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Sun Rises On CEBIP’s Ambitious Nordic Accelerator

New day: Clean-energy startups from across Norway, Sweden and other Nordic nations have a new route to U.S. marketplaces, straight through Stony Brook University's CEBIP program.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Stony Brook University  is now on the Nordic track.

On Wednesday, the university’s   Clean Energy Business Incubator Program  and   Nordic Innovation House NY  – an online hub that greases American skids for companies in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland – officially kicked off   Nordic Spark, an early-stage virtual accelerator program for foreign clean-energy startups looking to enter U.S. markets.

The six-month accelerator program is designed to help the Nordic newbies tackle the basics of U.S. marketplaces, providing the startups with a deep understanding of the American clean-energy sector and introducing them to key players and organizations within the clean-gen ecosystem.

Participants will work one-on-one with informed mentors to better understand how their products fit – or don’t – in U.S. markets, while networking with investors, corporate executives and other startups in the same space, both foreign and domestic.

Charles Lorum: Opportunity abounds.

The perfect U.S. partner for the gateway program is CEBIP, according to Executive Director David Hamilton, who noted over its first decade of operations, SBU’s clean-energy incubator has “worked with more than 50 regional energy companies and has helped drive them toward commercialization.”

“CEBIP is thrilled to partner with Nordic Innovation House to create and run this exciting new program,” Hamilton said Thursday. “We are looking forward to expanding our reach to support innovative and cutting-edge Nordic companies as they explore the possibilities of doing business here in the United States.”

Wednesday’s virtual kickoff event featured opening remarks by Nordic Innovation House NY Executive Director Charles Lorum and presentations by an international who’s-who of clean-energy principals, including John Santoleri, partner at Boston-based VC firm   Clean Energy Ventures; Ragnvald Nærø, CEO of the   Smart Energy Network, a Norway-based membership network for clean-gen enterprises (bring your Norwegian translator); and Paul Schwartz, co-founder and director of Stony Brook-based heat-pump innovator   ThermoLift, the first company to   graduate from the CEBIP program.

Lorum said Nordic Spark “recognizes the need to provide a path for advanced clean-energy technology from the Nordics to commercialize” in the States, including protocols for “rapidly scaling” U.S. operations.

“The New York region is the perfect launching pad for these Nordic clean-energy companies,” he told Innovate Long Island. “New York State and the Northeast have made this a big public-sector priority, the investor climate here is strong and the timing for market opportunity is right.”

No Nordic startups have officially committed to Nordic Spark as yet, though Lorum said Thursday that talks are underway with “several companies,” including firms in Norway and Finland.

The international accelerator will not limit its membership numbers – “We’re keeping it open for all startups that are qualified,” Lorum noted – and will attempt to recruit members through partner networks, Smart Energy Network contacts and other trade groups.

For Nordic companies that do sign on, there could be no better guide to U.S. entry than CEBIP, according to the Nordic Innovation House NY exec.

“We’re really excited about this unique collaboration [with] the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program,” Lorum said. “David Hamilton and his team have been amazing in building on the strengths of CEBIP and tailoring a program for these Nordic companies to create an amazing opportunity for scaling Nordic clean-energy tech solutions in the U.S. market.”