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Venture Support at NextEnergy

By Posted on March 6, 2014

If you know NextEnergy, you know our core mission is to drive investment and support job creation and retention in advanced energy technologies, businesses and industries. To do this, we often work on what we call “Venture Development” with start-up companies, established small businesses, university researchers, and federally-funded research, development, and demonstration projects.

[tweetable alt=””]NextEnergy clients quoted on $1.08 billion in new business & secured $169 million from 2011 – 2013.[/tweetable]
We help vet ventures’ technology and ask ‘does it work?’ and if it does, ‘what value will it bring to the market?’ We review their business plans and go-to-market strategies to better understand what they need next to move further and faster on their path to commercialization — and then help connect them with whatever that may be. NextEnergy provides ventures the following support:

Entrepreneurship training and access to talent

If a venture’s technology is promising, but their business plan and go-to-market plan is underdeveloped, NextEnergy offers business consulting services that include access to mentors, I-Corps training, and introductions to boot camp business accelerators for training and coaching.

Access to funding

Depending on the venture’s technology readiness level, existing company capitalization, business stage, and funding needs, different options may be available for access to funding.  NextEnergy provides support that may include connecting the technology developer to:

  • Federal funding , ranging from Small Business Innovation Research support (SBIR) to Department of Energy and Defense RD&D grants
  • State of Michigan funds and support services offered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, such as the Emerging Technologies Fund run through the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI-SBDC), the BBC etc SBIR support, and the new “Invest Michigan” pre-seed fund and microloan
  • Angel investors, venture capital, corporate strategic investors, and business competitions such as Accelerate Michigan
  • MATch Energy Grant, administered by NextEnergy, to provide state funds to match successful federal funds grantees

Over the years, NextEnergy has worked with companies and individuals to secure $1.3 billion in investment. We also coached two of the top three overall winners, and the top prize winner in the alternative energy category, in the 2013 Accelerate Michigan Business Competition.

Technology development partners

If a venture’s technology is promising, but incomplete, they may need technology development partners to provide the complimentary capabilities needed to complete the technology solution. We often bridge the gap between small and large companies in this capacity.

Prototype and/or demonstration platforms

Depending on technology or product development stage, NextEnergy connects technology developers to appropriate assets for prototype construction and product validation. Current demonstrations at NextEnergy’s Midtown-Detroit campus include direct current (DC) power networks, power export from energy storage, bi-directional vehicle charging, smart grid and power conditioning, advanced lighting solutions, biofuel blending, and hydrogen fuelling infrastructure development. We also offer co-working spaces and incubation labs to ventures that need the space and/or access to the demonstration assets here at NextEnergy.

First customers/path to market partners

When product or process has been successfully demonstrated and the venture’s technology is ready for commercial scaling, ventures may need access to downstream a supply chain partner(s), first customer(s), and/or specialized manufacturing design partner(s) to address product, materials, and/or manufacturing design challenges.

NextEnergy has worked with dozens of companies in this stage of commercialization. From 2011-2013, NextEnergy clients quoted on $1.08 billion in new business and secured $169 million in new business. In addition, NextEnergy has supported a number of companies with first customer prototypes and sales.  Click here to view the full infographic.

NextEnergy offers this full range of venture support services to make sure our best and brightest ventures keep moving further and faster on the path to successful commercialization, seeding promising businesses and industry clusters to ensure a bright and growing future in Michigan. To learn more about our services, click here.


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  • Looks well suited for Custom Craft Technologies mission to promote independent developer and advisory service for upstart funding opportunities that compels unlimited competition from ever evolving use application improvements

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