World Economic Forum honors three Golden Seeds companies: Cadenza Innovation, otto by DEVCON and Kalion

By Peggy Wallace, Managing Partner of Golden Seeds

December 10, 2020

We’re pleased to announce that a major international organization, The World Economic Forum, has recognized three Golden Seeds companies for their impact on society, validating the vision that drives our organization: supporting women entrepreneurs who can change the world.

There are many ways to acknowledge outstanding women entrepreneurs including last month’s Global Entrepreneurship Week and Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. However, few companies have the honor of being recognized as global transformers by the World Economic Forum. We’re extremely proud to have three companies we have invested in receiving such high distinctions.

The World Economic Forum has honored two Golden Seeds companies as Technology Pioneers that are shaping the future through the design, development and deployment of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology and more: Cadenza Innovation in 2018 and otto by DEVCON in 2020.

For Cadenza’s founder and CEO, Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud, it’s the second time since 2010 that she and her same founding team have earned the prestigious award, and it is believed to be the only group to achieve that distinction. Long active in the Forum, she most recently served as chair for its Global Future Council on Energy Technologies.

Pioneers are early- to growth-stage companies chosen from a field of hundreds of candidates. The Technology Pioneers community is an integral part of the larger Global Innovators community of startups at the World Economic Forum.

“These pioneers are developing cutting-edge technologies all over the world,” said Susan Nesbitt, who heads the Global Innovators Community for the World Economic Forum. “Beyond their innovations, these firms are contributing greatly to improving the state of the world.”

In addition, the Forum singled out a third Golden Seeds company, Kalion, adding its chief scientist and cofounder Professor Kristala Jones Prather to the Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology. This field combines biology, engineering and technology to transform industries and overcome global challenges.

“Synthetic biology makes it possible to design the building blocks of life,” the Forum said. “This ability promises to revolutionize economies and societies, particularly with regards to the production of energy and medicine.”

Golden Seeds is proud to support these three outstanding women-led companies who are working on solving some of the biggest challenges of our time.

Cadenza Innovation: Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud, founder and CEO of Cadenza Innovation

Established in 2012 by a team of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery experts led by Lampe-Onnerud, Cadenza Innovation has developed a safe, low-cost, high-performance battery technology platform for license to global manufacturers. The company’s patented supercell serves as the cornerstone of its novel architecture and provides unparalleled simplification in battery pack design. That, in turn, substantially reduces production and manufacturing costs, overcomes safety issues and improves energy density.

As Lampe-Onnerud explained in an interview with Golden Seeds, the product is initially targeting the utility/grid storage and electric vehicle markets. It has enormous potential beyond that, too. “It will open a new manufacturing paradigm for players that make other mass-produced devices,” she added.

With nearly three decades of experience in the global battery industry, Cadenza’s founder expressed appreciation for the World Economic Forum’s unwavering commitment to facilitating access to lower-cost, abundantly available, environmentally sustainable energy to combat climate change.

Otto by DEVCON: Democratizing security

Maggie Louie, CEO and co-founder of Otto by DEVCON

Otto by DEVCON is an Atlanta, Ga-based software company that protects companies and consumers from online threats through automating (otto~mating) and democratizing web security. Founded in 2017, otto by DEVCON is a global innovator in JavaScript Security Software and DevSecOps tools, for managing real-time runtime application security. Its no-code to low-code software integration is transforming security paradigms. Founder and CEO Maggie Louie explained the company’s mission: “We know the only way that security can keep pace with innovation is to make it ubiquitous. Democratize it­ – make security for everyone: fast, easy and accessible. In the new world of COVID-19 and remote everything ­– work, eLearning, meals, shopping ­– online threats will only continue to grow. By providing consumers with free protection and developers with free tools, we are able to use this virtuous cycle to rapidly advance our threat intelligence for commercial use across all industries. Closing these online security gaps ‘in-browser’ is essential to hardening the security of the web and disrupting the business models of crime.”

The World Economic Forum’s selection of otto by DEVCON as a 2020 Technology Pioneer validates the importance of the company’s mission to protect modern freedom in our ever-connected world, which it called one of the most important challenges facing society, globally.

In an interview, Louie told Golden Seeds that more than 75% of all websites have JavaScript flaws opening up risk and vulnerabilities. These security gaps can lead to attacks that steal credit card information, login credentials, install trojans and inject malicious code. The average cost to a single company for a single data breach is $3.9M. Five billion records were compromised in 2019, costing U.S. organizations more than $1.2 trillion from data breaches alone. The first quarter of 2020 has been one of the worst in data breach history, with over 8 billion records exposed.

Kalion: Promoting “green” chemistry

Professor Kristala Jones Prather, Ph.D., Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Kalion

In 2011, Kalion was founded to create biologically friendly compounds for industrial use. This industrial biotech company produces a compound called glucaric acid, which offers the possibility of replacing environmentally polluting chemicals with a biodegradable, nontoxic, sugar-derived product. It can be used not only in pharmaceuticals and energy drinks, which are the current markets, but also for other products due to its varied enhancement properties from improving corrosion destruction, fabric strength and coating adherence properties, to name just a few.

Kristala Jones Prather, chief scientist and cofounder of Kalion, explained: “The enzymes that biological organisms use for chemistry are much more selective, allowing for a vastly superior purity of our final products. Higher-purity molecules generate less waste during your production process and greater value in your final products because of the superior performance from the highest quality polymers.”

One of the biggest challenges was educating investors about the potential in glucaric acid and its marketability. Her experience with Golden Seeds was a refreshing change. “When we sat down with Golden Seeds, in walked a team member with one of my papers,” Prather recalled in an interview. “She had a background in biology, had researched the science and was excited to learn more. That’s my experience with Golden Seeds—they’re interested.”

Golden Seeds celebrates these innovators and is proud that the World Economic Forum has recognized these companies as global players in their fields.

Read more of our Golden Seeds blogs for relevant, instructive and inspiring insights.