Earlier this week, the Larta Institute, an accelerator for small businesses and startups in science-based innovation, announced that its subsidiary, Larta Inc. has been awarded an exclusive contract by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to manage its national Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) for as many as 450 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I and II awardees per year beginning in September 2017. The DOE granted over $224 million to SBIR recipients in 2016.
The contract builds on the organization’s mission to transform ideas into commercialized innovations that feed, fuel and heal the world, adding to its existing CAPs with the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.
“This engagement enables us to enhance our visibility and reach in an area that is both exciting and of great consequence to the world,” said Rohit Shukla, Founder and CEO of the Larta Institute. “We will use this new vote of confidence as a calling card in expanding our footprint in this important field, at a time when energy efficiency and alternative energy are of increasing importance.”
Constanza Pachon, President and COO of the Larta Institute, added, “We are ready and eager to work with DOE’s SBIR innovators, both those whose commercialization journey is just the beginning and those who are further refining their offerings to the marketplace.”
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The news is a particular win not only for the Larta Institute, but the renewables sector as a whole. Earlier this year, news circulated about a federal plan to slash funding for renewable energy R&D by around 70 percent after reports emerging from Washington revealed that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s budget was to be slashed by almost a third. The announcement spurred Larta into action to find new channels of support for the work and innovation it aims to foster.
Larta’s energy practice is led by David Berokoff, a 37-year veteran of the energy industry with extensive domain expertise across many areas of the sector and functional experience covering strategic planning, financial and economic analysis, business development and project management. Berokoff will lead Larta’s DOE CAP effort; overseeing more than 60 energy experts and a program management team who will collectively work with DOE’s SBIR awardees to frame business models, build strategic networks and lead other aspects of the transition from lab to market.
“The innovations in the DOE CAP pipeline have the potential to change the world,” said Berokoff. “We are excited for the opportunity to bring Larta’s trademarked processes to this program and provide services critical to the success of tomorrow’s innovative energy companies, including introductions to experienced domain experts and just-in-time insights provided by our industry partners like Schlumberger, 3M, BASF, Dow, NRG and many others. This has proven to be a winning combination for entrepreneurs in all our programs and we are convinced DOE’s SBIR grantees will benefit from it as well.”