by Dave Moore, Dallas Innovates
March 8, 2017
Arun K. Gupta of Skyven
Those who attend the Earth Day Texas expo April 21-23 in Fair Park might get a glimpse of the future of clean energy and technology.
That’s because for the first time, Earth Day Texas has dedicated exhibit space for more than 30 green tech-related startups, all of which are seeking funding from private, green-economy investors. The E-Capital Investment Summit, a private event occurring a day before the Earth Day Texas event occurs, will be like eco-friendly speed-dating for investors and innovators.
Private and family investors looking to back green-technology innovations, but not necessarily seeking an immediate return on their investment — called “patient capital” — will tour the E-Capital Innovation Expo a day early, and will meet with startup leaders to hear their pitches.
Dozens of such investor groups have signed up to hear pitches from numerous start-ups, some from Dallas, others from across the United States. Networking, pitches and panel discussions will occur in a private, daylong event, on Thursday, April 20, the day before Earth Day Texas publicly kicks off.
If there’s a match, funded innovations could become common in the marketplace.
Among those innovators will be Arun K. Gupta, CEO, and founder of downtown Dallas-based Skyven — whose technology concentrates the sun’s heat for use in manufacturing. Gupta got a feeling for what to expect when he exhibited Skyven tech at last year’s Earth Day Texas event.
Gupta said his exhibit drew attention from both domestic and international investors.
“I connected with a customer in Asia, with a couple of potential customers in California, and a few in Dallas,” said Gupta, who indicated that contacts could generate more than $100 million in work for his company, which is still developing the technology toward implementation. “The great thing about Earth Day Texas is that they bring in so many people, but also exhibitors and a lot of potential commercial and industrial customers. Green energy is already a priority for many of them. So, it’s mutually beneficial.”
Attendance at Earth Day Texas 2017 – billed as the largest Earth Day festival in the United States – is expected to exceed last year’s turnout of more than 130,000.
Gupta added that last year’s Earth Day Texas event gave him insights into his potential marketplaces: his potential client in Asia spoke of trouble the company was having to access traditional energy and fuel sources; his potential California customers, meanwhile, told him they face increasingly stringent environmental regulations.
Those encounters reinforced for Gupta the notion that companies in the future will rely on multiple green-energy solutions.