Starting a business can be a tough and very expensive decision. Most people rely on savings, or even family members. But there is help available and in today's Capital Region Business Beat, Jon Dougherty shows us sometimes you just need an angel.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Rutvik Mehta spends a lot of time in his lab at the University of Albany's Rensselaer campus.
Mehta is a nano-scientist who has invested a new way to create clean energy. Mehta uses a common household microwave to create tiny nano crystals that power clean energy.
It can be used many places such as household appliances and cars.
"All that heat and stuff is being dumped outside your exhaust. You can use this technology to produce electricity, put it back in the car and improve the overall efficiency of the car," Mehta said.
The 28-year-old invented the technology with two professors at RPI two years ago and created ThermoAura, Inc., a thermo-electricity start-up based in Rensselear.
Starting a company wasn't easy and didn't come cheap, so he turned to a group of angels. The Eastern New York Angels to be exact.
"Well, the first time he made a presentation it just blew my socks off," said E.N.Y.A. Co-founder Joseph Richardson.
Richardson and Richard Frederick co-founded Eastern New York Angels in 2010. The organization is a group of 33 local investors who put their own money on the line to invest in start-up companies.
"We want to instill more of an entrepreneurial spirit into our community. Second thing is we want to create jobs. So we want to fund companies that will eventually grow in our community," Frederick said.
ThermoAura, Inc. was awarded $250,000 from the group and currently hires around 10 people.
E.N.Y.A. invests anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 on start-up companies.
"We really want to make money but money is not our primary objective. Our goal is to get these companies launched and up and running," Frederick said.
E.N.Y.A. don't just invest money, it also helps mentor the companies. That was a huge help for ThermoAura.
"Without their help and without the mentoring they provided us, I don't think we would have made it this far," said Mehta. "Just navigating the license agreements to license the technology, or talking with vendors, you need experience and you need help with that."
Joseph Richardson spent much of his career in the banking industry and wanted to give back to the local community. He's been an angel investor for 15 years.
"This is the only seed fund that we have in the Greater Capital Region and it's important that we sustain this and continue to have this available to emerging entrepreneurs," Richardson said.
Entrepreneurs who will help grow Tech Valley bigger and better.
For more information on Eastern New York Angels go to www.easternnyangels.com .
To learn more about ThermoAura, Inc. go to www.thermoaurainc.com .
The Capital Region Business Beat runs every Thursday and Sunday on Time Warner Cable News. To submit a story idea send an email to Jon.Dougherty@twcnews.com or on Twitter @JonDoughertyTWC