News Flash for Energy Startups: The Power of Partnering with an Accelerator is Real

Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

ameren accelerator

Given their capacity to connect founders to relevant mentors, candidates, and technology capabilities, accelerators provide energy startups with the operational leg up they need to thrive.

Getting any startup off the ground is no small feat, and young energy companies face a particularly significant challenge to mature not only their business, but their product and technology as well.

To chart the course towards long-term growth, it’s essential that founders first understand — and then capitalize on — every single resource at their disposal. That includes a partnership with an accelerator, which can offer the expertise and wherewithal to empower startups to push beyond the limits of what they thought was possible financially and operationally. If their vision of success is grander than the current state of their operation — and I’m sure it is — a resource like the Ameren Accelerator can help bring that vision closer to reality.

Thanks to a one-of-a-kind partnership invented by UMSL Accelerate between Ameren, the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate, and Capital Innovators, each year five to seven energy-technology startups receive an $100,000 in seed funding, gain access to invaluable mentorship opportunities and infrastructure, and draw from St. Louis’s talented pool of tech professionals, university academics, mentors, and student interns.

Testing Products at Scale with the Help of an Industry Leader

Regardless of what a startup does or sells, it need a unique combination of infrastructural support, outside technical expertise, and the right introductions to transform a potentially brilliant idea into a real business.

Based at Cortex, the Ameren Accelerator immerses its cohort in a 12-week program during which companies capitalize on $100,000 in seed funding in order to perfect their products at an unprecedented scale for early-stage startups. And the turbo boosters the Ameren Accelerator attaches to these businesses really work — last year, the program helped cohort members accomplish the following:

  • Rebate Bus hired six core team members and developed a live test case.
  • WIFIPLUG made a number of meaningful connections with international customers and pre-sold over $10,000 in a single product demonstration.
  • Hyperion forged a relationship with a mentor that led to broader engagement with the Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Recruit Responsibly

By introducing founders to entrepreneurs, partners, vendors, and top local talent, an accelerator is fulfilling one of its primary aims of helping startups make the right connections. But those introductions aren’t designed just to drive new business, but also to build out the team that will help founders get where they’re going.

Throughout the 12-week program, the Ameren Accelerator, UMSL administrators and faculty connect startups with hard-working, competent student interns who can share the load of day-to-day operational work. Their presence not only helps founders get more done, but it also represents a golden opportunity to explore what kind of managers they are and build a company culture from the ground up. What’s more, many of our founders find that they finally have enough time to take every possible investor and client meeting they can book.

Prepare for Strategic Growth by Partnering with the Ameren Accelerator

After three months in the Ameren Accelerator, cohort members showcase their work to mentoring teams, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and, most importantly, potential third-party investors as part of a much-anticipated demo day. This level of visibility not only reinforces their legitimacy, but offers important context for how their product or service can grow inside St. Louis’ existing energy infrastructure.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the benefits of partnering with an accelerator don’t stop when a startup leaves the accelerator. In our case, particularly ambitious and successful projects are often selected to pursue future partnership opportunities with the Fortune 500 utility company. The program also facilitates continued access to mentorships and facetime with company executives.

To put it bluntly, if you are an energy startup, you cannot miss out on this opportunity. Apply to the accelerator by the March 9 deadline and see if your big idea could be the next big thing in American energy.