Solar energy technology startup, Optimal Solar, was named the winner of the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange: Black Founders pitch competition last Friday after a week-long immersive training program.
Optimal Solar is on a mission to improve the quality of life around the world through the efficient use of solar resources. Their flagship product, VIA, is the most efficient solar module in the world and delivers the lowest cost of energy of solar module systems, according to the company.
As the winner of the pitch competition, founder and CEO Reginald Parker, Ph.D. was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to the Silicon Valley to meet potential investors.
The Durham, NC-based company got another win after one of the judges, Brittany Davis, Director of Deal Flow at Backstage Capital, offered the startup the first spot in their new accelerator program.
“Having Google, having Backstage, having American Underground stand behind me, that’s the type of wings that even a humming bird would like to sail on, I mean it’s tremendous,” Parker told AfroTech.
Backstage Capital— a venture capital firm committed to investing in startups led by underrepresented entrepreneurs—announced their shift to accelerators last month unveiling their plans to begin accepting applications for a four-city program that supports companies led by diverse founders.
“If you have an innovative technology within solar—I think there’s still people looking to optimize the amount of energy created and cost savings,” Davis said. “There’s just a huge opportunity for utilities to get involved.”
The solar energy technology company is already in talks with the City of Atlanta about adding affordable power to one of the city’s landfill sites, a project with the potential to turn a $2 million profit, according to Hypepotamus.
“The city wants to grow our business enterprise as we are considering putting our manufacturing capacity there, and they believe that a project like a landfill is a great way to do it,” Parker told Hypepotamus.
As Optimal Solar is looking to grow, Parker hopes to raise $500,000 for a manufacturing process, obtain certifications and hire new employees
“We have our nose down to the ground for the next three months to raise the capital for the last piece,” Parker said. “We can put this on the market and start ending energy poverty.”