Denso joins the Energy Excelerator Team

February 22, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

The Energy Excelerator, a startup accelerator program that provides funding and strategic relationships to help young companies solve the world's energy and transportation challenges, is partnering with global automotive supplier Denso Corp. in an effort to further accelerate the commercialization of innovative energy-related technologies. This partnership aligns with the Energy Excelerator's 2015 cohort of companies – 16 companies with innovative energy solutions selected from a pool of over 300 applicants – and also supports Denso's 2020 goal to significantly improve vehicle fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, and to also reduce the world's overall energy consumption.

"The Energy Excelerator is unique because it enables startup companies that can help solve tomorrow's energy and transportation challenges vet their technologies in a real-world test bed through this program," said Tony Cannestra, director of Corporate Ventures at Denso International America. "In addition to Denso's extensive internal R&D efforts, Denso is also very committed to fostering and supporting external innovation in key areas such as transportation and energy efficiency."

As a corporate sponsor, Denso will work with the Energy Excelerator in three key ways: 1) Hold a position on the Energy Excelerator's Strategic Advisory Board where Denso will help identify challenges within the energy-transportation nexus. Those challenges will guide the selection of startups Energy Excelerator choses for the 2016 cohort. 2) Get a first look at, and provide valuable feedback on, the newest innovations in transportation and energy that enter the Energy Excelerator's pipeline of startups. 3) Have the opportunity to be a project partner for proposed demonstration projects with Energy Excelerator's cohort companies.

"We are excited to partner with Denso to address energy- and transportation-related challenges in innovative ways. Two sectors Denso is heavily involved in, transportation and energy storage, are well represented in our 2015 cohort," said Dawn Lippert, director of the Energy Excelerator. "In addition to aligning with our mission, Denso can also bring tremendous value to our companies in helping scale their solutions to the rest of the world."

Denso's partnership will help expand the Energy Excelerator's program, as well as further accelerate the commercialization of innovative energy-related technologies. Denso joins the Office of Naval Research, the U.S Department of Energy, the Hawaii State Energy Office, and Hawaiian Electric Industries as strategic advisors of the Energy Excelerator. In addition, Denso also is sponsoring Energy Excelerator partners, Prospect SV, a Silicon Valley-based commercialization center for emerging technology companies, and Cleantech Open, the world's largest cleantech accelerator.

Denso's Silicon Valley office actively works with startup companies, and through this partnership with the Energy Excelerator expects to gain access to new technologies in the areas of electric vehicles, transportation, batteries, and energy storage while also expanding Denso's overall presence and visibility within entrepreneurial networks.

In 2008, the State of Hawaii committed to 70 percent reduced oil use in transportation by 2030. This aggressive goal is now the focus of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, the state-federal partnership to decrease Hawaii's dependence on imported oil. The Energy Excelerator is working with the State of Hawaii to achieve its aggressive goals by introducing new solutions to Hawaii, providing funding and facilitating the partnerships needed to demonstrate these technologies, and helping these companies scale their customer base.