Tag: ChromaNanoTech


NEXUS-NY Portfolio Companies Raise Millions in Funding

NEXUS-NY portfolio companies continue to attract attention after graduating our clean energy proof-of-concept accelerator.

These clean energy companies have ventured on to raise millions in funding. We caught up with a few of our talented founders to get the latest on their successes.

Molecular Glasses closes $200,000 seed round; Wins 2nd grant from the Department of Energy for OLED testing 

2016 was a big year for Molecular Glasses Founder, Mike Molaire. His team moved into the Eastman Business Park and incorporated their business, which develops organic light-emitting diode (OLED) materials that work like semiconductors. These materials can be used to manufacture lower-cost and higher-performance TVs, smartphones, tablets and lighting devices.

While participating in the NEXUS-NY accelerator Mike began discussing funding opportunities with Rochester-based venture capital firm, Excell Partners. At the end of the program, executives at Excell expressed an interest in working with Molecular Glasses, and began the due diligence process.

Mike’s goal was to raise $400,000. With Excell’s investment requiring 50% matching from other investors, Mike first had to raise $200,000 from individual investors, friends and family. Excell recently started a new MWBE fund sponsored by NY state to support women and minority-owned businesses. Eligibility for that fund requires MWBE certification.

“With Excell’s assistance, we were able to complete this process successfully,” said Molaire. “At the end of December 2016 we secured a $100,000 match and were able to close on the first $200,000. We are now working toward closing the next $200,000 by the end of March. We have a $50,000 match already committed.”

Molecular Glasses will use its first round of seed funding to support patent activities and manage day-to-day operations. Currently, Molecular Glasses has five pending U.S. and twelve international patent applications. Mike says this is an important part of the company’s strategy.

“Our IP is very strong, and needs to be protected both nationally and internationally,” he added. Most of the people we are dealing with in this space are international companies from the far east, Europe, Japan and China. It’s important we maintain our patents.”

Last year Molecular Glasses was also awarded a grant from the Department of Energy, which helped the company fund its benchmark work. OLEDWorks in Rochester produced the 90 OLED devices under contract with the DOE. Mike says having his materials tested in a DOE certified laboratory provided credibility to the benchmark results, specifically 6 to 15x improvement in device lifetime.

“We took full advantage of this resource,” said Molaire. “We’re now working with OLED chemical suppliers, device manufacturers and independent nonprofit centers in Europe and Asia under nondisclosure agreements to continue this process.”

Mike continues to explore various grant options that will assist in the development of the technology. He says it will be exciting to supply these companies with samples so they can conduct their own tests using his materials. Mike believes this process to will be completed within the next 3-4 months.

American Fuel Cell Closes First Seed Round

Together with the support of High Tech Rochester, Excell Partners and independent investors from the Finger Lakes region, American Fuel Cell has closed its first seed round.

American Fuel Cell (AFC) is a premier supplier of individually tailored Membrane electrode Assemblies (MEA) for multiple Fuel Cell Applications. Through uniquely tailored chemical formulations, system level optimization expertise and high speed, thin film manufacturing machinery, AFC is producing high quality, low cost MEAs specific to any fuel cell application.

AFC Cofounder and CEO Dan O’Connell says the seed funding will be used to bring on additional resources and gear up for volume production. This includes acquiring new capital assets and purchase of raw materials. AFC is also looking for Process and Quality engineering talent, as well as those skilled at final assembly.

“The support American Fuel Cell is getting from the area is amazing. Between High Tech Rochester, Excell Partners, Greater Rochester Enterprise, NYSERDA, M&T Bank, Pathstone, SUNY Alfred State and RIT, we’re leveraging academia, industry, and state resources to expand our industry connections and take huge strides in extending our testing capability,” said O’Connell. “We consider ourselves very fortunate to be tapped into the local startup scene and bringing R&D/Manufacturing jobs back to NY state.”

In addition to closing this seed round, AFC has numerous funding opportunities in the pipeline that will accelerate research into the next generation MEA technology.

Ecolectro wins $150,000 with the Grants for Growth initiative 

Gabriel Rodriguez-Calero first heard about Grants for Growth from the Cornell network. As a co-Founder and CEO of Ecolectro, his mission is to advance his business by putting Ecolectro’s materials into the hands of customers early on in the material design process.

“Before applying to a funding source, I like to learn more about the objectives of each program,” explained Rodriguez-Calero. “If there are milestones associated with the program, if the funds can be used for manufacturing and business development, and how the funding can help Ecolectro reach more clients and potential customers.”

Gabriel says Grants for Growth was a perfect fit for what he’s aiming to accomplish. Ecolectro has developed structurally robust and highly conductive polymer membranes for a large range of applications, including hydrogen generators and fuel cell systems. Having already received $12,500 from the Grants for Growth program, Ecolectro was able to do material characterization and better understand the physical properties of their materials. The research also allowed the Ecolectro team to fine tune their value proposition for potential clients. Ecolectro has now moved on to Track 2 of the Grants for Growth program.

“We get a certain amount first, and as we hit milestones we unlock additional amounts of funding,” added Rodriguez-Calero.

In 2017, Ecolectro is busy making materials and doing evaluation work with customers, as well as reaching out to more clients. This process involves talking to clients and finding more potential synergy with system integrators that can use Ecolecto’s materials in their devices.

Ecolectro has recently opened an investment round. The team remains busy shipping samples and working through collaborative efforts with customers. Gabriel says Ecolectro is receiving a lot of customer interest.

“I love doing this. It’s pretty great,” he said. “I came to the university (Cornell) to work on things that had applications beyond pure research. That’s exactly what we are doing at Ecolectro!”

Other NEXUS-NY portfolio companies making big strides include:

  • Lionano recently closed its Series A;
  • Micatu won $1 million in the 76West Clean Competition, and ChromaNanoTech received a $250,000 prize;
  • Conamix received seed funding from Excell Partners, with the help of High Tech Rochester;
  • AMBIS Technologies partnered with CASE-RPI and the Mmofra Foundation in Ghana for a pilot testbed project;
  • And Dimensional Energy took home first place at Columbia University’s Energy Symposium 2017 Venture Showcase

Since the start of our clean energy accelerator, NEXUS-NY has worked with 30 participants, engagements from which 18 startup companies have been formed. With our help, numerous university licenses have been received, and each of the NEXUS-NY portfolio companies have completed, or are in the process of completing, successful pilot/customer evaluations.

We’re now working with 9 new NEXUS-NY portfolio companies in our 2017 cohort. Here’s a look at the next generation clean energy talent from across New York.

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Two NEXUS-NY Graduates Win 76West Clean Energy Competition

Micatu Inc (NEXUS-NY Cohort 1) received the $1 million grand prize in the 76West Clean Energy Competition. Six winners out of 175 applicants were awarded funding to help develop clean energy technologies, grow their businesses, create jobs and advance New York’s clean energy economy.

Micatu makes an optical sensor that gives highly accurate voltage readings so utilities can reduce energy use, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. CEO Michael Oshetski says this is a win for the entire region as Micatu plans to create more high-paying jobs for Upstate NY.
ChromaNanoTech Wins 76West Clean Energy CompetitionChromaNanoTech (NEXUS-NY Cohort 2) was awarded a $250,000 prize. Based in Binghamton, NY with research derived from Binghamton University, ChromaNanoTech produces a dye that keeps windows transparent, but blocks ultraviolet radiation so buildings stay cooler and air conditioning loads are reduced. Dr. Bill Bernier accepted the prize on behalf of his team.

Other clean energy startups who won prizes include Charge CCV (C4V), Besstech, DatArcs and Global Thermostat.

Applications for 76West Round 2 are open. The deadline to apply is March 13, 2017.

 

ChromaNanoTech Receives National Science Foundation Grant

In 2015 several university researchers and pre-revenue companies worked diligently with NEXUS-NY to accelerate the commercialization of their early-stage, clean-energy technologies. Now with the educational, financial and business support of the NEXUS-NY clean energy seed accelerator, six research teams have completed cohort 2, including Binghamton-based ChromaNanoTech.

ChromaNanoTech is one of the most promising clean energy startups in New York. In 2016, ChromaNanoTech was awarded a competitive SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation. Over 6 months ChromaNanoTech will receive $150,000 for research and development. The funding will be used to refine manufacturing capabilities for their passive solar window treatment applications.

For more details on this company, please enjoy the latest edition of the NEXUS-NY New Energy Magazine.

ChromaNanoTechCompany: ChromaNanoTech

Website: ChromaNanoTech.com

Description: ChromaNanoTech has developed highly thermally stable optical nanomaterials, which are synthesized using commercially available dyes. The resulting materials can be made into masterbatch pellets and used for a variety of applications, including within window films. Window films produced using Chroma NanoTech’s materials are compatible with standard industry “hard coat” processes, providing the added benefit of passive solar protection. Most importantly, these films block IR and UV wavelengths, thereby limiting unwanted heat from passing through windows. Having recently received the first shipment of their own master batch pellets, ChromaNanoTech has now begun initiating testing and characterization of these materials for passive solar applications.

Location: Binghamton University’s Center for Excellence Building, Binghamton, NY

Achievements: Together with Crystal-Lyn Chemical Company, Binghamton University licensed nanotechnology to ChromaNanoTech in September, 2015. This intellectual property partnership marks the first of its kind at BU. In November 2015, ChromaNanoTech also received the 2015 Technology Innovation Entrepreneurship of the Year award, sponsored by Binghamton University, S31p (Small Scale System Packaging and Integration) Center and NYSTAR. The award included a citation from the New York State Assembly endorsed by representative Donna Lupardo. In January 2016, ChromaNanoTech received a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards grant for $150,000.

ChromaNanoTech | Bill Bernier & Kenneth SorenkoFounding Team: William Bernier, PhD (CEO); Wayne Jones, PhD (Cofounder); Kenneth Skorenko, PhD (CTO)

“Our optical nanomaterials can be selectively tuned to protect against ultraviolet light which causes fading of fixtures and furnishings, as well as protect against infrared light which can generate heat within a dwelling,” said ChromaNanoTech CTO Kenneth Skorenko. “This heats your space nicely in the winter and lessens your cooling expenses during the summer months.”

NEXUS-NY Research: As part of the NEXUS-NY program, ChromaNanoTech went from conducting product research based on the needs of 100 prospective customers, to creating a minimally viable prototype, developing a network of contacts and scaling its manufacturing for production.

Next Steps: In addition to passive solar, ChromaNanoTech is excited to explore new product lines in the near future, one of which being laser shield applications for the medical and industrial industries. Optical nanomaterials can also be applied to display technology to create green solutions for Plasma and LCD screens found in home appliances, TVs, computers, billboards and smart devices.

Contact: 607.239.9626 | info@chromananotech.com