Support for Energy Storage Startups

A few years ago, leaders in New York State government began to form a vision to make the State a focal point for energy storage activities, and one important factor that underpinned these deliberations was the under-realized potential for creating a host of new energy storage-related startup companies. New York institutions and researchers had long histories of invention and innovation around energy storage--often with the support of State funding--and the belief was that with the right kinds of follow-on support, many of these ideas could be harnessed to drive commercial success of these technologies and formation of new companies.   

NY-BEST was a direct result of those deliberations, and our mission includes a strong emphasis on getting technologies out of the lab and into commercial deployment. We provide direct mentoring and advising services to member companies, and routinely make introductions between and among companies to support these commercialization efforts.  As a result, both Bill Acker and I spend a considerable amount of our time working with early stage companies in the energy storage space from across New York State and beyond, and we routinely interact with a large network of incubators, accelerators, funders and service providers who are focused on similar activities.  One direct activity related to this effort is our annual NY-BEST Investment Forum, where we provide an opportunity for a number of NY-BEST member companies to give their pitch to a room full of investors. This event takes place in the Fall each year and has proven to be a great way for investors to get an efficient update and insights on a cross-section of energy storage startup activity.  Watch your mailbox in late summer for the call for presenters.

In related news, I recently stepped up my involvement with the Cleantech Open. If you're not familiar with the Cleantech Open (and you've read this far) you probably should be. The Cleantech Open bills itself as the world's largest cleantech accelerator with a mission to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today's most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual accelerator and competition, the Cleantech Open has helped 727 companies bring their ideas to the next level. These alumni have since raised $800M. Fueled by a network of more than 2,000 volunteers, the Cleantech Open unites the best ideas with the resources they need to bring cleantech solutions to market.

I served as a mentor to several companies who participated in last year's Open, and found it to be a well-run and very focused organization. This year, the Cleantech Open has expanded to include an Upstate New York region, and I've agreed to help recruit companies and mentors across the region. In order to get the word out, NYSERDA has provided support, and staff from NYSERDA will be hosting a series of meetings across the state starting in Buffalo on April 1 and continuing to RochesterSyracuse and Albany on April 2, 3 and 5th, respectively. If you're a startup in the cleantech space, I think you should take a look.  

If you'd like to learn more about the Cleantech Open (as either a company participant or as a mentor) or about the services that NY-BEST provides for startup companies, feel free to contact me at