The Energy Tech Revolution
We are going to let you in on a valuable secret: an energy tech revolution is underway in the Midwest.
It’s hard not to get sucked into the idea that California is the place for innovation. We go to the conferences, we read TechCrunch, and we’re aware of the fact that over half of the country’s annual venture capital (some $33 billion) is going to startups in the Valley. But we’re in Chicago for a reason.
The Midwest’s economy is home to 133 Fortune 500 companies, including energy powerhouses Exelon and Ameren. Now, many of these companies are recognizing the wealth of technologies and business ideas growing up around them. A new opportunity channel is emerging for innovators in the Midwest.
The energy industry is optimizing, and changes are happening rapidly. The century-old electric grid is digitizing, large companies and consumers are driving toward efficiency and utilizing renewables, and products like Nest are bringing “The Internet of Things” from an idea to a reality.
We have a powerful nexus between energy innovation and market demand, which creates a huge opportunity to invest in local early-stage companies that are going to change the economic landscape in a bigger and better way. VCs on the coasts have less visibility into the local market and harder access into the ecosystem we are building, which allows us to identify and cultivate high growth businesses.
The Midwest made its mark on energy innovation with the 1893 Columbian Exposition and the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics by Enrico Fermi. Now it’s a hub for technology that’s coming into its own. The culture is changing and the appetite for risk is growing. We think it’s time people start to take notice.
To kick off this blog, we’ll show how and why now is the time for energy entrepreneurship in the Midwest.
First up is the launch pad for inventing, entrepreneurship, and disruptive ideas: Universities and research labs.