Can the resources of the Eastman Business Park and the charisma of a local entrepreneur lure a crop of Boston-based renewable energy startups to Rochester?
That question was on the collective mind of the roughly 250 guests who sat through rehearsed pitches (complete with the obligatory Powerpoint presentations) delivered by nascent and emerging CEOs with big visions for innovation in portable energy storage, renewable energy and for good measure; road safety.
Event MC Arunas Chesonis described the Rochester Business Journal event as an opportunity for the young CEOs to show their wares to potential investors, customers, partners, suppliers and sales agents. The Sweetwater Energy CEO led the charge with a slick rundown on his own company which is developing the production of industrial sugars from non-food plant material.
Ubiquitous Energy, represented by co-founders Miles Barr and Bart Howe, outlined a product to exploit the energy harvesting potential of the vertical surfaces of large buildings using photovoltaic panels. FastCAP Systems is another player in the crowded field of alternative battery technology. CEO Riccardo Signorelli described a product (called an ultracapacitor) that would hold 40X the power of conventional batteries at one-tenth of the price. Vanessa Green from OnChip Power converted a lot of the audience with the tantalizing prospect of replacing those clunky and awkward ‘power bricks’ that power our laptop computers and personal devices with a chip half the length of a credit card.
Following some lively interaction from the floor the young CEOs swept out to Eastman Business Park. There they were courted as potential tenants by a team led by the EBP Director Michael Alt.
Alt provided an overview of the assets of the industrial site with an emphasis on energy security, facilities services and the intellectual firepower of Kodak’s resident engineers and researchers.
Any of these new operations would no doubt be a catch for EBP, which has 200 acres of space available for development. However despite the welcome mat, (and perhaps with an ear to the active Kodak patent auction) the CEOs were preoccupied with issues of intellectual property (IP) and the potential for tax breaks and economic development grants. Standby for a rash of Non- Disclosure Agreements should any of the upcoming entrepeneurs relocate their operations to the EPB.
For more on this story check in with the next edition of Need to Know Rochester presented by WXXI Television in Rochester Friday night at 8:30 hosted by Julie Philipp.