Clean Energy Experience
Founded in 2001, the ATI Clean Energy Incubator (CEI) is one of the longest-established clean energy incubators in the United States. This is appropriate: our parent institution, the University of Texas, does more energy research than any other university in the world.
Within CEI, we primarily focus on electricity and transportation. We have strong partnerships with the local electric power company, Austin Energy, which allows our companies to test their products on the local grid. We are also founding participants in the Pecan Street Project, which is running a $30 million smart grid/smart premises demonstration project in Austin. And the CEO of Luminant, Texas’ largest electricity producer, serves on our Board.
We are also expanding our liquid fuels service line. Currently, CEI is working successfully with companies in both algae-based and fungal biofuels. This allows us to leverage UT’s historical ties to the Houston-based petroleum industry.
Our Clean Energy team also invests heavily in building the clean energy/clean tech ecosystem in Central Texas. With Austin Energy, CEI hosts the annual Clean Energy Venture Summit, the premier clean energy investment conference in Texas. The team also partners with the CleanTX Foundation to host CleanTX Forums and Solar Energy Entrepreneur Networking (SEEN) events in Austin.
The Clean Energy program is supported by the City of Austin, the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, and the US Department of Energy.
Mitch Jacobson and Dr. Michael Webber co-lead our Clean Energy Incubator.
Mitch, a 30 year tech veteran, ran billion-dollar sales organizations for Dell and TechData Corporation. He then founded the Eyes of Texas Partners, an angel investment group. He brings significant experience as an investor, board member, and tech executive.
Michael is a professor at UT-Austin, where he runs a $2 million/year research program in Mechanical Engineering and acts as Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy in the Jackson School of Geosciences. Michael is recognized internationally as an expert in energy technology and policy. His recent speaking engagements include the United Nations and the Aspen Institute.
Beyond Mitch and Michael, ATI surrounds each clean portfolio company with a “virtual board” of experienced clean executives and successful entrepreneurs. People who have recently contributed in our clean tech portfolio include: Harvey Frye (Vice Chairman, Tokyo Electron America); David Campbell (CEO, Luminant); Karl Rabago (VP-Distributed Energy Services, Austin Energy); Steve Smaha (Founding CEO, Haystack Labs; Member, Electric Utilities Commission); Mark Strama (Texas State Representative, District 50).
The best illustrations of the success of ATI-Wireless come from our company leaders themselves:
ActaCell was co-founded in 2007 by serial cleantech entrepreneur Bill Ott and Professor Arumugam (Ram) Manthiram from UT’s Material Sciences and Engineering program. ActaCell is focused on next generation Li-Ion battery materials for vehicle electrification. UT’s Material Sciences and Engineering team has been an integral part of the adoption of Li-Ion technology, going back to the original Li-Ion cell developed with Sony in the early 1990’s. Actcell is the perfect example of University research and technology coming to ATI to help commercialize, fund and build the business.
Bill Ott, CEO, Actacell
ActaCell joined the ATI Clean Energy Incubator in 2007 as it was being organized and was greatly benefited by the assistance in forming the company, access to potential investors and specifically an initial foundation grant of $25K that was supplied by Austin Energy. These funds allow the company to conduct early due diligence on the IP being licensed from the University as well as assisting in corporate formation. CEI assisted the company in securing a $5.1M series A financing in early 2008 as was as formulating a submission to the Texas Emerging Technology fund which was secured later that year. While we never actually resided in ATI facilities, the connection and assistance from the team was invaluable in getting ActaCell started rapidly and securing our own lab space to begin materials and cell development on our materials.
Ideal Power Converters
Ideal Power Converters has developed and patented a completely new current‐modulation topology for electronic power converters. It depends more heavily on semiconductor switches and advanced software controls than the conventional voltage‐source topology, but dramatically reduces the amount or weight of magnetic‐metal materials. An IPC prototype 30kW PV inverter reduces system weight by more than 90% compared to conventional voltage source PV inverters. The IPC prototype weighs 100lbs compared to about 1200lbs from conventional best‐in‐class (30kW 480VAC) PV inverter for the US market.
The company is based on three core principles: Integrity, Entrepreneurship and Respect.
- Quality: Provide the product at the highest quality possible.
- Entrepreneurship: Big enough to solve your problem, small enough to care…
- Respect: Customer First Focused
Add to that mantra: Right Source Manufacturing, the ability to custom tailor product to the clients needs, and a management team that truly believes each employee should be empowered to create and succeed in their area of expertise.
Firefly LED Lighting has a vision to create a powerful light source that the market can rapidly adopt. It is through design and innovation that we create lighting to meet our customer’s needs.
……That is Firefly LED.