September 29, 2012
By: Larry Rulison
Source: Times Union
It was more than two years ago that a group
of graduate students at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale
Science and Engineering won the Tech Valley Business Plan Competition.
students' newly launched company, BESS Technologies (as in Battery
Energy Storage Systems), had a promising innovation using silicon
nanostructures to boost the storage power of lithium-ion batteries.
such a massive potential market and government focus on energy
conservation and clean-tech advances, the future looked bright for BESS.
of its victory in the business plan competition, it was already
attracting interest from investment firms and had joined iClean, a
business incubator program at the NanoCollege that was created by the
school and NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development
Now, the company, led by CEO Fernando Gomez-Baquero,
has struck a licensing deal with the NanoCollege. The agreement, which
allows the company to take technology developed in the school's labs to
market, will help accelerate its commercialization plan and allow it to
continue using the NanoCollege's research and manufacturing facilities.
school benefits by getting a piece of future company revenues. And it
will also likely attract much-needed private financing from investment
and venture capital firms to BESS. Indeed, the company is in
negotiations right now with at least two venture firms for funding.
Gomez-Baquero said the deal will "pave the way to commercialize and bring to market our unique technology."
NanoCollege says that BESS is its first student spin-off company. Such
spin-offs, and their continued success, are central to fueling "organic
growth" that is a goal of government support for the region's high-tech
economy. And it helps bring in private money from places like Boston and
Silicon Valley that have sustainable high-tech economies.
has already been very successful in the money arena. Not only did it win
$19,000 in the business plan competition, but it has won more than
$800,000 from NYSERDA and a National Science Foundation program.