We’re thrilled to officially announce the winner of the 2013 Sustainable America/Greentown Labs Fellowship. Vecarius, a vehicle waste-heat recovery company based in Boston, was chosen from a field of nine outstanding finalists who pitched their business ideas to a room of 60 entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, and students at a networking event Thursday at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Mass.
The Fellowship, which was open to early-stage companies involved in finding sustainable solutions to problems in agriculture and transportation, includes one year’s rent at co-working space Greentown Labs (up to $5,000), a $5,000 grant for operating capital, branding advisement from Sustainable America’s media and marketing partner Ocupop, and 5,000 bonus miles from American Airlines, good for about two round-trip flights.
Vecarius, led by CEO Steven Casey, is developing a thermo-electric generator system that turns a vehicle’s exhaust waste heat into energy. This technology is designed to reduce fuel usage in vehicles by 5 to 10 percent with an expected payback period of three years for vehicles incurring high annual fuel expenditures. Vecarius is working with a vehicle fleet owner and operator to retrofit existing vehicles for early market launch. Vehicle manufacturers find Vecarius’ technology attractive for helping them meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE). The company won awards earlier this year from the National Science Foundation, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center.
“We are excited to support Vecarius,” said Gray Peckham, Sustainable America’s director of investments. “Vecarius’ business plan is tightly aligned with Sustainable America’s goal of reducing oil usage in the United States through vehicle efficiency, new technologies, and consumer behavior shifts, and we look forward to helping the company develop.”
We would like to thank Greentown Labs partnering with us for the Fellowship and for hosting the judging event. We’d also like to thank the judges for their hard work, time, and insights. Dean Baker, director of FP&A at Samsonite; Steve Burrington, co-founder and principal of Renew Energy Partners LLC; and Miguel Granier, founder and managing director of Invested Development joined Sustainable America’s Executive Director Jeremy Kranovitz and Director of Investments Gray Peckham to choose the winner.
“Congratulations to the winning team, Vecarius, and to all of the teams for the great presentations we heard at the pitch event,” said Emily Reichert, executive director of Greentown Labs. “Greentown Labs is excited to be partnering with Sustainable America on this contest and fellowship. The missions of our organizations are very well aligned, and we look forward to other opportunities to partner in the future.”
While Vecarius was the winner, there were several strong teams that Sustainable America is glad to have gotten to know and are absolutely worth keeping an eye on as they grow. (Here’s the full list of finalists). We’re excited to have a Fellow in the Boston area and look forward to deepening our ties to the Boston startup community as well as provide Vecarius with additional resources as it grows.