Hawaii Senate to honor Energy Excelerator

Pacific Business News - February 4, 2014
Duane Shimogawa

The Energy Excelerator, which supports 15 startups each year by connecting them with the right experts, investors, strategic partners and policy makers in Hawaii, the Asia Pacific and in the Mainland, is being honored on Tuesday by the Hawaii state Senate.

“The Energy Excelerator plays a vital role in helping solve Hawaii’s energy challenges,” Sen. Mike Gabbard, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment, said in a statement. “The success of this program reflects the caliber of companies the Energy Excelerator works with, both Hawaii- and mainland-based, and the leadership Hawaii demonstrates in new energy solutions.”

The Honolulu-based startup program supports 32 startups that have generated nearly $20 million in revenue, raised more than $55 million of follow-on funding and represent over 400 jobs. The Energy Excelerator awarded up to $1 million in funding so far to those firms.

The Energy Excelerator said that its ability to attract top startup talent also is pulling in key partners to the program and the energy ecosystem in Hawaii.

Just recently, the Excelerator was recently awarded $30 million from the U.S. Navy, received seed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and is preparing to announce another significant partnership in the next few weeks.

“Our core mission is to help these companies start in Hawaii and scale to the world,” Energy Excelerator Senior Manager Dawn Lippert said in a statement. “We seek program partners that align with our mission in helping these startups become successful in growing a vibrant ecosystem around energy innovation in Hawaii.”

Dennis Teranishi, CEO of Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, the nonprofit that oversees the Energy Excelerator program, said in a statement, that the state has all the right economic and environmental conditions for these startups.

“The state’s high energy prices make it an ideal early market for new energy solutions,” he said.

The Energy Excelerator has pegged the attention of others as well, including the Waimea Ocean Film Festival on the Big Island, which in January, featured its film on the big screen about the program.