Loudoun Economic Development Awards $150K in Innovation Grants

On Monday, the Loudoun Economic Development Authority and Department of Economic Development announced the winners in the inaugural Loudoun Innovation Challenge, awarding $75,000 to a company in California that has pledged to invest in Loudoun.

Three $25,000 grants and one grand prize $75,000 grant will be paid out immediately through the Economic Development Authority.

Those winners rose above among 71 qualified applications representing a cross-section of Loudoun’s economy.

From the original pool of submissions, applications were whittled down through a internal scoring process. The original goal of choosing six finalists was expanded to eight after the Economic Development Authority directors concluded that there was an abundance of worthy applications.

“The high caliber of applications shows the amazing opportunities for innovation in all corners of Loudoun County,” stated Department of Economic Development and Economic Development Authority Executive Director Buddy Rizer. “In addition to businesses we have worked with in the past, we were excited to see so many new faces in the pool of applicants. This is just the beginning of our work with all of these #LoudounPossible success stories.”

All eight finalists had five minutes to make their pitch at the Economic Development Authority’s April 28 meeting. The eight finalists were Amplio, Bartrack, Calypso AI, Jeeva, Qore Performance, Rebion, ResourcePath, and Scieto.

After that, California-based Calypso AI, a software company building tools for artificial intelligence, came out on top as the grand prize winner.

While the business is headquartered in Silicon Valley, the managing director for Calypso Labs, Tyler Sweatt, is an Ashburn resident and handled the team’s application. He pledged to invest in Loudoun County if selected as a winner.

“Calypso AI is excited to become a part of the amazing Loudoun County community and we could not think of a better area to establish our new global headquarters,” Sweatt stated. “As we expand out of our first home in Silicon Valley, the access to a highly talented workforce, robust infrastructure, and diverse amenities made Loudoun an easy choice for Calypso’s headquarters location.”

He said the award “is the beginning of an exciting partnership and journey with a great county.”

“We are bringing with us the backing of leading venture capital firms and the global reach of a high-growth software company,” Sweatt said. “We are looking forward to growing in our new home in Loudoun, while giving back to the community through partnerships, interaction with local educational facilities and school districts, and the county I’ve been proud to call home for over a decade.”

The runners-up, who will receive those $25,000 grants, include Resource Path, a woman-owned business in Sterling, founded by academic pathologists and molecular technologists to improve the care of individuals with cancer and emerging infectious diseases.

Another, Leesburg-based Bartrack, created a beverage sensor that tracks inventory and optimizes the quality of consumer draft beer products. Bars and breweries using the company’s technology have saved an average of $40,000 a year.

And Qore Performance, which builds wearable, low-profile hydration and cooling systems for both military, commercial and personal use.

“We wanted to highlight what a great place Loudoun County is to start and grow your business,” stated Economic Development Authority Chairman Mark Madigan. “This is an opportunity to elevate the profile of entrepreneurship in Loudoun. Opening this up for anyone that’s either interested in staying in Loudoun or moving to Loudoun County was important.”

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