One of our ZINO Society featured ZINOpreneurs this week is Burt Hamner, Founder and CEO of Hydrovolts, Inc. and the winner of the ZINO Green 2009 Investment Fund. Burt will be one of the 5 minute presenters at the upcoming ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum (ZZIF) on September 15th at Bell Harbor Conference Center. We asked him to respond to a few questions about his company.
What is your one-sentence elevator pitch? . . . New portable hydropower technology to tap an overlooked global energy resource of water currents in canals.
How did you come up with the idea for your company? . . . I directed a study of tidal energy generation for Tacoma Power and concluded that freshwater canals are a better energy resource than tidal currents, and I invented a new turbine that is ideal for canals.
The word that best describes your company culture is . . . Teamwork
In one sentence, how are you different from your competition? . . . Our unique turbine technology and award-winning business plan enables us to grow fast in thousands of locations, creating big economies of scale and significant barriers to future competitors.
What is the biggest challenge you face? . . . Creating the right technical team within company so we can reduce use of outside experts.
How much money have you raised to date? . . . $300k already, $500k in pipeline, $100k in various services.
If someone gave your company $3 million tomorrow, how would you use the money? . . . Salaries for new VP Engrg, VP Ops, VP Sales; R&D, patents, demonstration projects, global business development, first production run, contingency fund.
What is the oddest or most unusual thing about your company? . . . We are actually going to launch a new renewable energy resource, not just a business – turbines in canals around the world will be a totally new energy resource, and the world does not know it yet.
What is one thing missing from your business? . . . A great engineer who understands designing for conditions in third-world countries as well as US canal systems.
Why will your company be successful? . . . We will execute our award-winning business plan with help from a remarkable group of business partners and supporters , so we can punch way above our weight and hit our milestones quickly and confidently. For example, in August we signed up Harvard School of Engineering, MIT, and the Raytheon corporation in development agreements. All three are potential customers as well as developers. We have product inquiries from 18 countries so far because people see our technology (www.youtube.com/hydrovolts ) and they understand immediately that here is an honest-to-god new renewable energy source they can now tap with our products. If you got a canal, we got a turbine for you.