The creation of jobs in the Rochester community and a list of awards and accolades are just some of the commonalities for six area start-up companies. Another common denominator-their start at Rochester Institute of Technology's Clean Energy Incubator.
The Clean Energy Incubator is part of RIT's business incubator Venture Creations.
On Nov. 14, Venture Creations held a ceremony to honor these six companies that have graduated from the incubator within the past year. Among the speakers are Bill Destler, RIT president; Bill Jones, director of Venture Creations; and Peter Douglas of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Bill Jones, director of RIT's Venture Creations, says the six companies have created 86 jobs in the Rochester area.
"This is an outstanding accomplishment for everyone involved," Jones says. "Our passion is economic development and these are real jobs that have been created here in Rochester. We want to thank NYSERDA for funding the Clean Energy Incubator, which is part of Venture Creations."
A $1.5 million grant from NYSERDA in 2008 launched the Clean Energy Incubator at RIT. RIT won the Clean Energy program based on the university's assets that are unique to clean-energy innovation and business-related services, resources like the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies, the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and Venture Creations. The incubator leverages RIT's strength in its core technologies in imaging, sustainability and biomedical technology.
"These graduate companies are an excellent example of why New York state supports incubators like the Clean Energy Incubator at RIT because of what it means to the state economy," says Peter Douglas, director of research and development at NYSERDA.
One of the graduate companies, Vnomics, located in Bushnell's Basin, has developed a system to monitor the performance of commercial trucks and light-armored vehicles. Its software offers driver training and proactive maintenance to allow the customer to improve fuel economy and know whether there are issues that are fixable before they lead to bigger problems.
"We now have thousands of vehicles that are utilizing our software," says David Chauncey, CEO of Vnomics. "We recently expanded into the school bus market. The local school district that we are working with has already seen significant improvements in fuel economy."
Vnomics has doubled its workforce since graduating from Venture Creations. It employs 41 people.
Adds Chauncey: "We would like to thank Venture Creations for contributing to the launch of our company. The staff's expertise helped us execute our business plan and we utilized all the resources that were made available to us. Vnomics also received a lot of support from the other incubator tenants. We are all like-minded people trying to achieve the same goal of getting our companies off the ground and the networking opportunities were beneficial to us."