WBL 4th Co-hort concludes
Punctuating another innovative and productive WERCBench Labs Accelerator program season, M-WERC hosted a successful Demo Day March 5 at our Energy Innovation Center in Milwaukee. Each participating startup presented to the audience and competed for cash prizes highlighted by ClearFlame Engines, which took first place and won $10,000.
Of the seven companies that graduated from the fourth cohort of the WERCBench Labs Accelerator program, five made their pitches at Demo Day. In addition to ClearFlame’s first place $10,000 prize, Radiant Panel Technologies took second place and a $6,500 check, and BlueLine Battery was third and claimed $3,500. Advanced Ionics and Present Power Systems also presented.
Established by Julie Blumreiter and B.J. Johnson, ClearFlame’s engine allows for a 40 percent carbon reduction, 90 percent cheaper operating cost and 10 percent lower fuel costs, the pair told Milwaukee Business News. Now, big manufacturers like Cummins and John Deere have signed on to their grant applications because of the promise their technology demonstrates.
“There’s already a compelling economic value proposition for our solution,” said Johnson, whose company is located in Illinois.
The WERCBench Labs Accelerator 16-week program included startup companies in the energy, power, and controls sector. Based on the “Lean Start-Up” Curriculum, the program identifies new entrepreneurs in the energy and engineering space and accelerates them to achieve success. Businesses learn customer discovery, work their business model and value propositions, financial strategies, and legal and accounting methods appropriate for their business. The program concludes with investor readiness training.
“WERCBench Labs entrepreneurial immersive technology program provides a unique opportunity for start-ups to interact directly with highly experienced and technical professionals,” said Jacquin Davidson, Managing Director of the WERCBench Labs Accelerator program and Director of M-WERC’s Milwaukee office. “The caliber of this year’s cohort of companies is one of the finest we’ve seen.”
We are grateful to Northwestern Mutual for being this year’s Demo Day Presenting Sponsor. Their commitment to Milwaukee’s startup community and support of efforts like the WERCBench Labs Accelerator program illustrates Northwest Mutual’s interest in creating jobs and investing in new companies and ideas. Other generous sponsors include Husch Blackwell, Forrer, and Clifton Larson Allen. The program is funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.