Ameren Accelerator Aims to Attract Energy Entrepreneurs

April 02, 2017 by Jeff Shepard

Ameren Corporation announced the launch of Ameren Accelerator, an innovative public-private partnership with the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators, that will assess, mentor and invest in energy technology startup companies. The unique partnership, one of the first of its kind in the United States, is also the St. Louis region's first to focus on energy technologies.

Leveraging the expertise of all of the partners, the goals of this program are to better position Ameren to meet its customers' future energy needs and expectations, create new jobs through these start-up companies and provide university students opportunities to be more engaged in the energy business.

Five to seven startup companies are expected to be chosen, and each will receive $100,000 in seed capital to participate in the Ameren Accelerator program, which will be located in Cortex, St. Louis' innovation and technology district.

Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Corporation, said the program is a key component of Ameren's focus on innovative technologies to make the energy grid smarter, more reliable, resilient, and secure while also transforming how customers manage and use energy to power their lives in the future.

"As new energy technologies rapidly advance, it is critical that we take bold steps today to better position Ameren to meet our customers' future energy needs and expectations," Baxter said. "This forward-thinking initiative is expected to draw innovators, entrepreneurs and business startups from around the world to St. Louis and to provide us with important insights and technologies to deliver long-term value to our customers and the communities we serve. At the same time, this initiative will enhance St. Louis' already robust innovation and entrepreneurship community, attract top-level talent, educate university students and create jobs. This is a tremendous opportunity for the St. Louis region."

As part of the program, the selected startup companies will each receive intensive mentoring, technical assistance, facilities and networking connections from the Ameren Accelerator partners.

"The Ameren Accelerator will be a transformative public-private partnership to create new technologies and workforce training for the future," said Dr. Mun Choi, University of Missouri System president. "Collaborating with innovative partners such as Ameren and Capital Innovators will enable the faculty, students and staff of the University of Missouri System to directly contribute to economic development in the state. I am proud that UMSL spearheaded this project because these activities are strongly aligned with our mission as a top public research university."

Beginning today through May 12, applications will be accepted from interested entrepreneurs and energy technology companies. Information and requirements may be found at

In July, the selected startup companies will receive seed funding and hands-on support throughout the 12-week program. Senior-level executives from a variety of companies will provide mentorship. Subject matter experts in the areas of energy, sales, marketing, pricing, technical development, operations, talent development and finance will also provide guidance. Based out of the CIC@4240 Building in Cortex, participants will be able to network with like-minded individuals focused on innovative thinking and collaboration. CIC is one of the most cutting-edge high-tech facilities in the country and a prime destination for business creativity.

At the conclusion of the program, participants will be invited to showcase their efforts to both the mentoring teams and potential third-party investors during Accelerator Demo Day this October. Ameren may select the most promising projects for ongoing mentoring and engagement beyond the Accelerator program.

"The Ameren Accelerator is our first corporate initiative through UMSL Accelerate – which is designed to foster entrepreneurism and innovation in and outside the classroom," said Dr. Tom George, chancellor of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. "We look forward to tapping into our strong contingent of faculty, student and alumni connections to make this program a success for all involved."

"Capital Innovators is excited to lead the movement through this partnership for the next level of accelerator programs to focus on the world's most pressing issues, such as energy," said Judy Sindecuse, CEO of Capital Innovators. "We look forward to engaging a new group of fresh thinkers on a variety of energy-related challenges and cultivate necessary innovations that can provide extreme value to the energy sector."

"We are excited about the prospects of this unique public-private partnership," Baxter said. "Ameren Accelerator is one way we are demonstrating our vision of 'Leading the Way to a Secure Energy Future' and our mission 'To Power the Quality of Life.'"