Every year I look forward to one special event that is held in Cambridge, MA – the annual University Research & Entrepreneurship Symposium (URES). This year it will be held on April 18th at the Microsoft NERD. Where else would you get approximately 30 universities presenting their most exciting research & innovation in the fields of Energy, IT and Healthcare? Professors, graduate students and post-docs present their ideas to an audience of angel and VC investors, entrepreneurs and CEOs to get feedback and help in commercializing technology out of universities.
I have been a part of organizing this event since its beginning and once again will be leading the Energy track and a lunch discussion on “What are Resourceful Entrepreneurs?”. Inventors who have presented in the Energy track in the past have gone on to create companies that have attracted top talent hires, won Arpa-E grants and received venture funding. This symposium is specifically designed to not be a pitch competition, a business plan competition, or a fundraising event. It is really to bring raw and early, but commercializable technology to the attention of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to facilitate the next steps in spinning these technologies out as successful enterprises.
Below is a brief teaser on the energy technologies presenting at URES 2012. I look forward to them telling their stories and presenting the brilliant work done in the labs. I encourage presenters at URES to (a) Try and define what could be their unfair advantage as a startup in the space, (b) Let the audience know how they can be helpful, besides the immediate funding needs. Most people do act on the advice, making for not just a more fruitful 1-1 interactions that continues after the event, but for a more engaging discussion for all those present.
This year we have chosen 6 technologies to present in the URES Energy Track. They were selected from a bigger set that could all have easily qualified to present…but below lists the ideas we eventually chose based on creativity, boldness and viability as a potential commercial entity.
- Drexel University team will present a very interesting energy storage concept that is partly an ultracapacitor and partly a fuel cell. The configuration leads to development of a battery system that has high energy and high power densities…at low cost.
- Cornell University team is working on nano-organic hybrid materials for high energy li-ion batteries. Technology allows for 3x the energy density, has been tested to at least 1000 cycles and integrates with existing manufacturing techniques.
- MIT team is focused on polymer-ionic liquid rechargeable batteries, with a very interesting initial application focused on oil and gas drilling, down-hole activities.
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute team has developed an extremely low cost manufacturing technique for nanostructured thermoelectric materials that show marked improvement in ZT characteristics over incumbents.
- Utah State University team has developed an integrated sensor that is applicable for lighting, HVAC, fire and security markets. Technology is getting spun out of the Energy Dynamics Lab.
- Columbia University team is using autolithoautotrophy to convert CO2 into chemicals and fuels by using safe, soluble mediators that can be utilized by chemolithoautotrophic bacteria and that can be reduced electrochemically.
URES 2012 has been sold out and we are working with a waiting list. However, if you are really eager to attend, please drop me a line to let me know why you should be included. We would love to make space if we can at all.
I look forward to the URES tradition continuing into the future. Boston is not just an eco-system where great technological progress gets made in the labs, but also where amazing technologies get converted into products and businesses. Thank you to all the entrepreneurs who make that possible.
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