In the startup sphere where terms like incubators, challenges and prototypes get thrown around on the daily, thermal energy management startup NETenergy has built up quite an impressive vocabulary of pronouns.
If you haven’t heard of NETenergy, add it to your list: It has been accepted into the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE) business incubator, advanced to the finals of the 2015 Clean Energy Challenge, and been invited to participate in phase two of the New Venture Challenge.
It’s been a busy three months for the Internet of Things (IoT) startup, which powers its intelligent energy management software with thermal storage hardware. Using phase change composites, these storage units distribute and store cold energy in the form of latent heat when needed, allowing customers to shift their A/C consumption to cheap and efficient off-peak hours, while saving 30 percent or more on overall energy consumption.
Led by Said Al-Hallaj, an adjunct chemical engineering professor at UIC, along with Mike Pintar, a Chicago Booth School of Business student, NETenergy originated as a tech-transfer company out of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Having just moved into the CIE in January, it has been seriously incubating, taking advantage of resources, mentors, and partnerships such as CIE’s with Argonne’s Joint Center for Energy Storage.
“We’re confident in our idea and technology, and the key to our growth at this stage is developing a sustainable business model and getting our technology ready to be implemented by customers,” Pintar said.
The analytics-fueled IoT space has appeared in the foreground of Chicago’s innovation scene—Caterpillar also announced recent investment in Groupon CEOs’ new machinery analytics startup Uptake—and NETenergy’s swift-scaling journey is one of Chicago’s own Nests to keep tabs on. For now, the startup seems to be well poised for networked success.
Its next move: prepping. NETenergy will pitch their business in front of venture capitalists, industry executives, civic leaders, the media and the public at the Clean Energy Challenge on April 14, and in the meantime, work on developing a business plan for a shot at the New Venture Challenge Finals, which concludes in May.