It might have been cold outside, but things were heating up inside the Koffman Incubator on December 10th as six clean energy companies pitched to investors for potential funding. The clean energy pitch event was held in collaboration between the Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator (SCI) and the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) with the goal of involving investors with the innovative startups progressing their ventures with the help of the incubator.
Clean energy is not only a global focus these days; it is a driver of innovative startups and strategies to New York State and the Koffman Incubator, which places a strong focus on this area of technology and business. There are nineteen companies in the SCI program. AgZeit, SunTegra, AOA, Brash, EMPEQ, and Heat Inverse were the six companies chosen to pitch. The technology and topics of these businesses varied from agriculture to solar panels to seaweed and other areas in-between, which were critiqued and reviewed by the four-person investor panel as well as investors in attendance.
The second annual event was structured in accordance with NYSERDA’s qualifications for clean energy investor pitch activities. The six companies had five minutes to explain their business solution to the seventeen investors present, with another five minutes of Q & A. Following this, pitch participants left the room as investor attendees spoke confidentially, on what areas the company could improve. These discussions broke down the potential for investment, any unanswered questions the company needs to address to obtain investment, and what non-monetary resources the community or the investors’ networks could provide to help progress the startup in question.
The investor panel consisted of Alan Lee from Excell Partners, Alexandra Bromson from Generate Capital, Ryoko Nozawa from Cayuga Ventures, and Per Stromhaug from Binghamton University’s Research Foundation. The panel questioned the companies on their financials, go to market (“GTM”) strategies, scalability, partnerships, sustainability, patents, value proposition, competition, and differentiators.
Several of the participating companies have won or received grants or investments from competitions throughout NY and the U.S. adding validity to their solutions and businesses. Not only did the investors leave the event thinking about how these solutions could impact and improve the energy status quo, but resulted in follow-up discussions, calls, and meetings which have the potential to lead to further investment for the businesses. For the companies pitching, they received another opportunity to sharpen their presentation skills and invaluable information on what they are doing well and what could use improvement to lead to additional capital and growth for their business.