Posts Tagged ‘#ecoSPEARS’

Central Florida Tech fund invests in 7th startup. Here’s what’s next.

Posted on: September 20th, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

When venture capital firm Kirenaga Inc. prepped the launch of its Central Florida Tech fund nearly two years ago, some investors asked the same question. 

The investors kicked their money into the fund, primarily focused on early-stage investments in tech companies between the Gulf Coast and Space Coast, but they were curious if they would get their money back if Kirenaga failed to find enough investable firms, Kirenaga Partner Jim Thomas told Orlando Inno. “I said ‘Are you kidding me?’”

Instead of struggling to find companies, the fund is going strong. The Central Florida Tech Fund announced July 25 it made its seventh startup investment, and sixth in Florida, into Gainesville-based Mattrix Technologies Inc. The rollout of the fund was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it since has moved quickly: Millions of dollars were invested into seven companies in less than a year. 

That’s just the start for the fund. Kirenaga plans to raise $100 million and invest in 15-20 startups over three years. In fact, Kirenaga is seriously eyeing six more companies to invest in the near future, Thomas said. 

Space balloons, drone tech and more

In addition to Mattrix, Central Florida Tech fund’s investments include: 

  • Censys Technologies Corp.: Daytona Beach-based firm enabling drones to fly faster and further 
  • ecoSPEARS Inc.: Altamonte Springs-based company with tech that removes contaminants from soil and water
  • Phenix: Chicago-based firm with real-time video streaming technology 
  • Space Perspective Inc.: Based at Kennedy Space Center, the company will send tourists to the edge of the atmosphere in a balloon capsule.
  • StemRad Inc.: Headquartered in Tampa and Israel, the firm makes personal protective equipment to protect against radiation. 
  • Violet Defense LLC: Orlando-based developer of ultraviolet light-based disinfection systems (Company CEO Terrance Berland also is a Kirenaga managing partner) 

These investments are important because the money can help the companies grow, creating jobs and innovative solutions and technologies in the process. For example, ecoSPEARS expects to grow its staff from 15 people to 40 or more by the end of 2022 as a result of its growth, Executive Vice President Ian Doromal previously told OBJ.

Plus, Thomas said the deal highlights the Central Florida Tech Fund’s thesis: There are investable, scalable tech firms in Florida but a lack of early-stage capital. “Florida and Central Florida are the most undercapitalized places in the country that also have the most opportunities.” 

Last quarter, venture capital activity in metro Orlando lagged behind other regional metros, according to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. Local companies raised $84.3 million in the second quarter, compared to $990 million in Atlanta, $831 million in Miami, $251 million in Charlotte and $239 million in Nashville. Orlando did surpass the $25 million invested in Tampa companies. 

Priming the pump 

However, venture capital deals are up in all of Central Florida’s metros as 2021 is on pace to be a record year for nationwide startup investments, according to PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. From second-quarter 2020 to second-quarter 2021, venture capital investment is up 103% to $84.3 million in Orlando, up 2,000% to $10.6 million in Melbourne and up from zero to $9.8 million in Daytona Beach. 

More big startup investments may be on the way to the region, said Ben Patz, managing partner of Orlando-based venture capital firm DeepWork Capital LLC. Central Florida is home to plenty of investable technology, but it takes time and money to build toward a larger, more plentiful investment scene, he said. “It’s like priming a pump.”

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Two new projects moving through Port of San Diego Blue Economy Incubator

Posted on: March 22nd, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

The Port deployed the incubator’s seventh project, ecoSPEARS, which will remove PCBs from contaminated sediments in America’s Cup Harbor; and approved its ninth project, FREDsense, which will provide real-time metals analysis for stormwater monitoring in the bay.

SAN DIEGO—In the same way Silicon Valley made a name for itself in the technology field, some at the Port of San Diego are hoping to do the same for San Diego Bay in the blue economy sector. The Port created the Blue Economy Incubator in 2016 to launch blue tech ventures in the bay and the seventh project to come out of the program was recently deployed and a ninth was recently approved.

“There’s no reason why, just like the Santa Clara Valley came to be known as the Silicon Valley, that the San Diego Bay could one day come to be known as the blue technology bay,” said Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos.

On Dec. 14, ecoSPEARS was deployed in America’s Cup Harbor for a two-year pilot project. ecoSPEARS uses a NASA-developed technology, Sorbent Polymer Extraction and Remediation System (SPEARS), to remove toxic contaminants from sediment and will be used in the harbor to remove Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs).

“The goal here is to help develop technologies that will result in a cleaner bay,” Castellanos said.

SPEARS uses a scalable mat-liner of plastic spikes filled with a proprietary reagent to reach contaminated sediment around challenging areas such as piers, harbors, pylons, or sensitive wetland areas where dredging may not be feasible. The technology absorbs PCBs like a sponge without the use of any harmful chemicals or byproducts and without harming the aquatic habitat.

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Cleantech Company ecoSPEARS Partners With Element Environmental to Clean Toxins From Water and Soil in Hawaii and Guam

Posted on: March 22nd, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

Strategic partnership will accelerate growth, adoption, and delivery of green remediation technologies in the growing marketplace of soil and water remediation.

ORLANDO, Fla. – January 7, 2021 – (

​​ecoSPEARS, a clean technology developer in Orlando, FL, announced its strategic partnership with the Hawaii-based engineering services company Element Environmental (E2HI). The collaboration between ecoSPEARS and E2HI will accelerate green remediation solutions in Hawaii, Guam, and Asia-Pacific countries. The pair has already secured remediation projects in Hawaii and Guam to extract and eliminate toxins like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) from land and waterways.The issue with PCB contaminated soil and sediment in Hawaii and Guam is that the traditional remediation methods are often cost-prohibitive, generating an incredible amount of CO2 in the process,” said Ryan Yamauchi, President at E2HI. “Our partnership with ecoSPEARS will accelerate the adoption of sustainable and cost-effective remediation solutions to clean contaminated soil and sediment in Hawaii, Guam, and the Asia-Pacific.”

Read the full article here

ecoSPEARS to Deploy Clean Water Technology at Port of San Diego America’s Cup Harbor

Posted on: March 22nd, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

As part of a two-year pilot project under the Port of San Diego’s Blue Economy Incubator, ecoSPEARS, a cleantech solutions company ushering in the carbonless future of environmental cleanup for toxic contaminants, will deploy NASA-developed technology to remove Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) from sediments in America’s Cup Harbor. The primary goal will be to determine how much PCB mass the SPEARS technology will remove over a predetermined period.  The SPEARS technology will be deployed starting December 14.

“Our Blue Economy Incubator program seeks groundbreaking ways to protect the environment and San Diego Bay. The results of this pilot project have the potential to demonstrate an innovative win-win approach to a long-time pollution problem in waters worldwide,” said Commissioner Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “With a green approach that uses less emissions, energy, and water than traditional cleanup methods, this pilot project is a perfect complement to our efforts as a Port to ensure San Diego Bay remains a vital resource.” 

ecoSPEARS is the exclusive licensee of the NASA-developed Sorbent Polymer Extraction and Remediation System (SPEARS), a sustainable remediation technology to extract PCBs, dioxins, and other persistent organic pollutants from the environment. 

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Cleaning up: Promising pilot test destroying groundwater contamination in Spokane Valley

Posted on: December 2nd, 2020 by Kirenaga Partners

Kaiser Aluminum’s Trentwood facility is in the early phases of testing new technology that destroys over 90 percent of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in water at their facility in the Spokane Valley.

The Trentwood facility has produced specialized aluminum products for more than 75 years and, like many facilities around the country, used PCB-containing oils in an effort to safely and efficiently operate some industrial equipment. Over the years, some of the PCB oil leaked, contaminating groundwater under the aluminum-casting building near the Spokane River.

Kaiser has been researching and implementing technologies to address the contaminated groundwater, and is now examining two processes to see which will more effectively reduce the threat posed by the PCBs.

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Conscious Content Plans Multi-Part Series on ecoSPEARS

Posted on: February 15th, 2019 by Kirenaga Partners

Conscious Content has begun work on a documentary series on ecoSPEARS and their mission to clean up waterways of PCB’s. A rundown of the project, together with a first clip, are accessible on their website.

If you would like to learn more, then you can find the link below.

Project Website

Finally, ecoSPEARS has also published a brief animated video explaining their revolutionary technology, which can be found at the following link.

Animated Video

ecoSpears Completes $2 Million Seed Round

Posted on: February 12th, 2019 by Kirenaga Partners

ecoSpears, our portfolio company with a focus on PCB pollution remediation using NASA developed SPEARS technology, has just completed a $2 million seed round. Altogether, there were two investors in this round, ourselves at Kirenaga and the EIA Social Enterprise Fund. Overall, we’re extremely pleased with the progress ecoSpears has made so far, and are proud of their team.

Finally, you can read the full press release on the investment round at the link below.

Full Article

ecoSPEARS Expands Its Office and Adds New Jobs

Posted on: June 3rd, 2018 by Kirenaga Partners

Our partners over at ecoSPEARS, the exclusive licensee of NASA’s patented Sorbent Polymer Extraction and Remediation System (SPEARS) technology, announced last Wednesday that they have moved from a start-up incubator office to a large commercial space in Altamonte Springs to accommodate their growing workforce. ecoSPEARS also announced that Dr. Phillip Maloney and John Omana are joining their team, to serve as Principal Scientist and as Director of Government Affairs and Land Use Entitlement, respectively.

For more information, the full press release can be found at the link below.

Press Release

ecoSPEARS Formally Urges GE and EPA to Review New Technology for Hudson River Clean-up

Posted on: January 26th, 2018 by Kirenaga Partners

As any New York native will tell you, the Hudson River is a tragically polluted waterway despite its proximity to one of the largest population hubs on the planet. The toxins primarily responsible for this state are PCBs, poisonous chemicals with a long lifespan that were dumped into the river over the middle of the past century by General Electric (GE) before the extent of their deleterious effects were well-known. Now, our partners at ecoSPEARS are looking to turn the Hudson River story around.

ecoSPEARS has formally asked GE, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and state officials to review their recently commercialized, NASA developed technology as a solution to the Hudson River’s longstanding contamination problem. This technology, conceived by NASA to solve their own PCB related issues and exclusively licensed by ecoSPEARS, would allow for the rapid and permanent removal of PCBs from the Hudson River system with a fraction of the financial cost and environmental disruption of alternative measures. Considering current clean-up efforts using existing technologies have failed to meet clean-up plan targets thus far, we at Kirenaga hope that, for the sake of all residents near the Hudson River, this new technology is given the serious consideration it deserves.

For more information, the full press release can be found at the link below.

Press Release

ecoSPEARS Receives Exclusive License for SPEARS Tech from NASA

Posted on: December 22nd, 2017 by Kirenaga Partners

Our partners over at ecoSPEARS have received an exclusive license from NASA to bring the eponymous Sorbent Polymer Extraction and Remediation System (“SPEARS”) technology to market. Without any exaggeration, this technology is revolutionary relative to the other current options available for the remediation of PCB’s, the persistent and toxic chemicals responsible for the pollution of numerous major waterways such as the Hudson River.

You can read more about ecoSPEARS and this technology in the full article at the link below.