Ten Regional Clean Energy Companies Graduate from Cleantech San Diego Startup Incubator
Annual Southern California Energy Innovation Network Showcase Event Being Held November 9
SAN DIEGO, CA, November 1, 2022 – Cleantech San Diego today announced the graduation of ten local clean energy companies – Chilldyne, Controlled Thermal Resources, Ivy Energy, NeoCharge, Occuspace, South 8 Technologies, Qubitekk, UCAP Power, VLI-EV, and XENDEE – from its Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN).
SCEIN is an incubator program for clean energy startups based in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties that are developing technologies to help California meet its clean energy goals. The program offers free business services through a consortium of regional partner organizations and private sector companies to help entrepreneurs successfully bring their energy innovations to market.
Since entering SCEIN, these ten companies have secured multiple customers, built robust sales pipelines, and raised sufficient capital to support the scaling of their breakthrough energy businesses. A company graduates from SCEIN when it is mutually agreed that they have utilized the full range of resources and referrals made available to them. Seventeen regional clean energy companies have now graduated the program after receiving customized business service plans from SCEIN.
“SCEIN is pleased to have been able to provide services and support that has enabled all ten of these innovative companies to accelerate market traction of their breakthrough clean energy solutions,” said Marty Turock, Executive Director of SCEIN. “Each of their products create exciting new ways for customers to reduce energy use, save money, and curb greenhouse gas emissions – all while creating new jobs and furthering California’s cleantech economy and climate goals.”
Cleantech San Diego launched the SCEIN program in 2016 after winning a grant from the California Energy Commission. Over the program’s first six years of operation, SCEIN member companies have commercialized innovative technologies that are accelerating market transformation in transportation electrification, grid and building decarbonization, energy efficiency, and resiliency. In 2021, the California Energy Commission approved follow-on funding for SCEIN to continue supporting energy entrepreneurs through 2026.
To date, 66 companies have been served by SCEIN, 31 of which are currently active in the program. Together, these startups employ 629 people, have had 386 patents approved, and have raised over $300 million in follow-on funding from public and private sources since being accepted into the program. 79 percent of SCEIN companies have C-Suite diversity.
“The Southern California Energy Innovation Network is not only helping the next wave of energy entrepreneurs bring their technologies to market, but it is ensuring the greater San Diego region – including the Imperial Valley and the Inland Empire – and the state of California remain competitive in the clean technology and renewable energy sectors,” said Cleantech San Diego President and CEO Jason Anderson. “It is exciting and rewarding to see SCEIN companies providing new innovative solutions that are providing cost-effective clean energy technologies that can help all Californians reduce their energy costs and environmental impact.”
SCEIN applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Anyone interested in applying as an entrepreneur, becoming a mentor, joining the Technical Advisory Committee, or hosting a pilot demonstration project, can learn more at cleantechsandiego.org/scein.
Next week, Cleantech San Diego is hosting its annual Southern California Energy Innovation Network Showcase event on November 9, 2022, from 9:00 – 11:00 am. This free, virtual, public event will feature presentations from nine other clean energy startups currently engaged in the SCEIN program. The showcase is designed to raise the visibility of these companies with VCs, investors, strategic partners, and potential customers. Learn more and register at cleantechsandiego.org/event/sceinshowcase2022.
Quotes from SCEIN Graduates:
“The SCEIN program was a huge asset for Ivy Energy when originally launching the platform and working towards demonstrable product market fit,” said Ivy Energy Founder and CEO Dover Janis. “SCEIN was there to connect Ivy’s team to experienced advisors, point them towards public programs that could assist in validation and funding, and give valuable feedback on strategy. The SCEIN program helps entrepreneurs with great ideas get the support they need that gives them credibility and confidence in the most difficult phases of early validation and growth.”
“The support, connections, and opportunities that SCIEN provides have been extremely valuable for NeoCharge,” said NeoCharge co-founder and CEO Spencer Harrison. “We have really enjoyed working with everyone at SCEIN and could not be more grateful for all the opportunities the program has provided.”
“We appreciate the SCEIN team’s continuous mentorship over the years that Occuspace has been involved in the program,” said Occuspace CEO Nic Halverson. “We’ve received directional feedback on high-level corporate strategy and introductions to customers and investors that have been game-changing for our startup. You can tell the SCEIN team really cares about its members and has put considerable time and effort into helping make Occuspace more successful.”
“The SCEIN program was instrumental in helping grow our startup into a formidable challenger in the energy storage space today,” said South 8 Technologies Co-Founder and CEO Cyrus Rustomji. “The program was helpful in identifying grant opportunities, leveraging their network to connect to investors and third-party services, and providing mentorship to help navigate us through our business growth.”
“The resources SCEIN provided to Qubitekk were invaluable,” said Qubitekk CRO Corey McClelland. “As a startup with limited funding, SCEIN allowed Qubitekk to grow using their resources for mentoring, pitch deck development, and introductions to other entrepreneurs and investors. When you are starting a company, you don’t realize how much help is available. SCEIN was a one stop shop that helped guide us over the valley of death to profitability.”
“The SCEIN team has been one of the most professional groups to work with,” said UCAP Power CEO Gordon Schenk. “SCEIN has been incredibly instrumental in our NREL and Edison Award success as well as the recent California Energy Commissions CalTestBed grant we were awarded.”
“Having secured several large-scale commercial utility, mass transit, and transportation electrification projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, we especially appreciated SCEIN’s support and referrals in identifying and securing project financing,” said VLI-EV CEO Masao Nishikawa.
“Cleantech San Diego’s business accelerator program has helped XENDEE tap into a network of events, mentors, investors, sales opportunities and government agencies from around the globe,” said Xendee Co-Founder and CEO Adib Nasle,. “Just this June, we announced our $12 million Series A funding round and we look forward to continuing to be a part of the exponential growth of clean energy companies in Southern California.”
About the Graduating Startups:
Chilldyne offers a liquid cooling technology that improves Data Center energy efficiency 20-40 percent for a quicker return on investment while also enabling ten-times higher density computing than traditional air-cooled systems. Unlike other types of liquid cooling, Chilldyne’s patented, negative-pressure technology eliminates the risk of water leaks by pulling coolant through the system. The simple, direct-to-chip design means specialized technicians are not needed for installation or new commissioning.
Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) is integrating geothermal power and lithium extraction technologies to produce the world’s most sustainable source of battery grade lithium to support electrification of transportation and generate low-cost, renewable energy. CTR has been instrumental in developing California’s Lithium Valley near the Salton Sea, a rich resource with the potential of supplying 600,000 metric tons of lithium annually. Among many recent milestone achievements for the company, last year, the Biden-Harris Administration released an EV Charging Action Plan that included CTR and their strategic collaboration with General Motors. This recognition of CTR’s work in Lithium Valley represented a major milestone for the company and for the future of building a sustainable and responsible lithium battery supply chain in the United States.
Ivy Energy developed the first solar billing software of its kind called Virtual Grid, solving the split incentive problem of transacting solar energy between residents in shared buildings. This enabled property owners to invest in rooftop solar and distribute solar energy in a consumer-friendly manner at a cost savings to its residents. Virtual Grid uses smart grid logic to fairly distribute the solar energy benefits of the entire community and deliver an easy-to-understand monthly clean energy experience. Ivy’s clients on the platform today are seeing $800-$1,500 in additional NOI annually per unit, while the end users (tenants) see guaranteed monthly energy bill savings of 5-20 percent.
NeoCharge is optimizing home energy usage through software and hardware solutions. NeoCharge’s flagship product, the Smart Splitter, enables electric vehicle (EV) adoption and home electrification by making access to 220-volt power clean, easy, and affordable. NeoCharge’s Connect is a vehicle-integrated software that helps EV drivers track their energy costs, reduce their carbon emissions, and save money on their utility bills by charging at the best times for the grid. NeoCharge has won numerous awards including the LACI Innovators Award, the CEC CalSEED award, and is a two-time winner of Caltech RocketFund’s grant. NeoCharge is also an Alumni of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and is active in the Wells Fargo IN2 Incubator.
Occuspace provides a camera-less, novel solution for reporting minute-by-minute indoor occupancy data that gives building owners the information they need to reduce total energy consumption by 10-20 percent, optimize space management, and improve the occupant experience.
South 8 Technologies spun out from UC San Diego in 2016 and is developing a novel Liquefied Gas (LiGas®) electrolyte for next-generation Li-ion batteries. In contrast to using conventional liquids, the LiGas electrolyte uses off-the-shelf gasses as the solvent for the electrolyte. The unique chemistry offers significant safety improvement, world-record operating temperature range, and potential for improvements in energy, all while offering cost reduction opportunities from lower materials and manufacturing cost. The patented technology is a simple drop-in replacement for today’s lithium-ion cells, minimizing switching cost by using well understood and common manufacturing techniques. The LiGas electrolyte has been validated by leading cell and automotive manufacturers as well as the U.S. Department of Defense.
Qubitekk manufactures quantum systems, designs system architectures, and integrates quantum technology with classical infrastructure to solve the quantum challenges of today while preparing for tomorrow. Together with its utility partner, Chattanooga’s EPB, Qubitekk has created and is actively deploying the first commercial, subscription-based quantum network for the quantum industry. As the only US-based manufacturer of quantum network systems, Qubitekk’s components are designed, engineered, and precision manufactured to integrate seamlessly with existing architecture to provide unmatched quantum communications over optical fiber and in free space. In addition to terrestrial quantum networking breakthroughs, Qubitekk is advancing the integration of quantum communications hardware on unmanned aerial vehicles and low-earth orbit satellites, opening defense, aerospace, and commercial opportunities in the quantum field. Qubitekk won the 2022 Edison Gold Award and a 2021 R&D 100 award in collaboration with EPB, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
UCAP Power develops ultracapacitor-based power solutions across a wide range of renewable markets. Their systems use sustainable based products and offer a long-lasting source of reliable high-power energy storage that can help eliminate lead-acid and other hazardous materials in batteries. In May of 2021, UCAP Power completed the purchase of Maxwell Technologies Korea, the Korean-based ultracapacitor business, as well as other related assets including the Maxwell brand. Earlier this year UCAP Power won awards at the 2022 NREL Industry Growth Forum in the categories of Emerging Markets and Best Overall Venture. In addition, the first UCAP Power product, the POWERBLoK, was a 2022 Edison Award winner in the Critical Infrastructure category.
VLI-EV is a one-stop sustainable and renewable battery energy storage solutions provider that offers proprietary controls software with high power (5C charge/discharge rates) and super long life with 25-year warranties. These systems reduce customer energy and peak demand charge costs by 20-40 percent, as well as CO2 emissions. VLI-EV addresses the most stringent battery energy storage applications ranging from utility scale frequency and voltage regulations, renewable energy power generation stability, and super high power/cycle applications.
XENDEE’s award-winning platform integrates the microgrid design process into one piece of software and allows users to rapidly validate projects of any size, optimize designs, optimize investments, and operate microgrids in real time to reach their full potential. XENDEE’s software can model up to 25 different distributed energy resource technologies and calculates the optimal techno-economic solution for each site to meet its goals. These goals can include reducing costs, cutting CO2 emissions, increasing resilience, or a combination of all three.
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About Cleantech San Diego
Cleantech San Diego is a member-based business association that positions the greater San Diego region as a global leader in the cleantech economy and smart cities movement. As a nonprofit organization, Cleantech San Diego is uniquely suited to support the industry by fostering collaborations across the private-public-academic landscape, leading advocacy efforts to promote cleantech priorities, and encouraging more equitable investment across the San Diego region. Stakeholders include more than 130 businesses, universities, governments, and nonprofits committed to advancing sustainable solutions for the benefit of the economy, the environment, and all members of the community. Learn more at cleantechsandiego.org.
About the Southern California Energy Innovation Network
The Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN) is a free incubator program for clean energy startups based in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties that are developing technologies to help California meet its climate goals. The program provides access to the resources and facilities of regional partner organizations and connections with industry in order to accelerate the commercialization of emerging energy technologies. Managed by Cleantech San Diego, the program is the result of multiple grants from the California Energy Commission to help advance California’s energy innovation industry. Learn more at cleantechsandiego.org/scein
Shannon Bresnahan, Cleantech San Diego, 858-568-7777, [email protected]