Czero is a premier engineering service company that specializes in helping companies with early stage R&D/product development. Its expertise lies in energy efficiency, energy recovery and renewable fuels. Czero projects include algae-based biofuels, CO2 -based dry cleaning machines, waste heat recovery, advanced engine designs, advanced transmission designs, hybrid vehicles, distributed power generation and smart grids, natural gas conversions, electric bicycles and other energy related products.
How the Rocky Mountain Innosphere Helped: The Innosphere has been instrumental in several capacities. It has assembled a large team of highly skilled advisors who provide excellent mentorship in all areas critical to startup companies which has been invaluable to Czero. It has created and fostered an entrepreneurial ecosystem that brings many different companies, city and state resources, university personnel and individuals together, allowing Czero to develop relationships, find synergies, learn from each and help each other. It has been a vocal supporter of the resident companies and has brought in resources and has knocked down roadblocks.
Impact: Czero is now providing critical engineering resources to a wide variety of companies working on clean tech projects. Clients range from startups to international OEM’s and tier one suppliers and work has expanded to the US, Europe and Australia. Revenue has grown steadily since inception and 2011 is projected to be the best year by far. Czero currently has seven employees, utilizes multiple subcontractors and is preparing to hire. The founders of Czero received the 2010 Bravo “Emerging Entrepreneur” award presented by the Northern Colorado Business Report.
What Ridekick Is: The RidekickTMPower Trailer has an electric motor and battery to boost bicycle rides. It clicks on to any favorite bike in seconds, propels a rider up to 19 mph for about 12 miles and has the capacity to carry two sacks of groceries. The Ridekick Power Trailer (PT) ehances the fun of riding because it boosts riders past the barriers of hills, wind and sweat, and carries cargo in a weatherized shell. Over 500 people have ridden the Ridekick during demo rides and focus groups and it is amazing to see the smiles of joy within seconds of the “kick.”
How the Rocky Mountain Innosphere Helped: The Innosphere provided offices in the new facility in Fort Collins. Ridekick was able to take advantage of the Advisors in Residence who offer legal, financial and marketing assistance at no cost. The access to community programs, grants and outreach made available by the Innosphere also benefited the company during its evolution and stages of growth.
Starting in 2009, Ridekick International transformed from prototype to sales in 13 months. It started with two entrepreneurs and now employs nine people. Based on market feedback, Ridekick is entering its second round funding to expand sales regions and growth.
VanDyne SuperTurbo, Inc.
Synopsis of Company's Work: The VanDyne SuperTurbo™ is the most cost effective CO2 reduction technology in development today, combining the low-speed performance of a supercharger with the energy extraction capabilities of turbo-compounding, simply by adding a transmission to a turbocharger. The result is a 25-30% improvement in vehicle performance over existing gasoline-powered engines and 7-10% improvement over existing diesel powered engines.
How the Rocky Mountain Innosphere Helped: When VanDyne SuperTurbo spun out of Woodward Inc., the Innosphere was the perfect place for the company to incubate itself into reality. VanDyne received access to advisors and great exposure due to extensive public relations efforts. The favorable rent terms and rates were very important to VanDyne as the company started.
The company has grown from one to 16 employees in just under two years. Since the time of the company spun out from Woodward in September 2009, it successfully raised over $5.0 million of investment capital. In December 2009, the Company was awarded a Phase One SBIR grant by the U.S. Army valued at over $280,000. In May 2010, the Company was awarded a $145,000 Phase One SBIR grant by the National Science Foundation to explore the use of recovered exhaust heat from a gasoline engine and catalytic converter and transferring it to the crankshaft. In January 2010, VanDyne won a Department of Energy Grant entitled “Super Truck” as a sub-contractor to Cummins, which was awarded $80 million to advance the fuel efficiency of heavy duty vehicles. The Company’s initial portion of this award is $700,000, of which $350,000 will be received as revenue to the Company. In October 2010, VanDyne was awarded a Phase Two of the U.S. Army SBIR program valued at $750,000, which will include delivery of a large SuperTurbo to the Army by Q1 2012. In October 2010, the Company was awarded the Colorado Cleantech Emerging Company of the Year by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association and also received the Outstanding Venture Award at the U.S Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) 23rd Industry Growth Forum.