FLoW Successes


REEcycle (University of Houston) was FLoW’s first place winner in May 2014 and went on to win the top prize, as well as the online public vote and audience investor award at the DOE’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington D.C. in June, 2014. Turning waste from hard drives into critical resources used in the most efficient wind turbines and electric motors is REEcycle’s passion. REEcycle’s process extracts Neodymium and Dysprosium, two precious rare earth elements, essential in manufacturing clean energy technologies, from discarded hard drive magnets. Rare Earth elements are critical to the most efficient wind turbines and electric motors – two technologies that drive the energy efficient future. Retrieving these elements makes the US less dependent on unpredictable foreign sources such as China, the world’s largest exporter of rare earth elements. REEcycle is currently scaling up its process to handle half a million hard drives per month. Check out their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMWcaL4_2bI

Building Robotics

Building Robotics (UC Berkeley) a FLoW finalist in 2012, pulled in $1.14 million seed financing from Google Ventures, Claremont Creek Ventures, Formation 8 and Red Swan Ventures in 2013. The company launched their product Comfy in 2014 featuring an open-source, energy monitoring system for commercial buildings that is based primarily on input from occupants via their cell phones. Comfy connects to heating and cooling systems, and learns your preferences, so it can dynamically adjust to make everyone happier and can be a powerful source of data for optimizing office efficiencies. The founder is listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 for cleantech in 2014.


Electrozyme (UCSD) develops disposable sensors as wearable tattoos that examine chemicals in a person’s sweat. The sensors — which weigh far less than a paper clip — help people optimize their workouts by revealing things such as how much muscle fatigue a user might be experiencing. The company has raised $1.25 million in investments during the past year, including $250,000 from Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise. Cuban believes that wearables could help assess an athlete’s performance.

Dragonfly Systems

Dragonfly Systems (Stanford University) , winner of FLoW’s Third Place 2013 prize, went on to compete successfully in the Cleantech Open Global Final and ultimately was acquired by SunPower (second largest solar panel provider in the US) in 2014. Dragonfly’s innovative technology boosts the power output and cost efficiency of large scale solar installations. The founder is listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 for cleantech in 2014.


Greenbotics (UCLA/California Institute of Technology), a startup founded by Caltech alum Marc Grossman and former colleagues from eSolar and the second place FLoW winner in 2012, was acquired by SunPower in 2013. They build water-saving robots to clean solar panels.

Chai Energy

Chai Energy (California Institute of Technology), FLoW’s second place winner in 2013, has been accepted into Microsoft's Connected Home Accelerator, and is closing another seed round of $270,000 with investors. This brings Chai the support of Microsoft design, development, and hardware engineering teams along with cross-company collaboration with other accelerator members. Chai’s product is a mobile app which provides residential electric consumers with an “envelope” of  electric consumption and, over time, identifies specific electric loads like a/c units, pumps, refrigerators, etc. as well as abnormal conditions or opportunities to save power. Chai has grown from student start-up to three full time employees and five part-time/consultants. Chai anticipates launching a product in November 2014. In 2013 Chai joined the world class incubator program at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and is tapping into the incubator’s resources to accelerate its progress toward a product launch in November 2014.

Aurora Solar, Inc.

Aurora Solar Inc

Stanford student start up Aurora Solar, Inc. received $400,000 from the DOE’s Sunshot program in October 2014. Aurora Solar is building a cloud-based optimization platform that automates the design, engineering and permit generation functions of a solar photovoltaic installation. The optimization function will consider usage data, utility rates, solar component characteristics, irradiance and shading data to generate optimal site-specific plans.

CalWave (formerly California Wave Power)


In October 2014 CalWave was accepted into M37 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The M37 accelerator program offers:

  • An M37 Project Leader position at Berkeley Lab with full employee benefits (maximum five year term)
  • $500k of seed funding over two years to crystallize your vision and secure additional project support
  • A process and support network to aid in technology development and in evaluating optimal partners and path to impact
  • Additional program help with proposal writing, project management, partnerships, and strategy

More information: Introducing M37: A brand new type of R&D program for energy entrepreneurs


Pyro-E (UC Berkeley), FLoW’s first place winner in 2013, has been accepted as one of nine "highly promising startups" into the Hawaii Energy Excelerator, a major program supported by the DOE and US Office of Naval Research, and will receive $100,000 non-dilutive funding. Companies are selected based on their technology, potential market, and fit for the Hawaii and Asia Pacific markets. Less than 7% of the applicants are accepted. The company also received a $750,000 NSF grant in late 2013.


NGen (Stanford University),  FLoW’s First place winner in 2012 and developer of a novel water treatment system that also generates fuel, has begun a major pilot field trial with Delta Diablo Sanitation District, a major Bay area utility and Veolia Environmental Services, the world’s largest environmental services company; Delta engineer regards NGen’s technology as a “game changer.” http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/03/10/stanford-researcher-turns-wastewater-into-energy-that-can-power-treatment-plants/ CEO Yaniv Scherson was listed in Forbes 30 under 30 list in cleantech for 2013.


GrollTex (UCSD), the FLoW second place winner in 2014, as been accepted in the StartR incubator. The long-awaited technology developed here allows local, waste-free industrial production of large-area graphene (the "hottest" and the most expensive material currently in existence) at a price that is 240,000 lower than the current market price. This will allow the emergence of thousands of new applications (>7,000 graphene related patents are pending) that are waiting for the large-scale production of this material, including printable solar cells, flexible displays, ultra-fast processors, and gas separation membranes. The FLoW prize follows a win in the SoCal Clean Energy Acceleration Program Award ($45,000 + mentorship) in 2013.

Parthian Energy

Parthian Energy (California Institute of Technology), a finalist in FLoW 2012 with novel lithium ion battery technology, received $750,000 commercialization grant in 2014 from the “DOE Incubator", an Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy initiative. This is an award typically given to potentially transformative technologies. Parthian Energy is developing lightweight applications for powering electric vehicles.

Lyxia Corp

Lyxia, a biotechnology corporation founded in 2012 to develop novel technologies for producing biofuels among other products, has raised $17.1 million from Chinese investors, in addition to a seed round of $1.6 million from Venture Leader Group Ltd. Lyxia provides a pioneer technology platform to cultivate microalgae and cyanobacteria, harnessing the prolific products including hydrocarbon-based biofuel, feedstock and high-value byproduct. Based in Southern California, Lyxia homes in the desired breakthrough for the current bottleneck of large scale fuel and protein production, along with reduction of the carbon emission from power generation system.

FLoW's Previous Winners