Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Interim CEO Stephen Pike today announced $250,000 in funding for five early-stage clean energy companies. Under MassCEC’s new AccelerateMass program, the funds will help new graduates of business accelerator programs develop new technologies and business plans and attract additional sources of funding.
“By supporting these companies after they graduate from accelerator programs, we’re addressing a persistent funding challenge for them while increasing opportunities for job creation and innovation in this thriving sector,” said MassCEC Interim CEO Pike.
In its inaugural round, AccelerateMass was developed to support companies graduating from business accelerator programs, which provide mentorship, guidance and prize competitions to promising startup companies. This round of funding was open to recent Massachusetts-based clean energy graduates of MassChallenge and Cleantech Open Northeast.
“Supporting cleantech startups fuels local business growth, while driving clean energy technology breakthroughs that cut energy use and help the Commonwealth meet our ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, who chairs MassCEC’s Board of Directors. “Innovative startups like these help Massachusetts continue to be a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency.”
If the AccelerateMass companies meet specific milestones – such as manufacturing prototypes, raising capital or securing customers – they are eligible to apply for an additional $100,000 each in funding.
The following companies will receive $50,000 each:
- Blackburn Energy (Amesbury) – The company is developing a power unit that produces electricity from a truck’s driveline, which can provide heat and air conditioning for sleeper cabs and can eliminate overnight engine idling. Blackburn Energy’s product promises to save up to $10,000 in fuel and 21 tons of carbon dioxide annually per truck.
- EverVest (Boston) – The company is developing a software platform that provides financial risk analysis and cash flow modelling information to renewable energy investors, allowing for new forms of capital to efficiently participate in the growing renewable energy market.
- PSM Clean Energy (Cambridge) – The company is developing an online platform that enables accredited investors to make direct impact investments in local commercial solar projects. PSM intends to use its user base, standards and platform to accelerate capital flow to other underserved clean energy projects.
- Tank Utility (Boston) – The company is developing technology that unifies propane tank monitoring hardware with operational software to remotely measure the actual fill level of consumers’ propane tanks. Tank Utility’s innovation cuts the number of deliveries needed in half, while providing consumers real-time visibility of energy consumption and eliminating the risk of running out of propane.
- Tessolar (Cambridge) – The company is developing a solar panel manufacturing process that allows for the economical use of high performance materials and lean, low-cost, fully automated assembly, potentially saving up to 30 percent of the capital expense to install a solar electric system and reducing the lifetime cost of solar-generated electricity by 35 percent.
The clean energy industry in Massachusetts has grown 64 percent since 2010 and employs 99,000 workers across the state. A majority of clean energy businesses are small, with 57 percent having 10 employees or fewer. Nineteen percent of the clean energy jobs in Massachusetts are in engineering and research. The Massachusetts clean energy sector is an $11 billion industry.
"MassCEC has been a leader in developing our clean tech cluster, which has been critical to attracting and retaining top startups," said MassChallenge Boston Managing Director Scott Bailey. " I'm proud to be a member of this community that recognizes the value of helping early-stage entrepreneurs, and I look forward to supporting some new clean tech startups in MassChallenge this summer."
"AccelerateMass is an important funding mechanism for cleantech startups across the Massachusetts ecosystem," said Cleantech Open Northeast Executive Director Katie McDonald. "Cleantech Open Northeast is thrilled that four of the five 2015 AccelerateMass winners are Cleantech Open alumni and we look forward to further collaboration with the MassCEC investment team as they extend and increase the impact of this program."
“MassCEC’s support for entrepreneurs through AccelerateMass and other innovative programs are a key part of the solution to ensuring that the Commonwealth’s most promising cleantech startups coming out of the leading accelerators are bridged to being commercial and investor ready,” said NECEC President Peter Rothstein.
Funding for AccelerateMass comes from MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust. The Renewable Energy Trust was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1998 as part of the deregulation of the electric utility market. The trust is funded by a systems benefit charge paid by Massachusetts electric customers of investor-owned utilities, such as Eversource and National Grid, as well as municipal electric departments that have opted to participate in the program.