Before founding Vita Inclinata Technologies, overseeing a team of 55 people, commuting between offices in Seattle and Denver, and working billion-dollar deals with aerospace companies, Caleb Carr was walking the campus as a student here at The University of Colorado Denver. Caleb graduated from CU Denver just over two years ago in 2016 with degrees in both Neuroscience and Political Science fields, but the journey to where he is now started many years before.
A Decade Long Journey
As a volunteer firefighter and responder, Caleb was originally inspired to create the technology after the tragic loss of his friend during a search and rescue mission in Oregon. While on the mission, Carr’s friend went into cardiac arrest. “We called the UH-60 which is the Black Hawk [helicopter] from the Oregon National Guard, however, due to the high winds that night they ended up calling off the mission and my friend ended up dying on the spot”, Caleb recounts, “because they couldn’t get the basket through the trees.” After this, Carr was motivated to find a solution to stabilize this rescue helicopter component in turbulent conditions.
Finding a Solution
Caleb thanks a Randall Tagg, a professor in the Physics Department, for giving him the encouragement to find a solution for this problem while he was an undergraduate student at CU Denver in 2012. Vita Inclinata was founded by Caleb in 2015 with the idea, but without the technology and with much trial and error. In 2016, he first attempted to create a solution with a team of students, but with no avail. Then in 2017, while working in Uber corporate as a business strategist after graduating, Carr met CU Boulder Alumni and now CTO and co-founder of Vita Tech, Derek Sikora. Together, they went back to the drawing board and developed what is now the Load Stability System (LSS), a drone that attaches directly to the rescue helicopter cable to eliminate swing.
The CLIMB that Elevated Vita to the Top
Caleb entered Vita Inclinata in THE CLIMB | Business Plan Competition, hosted by the Jake Jab’s Center For Entrepreneurship, in 2018 where he debuted the LSS concept publically. Carr recounts, “It was the first time we ever introduced it, it was the first time that we ever talked about it, everything was so young at that point. We had no idea that it was actually going to work. But we had the business model to back it up, and we thought licensing would be the route to do it, and we ran with it from there.”
And it did work. Vita Inclinata took first place on pitch night, winning $5,000, industry recognition, legal resources, mentorship, and most importantly, validation. Through THE CLIMB, Carr recounts, “we were able to really articulate and define what Vita’s business model was going to be. The licensing model, the royalty model, LSS as a whole. When the entrepreneurship community was like yeah, “this is a viable idea”… it essentially allowed us to catapult ourselves into what Vita is today with successful raises and Air Force contracts.”
Today, Vita has grown considerably. They raised funding quickly, securing $1.3 million in capital in 20 days. Since then they’ve had 2 Air Force Contracts, and continue to grow their team of 55 amongst two cities.
Carr’s advice for students who want to pursue entrepreneurship and enter THE CLIMB is:
“Find your passion, more importantly, find an idea that fits that passion. Whether it’s a club, whether it’s an organization, a non-profit, a social enterprise, a for-profit business. Stop trying to look for the market that is going to make you the most money or has the biggest gap. It’s whatever that passion is that will drive you, which will articulate a good idea for the competition.”
You never know where your next business idea may lead you!
Apply to the upcoming THE CLIMB | Business Plan Competition events to find out. Resources including mentorship, validators, workshops, and networking can take your business idea from good to great. To learn more about our upcoming events and how to apply visit: https://jakejabscenter.org/business-plan-competition/
For more on Vita Inclinata Technologies, check out their website: https://vitatech.co/