Two Riverside-based startup enterprises, one specializing in crop preservation and the other in enhancing lithium batteries, received a combined $84,000 to expand operations, it was announced Wednesday.

FarmSense Inc. and SiLi-ion Inc. were top finishers in the Riverside Angel Summit that concluded last fall, during which more than 50 fledgling businesses competed for funding from so-called “angel investors.”

UC Riverside was a key sponsor of the event, and both FarmSense and SiLi-ion have executives with academic ties to the university, according to campus officials.

“This investment will allow us to speed manufacturing to help scale our technology and accelerate commercialization of our industry-transforming IoT pest FlightSensor,” FarmSense CEO Leslie Hickle said.

The company received $42,000, and with that investment, engineers will be able to make improvements to the FlightSensor digital monitoring system, which alerts citrus and other growers to the threat of pests, enabling them to more accurately apply insecticide sprays, according to UCR.

SiLi-ion also received $42,000, and with those funds, refinements to the company’s drop-in additive to boost the performance of lithium-ion batteries can proceed, according to officials.

“We learned that the interest in potentially disruptive deep tech in the lithium-ion battery space extends into the angel investment community, and that we are far enough along to raise funds from this class of investors,” SiLi-ion CEO Mark Hatch said.

According to UCR, both FarmSense and SiLi-ion scored points for their “composition, experience and capabilities, as well as the innovations’ chances for commercialization success.”

Another Angel Summit is in the works for 2023.

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