
Located in northeast Oklahoma, Broken Arrow has been recognized consistently as one of the best places in America to live and raise a family. With a population nearing 112,000, we set the standard by providing the best municipal programs and services. With destination attractions in the Rose District, the Performing Arts Center, Warren Theatre, Bass Pro Shops and more, residents and visitors have many options when it comes to choosing shopping, dining, cultural and entertainment activities.