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TransTech's Top 32

TransTech's Top 32 alumni startup companies have created more than 324 new jobs between 2012 and 2017 and have obtained more than $128 million in investment

Brief notes follow on the 32 top performing startup companies - out of 74 pitched at a TransTech Energy Business Development Conference between 2012 and 2017 - and one commercializable project - out of 27 pitched. These companies and project were selected based on information provided by the pitch presenters, on websites, and from other public/private sources, and indicate excellent progress toward commercial success.

The first criteria for this evaluation was whether someone simply replied to our inquires, had relevant information on their websites or available from other sources.

Other metrics for assessing the companies included number of employees; amount of investment by angel, venture, strategic partners; customers, revenues, profits, licensees; patents, honors, awards and recognition; incubator/accelerator programs; successful pivot, exit, etc.

The best performing 32 startup companies are from PA (18), WV (4), OH (4), KY (2), MI (1), MD (1), VA (1), and TN (1) and have created approximately 324 new jobs. Numbers of employees range from 3 to 40, with an average of 10.1 employees per startup and a mean of 5.5 employees per startup.

Total ivestments received by the 32 companies exceed $128 million, ranging from $40,000 to $33 million, and include the full spectrum of investment from family and friends, grants, loans, angel, venture, internal and strategic partner funding. Many of the 32 companies have a funding raise currently in progress or planned. The average investment is approximately $4 million per startup and the mean is approximately $3 million.

TransTech alumni companies and projects represent a broad range of technologies and industry sectors, including: advanced materials, bio-products and bio-energy, carbon emissions reduction and utilization, electronics and electrical components, energy harvesting, waste heat capture and utilization, engines, compressors and power generation, renewable energy and energy efficiency, robotics, safety, security and artificial intelligence, sensors, monitoring and controls, smart grid and energy storage, synfuels and chemical processes,  vehicles and transportation, and water monitoring and treatment.

This assessment of TransTech alumni companies and projects is on-going and will include updates and new companies and projects as information on good progress toward commercial success becomes available.


From 2012

Optimus Technologies – retrofit from diesel to 100% biofuel – proven 10% to 15% savings on fuel - 80% emissions reduction – two-year payback on conversions – numerous awards – increasing sales and revenues – five employees – approximately $4 million investment. Contact: Colin Huwyler, CEO, Pittsburgh, PAc.huwyler@optimustec.com

SenSevere – real-time chemical specie sensors for harsh and corrosive environments – sales to EPA – estimated revenues $200K+/year – multiple product validation/development on-site demos and tests – four employees - approximately $380,000 investment.  Contact: Jason Gu, CEO, Pittsburgh, PAjason.gu@sensevere.com

SolePower – self-powered smart boot that sends situational data to the web – provides lighting and power for wearable electronic devices - two patents – SBIR award – sales - multiple honors and recognitions – four employees – approximately $1 million investment. Contact: Hahna Alexander, CEO, Pittsburgh, PAhahna.alexander@gmail.com


From 2013

Aspinity – smart sensor IC technology for edge computing - Amazon/TechStar’s 2017 Alexa Accelerator – 2nd funding round in progress - many applications: acoustics, vibration, biosensing – 6 employees – approximately $300,000 investment. Contact: Tom Doyle, CEO, Morgantown, WVtom@aspinity.com; Brandon Rumberg, CTO, Morgantown, WVbrandon@aspinity.com

Evacuation Alert – Signaltape® & Smoketape® provide visible warnings to prevent damage to buried utilities - customer sales in U.S. and Canada – five employees – approximately $3.8 million investment. Contact: Ryan Dunn, CEO, Charlottesville, VA - ryan.c.dunn@gmail.com

Pyrochem Catalyst Company – catalysts production technology licensed from NETL - NSF awards ($900K) - State of KY matching funds ($540,000) - Series A round ($850,000) – customers: refining, automotive, and fuel cell industries - four employees – approximately $3 million investment. Contact: Jeffrey Harrison, President, Jeffersontown, KYjbharrison@pyrochemcatalyst.com

Smart Farm Systems - precision wireless monitoring and control system for smart irrigation – extensive field tests and customer interviews - seven strategic partners – product sales through agricultural based dealer networks – 12 employees – approximately $4.7 million investment. Contact: Bob Farinelli, President & CTO, Nicholasville, KYbob.farinelli@gmail.com


From 2014

 AquaSource Technologies Corp. - plasma-based desalination/waste water treatment technology – nine patents issued – pilot/demo plant developed with strategic industry partner Reserved Environmental Services – three employees – approximately $3 million investment. Contact: Shyam Dighe, Founder, President & CEO – North Huntington, PA - dighesv@aquasourcetechnologies.com

GreenLancer, G-force – online tool kit of support services for solar, telecom, broadband, SaaS -  feasibility assessment, interconnection, system design - 30,000 solar projects in U.S. at $1B installed-value – 37+ employees – approximately $6.5 million investment. Contact: Chris Seago, CEO, Detroit, MI - cseago@greenlancer.com

Identified Technologies – robotic drones & IoT gather worksite data – their software analyzes and reports on construction/productivity - 25 employees and rapid growth – approximately $3.7 million investment. Contact: Dick Zhang, CEO, Pittsburgh, PA - rzhang@identifiedtech.com

Simple-Fill – several strategic industry partners -– liquid piston NG compressor technology licensed from OSU CAR – first fueling station for fleet use installed at Safelight Auto Glass – six employees – approximately $5.8 million investment. Contact: Rob Underhill, President & CEO, Columbus, OHr.underhill@simple-fill.com

Vadxx Energy – convert waste plastics to EcoFuel and petrochemical products - commercial unit implemented with strategic industry partner - $100 million units now in discussions – 19 employees – approximately $33 million investment. Contact: Jim Garrett, CEO, Cleveland, OHjgarrett@vadxx.com


From 2015

General Graphene – CVD based technology licensed from ORNL to produce graphene sheets - making sq meter-size sheets - negotiating with several leading industry customers – three employees – approximately $3 million investment. Contact: James “Vig” Sherrill, CEO, Oak Ridge, TNvig@generalgraphenecorp.com

H-Quest Vanguard – zero CO2 conversion of solid hydrocarbons to fuels, chemicals, graphite, and fibers – multiple patents –  phase 1&2 SBIRs, phase 1 STTR - process/product optimization – four employees and hiring – approximately $5.1 million investment. Contact: George Skoptsov, CEO/President, Pittsburgh, PA - george.skoptsov@h-quest.com; Michael Medwig, COO – michael@medwiglaw.com

Lumishield Technologies – protective, non-toxic metal coatings – technology licensed from NETL and CMU – seed investment + three SBIR awards – five employees – approximately $1.7 million investment. Contact: David Luebke, CEO, Pittsburgh, PAluebke@LumiShieldTech.com

Mosaic Power – flexible electricity loads trade in PJM market — 14,000+ hot water heaters connected – developing new markets and additional loads – increasing revenues — growth company – nine employees – approximately $5.2 million investment. Contact: Laurie Vaudreuil, CEO, Frederick, MDlauriev@mosaicpower.com

Maven Machines – transformative IoT Platform for transportation and industry – Fleet Management and Industry 4.0 partners - business growing by 10x per year – 25 employees approximately $3 million investment. Contact: Avishai Geller, CEO, Pittsburgh, PAavishai@mavenmachines.com

PixController – remote surveillance, sensing, environmental monitoring, and streaming video systems –funded by Innovation Works and Dell – numerous prestigious awards – successful exit - acquired by CSE Corp in Dec 2017 – three employees – approximately $400,000 investment. Contact: Bill Powers, CEO, Export, PA - bpowers@pixcontroller.com

Terves – spinout from Powdermet Inc. to commercialize dissolvable, expandable proppants, surfactants, and nano additives – technology supported by 40+ patents – customers include 50+ oil and gas companies – awards include Weatherhead 100 and SPE Engenius – 40 employees – approximately $5 million investment. Contacts: Andrew Sherman, Founder and President, Euclid, OH;  ajsherman@powdermetinc.com; Anupam Ghildyal, Corporate Development, aghildyal@tervesinc.com


From 2016

Aridea LLC – IoT enabled environmental monitoring – 2x revenues in 2017 – 10%+ growth in 2018 – customers from FL to AK – strong growth – seven employees – approximately $1.4 million investment. Contact: BJ Evans, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Charleston, WVbjevans@aridea.com

Epiphany Water Solutions - Patented distillation/CSP technology for industrial waste water treatment and drinking water purification – customers include Colorado Department of Transportation, Tasman GeoSciences, InNow (India), and several oil & gas companies – 9 employees - approximately $6 million investment. Contact Mike Broeker, President/COO, Pittsburgh, PA -  mbroeker@epiphanysws.com

EthosGen – waste heat to electricity/cooling - $300K+ Ben Franklin investment – $4MM round A in 2017 – $2.8million revenue in 2017 - $250K grant from NY’s 76West CE competition – moving R&D to NY – five employees – approximately $4.6 million investment. Contact: James Abrams, Founder and CEO, Wilkes Barre, PAjamesabrams@ethosgen.com

Gecko Robotics – robotic inspection and repair - grew 500% to $1.7M in 2017 (became profitable) -  $2.8MM revenue YTD, on pace for $9.7M in 2018 – 33 employees and hiring – approximately $9.2 million investment. Contact: Troy Demmer, Co-Founder and COO, Pittsburgh, PAtroy.demmer@geckorobotics.com

GloGames – patent pending renewable LED lighting system for nighttime basketball – $33K online sales – hosting three junior NBA events – possible deployment in Puerto Rico – four employees – approximately $299,000. Contact: Ruston Seaman, President, Philippi, WVrseaman@nvre.org

HiberSense – 2017 national launch for Connected Climate Control System – numerous awards and recognitions as energy efficiency product of the year – numerous sales channels – four employees – approximately $500,000 investment. Contact: Jacob Kring, Co-Founder and CEO, Pittsburgh, PAJacob.kring.71@gmail.com; Bob Fields, CRO, bobfields@hibersense.com

Potential Labs – wireless monitoring for home energy efficiency - 500+ units presold on Kickstarter/IndieGogo – Amazon Exclusives partner - negotiating B2B deals with 5 energy companies – six employees - approximately $500K investment. Contact: Ben Lachman, Co-Founder, Athens, OHben@energyglow.io

Rewyndr – image-based learning tool (Insite) merges visual/digital data for remote collaboration, training, industry 4.0 decision making - $125K seed funding – acquiring customers – 10+ employees – approximately $324,000 investment. Contact: David Palmer, Cofounder and CEO, Pittsburgh, PA - david@rewyndr.com


From 2017

Arin Technologies – real time tracking for GPS-denied manufacturing/warehousing facilities - two Fortune 200 company deployments - IW and other investors - acquiring customers and sales channels – four employees – approximately $182,000 investment. Contact: Vivek Kulkarni, CEO, Pittsburgh, PAvivek@arintechnologies.xyz

BuildSimHub – building energy modeling/management collaborative platform – reduces modeling time by 60% and cost by > $10K – TechStars alumni - 100+ projects - $250K to $600K funding – six employees – approximately $600,000 investment. Contact: Weili Xu, Co-Founder & CPO, Wexford, PAWeili.xu@buildsimhub.net

CrystalPlex/Liquid Ion Solutions – stable quantum dots in flexible polymer matrix for enhanced color displays - $19.5 MM valuation - opportunities for JDA, M&A, licensing – 11 employees – approximately $11 million investment. Contact Ken Acer, BD&IM, Pittsburgh, PA - ken@crystalplex.com; Hunaid Nulwala, CEO, Pittsburgh, PA – nuwala@liq-ion.com

Downey Ridge Environmental – patented Greasezilla Refining System converts waste grease to #6 fuel oil - $1.2 million initial sales – four Greasezilla systems installed and operating – three employees – approximately $950K investment. Contact: Ron Crosier, Founder & CEO, Ansted, WVron@greasezilla.com

Optimized Magnetic Cores – NETL/CMU collaboration – highly tunable magnetic cores for electrical components – 2018 R&D 100 nomination – discussing potential license with major alloy manufacturer. Contact: Paul Ohodnicki, Materials Scientist/Technical Portfolio Leadpaul.ohodnicki@netl.doe.gov  

Watt-Learn – smart dispatch to increase battery life and revenues by 35% and 50%, respectively – based on electricity market forecasts, weather predictions - seed round funding by IW and AlphaLab Gear – three employees – approximately $35,000 investment plus $2 million seed round in progress. Contact: Matineh Eybpoosh, Co-Founder and CEO, San Francisco - meybpoosh@wattlearn.com