Russell Sage, New York State, and Local Technology Company Launch INVEST at Sage

New Nanotech Incubator Facility is First of its Kind Nationally at a Women's College

New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno visited Russell Sage in June to announce $2.5 million in funding to create INVEST at Sage, an Incubator for Nanotechnology Ventures, Emerging Sciences and Technologies, at Russell Sage. Evident Technologies of Troy has committed to being the first tenant.

A pioneer in the development of advanced nanomaterials, Evident anticipates creating 32 jobs in its first year of operation at the incubator, including 15 new lab technicians, and expects the number to double over three years. Additional companies will join the incubator over time.

“This project will build on our continuing efforts to make Troy and the Capital Region, birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, the heart of the emerging technologies industries of the 21st century. It will be an important next step in developing Tech Valley,” said Senator Bruno. “It is another positive example of the good things that can happen when the public sector, private enterprise and academic institutions work together to make innovative ideas reality. This investment will help cutting edge businesses develop their products and create jobs, while it enhances Russell Sage’s reputation as one of the finest colleges for women in the nation.”


An additional $1.5 million in private funding is expected to help high tech companies grow and expand  while advancing Sage’s science programs.


The funds will be used to retrofit John Paine Hall into an incubator for technology businesses linked to programs at Russell Sage. The upgraded facilities, adjacent to Sage’s Science Hall, are planned to include a connector “bridge,” occupant-ready laboratories, and two state-of-the-art chemistry labs for Sage.


“The impact of this facility will be far-reaching,” said Sage President Jeanne Neff, “as it enriches our educational environment and contributes to the development of the waterfront area south of campus where we hope to see similar businesses and research facilities established over time. Its location at Russell Sage also makes clear that women can do science!”


“What began as a meeting for the lease of chemistry labs over the summer evolved into an extraordinary opportunity for Russell Sage,” said Tom Keane, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics, whose vision of “a science and technology incubator on campus where students, faculty, and scientists would interact,” channeled the initial conversations regarding short-term use of Sage’s labs into this unprecedented opportunity.


“There has been a lot of discussion regarding opportunities for women in the physical sciences and engineering. INVEST takes this to a higher level, whereby RSC students will experience ‘real-world’ science and engineering within a thriving and challenging entrepreneurial environment,” said Keane, who will serve as academic liaison for INVEST.


The regional economic impact of keeping a burgeoning nanotech company in Troy, rather than see it move to the Silicon Valley or Austin, Texas, is of great importance.


“Evident has grown up in downtown Troy, and we are happy to help the growing entrepreneurial spirit of the city by being part of INVEST at Sage,” said Clinton Ballinger, CEO of Evident. “While continuing to successfully grow our own company, we can also help faculty, staff and students better understand how to create successful technology companies. We have learned that it is not just breakthrough science or technology that makes a company successful. It is also strong business strategies, marketing, sales and financial management, and we plan on sharing our field-tested knowledge in these areas.”


In addition to complementing the applied education approach at RSC, the incubator will serve as a resource for the College’s GEMS program—Girls Excited about Engineering, Math and Science—aimed at increasing the number of girls and women studying engineering, mathematics, and computer science.