In our application, we ask companies why they apply to our program. We tallied the answers given by our 42 portfolio companies and counted down the top 5 reasons below. Spoiler alert: Funding was not number 1.
#5. Community of like-minded individuals
#4. Energy Excelerator stamp of approval & validation
“It was a project that came along at a really good time for Stem because we were faced with a chicken and the egg problem. We knew that we needed to be of a certain scale to…get the attention of the utility…we are taking this project to utilities on the mainland and…the conversation is going much smoother.” – Tad Glauthier, Stem (see how we’re working with Stem on the Demonstration Track)
#3. Growth funding
Energy Excelerator Go-to-market companies receive $75K for customer discovery, and Demonstration companies receive up to $1M for customer demonstration projects.
#2. Network of investors, corporates, and customers
“One of the biggest strengths of the EEx is its network.” – Aaron Fyke, Edisun
#1. Fast track into Hawaii and Asia Pacific markets
“A key benefit of the Excelerator program is face time. In one intensive week, Geli, a San Francisco energy storage software company, held meetings with the CEO of HEI, the Chair of the Public Utilities Commission, several local solar rooftop installers, and various heads of energy procurement for several military offices.” – Andrew Krulewitz, Geli (Hawaii, where energy startups go to prove themselves in E&E News)
TOP 3 REASONS NOT TO APPLY
As a founder, we know your time is valuable. Here are some indications that the program may not be a fit.
#3. No working prototype
As a later-stage accelerator, our program and funding is geared toward commercialization rather than R&D. There are many opportunities for companies needing funding and other resources to build out their prototypes, such as ARPA-E, National Science Foundation, and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program). Once you have your working prototype complete, we look forward to seeing your application.
#2. You want to operate in stealth mode
If you think secrecy is the key to your success, Energy Excelerator may not be for you. You don’t have to tell us everything, but we do expect you to engage in conversation and collaborate with others.
#1. One-person team
We’ve found that companies with two or more team members are able to move faster. From companies selected into our cohort, we require the participation of at least 2 full-time team members.