Ameren funds program to attract and develop energy tech startups

Where some entrepreneurs may see opportunities for innovation in the energy industry, leaders of Ameren, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a local accelerator program, Capital Innovators, see a chance to attract them to St. Louis.

At the Cortex Innovation Community in the city’s Central West End, those entities announced a new partnership Friday called the Ameren Accelerator program that will “assess, mentor and invest in energy technology startup companies.”

Through the arrangement, a fresh batch of five to seven startup companies will each be given $100,000 in seed capital in every year of the three-year program. The money will be granted by Ameren, which, along with UMSL, will provide mentorship and expertise to the companies as they complete a 12-week summer accelerator program run by Capital Innovators. At the end of the process, the startups will pitch their technology to potential outside investors.

For Ameren, it’s an opportunity to expose its own employees to innovation while also leaving open the possibility of buying or licensing the technologies that emerge. Company representatives were hesitant to identify specific areas they may be interested in pursuing through the program, aiming to leave it up to innovators to decide what technologies may eventually be applied to the utility and its customer base.

Online applications for the accelerator program opened Friday and are open until May 12. Chosen startups will then be awarded their funding and support in July, with the “Demo Day” for showcasing their work and courting investors taking place in October.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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