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Behind the Scenes of Interactive Week 2017

May 3, 2017

· 4 min read
Elemental Excelerator

Unlike a typical tech accelerator where companies often move between cities to participate in three-month programs, companies joining Elemental Excelerator visit Hawaii and Silicon Valley for one week at a time 3-5 times during the first nine months. Companies kick off their participation in Elemental Excelerator with Kickoff Week in Honolulu. Then they reconvene about six months later, along with portfolio companies from previous cohorts, for EEx Interactive Week in Silicon Valley.

While Kickoff Week is focused on building relationships among the cohort companies, leveraging the expertise of the cohort, and integrating companies into our Hawaii ecosystem, Interactive Week is focused on connecting companies to the right investors, customers, and partners that can help them scale. Interactive Week is also an opportunity for cross-cohort introductions and collaboration. Read on to learn about how our EEx Interactive Week went this year!


Ecosystem Update
We took advantage of having 33 of our 53 portfolio companies together and kicked off the week with an Ecosystem Update. This year, companies dug into market discovery and walked away with 3 ways to filter new markets and identify customers.

The EEx team dove into what our new partnership with Emerson Collective means for our portfolio.

EEx companies ConnectDER, Go Electric, and Edisun build out filters for new markets and new customers.


Behind the Scenes of 2 Acquisitions
Oren, CEO of Whisker Labs (acquired by Earth Networks in 2016), and Rob, CEO of BrightBox (acquired by NEXTracker in 2016), walked fellow portfolio companies through their acquisition journeys. When should you use an investment banker? How do you manage an auction effectively? How do you handle cap table reshuffling during a transaction? Thanks Rob and Oren for sharing your personal stories!

Unlocking Non-Traditional Growth Capital
Our portfolio company leadership and select partners described how they are exploring innovative ways to finance growth beyond venture capital, including purchase order financing, asset finance, project finance, and more.

Ed Chiao, CEO of Amber Kinetics, discusses financing mechanisms for their mechanical energy storage (flywheel) technology.

Global Advisory Board Meeting & Stem Tour
For our Global Advisory Board Meeting attendees (Hawaiian Electric Industries, TEPCO, GE, Vector, First Philippine Holdings, Hawaii Gas, and others), the day kicked off with our semi-annual Global Advisory Board meeting. The group then joined our portfolio companies for a happy hour at Stem, where Stem provided an insider’s look at their technology solutions.

In Hawaii, Stem has deployed a fleet of 29 energy storage systems. Each system is connected and controlled via their software platform.

Arcady Sosinov (right) is the CEO of FreeWire, a 2015 Demonstration Track company. Arcady has returned to share his customer discovery expertise with new EEx cohorts every year (Steve Blank is one of Arcady’s mentors). Openness to collaboration is one of the things we look for in leadership teams as we build a portfolio of not only companies, but people, who will change the world one community at a time. Ramsay (left) is Head of Partnerships and Pipeline at EEx.


1:1 Meetings + EEx Interactive Event
EEx Interactive is a once-a-year opportunity for our investor and partner networks to get the inside story about what companies are learning as they deploy innovation in Hawaii and the Asia Pacific. This year was standing room only with 21 portfolio companies presenting to over 170 investors and partners. EEx portfolio companies represent over $105 million of investment opportunity over the next six months. Companies that attended EEx Interactive kicked off the event with three 20-minute meetings with selected investors, customers, and strategic partners.

Whit Fulton, CEO of ConnectDER, shares their most recent milestones (and maybe stories of his time in Japan) during a 1:1 meeting.

Vincent Kimura, CEO of Smart Yields, talks abot how they increase crop yields for small- to medium-sized farms.

Dominique Gomez, COO of WaterSmart, shared the traction they have with over 60 utilities across 12 states.

It wouldn’t be EEx Interactive without a live Q&A. Nicholas Flanders, CEO of Opus 12, explains how one of their units will have the CO2 harnessing power of 37,000 trees in the volume of a suitcase.

We ended the event by welcoming our newest partners, Emerson Collective, to the stage to talk about the global vision for Elemental Excelerator. Sitting next to Andy Karsner, Managing Partner at Emerson Collective, is a familiar face in the world of energy. Aloha to Ernie Moniz, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, and thanks for joining us!

Our ‘ohana (family) is growing. Each year, we bring on new partners and add 12-15 exceptional companies. Applications are open for our 2018 cohort. Jump in and join us!