Some of the state’s most innovative companies call SkySong home, and Neolight is no different.
Neolight, a technology company that is in the final stages of releasing a device to eradicate neonatal jaundice, began as a start-up in 2014 as the brain child of two ASU students.
The company has developed a phototherapy treatment for infants with jaundice that can be administered with an at-home device, so children can be treated near their mothers, and not in the NICU. Neolight also projects that the device will deliver the safest and most efficient treatment.
The company got its start inside SkySong and continues to office there today.
“SkySong is home,” said Vivek Kopparthi, co-founder and CEO of Neolight. “This is where we started, we started off as student entrepreneurs from ASU. I was in business school and my business partner was getting his masters at Fulton.”
ASU’s Entrepreneurship + Innovation and SkySong helped Neolight get its start with funding, office space, patents, investors, talent recruiting and even mentorship.
“They say it takes a village to raise a start up,” he said. “This is our village.”
It’s a village they plan on growing into as they continue to add employees and launch their product.
“They gave us $20,000 in seed funding, one small desk to use and they also gave us free, unlimited coffee,” he said. “So we had one small desk in the corner facing Camelback Mountain, the view was awesome. We grew from having one desk to two desks to four desks to the whole corner, then we had this whole strip and we realized we’d grown out of the space.”
The company continued to prove itself last year when it won the Steve Case Bus Tour pitch competition where the Revolution CEO and former AOL co-founder awarded Neolight with the top prize — a $100,000 investment.
Neolight now has a full suite in SkySong’s Building 1.
Kopparthi hopes that by next year, they’ll have their own floor at SkySong, and it’s the entrepreneurial spirit of SkySong that helps him stay focused.
“There’s a lot of synergy and a lot of startups at work at SkySong so that’s always that competitive environment,” he said. “It’s not just competitive but on a bored and sad day you see a couple of other entrepreneurs hustling and working so hard so you just kind of get that drive.”
Now, the company has eleven employees, with plans to nearly double within a year, and hopes to release their product by the end of 2017, just three short years after it was conceptualized.
“Arizona State University is so proud of what our former students, and now business leaders, have accomplished with Neolight,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at Arizona State University. “Not only have they established a great company to develop life-changing technology infants with jaundice and their families, they are an excellent example of the innovation and growth that occurs here at SkySong.”
Neolight serves as an example of how innovation can thrive at SkySong — growing from an idea developed by students to an established company and commercial tenant within SkySong. SkySong has become one of the most important economic engines in the Valley because of its instrumental role in helping cutting-edge companies like Neolight grow.
For more information on SkySong and the companies that call it home, visit www.skysong.com.