With 20 years of energy and innovation experience, Alex has worked extensively internationally as an entrepreneur, angel investor, and venture capitalist for Fortune 500 companies. His main focus has been on bringing corporations and entrepreneurs together to impact one of the world’s largest challenges – sustainable and plentiful energy access. He has been investing in energy technologies since 2001, including hydrogen, fuel cells, and energy storage. Notable roles have included being part of the development of the earliest H2 vehicle station in California, an international GameChanger, and most recently the founding member and President at Shell Technology Ventures, LLC. Alex is an active supporter of the Texas energy entrepreneurship community as the energy co-chair of the Houston Angels Network, Advisory Board member of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, and an active adviser to the Houston Technology Center. Alex holds a BSE magna cum laude from Princeton University and MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Aaron Fyke has spent over 20 years as an entrepreneur, having founded, or assisted in the creation of, five companies. He has a track record of building successful energy companies across a number of technology areas including fuel cell, ocean power, concentrating solar, advanced automotive engines, and energy storage technologies. He has deep experience as an operating executive, investor, and engineer.
As CEO of Edisun Heliostats, he was committed to lowering the costs of solar thermal power. Edisun has already received the recognition from Hawaii’s Energy Excelerator by being accepted into both their 2015 and 2016 portfolio cohorts. Prior to Edisun, Aaron was the Founder and CEO of Energy Cache, a low-cost grid scale energy storage technology company, serving a multi-billion dollar energy market. Energy Cache had the backing of Idealab, Bill Gates, and Claremont Creek Ventures.
Prior to that he was a Partner at Starfish Ventures, Australia’s largest venture capital firm, investigating water and energy opportunities from Australian companies. Here, Aaron led the investment into the fund’s biggest investment and exit – Ausra, a KPCB and Khosla Ventures backed solar thermal energy company.
Aaron earned his MBA and MSME as an LGO fellow at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and his BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria, as the CSME Gold Medal recipient for graduating the top of his class. He has achieved certification as a Professional Engineer both in California and British Columbia.
Paul began his entrepreneurial and VC career advising technology start-ups just after the early 2000 tech recovery. He then spent 15 years in corporate finance, business development and private equity with a primary focus on technology commercialization and growth management. Prior to CIC, he spent seven year’s working in M&A, due diligence, market research and operational strategy in countries including China, India and Mexico. Paul is also an Account Director at Dividend Finance, Managing Director of Hermes Investment Group, a Kiva Zip trustee and a SURE Program advisory board member. He holds a BBA in Finance, minor in Spanish, speaks Mandarin Chinese and a native Texan.
Brett brings 20 years of experience with electric utilities, renewable energy and corporate strategy. He is currently a Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, President of Vector Advisors management consultancy, as well as a Board Member of several pre-IPO and public energy companies. Brett’s deep energy background includes launching businesses in power, gas and environmental services and serving as the Public Utility Commissioner of Texas under Governor George W Bush. In addition to his consulting work, Mr. Perlman has served as an independent Director and strategic advisor to several public and private equity-based companies. He has been an independent Director of Just Energy Group, a NYSE and TSX listed gas and electricity retailer, since 2013. He serves as a member of the Audit Committee, the Risk Committee and the Nominating and Governance Committee. Mr. Perlman recently obtained certification as a Governance Fellow from the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) in recognition of his commitment to ongoing professional development as a Corporate Director.
Mr. Perlman also serves on Boards of a number of community organizations, including the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston and the Advisory Board of the Houston Technology Center. He is also a co-founder of the Surge Accelerator, an early stage energy incubation program. Earlier in his career, he was a consultant with McKinsey and Company and has practiced law with major firms in Houston and Washington, D.C. He holds advanced degrees in public policy from Harvard University and in law from the University of Texas and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University.
Gopi Balakrishnan built his career in technology development and commercialization, growing organizations around innovation and in business operations over the past 22 years in Energy, O&G, Renewables space. He is experienced in building and leading teams within both startups (FlexGen) and large companies (GE, ABB). Gopi holds an MSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and BSEE from University of Kerala. With his experience and deep network of business contacts across a broad swath of technology areas including Control systems, Automation software, Energy/Storage, Wind, Solar and IoT, he leads the assessment on startups, their technology, business models and specializes in scaling up small business, particularly in the clean tech space.
Emily Crose Cabaniss has over a decade of experience in product development and strategic marketing in HVAC, aerospace, and oil and gas. Starting with residential heating and cooling product reliability design and manufacturing, she transitioned to aerospace, supporting NASA space exploration project as a systems lead. Subsequently back in energy, culminating as Innovation Manager at Baker Hughes, she connected the Houston ecosystem with new ideas in Silicon Valley. With a primary role to investigate innovative technologies, project areas included: cutting-edge multi-physics mathematical software for hydraulic fracture modeling, drilling and evaluation (both MWD and Wireline) tools, hydraulic fracturing combine services, IoT, Robotics, and clean technology and water management. She has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Rice University specializing in Marketing and Strategy.