An ongoing accelerator led by Colorado State University and Innosphere has been named a semi-finalist in a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored incubator program, securing $50,000 in funding with the potential to vie for $100,000 and $500,000 in later rounds of competition.
The venture is called REACH (Rockies/Plains Energy Accelerator for Commercializing Hardtech), and it is focused on accelerating companies at the heart of the food, energy and water nexus.
“These are all critical challenges for Coloradans as well as globally,” said Scott Shrake, the executive director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the CSU College of Business. “It’s a new elevation of CSU’s land-grant mission, and involves partnering with local organizations to spur economic development across our region, turning business theory into practice.”
Jeff Muhs, managing director of REACH, said the accelerator will help companies understand the interconnected complexities of integrated food, energy and water systems.
The plan is to pilot two or three startups early next year, before expanding into 10-15 companies the following year.
“In this program, we will surround the founders of startups with subject matter experts and students from various universities in our network who will help them navigate the challenges of commercializing integrated food, energy and water systems,” he said.
REACH was one of 10 “new and emerging” accelerators recognized in the inaugural round of the USDOE Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize. It will compete with ventures from across the country in the ensuing rounds.