BRITE Energy Innovators

Day 1 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Day 1 of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was one for the books. I got to see a lot of cool & innovative products and make some great connections for our community.  

Day 1 Highlights  

Rivian’s truck featuring Amazon Alexa integration, the R1T, is very cool. It serves as an indicator that the electrification of trucks is extremely critical as a turning point of the auto market right now. Lordstown Motors has a great shot at being successful due to the interest in the electric-powered truck market segment being generated by companies like Rivian and Tesla with the Cybertruck. Nothing is better for a vehicle market than competition and I think we are not only going to see a great truck come out of Lordstown Motors in the near future, but I believe we are going to see it take advantage of some really cool technologies too.  

Almost every major car company unveiled or was promoting an electric vehicle at CES, even a few hydrogen fuel cell vehicles similar to, but nowhere near the level of, Hyperion Motors’ forthcoming hydrogen fuel cell car. Whether it was Ford’s Mach-E or BMW’s new concepts, Audi’s electric models or Jeep showing off an electrified version of its popular Wrangler: the future of transportation is coming ya’ll, and Voltage Valley is poised to be a key player.  

Honda also had some very interesting battery packs that could be charged and used for several different systems. They highlighted some of their work in Ohio on Smart Cities and specifically autonomous vehicle crosswalk detection. Basically, they’ve worked to reshape how the car sees and anticipates people entering the intersection and design appropriate reactions. They have a worldwide accelerator program, and I talked to them about ways that our companies could get involved. We have a few portfolio companies which fit really well into the sensor space for the technology Honda is working with, and our lab can test out battery systems for these sensors.  

I attended an invite-only Forbes event where I had fantastic conversations with a lot of former Forbes 30 under 30 recipients, and I got to learn a lot about their passion for the energy sector. A lot of folks asked me where Warren, Ohio was, my general response has become “an hour from downtown Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Akron, where a lot of folks are coming together to build the future of energy storage, efficiency and sensors”.  

Afterwards, I headed over to the TechStars community event hosted by John Hill where I had an amazing experience. I got to meet with CEO of Techstars, David Cohen, and their growth team. We talked about the potential collaboration on accelerator programs and how exciting the energy storage and e-mobility spaces are. Techstars recently launched an accelerator focused on Energy in Birmingham, Alabama and the first cohort will be this summer. There could be big things to come of this for our companies and the Valley in general as Techstars is the premier accelerator program in the world.  

That wraps up Day 1 at CES. I went to bed early that night, was up and at the gym working on my #75 Hard program at 5am and now I’m prepping for day 2. 

Day 2 Expectations

Hitting up the Eureka area that’s focused on startups today, visiting our friends at Case Western Reserve University as they always have a huge presence here. I’ll be judging a pitch competition with some counterparts at TechStars at 11:30. I have meetings set with GM Ventures, LG Chem, and am hopeful to run into our friends at Lordstown Motors at some point today, we’ve been just missing each other so far so we can catch up on all the great opportunities we’ve each encountered at CES. 

Excited to share this trip with all of you! If you have any questions please shoot them to me at @rickstockburger on Twitter or through the BRITE social media channels.  

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