January 15, 2016
Posted by Beth Hartman, Electric Power Research Institute
With 2015 seemingly set to go down in history as the year humanity finally decided to get serious about clean energy and climate change, this year it’s time to start taking strong action on the promises made in Paris. Through helping the entrepreneurs supported by members of the Incubatenergy Network to more quickly scale and deploy their innovative clean energy technologies, we can more effectively address the enormous challenge we are all facing.
Along with collective milestones like the first Incubatenergy Network best practices report, annual meeting, and updated website with expanded functionality, network members and their portfolio companies all made incredible progress in the past year. Several of the companies mentioned below were also supported by more than one incubator in the network, a great collective success story. Here are just a few of the highlights along with ideas for more opportunities to engage and help these technologies scale further:
Austin Technology Incubator (ATI)
ATI supports Bractlet, a company that focuses on electrical sub-metering, and the company’s CEO Alec Manfre was recently named to the Forbes list of 30 Under 30 in Energy for 2016. ATI also released an economic impact report, sizing the cleantech economy in the Austin region at $2.5 Billion and 20,000 jobs. An interactive industry inventory launched by CleanTX showcases the 250+ cleantech companies in the region, as well. Finally, ATI also helped host SXSW Eco, which will be happening again in Austin from October 10-12 this year.
Clean Energy Trust (CET)
CET company founders of Design Flux Technologies, FGC Plasma Solutions, and SiNode Systems were also listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Energy, and LuminAID was featured on Shark Tank. In addition, portfolio company Ampy won the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show Tech.Co Startup Night. With their Clean Energy Challenge coming up in April, including over $1 million in prizes, there are sure to be more big opportunities for investing in innovation featured at the event.
Energy Excelerator portfolio companies have raised over $223M in follow-on funding (in 2015, Bidgely raised a $16 million funding round and People Power raised $4.4M Series B). Beyond funding, Energy Excelerator companies have partnered with key customers to deploy innovation in Hawaii and other markets (Stem launched their 2.2MW distributed energy storage project with Hawaiian Electric and Ibis Networks installed over 1,000 InteliSockets across three university campuses). All of these metrics and more are captured in Energy Excelerator's first impact report.
Greentown Labs, the nation's largest cleantech incubator, is excited to launch a $11 million expansion to double in size! The plans were revealed at Greentown's annual DEMO Day, which showcased over 40 startup companies and attracted leadership figures such as Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. In 2015, member companies Hydration Labs, Voxel8 and Altaeros Energies raised +$5M Series A rounds and, in aggregate, Greentown startups have raised over $49M. Greentown Labs supports 400+ direct jobs and 1,000+ indirect jobs.
LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI)
LACI was ranked #3 business incubator in the world by UBI Global in December 2015. LACI opened its new facility at the LaKretz Innovation Center and Joe Biden visited along with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to listen to companies like Chai Energy, FreeWire (also supported by the Energy Excelerator), and PickMySolar tell their stories. Chai Energy was also just named as one of the winners for more grid-edge flexibility in California. Finally, the incubator hosted their annual GloSho event in October and we are looking forward to another great gathering this year.
NextEnergy supported company Accio Energy was awarded $4.5 million from ARPA-E and SkySpecs raised a $3 million Series A Round. In addition, founders Danny Ellis and Tom Brady were named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in manufacturing and industry. Finally, NextEnergy has supported Sakti3 for several years, and the company was just acquired for $93 million by Dyson.
NYC Acre company Agrilyst won Tech Crunch Disrupt, while Bandwagon (also supported by the Energy Excelerator) partnered with JetBlue to implement their taxi sharing service at JFK airport and recent graduate United Wind secured $200 million in financing to expand their innovative wind leasing program. Sistine Solar also recently graduated from both NYC Acre and Greentown Labs, and received $1 million from the Department of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative to further develop their patent-pending SolarSkin technology for “camouflaged” solar panels. Finally, Pure Energy Partners helped to create and launch the new $20 million X Prize for carbon emissions reduction.
Oregon BEST company Energy Storage Systems closed a $4.5 million Series A round to further develop their non-toxic flow batteries, part of over $15 million in follow-on funding raised during the year by Oregon BEST Companies. In September, the organization hosted their annual Oregon BESTFEST event, drawing hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, and university faculty and students. We are looking forward to the next event this year!
With members of the Incubatenergy Network supporting such innovative solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change, this is the year when the promises made by global leaders and investors in Paris can help these technologies more quickly scale. Let’s make this the year of taking serious action on the enormous challenge we all face!
If you’d like to get in touch about helping support these clean energy solutions, please contact us or connect with members of the network at the upcoming ARPA-E Innovation Summit in Washington DC at the end of February. Incubatenergy will be represented at the EPRI booth and many incubator members of the network will be hosting their own booths as well.