October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

CSU and Innosphere joint accelerator advances to second round of DOE competition, startup awarded $50,000

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

An ongoing accelerator co-led by the Colorado State University Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innosphere Ventures has advanced to the third and final round of a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored incubator program, securing $150,000 to date.

The incubator, REACH (Rockies/Plains Energy Accelerator for Commercializing Hardtech) was one of 10 winners in the “Move It!” phase of the Department of Energy’s Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize competition. It will now advance to the final “Prove It!” phase, where it will be in the running to be one of four incubators to receive $500,000.

Within the EPIC Prize Competition, REACH will be supporting 10 founders focused on accelerating start-ups at the heart of the food, energy and water nexus, according to Zeinab Rezaie, the climate accelerator program coordinator for the Institute for Entrepreneurship. During the second phase of the EPIC Prize competition, she said REACH is integrating student interns and subject matter experts from CSU and other partner universities with the start-up companies.

“Commercializing technology at the intersection of food, water and energy is a complex and time-consuming process,” said Jeff Muhs, who manages the REACH Accelerator for CSU. “By tapping subject-matter experts at universities, founders can more quickly identify and address issues important to deploying their products and services at scale.”

Through other programing, the REACH Program has supported 27 start-ups across a 15-state region with a majority having diverse founders or benefiting disadvantaged communities.

“These start-ups have raised over $15 million dollars over the past two years and created dozens of jobs,” Rezaie said.

REACH startup receives special recognition 

OMC Hydrogen, one of the ventures in the REACH Energy Accelerator program, recently won first place in the EPIC Prize Showcase Pitch Competition, which featured 24 of the nation’s leading tech start-ups.

The venture was awarded $50,000 for its work creating renewable hydrogen to decarbonize fuels and chemicals using a thermochemical process with significant cost advantages over electrolysis.

Tom Fuhr, the client director for Innosphere Ventures, praised OMC Hydrogen Founder Britt Boughey for his tenacity – which was ultimately rewarded with funding that will help pave the way for his product to be available commercially.

“Britt’s journey should be an encouragement to other startups to stay on path even when facing significant challenges, because you may not see that major success is right around the corner until you get there,” Fuhr said.


Full story: CSU and Innosphere joint accelerator advances to second round of DOE competition, startup awarded $50,000

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