BRITE Energy Innovators

Setting the Stage for Energy Tech in Ohio: Ohio Next Energy Summit

On October 14, BRITE partnered with 614Startups to host the inaugural Ohio Next Energy Summit, a virtual event designed to showcase regional energy innovation and catalyze connections. We learned a lot from our first virtual event, and had a great time connecting with a wide range of stakeholders in Ohio and beyond. 

Last September, BRITE hosted the Energy Storage Building Efficiency Conference (ESBE) in Downtown Warren, where we hosted innovators from around the country to learn and connect around cutting edge energy technologies. Though BRITE’s work as an incubator has only accelerated in the past several months, our ability to bring people together has been limited in the pandemic. As organizations around the world have taken new approaches to community in a virtual world, BRITE remains committed to being a hub of energy innovation. We wanted to create an event that was meaningful, fun, and that didn’t feel like yet another webinar. 

We partnered with 614Startups, a Columbus-based media company and cornerstone of the ecosystem that provides connections to capital and impactful storytelling. We could listen to founder pitches all day, but we wanted to show the breadth of opportunities and challenges for emerging energy tech.  

Our keynote speaker, Alex Fitzsimmons, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency for the U.S. Department of Energy, spoke about the department’s priorities. He emphasized areas he believes are vital to the future including energy storage, critical minerals, and circular economy. He also spoke about the ways in which he sees the American energy landscape changing and the need for increased grid security and continued innovation to meet these new challenges. He talked about the Department’s new comprehensive strategy to position the U.S. for global leadership in energy storage. This requires not only investment in research and development, but commercialization resources that allows for piloting, testing, and manufacturing. 

Then, we heard about the commercialization journey and innovate tech of four startups: NodisBrilliencyLi-ion Tamer, and Hyperion Motors.  These founders are exemplary of Ohio-made companies that are embracing the changing landscape and successfully penetrating difficult markets. In a “Rapid Round,” each founder showcased their product, and gave insight into its development and development.  

After hearing a public policy perspective and directly from startups, a panel of industry experts joined us for a conversation on commercializing energy tech. This discussion offered valuable guidance on how entrepreneurs can take advantage of new opportunities and investors can concentrate capital where it matters most. They shared their experiences overcoming barriers to innovation, and discussed exciting trends. 

And of course no conference is complete without lots of networking and virtual business card swapping. We appreciate everyone’s participation in ONES, and hope to see you at another BRITE event soon! 

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