Data Center Cooling Startup Nabs $325K
September 08, 2016
IT Aire's technology attracts investment by Elevate Capital
PORTLAND, Ore. – IT Aire, an Oregon startup with an innovative cooling system that cuts energy use in power-hungry data centers by more than 70 percent, credits Oregon BEST for early support that led to last week's investment of $325,000 by Portland's Elevate Capital. IT Aire was one of six women-, minority- or veteran-owned startups selected for investment by Elevate and will receive $325,000.
“Oregon BEST played a critical role in our early development by providing a much needed mix of capital, mentoring and interim leadership to our founders," said Jason Patz, CEO of IT AIRE. "Without Oregon BEST, the company would not have been able to commercialize its technology, finalize key patents or secure this new round of growth capital. Both Oregon BEST and Elevate Capital are now part of IT Aire’s story, which is one that’s creating jobs for Oregonians while saving the environment, one data-center at a time”
In 2013, IT Aire developed a prototype of its indirect evaporative cooling system, and Oregon BEST invested $40,000 to help the company install the system and run a yearlong pilot project at the City of Gresham's City Hall data center in collaboration with Oregon State University's Energy Efficiency Center. Data from the pilot showed more than 75 percent in energy savings at the data center (see graph).
The $40,000 investment from Oregon BEST leveraged an additional $67,000 from the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and $8,250 from the Energy Trust of Oregon for the pilot. The PDC funding was part of a $1 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge grant received from the U.S Economic Development Administration.
A year ago, Oregon BEST tapped its Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program to place Jason Patz as a business advisor to IT Aire to help with business strategy and fundraising. Oregon BEST made an additional "Momentum investment" of $33,000 in the company, and Patz later joined the company as CEO.
"This is a great example of how relatively small, early, collaborative investments in an Oregon-grown clean technology can lead to success and significant follow-on funding," said Ken Vaughn, Director of Commercialization Programs at Oregon BEST. "Because the early pilot project with the City of Gresham was successful in verifying how deeply IT Aire's technology cut energy consumption, the company is now using Oregon State University's third-party results to attract customers and attract follow-on funding."
By leveraging indirect evaporative cooling technology alongside an intelligent control system, with mechanical redundancy built in, IT Aire’s product achieves energy efficiency levels well beyond what is possible from legacy computer room cooling equipment, Patz said.
About Oregon BEST http://oregonbest.org
Oregon BEST funds and assists cleantech startups, bringing together Oregon’s significant R&D strengths to support entrepreneurs in the creation of new products and services. As the nexus for clean technology innovation, Oregon BEST builds capability, convenes collaborations and accelerates solutions to environmental challenges that deliver prosperity in all corners of Oregon. More than 250 Oregon BEST Member Researchers and a network of nine Oregon BEST Labs at four partner universities (Oregon State University, Oregon Tech, Portland State University, and University of Oregon) offer research expertise and lab equipment to industry. Oregon BEST competitively awards Early-Stage Investments to collaborations between startup companies and Oregon BEST Member Faculty at partner universities.
About IT Aire http://itaire.com
IT Aire specializes in providing the world's most reliable and energy efficient Data-Center Cooling Systems. The company also holds key utility patents protecting popular data-center cooling techniques, which are offered under license to data-centers for use in accomplishing their energy efficiency initiatives.