SkyDeck Hosts Under Secretary of the US Department of Energy, Dr. Franklin Orr

SkyDeck Hosts Under Secretary of the US Department of Energy, Dr. Franklin Orr

On Monday, SkyDeck, alongside Business Forward and the US Department of Energy, hosted a Business Leader Briefing covering the Department of Energy’s role in supporting clean tech startup growth. Caroline Winnett, Executive Director of SkyDeck facilitated conversation between Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Franklin Orr and clean tech startups from SkyTeams, Cyclotron Road, CITRIS Foundry, Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute, clean tech investors, SkyDeck industry partners Analog Devices & OSIsoft, the Vice Chancellor for Research, and University of California Office of the President. They engaged in a meaningful discussion on the ways in which the DOE can address common challenges facing energy and clean tech startup market development.

The participants presented common challenges to the Under Secretary and suggested solutions. Startups have benefitted infinitely from the availability of resources and facilities that contributed to their launches, and there was a widely supported call for an expansion of these programs. Participants also suggested that the DOE could directly support startups by providing funding and hosting competitions to raise awareness for their companies. From the Venture Capitalist perspective, attendees expressed a concern for the adjusted timeline for profitability for clean tech and energy startups. Startups are looking for a strategy to successfully articulate the importance of greater investments for long-term profits. The discussion also included important topics such as the issue of gender bias in investment activities, a lack of public education regarding climate concerns and the implementation of an externalities tax.

The roundtable participants agreed upon the following goals:

Create a marketplace where clean technology is valued

Increase funding and competitions available for clean technology startups

Expand on laboratories and accelerators to fast-track research and development

SkyDeck is extremely excited to have partnered with Business Forward to host this event and continue to advocate for entrepreneurial expansion in the energy sector.