Attention Millennial Energy Engineers: Refrigeration = Impact

At Rebound, we recently had the honor of presenting at ATMOsphere America, the largest natural refrigerant conference in the United States. This was a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to some of the biggest names in refrigeration: Danfoss, Hillpheonix, Emerson, and Zero Zone were just a few of the companies we talked to about IcePoint™. Overall, it was a great experience!

One aspect of the conference really caught our attention: the lack of young people. To illustrate this point, I want to take a slight detour. About a month ago Kevin and I were on the phone with a Director from one of the aforementioned large refrigeration companies. That company had recently visited our lab and this individual wanted to know more about what we were doing. One comment he made really stood out: “What is surprising to me is that you all are doing this and your are not even 50!” What he was getting at was not something neither Kevin nor I had given a lot of thought to, as we tend to surround ourselves with startup entrepreneurs working in other industries: Refrigeration is an industry dominated by engineers with 30+ years in the sector. 

Debut of an MVP

Phase I of the National Science Foundation project wrapped up in January. Phase II is still an idea in a document, patiently awaiting the NSF’s green light. What’s a startup to do for six months without funding to build newer and better freeze point suppression cycles? Build an MVP of course. Don't know what an MVP is or wondering how on earth a physical tech company developing a brand new refrigeration system did it? Read on!

Kicking Off the Energy Excelerator

I can be fairly critical of accelerator programs, but after 12 days in Honolulu I’m happy to report that the Energy Excelerator is doing it right. They pulled off well coordinated, well-executed activities that helped us better understand the Hawaiian energy community and how each of our companies may fit. Furthermore, they did an excellent job of planning social events that brought the cohort closer as a group. It was a high-paced week!

Tackling Two Technologies

Progress continues here at Rebound. Right after our last post, we were notified of an National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR award to develop IcePoint. This opened up a whole new set of exciting possibilities and challenges for the Rebound technical team. In the past month, quite a few people have asked us how we intend to develop two technologies at the same time. The answer: an equal application of hard work and smart planning.

CTO Global Forum

It's a bit ironic that I’m writing this blog instead of Russell. After all, it was Russell that powered through the Cleantech Open, attending all the obligatory regional events while I was in Chile. He stepped up and became the face of Rebound while I spent my time down south listening to webinars, completing worksheets and refining financial models. It was a time-consuming, but valuable experience that unfortunately didn’t get us to the CTO finals, but did leave us with a much stronger idea of the challenges ahead.

Summer Exposure

It's been a very busy summer at Rebound from a business/publicity perspective. Event participation has really helped us A) get our message out and B) learn how we can better our company, technology and development strategy. We wanted to take a moment to highlight some of these events and lessons learned while thanking those organizations for including us. 

So THAT's What a Pivot Feels Like

Is having a versatile technology a blessing or a curse? Prior to embarking on this entrepreneurial path I would have considered that question a joke. After all, what could be the downside to developing a technology with multiple applications? Well, as it turns out, every investor under the sun, whether the government or private, requires a solid go-to-market plan before they’re willing to shell out the funds. It also turns out that selecting the correct entry market is no easy feat. In fact, the advice Venrock Capital Partners gave me a few months back was dead on. The technology won’t be your challenge. Finding the right market will be. 

Premature Judgement

Last week the Rebound team was fortunate to attend the NREL Industry Growth Forum in Denver. We had an opportunity to network with corporations, investors and fellow entrepreneurs who, in one way or another, will all contribute to our company’s development and success. We were grateful to be there and look forward to perhaps presenting in 2013. Just like any pitch event, it exposed a previously witnessed disconnect between investor and technology, an issue we believe contributes to cleantech’s underperformance.