Thursday May 21, 2015 0 comments
first Demo Day pitch event on Wednesday.
The event, held at Industry Denver, featured six startup companies selected from Colorado and across the nation who pitched their business model ideas to a panel of judges.
Also pitching were NexTint, PAX Pure, RavenBrick, Sustainable Power Systems and Vartega Carbon Fiber Recycling.
Judges for the event were Trevor Zimmerman, Farmore Capital Group; Robert Fenwick-Smith, Aravaipa Ventures; Ryan Kirkpatrick, Colorado Impact Fund; and AJ Dye, Delta Electronics Capital.
Introducers of the companies included Tony Wibbeler, Waste to Energy Partners; Curtis Rueter, Noble Energy; Rob Writz, Innosphere; Robert Clarke, Alpen Glass founder; Brad Begin, formerly with Alpen Glass; and Donald Chung, NREL Finance Group.
Bryan Birsic, Wunder Capital CEO, said while the solar industry has been making significant strides in recent years in the residential and utility sectors, commercial solar grew only 34 percent between 2012-2014.
“The solar industry is begging for financing,” he said. “The commercial space has not benefitted from the financial largess” seen in other sectors.
Birsic said Wunder intends to “fill the gap” in funding the commercial solar sector with crowdfunded investment from angel investors, venture capitalists and large institutional investors.
Each company selected to pitch at CCIA’s first Demo Day made a 10-minute pitch to judges in a “Shark Tank”-style format, with judges then asking them questions.
NexTint, a California-based company, offered a window tinting technology that uses electronically dimmable film for windows.
“Our customers want to be able to show energy use to their tenants and be more efficient that the building next door,” said Toby Sachs-Quintana, NexTint CEO.
“(With NexTint) you can electronically control the amount of heat and light entering into the building.”
Philip O’Connor of California-based PAX Pure, said his company intends to offer a water treatment and recycling technology to the oil-and-gas industry.
“We can provide a solution to oil fields at $1-$2 a barrel, which is very attractive for water treatment,” O’Connor said. “There’s clearly a lot of need right now for technologies such as ours.”
Adam Cahn, COO of Boulder-based Sustainable Power Systems, said his company is offering a universal microgrid controller to enable better coordination between differing microgrid systems.
“The key is to get all of these systems working together to provide sustainable power,” Cahn said. “Microgrids require precision orchestration of all these power sources.
“What makes us truly unique is our solution is 95 percent replicable across the entire spectrum of microgrids.”
Andrew Maxey of Arvada-based Vartega Carbon Fiber Recycling, said his company aims to divert thousands of tons of carbon fiber – used in automobiles, wind energy and sporting goods such as tennis rackets – from going into the landfill each year.
Maxey said the company is looking for a $500,000 investment to build a pilot plant by mid-2016.
Henry Wernars and Leland Lorentzen of Denver-based RavenBrick said the company’s patented smart window technology automatically tints windows with the sun’s heat and needs no external controls.
RavenBrick’s technology is fast -- transitioning to a tinted state in three to 10 minutes -- and saves energy and improves comfort for building occupants through reduced glare.
CCIA’s first Demo Day pitch event is an effort to bring visibility and recognition to early-stage cleantech companies.
“CCIA’s board sees access to capital as the most important thing to work on, and this is another tool to connect with investors,” said Chris Shapard, CCIA executive director, noting that all of the judges were investors.
Sponsors of Demo Day included Metzger Albee PR, Cooley LLP and KPMG.