By DAVID HAMILTON
What a challenging and tumultuous year! If you’d told the December 2019 me what was going to transpire, I’d have called you crazy – and suggested you’d read one too many sci-fi novels by our favorite Innovate LI editor.
There was no way to see this coming: a never-ending pandemic, an unprecedented economic collapse, social upheaval on a national scale, political turmoil unlike anything we’ve ever seen, endless Zoom calls, three dishwasher cycles a day … and every week, something new.
Despite all the challenges, our Long Island startup community carried on. The companies in Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program and our Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center pushed forward despite the shutdowns, remote-working conditions and inability to get face-to-face with customers.
During these trying times, our companies achieved more milestones and advanced closer to commercialization than they have, collectively, in any year prior. Driven leadership was on full display. It was inspiring to watch these extremely talented and dedicated teams excel, despite everything the world was throwing at them.
Our companies were unable to run real-world pilot programs, meet potential customers, attend critical trade shows or properly network – and yet, the successes within CEBIP alone this year were staggering.
ThermoLift graduated in September, having made more progress and raised more money than any client in CEBIP history; the company is now ready to engage critical on-site demonstration programs across the United States and Canada.
Re-Nuble was next to graduate, in November, ready to start production of its food waste-to-fertilizer products and fill sales orders from a new manufacturing facility in Rochester. Meanwhile, UES opened its own manufacturing facilities on Long Island, and is even considering larger-scale facilities to meet growing customer demand for its electric-vehicle technology.