Surge Accelerator Announces Second Class of Energy Startups

February 21, 2013

3:00 pm

Today, Houston-based Surge Accelerator announced its newest class of 12 energy startups, which start the 12-week program today.

These dozen startups, of which a third are from overseas, were chosen from over 500 applications. They will receive mentorship and $30,000 in seed funding to help solve some of the world’s pressing energy problems.

This is the second class for Surge; the first class raised just under $10 million in aggregate funding and signed on 25 pilot programs in the energy industry.

Besides focusing on energy, Surge stands out among startup accelerators for its emphasis on collaboration. Founder Kirk Coburn realizes that the problems of energy efficiency, smart grids, and water shortages won’t be solved by one company working alone. To that end, the first class has already seen extensive collaboration: two energy-efficiency companies integrated their software, four startups took a meeting together with a utility company, and two “big data” companies began collaborating and meeting with partners together, for example.

“We pick companies that might not be able to solve [a problem] in and of itself, but companies that if you aggregate them, they probably could,” explains Coburn. “We try to look at the class as a collective group.”

That spirit of collaboration continues into class two, with three companies working on building an efficient grid. Surge also chose to add a new industry – water – inspired by what Shell calls the “stress nexus” of food, energy, and water: we need water and energy to produce food, but we also need energy to sanitize water and water to produce energy.

Here is the newest Surge Accelerator class:

  • Bractlet (Atlanta): Helps encourage people in hotels to use less energy. Led by CEO Alec Manfre, who used to work at GE Energy.
  • Communificiency (New Haven): A crowdfunding platform for communities to help local small businesses go green.
  • Dynamo Micropower (Boston): Creators of a portable micro-turbine power generator that can be used by oil and gas facilities and emergency response teams. Led by PhD candidate and CTO Ivan Wang and Jason Ethier, who worked at a micro-turbine startup.
  • Energy Informatics (San Francisco): Provides software to utilities, power producers, and other organizations to help them manage energy infrastructure. Led by cofounder and CEO Greg Tinfow, who used to work at the EPA, and cofounder and VP of engineering Jason Xiao.
  • Meshify (Houston): Technology that allows manufacturers to connect their equipment to the Internet.
  • Optimitive (Spain): AI that factories, plants, and other industrial facilities can use to automatically make adjustments and save energy.
  • RunTitle (Oklahoma City): A marketplace for mineral ownership reports and research.
  • Secure-NOK (Norway): Provides security tools to the oil and gas industry.
  • Skynet Labs (Ireland): Software that helps with oil and gas drilling calculations and well control. Led by CEO Tim Duggan.
  • The Metal Exchange (Houston): A marketplace for industrial metals.
  • WatrHub (Canada): Helps organizations make better water management decisions.
  • Waveseis (Denver): Technology that helps lower the risk in exploration wells.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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