Photo by Allison Usavage
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On Tuesday, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works held a pitch night and networking event at Ithaca Beer Company, drawing over 125 entrepreneurs, clean energy leaders, business mentors and community members from around the region. The event showcased Rev programs and introduced attendees to 76West, a $20 million clean energy competition for the Southern Tier.

With local pints and flights in hand, attendees enjoyed presentations and pitches surrounded by two hours of networking.

Photo by Allison Usavage

After introductions, Ariana Blossom recognized the women entrepreneurs in the crowd and presented Rev’s Passenger to Pilot program in celebration of International Women’s Day. Four companies presented pitches, including MacroFuel, Oasis Urban Farms, CourseQ, and Ecolectro.

“Pitching Ecolectro gave me the opportunity to talk about the vision for our company, and how our product fits into that vision,” said Gabriel Rodríguez-Calero, CEO and co-founder of Ecolectro. “A lot of the event attendees were really excited about the prospect of seeing our vision happen. I received great feedback on how what we’re doing plays into the larger picture of the clean energy industry.”

Photo by Allison Usavage

Brian Bauer, 76West Program Director for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, introduced the 76West Clean Energy Competition before the pitches. The event was the final in a series of 76West-sponsored events across the region, from Fredonia to Binghamton.

76West is a business competition focused on attracting startups from New York State, the US, and around the world, to build clean energy businesses and jobs in the Southern Tier. Sponsored by NYSERDA, the competition offers prizes to 6 clean energy startups each year through 2019. The awards each year include one $1,000,000 top prize, one $500,000 prize, and four $250,000 prizes. All winners will receive 2 years of incubator space and support services including mentorship and industry connections.

Photo by Allison Usavage

This networking event set a great precedent for the energy 76West will build upon throughout the region as the competition hosts and supports regional events.

“Being in a room with over 100 people who were focused on entrepreneurship was a great way to see the kind of community in the Ithaca energy,” said Barnaby Knoll, founder of GiantStarter, a Rev member company. “I met a lot of people I wouldn’t have connected with in any other way.”

The Southern Tier Startup Alliance, administered by Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, is implementing 76West under contract to NYSERDA.

The event was held at Ithaca Beer Company, another example of successful growth in our region. Ithaca Beer Co was listed as a capital grant recipient in the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The $175,000 awarded will support the completion of a new canning line, projected to create up to 5 new jobs.

Photo by Allison Usavage

Rev: Ithaca Startup Works regularly hosts events for entrepreneurs around the community. Find event listings at More information about the Southern Tier Startup Alliance’s work to implement 76West is available at

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.