From Richmond Inno By Dina Weinstein


There’s a heavy representation from California and female-led companies in the 2022 Dominion Energy Innovation Center accelerator cohort.

The 18-week DEIC Accelerate program, which kicks off in June in Ashland, does not include an investment component for participating companies but is instead a low-touch, commercialization-focused program for climate-tech companies. Startups get to present their services and products in front of Dominion Energy decision-makers, energy co-ops, university representatives and government officials, said Adam Sledd, DEIC executive director.

DEIC Accelerate focuses on startups in the areas of sustainability, decarbonization, the environment, social innovations, transportation or distributed resources. DEIC said it is generally looking for companies with functional products that are ideally in a post-revenue stage but ahead of raising a Series A round of funding.

The seven participating companies in the new cohort include:

  • AiDash — A satellite analytics company based in Santa Clara, California, that provides insights on operations and maintenance for utility, energy and other industries with geographically distributed assets. The company also has an office in Northern Virginia.
  • C-Zero — A Santa Barbara, California, company that is developing technology to decarbonize natural gas
  • ElectricFish — A woman-led Fremont, California, company that manufactures mobile charging stations for electric vehicle batteries
  • Grow Oyster Reefs — A woman-led Charlottesville company that has developed a proprietary concrete mix that matches the composition of mature oyster shells. It can be used to accelerate new oyster reefs and restore seabeds.
  • Noteworthy AI — The maker of a system that utilizes vehicle-mounted cameras and AI that can help utility companies ensure grid reliability and safety
  • TS Conductor — The maker of high-performance power-line technology headquartered in Huntington Beach, California
  • Wildgrid — A woman-led New York City company that provides a marketplace for local solar providers

Sledd said in a statement the program aims to jump-start companies that will help decarbonize Virginia’s economy in the years ahead. DEIC said several of the companies in last year’s cohort are currently developing pilot projects for Dominion Energy.

There will be more room for the program this year. The DEIC facility picked up additional space at the end of 2020 when the city of Ashland gave up its space in the building at 201 Duncan St. following the construction of a new town hall. Now at nearly 6,000 square feet, the DEIC is able to hold more meetings and can offer workspace to companies participating in or have previously been through its accelerator.

One past DEIC participant is already in residence: Linebird, a company that builds tools that drones use to work on live power lines, is operating its workshop in the back of the accelerator.