Slater Invests $150,000 in Energy Management Start-up
Providence, R.I., May 9, 2011 – The Slater Technology Fund today announced that it has committed $150,000 in seed-stage funding to newly formed energy management services company VCharge. The investment will enable VCharge to pursue more opportunities to provide its market-based energy demand response and storage services, particularly in the areas of heat and transportation.
Based in Cranston, VCharge is a pioneer in managing transactive loads. The company offers scalable, rapid-response energy storage for the electric grid by aggregating distributed electric loads with embedded storage. This controllable load fundamentally changes how electric grid operators and utilities provide secure, stable, and reliable power.
In acknowledging the investment, VCharge CEO Jessica Millar said "We’re thrilled to be part of the expanding network of Rhode Island cleantech companies, and will be using this Slater funding to grow our business over the next year."
The funding of VCharge represents the fourth investment Slater has made in emerging companies in the energy and environmental technology sector. Previous investments include Smart Grid startup Alektrona, which develops software and hardware solutions for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and other energy-related applications; ModEnergy, developer of next-generation battery technology for renewable energy; and BioprocessH20, a provider of wastewater treatment solutions.
Slater has also appointed an advisory board of industry experts to help guide its efforts in this market. Members of the advisory board include: Steve Eaves, Founder of Modular Energy Devices (ModEnergy); Bob Heile, Founding Member of 802.15 and Chairman of ZigBee Alliance; Bill Pratt, Smart Grid Customer Program Director, National Grid; Paul Raducha, Founder, Soleil Resources; and Jeff Weiss, entrepreneur, technologist and investor.
The energy sector, which is also known as "cleantech," a category that encompasses energy generation, efficiency, smart grid infrastructure, transportation and environmental technologies, is enormous and growing, attracting significant federal funding and venture capital. In the 4th quarter of 2010, cleantech’s share of global venture investment eclipsed that of biotech and was second only to software.
"Today, many of the most compelling ventures we see come from talented entrepreneurs attacking problems associated with energy and the environment," said Thorne Sparkman, managing director of the Slater Technology Fund. "These are the great problems of our day, and now that the growth federal funding has been matched by a critical mass of institutional investment in the energy sector, Slater’s opportunity set, catalyzing technology-driven ventures with seed capital, is richer than ever. With Slater’s connections to the state’s research universities, industry leaders and entrepreneurs, we expect to build a strong energy sector here, and we expect companies like VCharge to become dominant players in that market."
About Slater Technology Fund
The Slater Technology Fund is a state-backed venture capital fund that invests in new ventures committed to basing and building their businesses in Rhode Island. Slater focuses its resources on the support of entrepreneurs who have the vision, leadership and commitment to build substantial commercial enterprises. Slater typically invests at the inception stage in the development of a new venture, often based upon ideas and technologies originating in academic institutions and/or government research laboratories located within the region. In most cases, investments are premised upon the possibility of raising substantial follow-on financing, from venture capital investors or from strategic partners, with a view toward accelerating the generation of significant numbers of high-value, high-wage jobs over the intermediate to longer-term. For more information, visit www.slaterfund.com.
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