On Tuesday, June 27, Greentown Labs officially launched our SunRISE II program, conducted in partnership with Fraunhofer TechBridge and sponsored by Royal DSM. The event gave representatives from our selected startup companies, as well as DSM executives and members of the Greentown Labs and Fraunhofer TechBridge teams the opportunity to come together, celebrate the beginning of a highly collaborative partnership, and engage the public on exciting developments currently taking place in solar technology.
SunRISE II is the 2017 edition of Greentown Launch, a six-month startup accelerator program that helps startups develop and refine their products and businesses. SunRISE II focuses on early-stage companies across the solar power value chain. Selected participants are enrolled in a curriculum of workshops and training sessions with business and technical leaders in the solar industry to help grow their companies, while also gaining access to Greentown Labs’ full suite of incubation services here in Somerville, MA.
This Year’s SunRISE Participants
Like 2016’s SunRISE, also sponsored by DSM, our four competition participants this year cover a different and critical area of the PV value chain, including product innovations in materials, maintenance, and information technology. In no particular order, they are:
- NOMADD: A Saudi Arabian company providing an automated waterless dusting device for solar panel installations located in photovoltaically rich yet challenging and highly soiling desert climates. NOMADD was represented by two of its cofounders, CEO Jos van der Hyden and CTO Georg Eitelhuber.
- Leading Edge Crystal Technologies (LECT): Local, Cambridge-based manufacturer of monocrystalline silicon wafers using a patented continuous process offering a lower-cost, higher efficiency PV material with less waste. LECT was represented by CEO Alison Greenlee.
- SunDensity: Local, Boston-based manufacturer of photonic solar conversion (PSC), a nano-coated screen that optimizes the amount of solar radiation converted to electric energy in mass-market solar modules. SunDensity was represented by its two cofounders, CEO Deepak Shahane and CTO Nishikant Sonwalkar.
- SunSniffer: German manufacturer of IoT-enabled sensors for identifying the power efficacy of PV plants at the modular level to lower the cost of error detection and plant maintenance. SunSniffer was represented by founder and CEO Ingmar Kruse.
Last Year’s Success Testimonial
Before the official unveiling of new attendees, we first heard from one of last year’s SunRISE successes. On hand to discuss his company’s experience with the program was Corey Thompson, CEO of WattGlass and recipient of venture funding from DSM Venturing in early 2017 after completion of the inaugural SunRISE program. WattGlass’ product is an anti-reflective and anti-soiling coating for solar panels, improving their energy performance and the sustainability of PV materials. WattGlass is also a recipient of the DOE’s SunShot award.
The Importance of an Ecosystem of Innovation Partners
The event began with leadership from Greentown Labs, Fraunhofer TechBridge, and DSM welcoming and thanking participants and attendees and expressing the immeasurable value inherent in an ecosystem approach to innovation by leveraging the key strengths and resources of each partner.
Vice President of the DSM Innovation Center and Managing Director of DSM Venturing Pieter Wolters and Vice President of Science and Technology Peter Jansens both spoke of the importance of collaboration in realizing DSM’s strategic vision across business areas, and the role that startups play in moving these many developments forward. Vice President of DSM Advanced Surfaces Oscar Goddijn built upon these remarks, giving an overview of DSM’s Advanced Solar business and how innovation partnerships have greatly enhanced DSM’s ability to meet goals across improving PV materials and technology.
Representatives from the four startups participated in initial 30-45 minute presentations and Q&A sessions with sponsors, peers, and advisers before a short networking session prior to the evening public portion of the event.
After an influx of interested public and members of the Greentown Labs community, the participating companies were recognized and congratulated by DSM Venturing executive Luda Kopeikina and Nathan Arbitman, Strategy & Innovation Director at DSM Advanced Solar as well as Christian Hoepfner, Executive Director, Sustainable Energy Systems at Fraunhofer USA.
Throughout the summer into the fall, our four companies will be closely engaged with stakeholders in a series of workshops and collaborative events to advance their products and businesses. Congratulations to our participants and we look forward to working with you over the next six months with our partners and sponsors!