FREDERICTON – A New Brunswick clean energy startup is participating in an accelerator that will help them develop their business south of the border.
Last November, Stash Energy was chosen to participate in the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) for clean-energy based in Denver, Colorado. The accelerator helps with selected high-growth, high-potential startups raise capital, do research and development, and explore markets opportunities in the U.S.
“We were really excited to hear that we got accepted into the Denver accelerator because we are at a growth stage right now for our company,” said Stash Energy CEO Jordan Kennie. “We’re launching a few products in the fall in P.E.I. and hopefully in New Brunswick in 2019. There’s a lot of challenges that come with that that the Denver accelerator has helped with so far.”
Stash is developing a cost-effective system that works with conventional heat pump technology to store energy.
“They really helped us out with research lab problem and also just general business problems like how to sell and market your product, introducing us to investors to help fund our growth, things like that.”
The accelerator kicked off last month when Kennie travelled to Denver with the other selected companies for two days. There they did a tour of the National Renewable Energy Lab headquarters (NREL), a federal government facility that does clean-tech research. They also got to meet with the lab’s researchers to discuss any issues they are having with their own products. They also spent an evening pitching potential investors
“Overall those first two days were a really great experience,” says Kennie. “I learned a lot and met a lot of really great and amazing people in an area that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to meet.”
Much of the work for the accelerator is done remotely, but Kennie will be returning to Denver in May when the accelerator wraps up for an NREL Industry Growth Forum, which is one of the biggest renewable energy conferences in the world.
There he will get to meet big companies and investors in clean-tech. Stephen Davis, trade commissioner for CTA clean-energy says they will be helping participants set up meetings with big players based on their needs.
“Between January and May at the forum, we will work remotely with the five companies. We’re looking at which of these key people they should meet with, we’ll introduce them to them ahead of time so they can remotely meet them, then they’ll meet them in-person here,” says Davis. “We help them with what their pitch should be to each company. So we tailer-make what our cohort needs.”
Kennie says there are two big things he hopes Stash will gain from participating in the CTA.
“I think biggest one is getting us prepared for all the challenges that come with launching. That’s where we’re at right now and what we’ve been working on for the last couple months and we’ll continue to work on through summer,” he says.
“The other big benefit for us would be to be introduced to clean-tech investors in Denver and the U.S. in general, building that network of investors so that if when we raise more money later this year, we have that network to be able to present and show progress.”
How Stash Energy became connected to the CTA was through his participation in UNB’s Energia Accelerator. Davis said though Kennie and Stash itself are impressive, it was the support of programs like Energia and the Summer Institute that helped make him a good candidate for CTA.
“He was in a program where he wasn’t just working on hypothetical [projects] . . . he took real-world needs and he turned it into a product and into a company through his university training,” says Davis. “He just seems miles ahead of people we meet and a lot of companies we meet at a very young age. I do believe it is the combination of who he is and also the program that he went through.”