Company Success Story: C-Motive Technologies


C-Motive articleProducts: C-Motive Technologies is dedicated to creating the “most reliable, lightweight, energy- and cost-effective electric motors and non-contact power transfer devices on the market today.”

Location: Madison

Employees: 4

Founded: 2012

Leadership: Cofounders: CEO Justin Reed, Ph.D.; Chief Technology Officer Dan Ludois, Ph.D.; and Micah Erickson, Ph.D.

Market: When initially developing the technology, the C-Motive cofounders intended to use their C-Machine Capacitive Motors in large wind turbines. However, after completing the SBIR Advance Program, the trio refocused their efforts on using the technology in other applications, in order to help their company launch successfully. The company is now focused on creating their motors and technology to be used in other existing products and equipment, depending on industry need. 

Business Success: The C-Motive team initially found success after receiving Phase I SBIR funding from the National Science Foundation for their unique way of approaching electrical machinery. With the help of UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the company patented its technology to transfer electricity using nature’s electric fields, rather than the traditional method through a wire.

The founders discovered the technology while working on a project for class during their Ph.D. studies at UW-Madison. Since then, the trio, along with a growing team of advisors and engineers, has improved the proofs of concept to present to future investors. After receiving Phase I SBIR funding, C-Motive sought advice and additional funding from WEDC’s SBIR Advance Program, which helped the company refocus its business and commercialization plans. Shortly after, the founders applied for Phase II SBIR funding to raise sufficient funds to build a working prototype.

Seven months later, Reed, Ludois and Erickson were alerted they had been granted their Phase II funding. Now in the midst of additional technical improvements and a move to a larger facility, the company is well on its way to producing a functional prototype for market. 

Wisconsin Business Environment Benefits: After receiving Phase I federal SBIR funding, C-Motive enrolled in the SBIR Advance Program, which offers mentorship and Lean Startup training to ensure companies are ready for commercialization and the application for Phase II federal funding. The program also awards participants funding that can be used for applications not covered under the federal funding, such as creating and filing patents and staffing. During their time as participants, the program not only helped the C-Motive team shift their market focus to a safer first market, but also gave them access to Lean Startup training that helped the company to simplify and organize its business operations.

(October 2015)