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Distance is no problem for this Philly-Indianapolis team
Stephanie Wunder and Michael Zdilla were successful in the lab, but needed help plotting a commercial path for their invention.

If PolyCeramX's disruptive battery technology is successful, extended battery life will be the norm.

Imagine charging your cellphone once a week instead of every day. How about electric cars that travel 1,000 miles on a single charge?

If Stephanie Wunder and Michael Zdilla, scientists at Temple University, bring their lithium ion battery technology to market, extended battery life will be the norm.

Despite their successes in the lab, Stephanie and Michael felt out of their depth when it came to plotting a commercial path for their invention. Their first hurdle? Finding the right business person to round out their team.

"We needed to find someone who is both an entrepreneur and has a knowledge of batteries," Wunder says. "Without that, we were stuck."

Enter Grant Chapman, an Indianapolis–based product engineer, and a battery expert. The Science Center found Chapman and connected him with Wunder and Zdilla after Temple enrolled them in the Science Center's Phase 1 Ventures (P1V) startup launch accelerator.

Together, the three innovators are building PolyCeramX, a company focused on developing a solid state electrolyte that will exponentially improve the safety, performance, and portability of lithium ion batteries.

Their batteries are lighter and better at conducting electricity. Best of all, they don't burst into flames!

"Grant's input has gone well beyond what we first expected. He helped us prioritize the aspects of our innovations to maximize commercial impact," Zdilla explains.

In addition to team building, P1V provides access to targeted experts, workspace, and turnkey business resources. And it will contribute up to $450,000 of direct financing to the new business if it meets certain milestones.

Phase 1 Ventures made it easier for the PolyCeramX team to "connect to each other and to resources."

"We got all the things that a company needs right away, including grant writing services," Chapman says.

Each Monday afternoon, he and the scientists hold a conference call with P1V consultants. It's the first time P1V has brought together a team that primarily works remotely.

"The distance does not hinder us," Chapman says. "P1V's framework keeps us on track and makes it easier to connect to each other and to resources."

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