August 2019
Somerville Startup Wins Spot In Energy-Focused Accelerator Program

Originally posted by the Boston Business Journal

Ameren Corp. (NYSE: AEE) on Wednesday announced the six startups, including one from Somerville, that will participate in the 2019 cohort of its energy-focused accelerator program.

Each of the six companies will receive $100,000 in seed funding and participate in a 12-week accelerator program based in the Cortex Innovation Community. All six companies selected are based outside of St. Louis.

“Through the Ameren Accelerator program, we are investing in and partnering with some of the world’s most innovative startup companies to develop new energy technologies for our customers in Missouri and Illinois. This successful program is delivering positive results and exemplifying our mission – for today and the future,” Warner Baxter, president and CEO of Ameren, said in a statement.

The Ameren Accelerator is a partnership between Ameren, the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and St. Louis-based accelerator Capital Innovators.

The six companies selected for this year’s cohort are:

The Somerville startup was co-founded by two geophysicists, Ammar Alali and Paris Smalls. Alali, a MIT graduate, has worked for Saudi Aramco, while Smalls has research seismicity in geothermal fields in Yellowstone Park, according to the startup’s website. The development of the startup’s technology has received funding from the National Science Foundation.

The 2019 cohort marks the third iteration of the Ameren Accelerator, which launched in 2017. This year’s program drew more than 430 applications from startups globally and has a theme of “Smart Cities – Connected Communities.”

“We chose that as a theme this year because we are refocusing and redoubling our efforts in economic development. Utilities are really tied to the geography that they serve,” said Stephen Kidwell, Ameren’s vice president of corporate planning and head of the Ameren Accelerator program.

The Ameren Accelerator has seen rapid growth since its first cohort, with applications having more than doubled since 2017.

“I think we’re raising the profile of the accelerator each year. I think we do a better job of outreach, and letting folks know it’s there. I think that helps,” Kidwell said. “We are directly investing in each of these companies. I hope that’s a differentiator for them as well, that the value proposition is there."

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