Tag: NEXUS-NY Cohort 2

HTR Pre-Seed Workshop, Clean Energy Ideas Wanted!

Thinking about applying to NEXUS-NY? Get a head start by joining HTR’s Pre-Seed Workshop

Are you ready for innovation? NEXUS-NY isn’t holding back the “energy” this Fall, with Demo Day 2016 scheduled for October 5, Cohort 4 applications opening on October 18 and the next High Tech Rochester Pre-Seed Workshop kicking off on October 27!

Apply to HTR Pre-Seed WorkshopLimited to ten teams, the HTR Pre-Seed Workshop is your chance to collaborate with top inventors, entrepreneurs and tech pros from across New York State, giving you the resources needed to turn your idea into a business.

“As a result of our Pre-Seed Workshops, over 100 new companies in NYS have been formed, and they’ve secured over $50 million in the past five years,” says HTR Technology Commercialization Manager Mike Riedlinger. “What I believe has made the program so successful is the team of people we assemble around each idea champion.”

Designed as a structured two-day program, each inventor (or “idea champion” as Mike likes to say) is paired with industry experts, including IP attorneys and financial specialists. Students from the University of Rochester round out the team by assisting with research, conducting background on the technology and gathering industry information. Teams also receive over $10,000 in support services and market research reports to help make their ideas take flight.

“The workshop is ideal for people who have a clean energy concept or who have worked in the lab to build an early prototype that might be commercialized,” Riedlinger says. “By running through important business model canvas elements, and surrounding inventors with a core team of experts, we’ve seen ideas turn into products, licensed someplace else or created into a service that makes a product, he added.

Riedlinger says companies that have participated in the Pre-Seed Workshop come from across New York State, referencing Ecolectro in Ithaca, NY as a great success story.

EcolectroHTR Pre-Seed Workshop is a clean energy startup spun from Cornell University. The company is researching ways to revolutionize how we power the nation by developing structurally robust and highly conductive polymer membranes for a range of applications, including fuel cells and electrolyzers. Before graduating from the NEXUS-NY Clean Energy Seed Accelerator, Ecolectro Cofounder and CEO Dr. Gabriel Rodríguez-Calero began his path to commercialization as a participant of the HTR Pre-Seed Workshop.

“I heard about the HTR Pre-Seed Workshop through Susi Varvayanis of the Cornell BEST program. I was looking for some help from people who had started a business before. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to achieve, but I needed guidance to turn my idea into something more concrete,” says Rodríguez-Calero.

When he entered the Pre-Seed Workshop, Gabriel and his cofounders were surrounded by subject matter experts including Doug Buerkle, Executive Director of the NEXUS-NY and David Wetter, Cofounder of American Fuel Cells, while Susi participated as the team coach.

“It was a varied and diverse group of individuals with a lot of expertise. I was able to float my ideas by them, and with their help refine the ideas. This is exactly what I needed – a channel of communications,” explains Rodríguez-Calero. “It was an excellent way to get familiar with the business model canvas, Ecolectro’s potential customer base and define the business, all within a very concise two-day program.”

Gabriel says that after coming out of the HTR Pre-Seed Workshop he had a refined idea and understood better the problem he was trying to solve with his solution, which were much different than when he started. “Even if you find out your idea isn’t worth pursuing in a commercial enterprise, the networking and the learning experience is completely valuable. I highly recommend it.”

After completing the HTR Pre-Seed Workshop, Ecolectro took their refined solution and applied for the NEXUS-NY accelerator.

“During the Pre-Seed Workshop we were able to see how Gabriel engaged with his team members, and it was exciting to witness his interest in moving the technology ahead,” says Doug Buerkle, NEXUS-NY Executive Director. “So when he applied for NEXUS-NY, we already had a clear understanding of the technology and his commitment to commercializing it, which are two main factors in our competitive application process.”

Rodríguez-Calero says that becoming familiar with the terminology of the lean startup principles and business model canvas helped him advance in the NEXUS-NY accelerator because it wasn’t his first time hearing and practicing the concepts.

And it’s not only NEXUS-NY who will be keeping an eye out for innovations being launched out of the Pre-Seed Workshop. Each cohort ends with the investor delivering a 10-minute presentation to a panel of successful entrepreneurs, angel investors and early-stage venture funds.

“Many inventors move on to successfully receive SBIR grants or seed stage funding to form businesses based on their efforts from the Pre-Seed Workshop,” says Riedlinger. “Others realize their idea isn’t a fit and pivot to create something new, moving onto great success like Ecolectro.”

Now working out of Cornell’s Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences, Rodríguez-Calero says he’s in position to raise his first round of investment, and the startup is actively seeking investors. Ecolectro was also chosen as a semifinalist for the 76West Clean Energy Competition, and was recently awarded a competitive NSF SBIR phase 1 grant. Through the grant’s funding, Ecolectro was able to increase the scale of polymer manufacturing by 15 times. The team finished this project on July 31, and have already applied for phase two of the grant. If they receive this additional support, Ecolectro will continue to develop their manufacturing process to make their materials at scale.

“Also exciting is that we’re in active conversations with potential customers to do joint work together. The partnership will entail testing our materials in their products, providing further market validation,” says Rodríguez-Calero.

Now’s your chance to get in on the action! If you have a clean energy idea to test and evolve, apply for the HTR Pre-Seed Workshop. Application deadline is October 14.

eColectro Ready to Scale, Seeking Investors

Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and administered by High Tech Rochester, NEXUS-NY is a proof-of-concept center chartered with accelerating the transition of clean-energy technologies from New York’s research labs into the marketplace with educational, financial and business support.

eColectro is one of the startups that participated in NEXUS-NY’s second cohort. In 2016, eColectro joined the Cornell’s Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences. Over the past several months, Founder/CEO Gabriel Rodriguez-Calero has been working hard on research. He is now in position to raise his first seed round, and it actively seeking investors. 

eColectro | NEXUS-NY Cohort 2Company: eColectro

Description: eColectro is developing structurally robust and highly conductive polymer membranes for a range of applications, including fuel cells. eColectro’s alkaline membranes enable the replacement of platinum catalysts with non-precious metal alternatives within fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs). Fuel cells manufactured using this technology can be potentially produced at half the cost of current state-of-the-art systems while promising to double durability.

Location: Kevin M. McGovern Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Achievements: eColectro continues to research ways to revolutionize how we power the nation. In December, 2015 eColectro received the Small Business Innovation Research Award (SBIR) from the National Science Foundation for approximately $150,000. In phase 1 of this project, eColectro will develop alkaline anion exchange membranes (AAEM) to enable lower cost, and durable fuel cells. The technical objectives of this process are to decrease the number of steps in the synthesis pathway of AAEMs, while simultaneously reducing time and increasing yields. Proving these technical developments is crucial for scaling and commercializing eColectro.

Founding Team: Gabriel G. Rodriguez-Calero, PhD (CEO); Robert Lewis (CRO); Kristina Hugar, PhD (CSO); Geoffrey Coats (Cofounder); Hector Abruna (Cofounder)

“We’re researching polymers to make the whole system less expensive and longer lasting. Our core competency lies in making membranes that can enable the removal of precious metals from electrodes,” says Rodriguez-Calero.

eColectro Screenshot from New Energy MagazineNEXUS-NY Research: Throughout the second phase of the NEXUS-NY program, eColectro has been working to de-risk their technology by building a prototype, while continuing the customer discovery process and developing their go-to market plan.

Next Steps: eColectro team members are continuing their research of membrane technology, which could result in the complete removal of platinum from their catalyst layer. This is a result of alkaline chemistry, which allows for cheaper metals that can remain stable and will not corrode under operating conditions, like stainless steel or nickel. The company will now partner with other companies and universities who are actively using the various final applications of their technology.

Contact: Gabriel G. Rodriguez-Calero | ggr@ecolectro.com

To learn more about how eColectro is changing the world, take a deep dive into their technology featured in NEXUS-NY’s latest edition of New Energy Magazine.

Molecular Glasses Wins Rochester Venture Challenge

NEXUS-NY is a clean energy startup accelerator chartered with catalyzing the commercialization of technologies discovered by New York researchers. Funded largely by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), NEXUS-NY increases the number of scalable clean energy startup companies within the region. Molecular Glasses participated in NEXUS-NY cohort 2, enabling the company to develop more relevant concepts through the program’s extensive discovery process. As a result, Molecular Glasses is now in position to revolutionize the manufacture and applications of OLED materials.

In April 2016, Founder/CEO Mike Molaire competed in the Rochester Venture Challenge hosted by High Tech Rochester. The panel of judges based its decision on criteria that included the probability of success of the business, as well as the size of its potential economic impact. Molecular Glasses came in third, receiving $2500 in cash and $1000 rent credit for space at HTR’s Lennox Tech Enterprise Center. 

In the next six months, Mike hopes to raise $500,000 by making use of his industry contracts. Read more in his recent interview with the Democrat & Chronicle, Catching up with Mike Molaire, CEO of Molecular Glasses.

You can also learn more about the company’s proprietary NONcrystallizable molecular glasses for stable and long-lived OLED and other organic electronics in the latest edition of the NEXUS-NY New Energy Magazine.

Molecular Glasses: NEXUS-NY Cohort 2Company: Molecular Glasses

Website: MolecularGlasses.com

Description: Molecular Glasses has developed highly stable host materials for OLED devices.  OLEDs have become ubiquitous in small display applications but their adoption has been hampered in large display and lighting.  Molecular Glasses has created a new class of materials which combine the best features of SMOLED and PLED.  More specifically their materials enable lower total system cost and better features today and they provide a bridge to low cost, roll-to-roll device processing in the future.

Location: Eastman Business Park, Rochester, NY

Achievement: Molecular Glasses has developed a third class of OLED materials with the performance of SMOLED, which will not crystallize. This advancement will revolutionize the manufacture and applications available for these materials, while providing 50% reduction cost for large television manufacturing and enabling light extraction improvement by 30%. The company has received several awards, including a $60,000 DOE testing award. 

Founding Team: Mike Molaire (CEO, Founder); Mark Juba (COO); Dr. David S. Weiss (Advanced Research Director)

“Our materials will be used to manufacture large size television, smartphones, tablets and commercial lighting modules. The solution printing process will be a lot easier to implement with our materials. As a significant aspect of our strategy, we have designed our materials to work in the current vacuum/thermal process,” said Molaire. “Thus we do not have to wait for the emerging solution/printing processes in order to start selling materials and making money.”

NEXUS-NY Research: During the NEXUS-NY customer discovery process, Molecular Glasses has spoken with forty experts and potential customers. This enabled them to discard concepts and generate new ones more relevant to the marketplace.

Next Steps: Now seeking to commercialize their technology by selling materials to display and lighting OEMs, Molecular Glasses will complete their proof-of-concept work and begin to market their materials and will partner with an established chemical manufacturer to produce them. The company believes they are 18 to 24 months from selling their first product. They will start delivering samples to interested customers in four to six months.

Contact: Mike.Molaire@yahoo.com | 585.210.2861 | @mmolaire


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

AMBIS Produces First High Fidelity Prototype Panel

NEXUS-NY accelerates the commercialization of New York’s early-stage, clean energy technologies of university researchers and pre-revenue companies by providing educational, financial and business support. Throughout the NEXUS-NY program, the AMBIS team was able to develop a cost-efficient way to cool buildings by upcycling the world’s most underutilized material resources. Take a closer look at AMBIS’ breakthrough technology in the latest edition of NEXUS-NY Clean Energy Magazine.

AMBIS | NEXUS-NY Cohort 2Company: AMBIS (Agricultural by-product Modular Building Integrated Systems)

Website: www.ambis.net

Description:  AMBIS developing building panels from up-cycled agricultural waste targeting varying problems with increasing complexity. Most simply, AMBIS will manufacture “green” building panels without toxic resins. At the next level, AMBIS will add acoustic dampening features to its panels. At the highest level of integration, AMBIS will deliver custom systems incorporating panels with sorption capabilities with integrated sensors that will promote optimal air flow. These components will be integrated along with traditional building environmental control systems in order to minimize HVAC loads. 

Location: Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) at RPI in Troy, NY

AMBIS Produces First Panel PrototypeAchievement: AMBIS has produced their first high fidelity prototype panel in partnership with e2e Materials and Ecovative. These early prototypes have lead to what AMBIS hopes to be their first product: acoustic ceiling sorption panels that use a coconut fiber mat for the middle layer. AMBIS is now working with CASE and NEXUS-NY as customers. In partnership with CASE and Rensselaer School of Architecture, AMBIS also won the Rotch Travel Architecture grant to install their panels in a demonstration project in Ghana in August 2016!

Founding Team: Mae-ling Lokko (Founder, Director); Josh Draper (Technical Lead).

“Customers won’t just buy our panels from Home Depot. We’ll help determine their needs, and show them how to integrate these panels effectively,” said AMBIS founder Mae-ling Lokko. “We sell materials, we integrate them into buildings, and we provide long-term environmental monitoring. It’s these three pillars that make up what we do at AMBIS.”

NEXUS-NY Research: With a goal to determine their distinct value proposition of their product, the market research and customer discovery AMBIS performed as part of NEXUS-NY enabled the team to switch from concentrating on coconuts to use what is regionally available, like corn, flax and hemp.

Next Steps: AMBIS hopes to launch in mid 2016. In the interim, the team will secure their intellectual property with a systems patent, as well as continue to build newer and larger panels before testing their sensors at room scale, and developing an app that will deliver critical data from the sensors. AMBIS is also in the process of raising seed funds.

Contact: 917.941.1682 | info@ambis.net

Photo Gallery: NYC Cleantech Summit

History in the making! Leading cleantech startups from the NEXUS-NY and PowerBridgeNY programs were celebrated at the NYC CleanTech Summit this fall. The event was held at the New York Law School and featured champions from the Northeast’s cleantech business community, including President of NECEC Peter Rothstein and John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of the New York Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA). Keynote for the 2015 NYC Cleantech Summit was Drew FitzGerald, cofounder of JUST and founder of Facet Creative. FitzGerald spoke about celebrity giving and philanthropic cleantech investments. The Cleantech Summit is part of the NECEC’s NorthEast Cleantech & Energy Innovation Tour, a two-week series of events in NYC and Boston designed to bring together the Northeast’s leading cleantech business community. Participating NEXUS-NY startups included AMBIS, ChromaNanoTech, eColectro, Molecular Glasses, PEMtek and Xallent.

Photo Gallery: Upstate New York Clean Energy Event

The Upstate New York Clean Energy Event celebrated the most promising clean energy companies in New York. The graduating class of NEXUS-NY cohort 2 shared updates on the progresses made after undergoing the NEXUS-NY Clean Energy Seed Accelerator, while world renowned keynote speaker, Dr. Brian Greene, spoke about innovation, exploration and discovery. The event also included a special book signing with Professor Greene, tours of the beautiful George Eastman Museum and a cocktail reception for all whom attended. Here is a photo gallery of the Upstate New York Clean Energy Event and NEXUS-NY Demo Day.

PEMtek is the Future of Fuel Cells

NEXUS-NY, a clean energy accelerator, provides educational, financial and business support for university researchers and early-stage companies across New York state. Administered by High Tech Rochester, NEXUS-NY is one of three NYSERDA-funded proof-of-concept centered chartered with accelerating the translation of clean-energy technologies from New York’s research labs into the marketplace. Throughout the NEXUS-NY program, PEMtek was able to solve a market problem for mid-size UAV power systems by designing and building a fully integrated fuel cell system that is three times more quiet than an internal combustion engine (ICE). Learn more about PEMtek’s unique fuel cell power plan for mid-size unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s).

PEMtek | NEXUS-NY Cohort 2

Company: PEMtek

Twitter: @FC_Rochester

Description: PEMtek Is developing a compact, mobile high-temperature PEM fuel cell with integrated reformer and which can be optimized to operate using a variety of liquid fuels. PEMtek is initially targeting the midsize UAV market with its highly integrated fuel cell. This market is desperately seeking power systems with longer range, lower noise, and which can operate using various logistics grade fuels (propane, diesel, and JP8).

Location: Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

Achievement: Alpha Bench Prototype is now assembled and undergoing testing.

Founding Team: Mark Walluk, Brad Sparks, Mike Waller and Mike McCourt

NEXUS-NY Research: As part of the NEXUS-NY program, PEMtek went from a laboratory concept to testing an alpha prototype. The team focused on customer development, interviewing over 50 potential customers and partners.

Next Steps: PEMtek will transfer the technology from a mobile lab prototype to a compact product ready for installation on UAVs. In 2016, the team plans to integrate a compact system based on current CAD design and functioning prototype. By 2017, PEMtek will deploy their first flight onboard UAV with a collaborating UAV manufacturer.

Innovative Xallent Testing Solutions for Semiconductors, Thin Films

NEXUS-NY is a clean energy accelerator that provides educational, financial and business support for university researchers and early stage companies across New York state. Xallent was part of NEXUS-NY Cohort 2. Xallent is now underway with the final stages of testing on their commercial platform for thin-films. You can also read more about their technology and team in the latest edition of NEXUS-NY Energy Magazine.

NEXUS-NY Research Team | Xallent | Cohort 2

Company: Xallent

Website: Xallent.com

Description: Xallent is developing nano-machine based testing platforms to analyze mechanical and electrical characteristics of advanced semiconductor devices and thin films.  Its innovative multiple integrated tip technology scales down to single nanometers, enabling continued miniaturization across a range of industries.  Micro and nano-scale tests on Xallent’s platforms are simpler, faster and much more cost effective than using conventional test systems.

Location: 95 Brown Rd, M/S 1035, Ithaca, NY

Achievement: Xallent has received funding support from the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation and NEXUS-NY to fast-track its commercialization activities. In order to establish market adoption and validation of their products, Xallent has established collaboration with a major semiconductor foundry.

Founding Team: Kwame Amponsah, PhD (Founder); Ashish Kumar, PhD (Commercial Advisor) and Amit Lal, PhD (Technical Advisor).

“We are developing testing platforms that allow researchers to probe semiconductor devices and thin films at ever smaller scales,” said Amponsah. “Our products enable engineers to analyze materials much more quickly and at a fraction of the cost of conventional instruments.”

NEXUS-NY Research: Throughout the NEXUS-NY program, Xallent has been working with customers to refine an understanding of their needs, build prototypes and launch beta testing.

Next Steps: The company is now in the final stages of testing of their first commercial platform for thin-films, while scaling down their semiconductor probes that approach the IBM 7nm breakthrough.

Contact: 607.262.0515 | info@xallent.com