Nuventix, other startups chosen for GE ecomagination fund

GE and its venture capital partners have announced they will invest $63 million in ten clean technology start-up firms as part of the second round of funding for the GE ecomagination Challenge.

GE has announced its second round of funding in its ecomagination Challenge, which has awarded $63 million to ten companies including Austin-based Nuventix, a maker of thermal management solutions for LEDs.

Nuventix will receive an undisclosed portion of the $63 million investment toward commercialization of its synthetic jet (SynJet) technology, which is flexible enough to fit into a small form factor and has a life expectancy equal to or better than that of the LEDs.

The ten winners in the Challenge were selected among 5000 submissions from 74,000 innovators. To date, GE has committed $134 million of its overall $200 million ecomagination program. "It allows us to connect to these incredible, innovative companies," said Mark Vachon, the vice president of GE's ecomagination initiative. "We can help get these ideas faster into the commercialization process."

Nuventix’ active cooling technology provides cooling of the LED component using a diaphragm that performs rapid fire injections of air (30-200 pulses/sec) through a small opening to the LED’s heat sink. Using a vortex air flow method rather than linear air flow, more heat is transferred using less air. Heat sinks can be made much smaller, enabling retrofitting of LED fixtures while maintaining high lumen output.

"The GE Ecomagination award is just another proof point of how SynJet technology is making lighting more energy efficient and accelerating the adoption of LEDs for general lighting," Nuventix CEO Jim Balthazar said.

The other nine winners in the competition included communications and software providers Ember (Boston, MA), Hara (San Mateo, CA), On-Ramp Wireless (San Diego, CA), Viridity Energy (Conshohocken, PA) and WiTricity (Watertown, MA). Also included were companies whose technologies contribute to building efficiency including Project Frog (San Francisco, CA) and VPhase (Manchester, UK), as well as solar system providers GMZ Energy (Waltham, MA) and SunRun (San Francisco, CA).

Judging for the Challenge was conducted by a panel of experts including individuals from GE's business units, representatives from academia, venture capital firms, government research firms and others. Launched on July 13, 2010, the GE open innovation challenge is designed to uncover ideas to create smarter, cleaner, more energy efficient technology to improve the world’s energy future.

More in Indoor Networks & Controls