ClimateHaven and FORGE Rocket Pitch Event Recap

Jack Crane, CONNSTEP Director of Growth Services, asks a question during the Earthos pitch

May 2, 2024 – In New Haven, Connecticut, regional manufacturing experts came together at the ClimateHaven innovation hub to advise startup founders on solving their hardest hardware challenges. Three hand-selected startups presented their physical product prototypes to a panel of eight seasoned manufacturing experts at the ClimateHaven and FORGE Rocket Pitch. Approximately thirty people joined the exclusive event to learn more about, and make connections with, the startups and manufacturers. 

ClimateHaven Director of Community and Marketing Haley Lieberman kicked off the event, introducing FORGE Vice President Adam Rodrigues. Rodrigues talked about how much ClimateHaven has grown since its first Green Drinks event in 2023, pointing to the importance of both ClimateHaven and FORGE’s missions to support climatech startups on their journeys to scale.

We also heard from Connecticut Chief Manufacturing Officer Paul Lavoie. He said, “Companies like the ones we will hear from at this pitch event will help Connecticut lead in the clean economy sector.” 

FORGE Program Director Trinell Ball walked the audience through the rocket pitch’s rules. Each startup had five minutes to deliver presentations describing their products and explain their manufacturing challenges, followed by eight minutes of engaging discussion with the panel. 

Ball introduced the panelists. They were: 

  • Josh Baptiste, Pearse Bertram+, Marketing and Sales Manager 
  • Jack Crane, CONNSTEP, Director of Growth Services 
  • Young Le Do, EcoAgilean, Founder
  • Ed Gilchrist, GYRE9, President and Owner 
  • William Hazard, Novo Precision, President  
  • Alex Meade, Alex Meade Bikeworks, Owner
  • Erick Rios, Big Bang, Director of Engineering 
  • Christian Rodriguez, Samtec, Field Application Engineer 

Three startup founders pitched: 

  • Robert Foote III, Founder, Vesma Electric – Vesma is creating the Valence e-motor trike, a transformed e-bike for the 15-minute city. 
  • Yurou Zhang, Founder, Earthos – Earthos is designing carbon-capture technology using a proprietary strain of algae. 
  • Conor Rooney, Founder, Oxylus Energy – Oxylus is developing proprietary next-gen electrolysis technology to capture CO2 and transform it into high-value methanol. 

The founders brought manufacturing and engineering questions, and, in turn, received advice from the panelists. Topics included sustainable materials choices for Vesma’s Valence e-trike, fabrication methods for Oxylus’ cathodes, and the circular economy business model for Earthos. 

After the rocket pitches, ClimateHaven CEO Ryan Dings thanked the startups, experts and audience for attending, and reiterated the importance of supporting climate tech startups.

Attendees networked before heading to ClimateHaven’s Green Drinks happy hour. We hope everyone learned something valuable and forged lasting connections! Thank you to ClimateHaven for collaborating with us and sharing their space for this event, and to the state of Connecticut for continuing to support our presence in the Constitution State. 

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