ST. LOUIS /PRNEWSWIRE/ — Entrepreneurs from seven startups who came to St. Louis to participate in the Ameren Accelerator will take part in a demo day Thursday hosted by Ameren Corporation and its partners to showcase innovative, new energy technologies.
The event is the culmination of the 12-week Ameren Accelerator program: a public-private partnership comprising Ameren, the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators that assesses, mentors and invests in energy-technology startup companies — all with a goal of helping Ameren meet the future energy needs of its 2.4 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers.
“We are excited about the Ameren Accelerator program,” said Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Corporation in a written statement. “Engaging with entrepreneurs and innovators is consistent with our focus on delivering innovative solutions to meet our customers’ energy needs today and in the future. This forward-thinking, public-private partnership also will enable the University of Missouri System and its students to become more engaged in the energy business, as well as help drive economic development and bolster the St. Louis region’s reputation as an innovation hub.”
The participating companies — which come from around the globe, across the region and within the St. Louis community — include blossom, Hyperion Sensors, Omega Grid, Rebate Bus, SensrTrx, Switched Source and WIFIPLUG. The companies will present their energy solutions and ideas to hundreds of potential investors, business executives, academic leaders, community representatives and guests at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus.
Many of the startups that have taken part in the Ameren Accelerator are committed to maintaining a St. Louis presence, and several have hired employees for their St. Louis-based enterprises.
“The Ameren Accelerator has provided tremendous value to the participating companies and created the necessary infrastructure for ongoing engagement and success in their given markets,” said Judy Sindecuse, CEO, Capital Innovators. “It’s amazing to have Ameren as the pioneer of corporations in St. Louis conducting a program like this. The positive ripple effects from these efforts will continue to grow into the future.”
Notable advancements to be showcased at the Ameren Accelerator Demo Day event include:
- blossom: blossom is a way for two parties to exchange anything of value using simple digital agreements set by user-defined rules. The accelerator helped blossom refine its idea into a realistic product with a strong business infrastructure to support it. The company will continue to grow its business in St. Louis and has hired a local developer to help build its platform.
- Hyperion Sensors: Hyperion Sensors has developed a fiber-optic sensor for use with high-voltage equipment, allowing them to become “intelligent.” Through the accelerator, Hyperion established its business case, formed critical business connections, and is currently in discussions with Ameren about utilizing its products for grid modernization.
- Omega Grid: Omega Grid is market software that removes the revenue risk of distributed generation of utilities, encourages energy investment by property owners and enables access to lower rates for everyone. The company is working closely with Ameren’s Technical Application Center to run critical pilots. The accelerator enabled Omega Grid to expand its operations and hire software developers and marketing professionals. In addition, Omega Grid was invited to speak at Stanford’s SLAC and Fintech conferences, furthering visibility and awareness for the company.
- Rebate Bus: Rebate Bus is a platform for utility programs to deliver instant incentives online. Rebate Bus generated new business through the accelerator program and is building seamless integrations with retailers, e-commerce vendors and utility implementers. Rebate Bus plans to establish a new office in St. Louis.
- SensrTrx: SensrTrx is an industrial analytics application focused on using industrial data to improve uptime, performance and reliability of manufacturing and industrial systems. Through the Ameren Accelerator, the company closed a deal with a major customer and currently is working with Ameren on a concept to help improve the efficiency of the systems at one of Ameren’s energy centers. SensrTrx hired an experienced, full-time employee in St. Louis to help grow the business.
- Switched Source: Switched Source provides equipment solutions for electric-distribution companies to make the grid more resilient and efficient, while supporting the integration of more distributed generation. Working closely with accelerator mentors and liaisons from Ameren and the University of Missouri System, the company identified substations where its technology can improve power-grid reliability and efficiency and create significant savings by reducing or deferring upgrade expenses.
- WIFIPLUG: The WIFIPLUG smart plug learns routines to make life easier and help consumers save money on energy bills. It is the only smart plug in the world to offer open-source API for developers and to include the ability for voice control using Siri, Alexa or Google. WIFIPLUG received an introduction to Apple through the Ameren Accelerator, which resulted in an Apple retail deal that provides a significant global opportunity for the business. WIFIPLUG hired its lead accelerator mentor to work from St. Louis and head U.S. sales.
Ameren plans to open the application process for its next Ameren Accelerator program in spring 2018.