Celebrating the Success of Our SunRISE Startups

Last Thursday, Greentown Labs hosted the final workshop and showcase of our SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, sponsored by DSM. This 6-month prototype accelerator program was the second of its kind, and was produced in partnership with Fraunhofer TechBridge, Greentown Launch and DSM.

SunRISE requested applications from companies developing solutions to lower the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Out of 56 applications, four companies were chosen and eligible for Greentown Launch acceleration and DSM partnership/investment: Hunt Energy Enterprises, Tessolar, Wattglass Inc. and QD Solar. The companies met the LCOE request with a variety of applications, and throughout the SunRISE program, startups were able to refine their prototypes, obtain customer feedback and fine-tune their business models through regular engagement with the SunRISE DSM Team.

There were many successes throughout the program’s duration, and it should be noted that both Wattglass Inc. and Tessolar were awarded through the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, a national effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade.

“Greentown Labs is exceptionally proud of the progress the SunRISE Challenge companies have made over the last six months” said Katie MacDonald Director of Strategic Partnerships at Greentown Labs. “This program is a testament to what startups can learn and achieve with the support of active and invested corporate partners like DSM, who worked with Greentown Labs and Fraunhofer to make this six month program a success.” 

On Thursday, we welcomed several members of DSM Venturing who played a critical role in the success of SunRISE; attendees included Pieter Wolters, Managing Director, Luda Kopeikina, Senior Investment Manager, and Sjoerd de Jager, Innovation Excellence Advisor. Pieter, Luda and Sjoerd’s continuous support, mentorship and sponsorship throughout the incubation period was essential in helping the startups hit key milestones in a very short period of time.

The SunRISE companies, DSM executives, and members of the Greentown Launch team participated in a cumulative, all-day workshop full of mentorship, panel discussions and several notable speakers:

  • Sam Liss – Director of Business Development, Physical Sciences at Harvard Office of Technology Development
  • Lucy Lubashev – Senior Patent Counsel at Raytheon
  • Chris Noble – Technology Licensing Officer at MIT
  • Stan Reiss – General Partner at Matrix Partners
  • Katja Schoenherr – Sloan Fellow, former professional opera singer and New England Conservatory faculty member


Panelists from our “IP Licensing and Management Panel” with members of the Greentown Launch team. From left to right: Sam Liss, Lucy Lubashev, Stan Reiss, Katie Macdonald (Greentown Director of Strategic Partnerships), Chris Noble and Joe Rife (Greentown mentor).


Katja Schoenherr, presenting “Pitch Perfect: Live Presentation and Public Speaking Secrets” with tips to promote confidence and success during pitch presentations. In this picture Katja is emphasizing the importance of relaxation before a performance.


Later in the day during our monthly EnergyBar networking event, we celebrated the conclusion of our SunRISE TechBridge Challenge and heard each SunRISE startup pitch their refined prototypes and business plans to DSM, the Greentown Labs community and investors from the Boston clean energy ecosystem!


The SunRISE companies were presented with an award, certificate, and Wakawaka solar charging battery by Emily Reichert, the CEO of Greentown Labs, and Pieter Wolters. From left to right:Corey Thompson of Wattglass Inc., Michael Irwin of Hunt Energy Enterprises,David Asgeirsson and Dan Shea of QD Solar, and Les Fritzemeier and Katy Hartman of Tessolar.

Thank you to the nearly 300 attendees who joined our EnergyBar celebration and helped Greentown Labs congratulate the participants on their successful completion of the SunRISE TechBridge Challenge. We hope to see you at our next EnergyBar on January 26th!


Celebration from the SunRISE / Launch group. From left to right: Joe Rife, Corey Thompson, Pieter Wolters, David Asgeirsson, Dan Shea, Sjoerd de Jager, Luda Kopeikina, Les Fritzemeier, Katy Hartman, Michael Irwin, Katie Macdonald, Emily Reichert.


And a special thanks to Mass Energy for helping “green” our event! Since 1982, Mass Energy has pursued a mission to make energy more affordable and environmentally sustainable for consumers. Today that means supporting policies and programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 in the economically smartest ways possible. Learn more about Mass Energy at