Startup companies share insights and innovations upon completing 12-week energy-technology program in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Entrepreneurs from seven startups who came to St. Louis to participate in the Ameren Accelerator will take part in a demo day today hosted by Ameren Corporation (AEE) and its partners to showcase innovative, new energy technologies.
The event is the culmination of the 12-week Ameren Accelerator program: a public-private partnership comprising Ameren, the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators that assesses, mentors and invests in energy-technology startup companies – all with a goal of helping Ameren meet the future energy needs of its 2.4 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers.
"We are excited about the Ameren Accelerator program," said Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Corporation. "Engaging with entrepreneurs and innovators is consistent with our focus on delivering innovative solutions to meet our customers' energy needs today and in the future. This forward-thinking, public-private partnership also will enable the University of Missouri System and its students to become more engaged in the energy business, as well as help drive economic development and bolster the St. Louis region's reputation as an innovation hub."
The participating companies – which come from around the globe, across the region and within the St. Louis community – include blossom, Hyperion Sensors, Omega Grid, Rebate Bus, SensrTrx, Switched Source and WIFIPLUG. The companies will present their energy solutions and ideas to hundreds of potential investors, business executives, academic leaders, community representatives and guests at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus.
Many of the startups that have taken part in the Ameren Accelerator are committed to maintaining a St. Louis presence, and several have hired employees for their St. Louis-based enterprises.
"The Ameren Accelerator has provided tremendous value to the participating companies and created the necessary infrastructure for ongoing engagement and success in their given markets," said Judy Sindecuse, CEO, Capital Innovators. "It's amazing to have Ameren as the pioneer of corporations in St. Louis conducting a program like this. The positive ripple effects from these efforts will continue to grow into the future."
Notable advancements to be showcased at the Ameren Accelerator Demo Day event include:
- blossom: blossom is a way for two parties to exchange anything of value using simple digital agreements set by user-defined rules. The accelerator helped blossom refine its idea into a realistic product with a strong business infrastructure to support it. The company will continue to grow its business in St. Louis and has hired a local developer to help build its platform.
- Hyperion Sensors: Hyperion Sensors has developed a fiber-optic sensor for use with high-voltage equipment, allowing them to become "intelligent." Through the accelerator, Hyperion established its business case, formed critical business connections, and is currently in discussions with Ameren about utilizing its products for grid modernization.
- Omega Grid: Omega Grid is market software that removes the revenue risk of distributed generation of utilities, encourages energy investment by property owners and enables access to lower rates for everyone. The company is working closely with Ameren's Technical Application Center to run critical pilots. The accelerator enabled Omega Grid to expand its operations and hire software developers and marketing professionals. In addition, Omega Grid was invited to speak at Stanford's SLAC and Fintech conferences, furthering visibility and awareness for the company.
- Rebate Bus: Rebate Bus is a platform for utility programs to deliver instant incentives online. Rebate Bus generated new business through the accelerator program and is building seamless integrations with retailers, e-commerce vendors and utility implementers. Rebate Bus plans to establish a new office in St. Louis.
- SensrTrx: SensrTrx is an industrial analytics application focused on using industrial data to improve uptime, performance and reliability of manufacturing and industrial systems. Through the Ameren Accelerator, the company closed a deal with a major customer and currently is working with Ameren on a concept to help improve the efficiency of the systems at one of Ameren's energy centers. SensrTrx hired an experienced, full-time employee in St. Louis to help grow the business.
- Switched Source: Switched Source provides equipment solutions for electric-distribution companies to make the grid more resilient and efficient, while supporting the integration of more distributed generation. Working closely with accelerator mentors and liaisons from Ameren and the University of Missouri System, the company identified substations where its technology can improve power-grid reliability and efficiency and create significant savings by reducing or deferring upgrade expenses.
- WIFIPLUG: The WIFIPLUG smart plug learns routines to make life easier and help consumers save money on energy bills. It is the only smart plug in the world to offer open-source API for developers and to include the ability for voice control using Siri, Alexa or Google. WIFIPLUG received an introduction to Apple through the Ameren Accelerator, which resulted in an Apple retail deal that provides a significant global opportunity for the business. WIFIPLUG hired its lead accelerator mentor to work from St. Louis and head U.S. sales.
In addition to access to subject matter experts from Ameren, the startups have been able to draw upon the full resources of a public university system. University of Missouri System faculty and staff provided deep expertise, guidance and coaching throughout the accelerator program. Student interns offered much-needed services including research activities, promotion and office staffing. This enhancement to corporate acceleration has provided mutual benefits for the university system, its students and the startups.
"The opportunity to teach, mentor and learn within a real-world entrepreneurial environment has been tremendously valuable for students, faculty and the startups alike," said Dan Lauer, founding executive director, UMSL Accelerate. "This program has kept our faculty engaged and our students inspired as they delivered the kind of support necessary to help these seven energy-tech startups succeed and move to the next level. We look forward to continuing this innovative partnership and supporting future Ameren Accelerator startups."
Ameren plans to open the application process for its next Ameren Accelerator program in spring 2018.
About Ameren Accelerator Demo Day 2017
Demo Day attendees hear from unique startup companies about their new energy-technology innovations and potential opportunities for investment. The day marks the culmination of a 12-week Ameren Accelerator program, a public-private partnership comprising Ameren Corporation, the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators. Keynote speakers discuss important issues, including the state of venture capital supporting energy technologies in the U.S. and other topics. Attendees enjoy networking opportunities with investors, energy executives, academic leaders and regional stakeholders.
About Ameren Corporation
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric distribution and transmission service, as well as natural gas distribution service, while Ameren Missouri provides vertically integrated electric service, with generating capacity of over 10,200 megawatts, and natural gas distribution service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois develops regional electric transmission projects. For more information, visit Ameren.com, or follow us at @AmerenCorp, Facebook.com/AmerenCorp, or LinkedIn/company/Ameren.
About the University of Missouri System
The University of Missouri System is the State of Missouri's largest public university, with four campuses serving more than 76,000 students, a health care system, an extension program, and more than 500,000 alumni worldwide. The UM System was created in 1963 when the University of Missouri (founded in 1839 in Columbia) and the Missouri School of Mines (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology, founded in 1870 in Rolla), were combined with the formerly private University of Kansas City (now University of Missouri–Kansas City, founded in 1933), and a newly created campus in suburban St. Louis (University of Missouri–St. Louis).
About the University of Missouri-St. Louis and UMSL Accelerate
The University of Missouri–St. Louis is the largest public research university in eastern Missouri with the greatest concentration of alumni in the region. Their UMSL Accelerate initiative fosters entrepreneurism and innovative thinking in and outside the classroom and helps bring concepts from mind to market. For more information, visit http://umsl.edu/accelerate/.
About Capital Innovators
Capital Innovators is an innovation engine that creates practical solutions across industries that can shape the future of organizations. Capital Innovators provides innovation consulting, entrepreneurial-based programs, acts as a liaison between Corporations, Universities and Startups and investment into attractive early-stage businesses. Capital Innovators has in-depth knowledge into the most cutting-edge solutions through the Accelerator division of its business, which has been ranked as a top Accelerator in the country for four years in a row and has invested in and guided over 80 companies to date. Capital Innovators' model is simple and effective: Innovation, Iteration, and Implementation.
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