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TransTech's Top 36

TransTech's Top 36 alumni startup companies have created more than 324 new jobs between 2012 and 2018 and have obtained more than $128 million in investment

Over the 7 years of the TransTech Energy Business Development Conference (TTE), of the 114 startups that have made pitches between 2012 and 2018, 36 top-performing startups have achieved follow-on funding and commercial success. The data summarized below has been collected from several sources: information provided directly by these companies’ pitch presenters, from their websites, and from newspapers and other public/private sources.

The best performing 36 startup companies are from PA (19), WV (5), OH (5), KY (2), MI (1), MD (1), VA (1), AL (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.

Total investment received by the 36 companies exceed $128 million and range from $40,000 to $33 million received by each. These investments cover the full spectrum of investment from family and friends, grants, loans, angel, venture, internal and strategic partner funding. Many of the 36 companies are currently in the process of raising additional investment or plan to do so.

These TransTech alumni companies 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,

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,

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,

From 2013

Aspinity – smart sensor IC technology for edge computing - Amazon/TechStar’s 2017 Alexa Accelerator – has received 2nd funding round - many applications: acoustics, vibration, biosensing – 6 employees – approximately $3.1M in investment. Contact: Tom Doyle, CEO, Morgantown,; Brandon Rumberg, CTO, Morgantown,

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 -

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,

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,

OPTIMUM Pumping Technology (2013 Pitch) – Pittsburgh, PA – Glen Chatfield, President – Won firstplace in TTE pitch competition, $10,000. Patent-pending piping manifolds that deliver improved naturalgas pumping station reliability, 30% increase in gas flow capacity, 20% increase in compressor operatingefficiency and 20% reduction in CO2 emissions – major companies are jointly funding a $1.65 mil fullscalefield test in 2014.

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 -

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 -

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 -

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,

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,

From 2015

General Graphene – CVD based technology licensed from ORNL to produce graphene sheets - making 1 sq meter-size sheets - negotiating with several leading industry customers – three employees – approximately $3 million investment. Contact: James “Vig” Sherrill, CEO, Oak Ridge,

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 -; Michael Medwig, COO –

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,

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,

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,

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 -

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;; Anupam Ghildyal, Corporate Development,

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,

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 -

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,

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,

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,

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,; Bob Fields, CRO,

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,

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 -

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,

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,

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 -; Hunaid Nulwala, CEO, Pittsburgh, PA –

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,

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  

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 -

From 2018

Grid Fruit—Won the $10,000 best pitch award. , Dr. Jesse Thornburg is one of seven chosen from across the US to partner with Oak Ridge National Lab in Innovation Crossroads Cohort 3, funded by TVA and DOE. Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA.  Contact: Javad Mohammadi, COO and Jesse Thornburg, CTO

Neowaste—1st runner up winning $5,000. Birmingham, AL. Also $100,000 prize-winningpitch at the Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition in Huntsville, AL.; Contact: Jessica Findley

Boundary Labs—2nd runner up winning $5,000.  Case Western Reserve, Cleveland, OH. Prince Ghosh, Founder,

NutraChar—best pitch by a WV-based company.  Wardensville, WV. Josh Frye, President,