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July 12, 2022 | Tom Ballard

First-ever “LEEP Summit” spotlights a number of graduating “Innovation Crossroads” companies

Several of the graduating members of Cohort 4 of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” (IC) program, along with two alumni, were among the 26 start-ups that participated in yesterday’s hybrid and first-ever “LEEP Summit.”

The event spotlighted participants at the four labs that are part of the “Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program” of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Three labs – Argonne (“Chain Reaction Innovations”), Lawrence Berkeley (“Cyclotron Road”) and ORNL’s IC – have been part of the LEEP program for a number of years. New to the initiative is “West Gate” operated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Boulder, CO.

In pre-recorded opening comments, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm cited the impact of the program and specifically called-out IC alum Nth Cycle and Founder Megan O’Connor. She noted that LEEP-funded start-ups like Nth Cycle have raised $918 million and created 1,000 jobs. Fourteen of the companies are building production facilities.

“I think we can innovate our way to solutions,” Secretary Granholm said, adding, “I want to see this program grow.”

The five IC start-ups that were comprised Cohort 4 and are completing their two-year fellowship pitched along with two alumni – SkyNano Technologies and Active Energy Systems. The soon-to-be alumni were active were: (1) Hempitecture; (2) Quantum Lock Technologies; (3) Actinic; (4) PixelEXX; and (5) Becq.

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