On August 1st, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that $7.8 million would be provided for eleven projects in order to unlock private sector resources for innovation in energy. The chosen projects, part of DOE’s Innovative Pathways program, are designed to address barriers that prevent the private sector from more successfully supporting innovation in energy and bringing new technologies to the market.
These projects were chosen to develop and test ways in which emerging technologies in the energy sector can unlock private capital for American energy innovation. We’ll go over a few of them below.
This project based out of California will work on developing a partnership agreement that makes forming partnerships between industry corporations and technology developers both less complex and less time-consuming. They will also be building a fund that works to provide early investors with testing data, rather than equity. Sharing resources can help reduce risk and the fund hopes to provide insight to early funders without constraining commercialization pathways.
This project out of Austin, Texas looks to develop a program that can link third-party validation of new technologies with future investment decisions. This looks to streamline the process of acquiring investment based on technology validation. It will also allow funders a way to see concrete data before choosing companies to invest in.
Also known as LACI, this project will build a scalable method that makes microloans accessible to early stage hardware companies. The method will be developed along with private lenders and could open working capital to companies that are ready for growth but may not have access to traditional loans.
Based in Ohio, this product involves the design of a new investment structure and the testing of whether it will satisfy needs of various investor types when it comes to payout, return, and risk needs. This project looks to relax constraints of the typical venture capital model so other investors can provide long-term capital for energy hardware companies who need it.
This project is based out of Chicago and involves creation of a fund structure that relies on philanthropic support to handle operational expenses. As such, all investment dollars will have a maximum impact. The idea is to make early stage energy investing a more attractive option for funders who are not currently interested in investing.
Out of Colorado, this project looks to build and test a matching engine which relies on artificial intelligence to mimic recommendations that might come from a networked expert. If successful, this would provide a reduction in time and effort for technology developers when looking to identify investors, resources, and partners.
Other projects include ADL Ventures, Alpha Impact Investment Management Partners, Powerhouse Accelerator, and PRIME Coalition. Through the funding by the DOE, these projects will have the ability to determine any changes that can be made to make funding more accessible for those in the energy sectors.