ones to watch

Investors name most promising energy tech startups at annual Houston event

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship handed out awards to the founders of the most promising companies that pitched. Photo courtesy of Slyworks Photography/Rice Alliance

Nearly 100 energy tech startups pitched at the 19th annual Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Forum this week — and over a third of those companies are based in the Houston area.

At the conclusion of the event — which took place on Thursday, September 15, at Rice University, and included a day full of company pitches, panels, and thought leadership — 10 startups were deemed the most promising among their peers. The group was voted on by investors attending office hours ahead of the event.

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship facilitated nearly 700 meetings between 70 investor groups and 90 ventures, according to the organization. The group of presenting companies included participants from Rice's Clean Energy Accelerator's first two cohorts.

Here are 10 of the energy tech industry's most promising companies — and the technology they are working on that's set to disrupt the status quo.

Arolytics

Based in Calgary and founded in 2018, Arolytics is a software company that specializes in emissions management, ESG performance, and regulatory compliance. The company's platform is able to save its users up to 40 percent of their associated measurement costs and emissions management.

Atargis Energy

Atargis Energy is based in Pueblo, Colorado, and is a a member of Rice's second cohort of its Clean Energy Accelerator. The company has developed a twin hydrofoil-based wave energy converter that creates electric power from ocean waves. The technology is paired with real-time sensors and machine learning to optimize power conversion.

Compact Membrane Systems

Based in Delaware, Compact Membrane Systems, is pioneering membrane systems for decarbonizing hard-to-abate chemical manufacturing and industrial carbon capturing. The technology has the potential to revolutionize the chemicals industry.

Dimensional Energy

Dimensional Energy, based in Ithaca, New York, is transforming carbon dioxide into sustainable aviation fuels and products at market competitive prices. The technology integrates carbon capture, electrolysis, and Fischer Tropsch synthesis.

Kanin Energy

Headquartered in Houston, Kanin Energy works with heavy Industry to turn their waste heat into a clean baseload power source. The platform also provides tools such as project development, financing, and operations.

Orbital Sidekick

Orbital Sidekick, based in San Francisco, is an intelligence and analytics company that specializes in remote detection of environmental hazards by way of hyperspectral satellites. The technology provides actionable insights for its customers.

Power to Hydrogen

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Power to Hydrogen has developed an AEM-based electrolysis technology that produces high pressure, high efficiency hydrogen at low cost via water and renewable energy.

Quino Energy

Another Clean Energy Accelerator Class 2 member, Quino Energy produces flow battery systems with over eight hours of energy storage. The batteries are cheaper than lithium-ion alternatives, as well as being safer and easier to scale.

STARS Technology

Based in Richland, Washington, STARS Technology Corp. is commercializing advanced micro-channel chemical process technology that originally was designed for NASA and the Department of Energy. The company's reactors and heat exchangers are compact, energy-efficient, and more.

Syzygy Plasmonics

Houston-based Syzygy Plasmonics is commercializing its light-reacting energy, which would greatly reduce carbon emissions in the chemical industry. The technology originated out of Rice University.

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Building Houston

 
 

Little Place Labs, which provides near-real-time space analytics for both ground and space-based applications, secured a spot in the AWS Space Accelerator. Image via Getty Images

Just 14 space global startups were selected for Amazon Web Services 2023 AWS Space Accelerator, including one representing the Space City.

Little Place Labs, co-founded in 2020 at Oxford by Houstonian and CEO Bosco Lai, has been selected by AWS Space Accelerator. The mentorship program helps startups advance space solutions using the cloud to help develop next-gen space technology. generation of exciting space technology.

Little Place Labs aims to build space tech solutions to “make the world a better place.” They do this by providing near-real-time space analytics for both ground and space-based applications.

“Being a Houston based company is highly significant in the context of the AWS Space Accelerator program," Lai tells InnovationMap. “Houston's rich legacy in space exploration, with institutions like NASA's Johnson Space Center and its expertise in space-related fields, makes it an ideal location for companies involved in the space industry. Little Place Labs is proud to represent the city's hub of talent and innovation, which is crucial as the space sector evolves and establishes dynamic collaborations between government and commercial entities.”

One of Little Place Labs recent initiatives is a joint venture and license agreement to use Exodus Orbitals Software Development Kit for development of the commercial application in remote sensing domain. This project, expected to launch this year on a satellite mission, will allow access to space-based capabilities and observation of Earth via advanced machine learning algorithms.

The participants involved in AWS Space Accelerator will receive business development and strategy support, specialized training, mentoring, up to $100,000 in AWS Promotional Credit through the AWS Activate program, and a curriculum that also provides opportunities to work with AWS customers and AWS Partner Network that are seeking new, creative space solutions.Little Place Labs believe they have their own place in this space.

“We stand out from most in our cohort and other space companies due to our expertise and focus on software solutions,” Lai said. “As a revolutionary software company, we specialize in delivering near-real-time space analytics for both ground and space-based applications.

"Our belief is rooted in the notion that with the ongoing improvements and maturity of space infrastructure and hardware, along with the increasing availability of space data, advanced software has become the next essential phase. As famously predicted by Marc Andreessen, who stated that ‘software is eating the world,’ software companies like ours are poised to disrupt and transform industries by powering hardware solutions and extracting impactful analytics from data.”

Little Place Labs was founded by CEO Bosco Lai. Photo via littleplace.com

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