By GREGORY ZELLER //
World, meet Universe.
Jasmine Universe, an energy-use startup developing technology to maximize efficiency in home and work environments, made its official public debut Thursday at Advanced Energy 2016, a New York City sustainability conference organized by Stony Brook University and co-sponsored by a topflight assemblage of research organizations, private companies and government agencies.
For the 2014 startup, a Start-Up NY resident of SBU’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, Thursday’s “press event” was as much a statement as a product launch, according to founder and CEO Mohan Wanchoo.
The statement: “We’re here,” Wanhoo said, “and we’re ready to talk about getting these Jasmine systems out into the marketplace.”
The Jasmine Universe system combines a mobile app, a control console known as the “hubb,” wall plugs (“ploggs”) and its own thermostat. The hubb monitors appliances and heating systems, tracks usage times and formulates the best energy-reduction formula; it also chats with the “statt,” a smart thermometer that optimizes system operations and fuel usage.
The app, meanwhile, gives users real-time remote control of the ploggs, which snuggle between electrical cords and wall outlets and monitor energy use and, as necessary, serve as on/off switches.
The idea is “very simple,” according to Wanchoo, who spent years developing the technology before incorporating his startup. And with some tweaks of the final design complete, the system is ready to roll – making AEC 2016 much more than a photo op.
“The conference is of tremendous importance,” Wanchoo told Innovate LI. “We’re launching the product to the public, and we’re letting them know we are a serious contender in this marketplace.”
Jasmine Universe picked a winner for its coming-out party. Held over three days at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, Advanced Energy 2016 attracted industry leaders and researchers from over 20 nations with a lengthy array of panel discussions, workshops, training seminars and product presentations.
While SBU and its energy center handled the lion’s share of the organizational legwork, the conference boasts a top-level collection of academic and government sponsors, including the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, the New York Power Authority, the New York State SmartGrid Consortium, the City College of New York, NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
It’s also fertile ground for major commercial organizations including National Grid, PSEG Long Island, Lockheed Martin and Caithness Energy, all exhibitors at this year’s conference.
Jasmine Universe wasn’t the only Long Island-based startup taking advantage of the megawatt guest list. Brimes Energy, Energystics Ltd., Bonded Energy Solutions and ThermoLift – all members of SBU’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program – ponied up tables at the event.
Several established Island enterprises also exhibited, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, Smithtown-based SMM Advertising, Uniondale law firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek and Syosset IP-law specialists Hoffmann & Baron LLP.
David Hamilton, the CEBIP executive director, also manned a booth, even though he’s “not selling anything and not trying to gain any new clients.”
“The energy conference is important because it provides a forum that puts solid, well-respected energy companies with a long history in the same place as startup energy companies that are still trying to figure out where they’re going,” Hamilton noted. “It puts researchers and investors and government officials and policymakers in the same place, with the same focus and the same goals.
“From CEBIP’s perspective, it helps my clients see what they might be when they grow up,” he added. “And meet people who can help them get there.”
For Jasmine Universe, it was the perfect launch pad. Personally introduced by former KeySpan and National Grid chief executive Robert Catell, who now chairs the AERTC, Wanchoo unveiled a system that, according to Jasmine Director Bruce Germano, has undergone a few tweaks since the start of a beta run at Farrmingdale State College.
But those were only cosmetic changes, noted the former LIPA vice president, designed to make the system’s interface “more consumer-friendly.” Nothing has changed about the system’s functionality or its cost- and energy-saving potential, including predictions of $200 in annual savings for the average residential customer.
While Thursday did mark Jasmine Universe’s official product launch, the principals are already negotiating with various potential distribution partners. The company has already worked with PSEG to “qualify the Jasmine to be able to connect to their smart meter,” Germano said, while exploring state-by-state energy-efficiency qualifications and developing other relationships with other potential partners, all pointed toward a larger rollout later this year.
Germano said there have been discussions with large utilities, energy marketers – who sell power to consumers in 22 deregulated U.S. markets, including New York – and other energy-efficiency companies.
Now, with a small-scale initial production run already underway at an unnamed “Northeast manufacturing company,” the company is ready to scale up.
“We have the capacity to build it,” Germano said. “We’re going to roll it out in some states, and if other opportunities come from discussions with companies outside those states, we’ll look at those, too.”
Wanchoo noted the growth is happening without any outside investment – “We’re self-funded and we’re keeping it that way,” the CEO insisted – and said he was “excited” about the opportunities provided by the Advanced Energy 2016 conference.
“We are a serious player in this marketplace,” Wanchoo said. “And we’re open for business.”