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GOOSE Co-Leads Syzygy’s Series A with MIT Fund, The Engine

Syzygy Plasmonics venture deal logo

Syzygy Raises $5.8 Million to Reduce Carbon Emissions in Chemical Manufacturing  

HOUSTON, Texas — Syzygy Plasmonics, a technology company developing the world’s highest performance photocatalyst, today announced it has raised $5.8 million in Series A funding. Co-led by The Engine, the venture capital firm launched by MIT in 2016 to invest in early-stage Tough Tech companies, and by The GOOSE Society of Texas, a Houston based investment group comprised of successful entrepreneurs that invest in early-stage disruptive technology companies. The round includes participation from EVOK Innovations and angel investors from Creative Destruction Labs-Rockies Cohort.

Syzygy is developing a new photocatalytic chemical reactor powered by light from renewable electricity instead of heat from burning fuel. Syzygy’s photocatalytic reactor holds promise to revolutionize the industrial gas, chemical and energy industries by drastically reducing the cost and carbon emissions in the production process for a wide range of major commodity chemicals such as fuel, fertilizer and plastic. Based upon two decades of research and breakthroughs in materials science from world-renowned Professors Naomi Halas and Peter Nordlander at Rice University (Laboratory for Nanophotonics), the photocatalyst being used is orders of magnitude more active, stable and efficient than any previous photocatalyst.

“The pioneering work by Professors Halas and Nordlander and the commercialization efforts by Syzygy — a tremendous synergy between academia and industry — gives the energy industry a new advantage in the fight against climate change,” said Trevor Best, CEO and co-founder of Syzygy. “We see a future where it is possible for all fuels, chemicals, and fertilizers to be produced both sustainably and at a lower cost than other options. We now have a real opportunity to reduce, if not completely, eliminate the carbon footprint associated with these production process.”

“We started Syzygy to utilize breakthroughs in plasmonic science to drastically reduce the cost and carbon emissions in the chemicals and energy industries,” said Suman Khatiwada, CTO and co-founder of Syzygy. “Our technology has the potential to provide a positive global impact on these industries and the people they serve by enhancing sustainability, improving accessibility, lowering cost, and enabling new business models.”

The new investment will power Syzygy’s facility expansion and hiring to scale product development of its photocatalytic reactor.

“Syzygy is creating a platform technology through its new photocatalytic chemical reactor that has the potential to transform how we approach chemicals manufacturing — using light instead of burning fossils as a new power source for chemical reactors,” said Katie Rae, CEO and managing partner of The Engine. “The Engine is thrilled to help advance the mission of this incredibly driven and passionate team of founders to enable a future of zero-emission chemicals manufacturing.”

Today’s investment comes on the heels of other significant developments for Syzygy. Earlier this year, Syzygy received grants from the Department of Energy for the development of a reactor to create hydrogen from ammonia and from the National Science Foundation SBIR Program for the development of a reactor that processes carbon dioxide.

Samantha Lewis, Director of GOOSE, commented, “The Syzygy team is sound, the technology is incredibly exciting, and we love the Rice University connection. GOOSE is very pleased with this investment and excited about GOOSE investor Don Kendall, former board director of Solar City, taking the lead as a board director of Syzygy.”Don Kendall, an investor Houston Texas, goose society of texas

Additional Press:

MIT Technology Review

Business Wire

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The Rice Business Plan Competition and GOOSE have Deep Roots

The Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) is the largest and richest graduate-level student startup competition in the world.  Since its inception in 2001, RBPC has grown from 9 competing teams with $10,000 in prize money to 42 teams from around the world competing for more than $1.5 million in cash and investment prizes.  In 2005, as a way to support budding entrepreneurs and give back to the Houston community, Jack Gill and 4 other investors decided to form the GOOSE Society and give the grand prize at RBPC.  The GOOSE grand prize is now $300,000 with the potential of a much larger investment.

The early successes of GOOSE and RBPC are closely linked as both organizations helped the other to scale.  Over the thirteen year partnership, the Rice Alliance (RBPC) and the GOOSE Society have helped Rice Entrepreneurship climb to #2 in rankings published by Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine.

Out of the twelve winners since GOOSE’s inception, there have been 4 successful exits with the most recent being Adhesys Medical (formerly Medical Adhesive Revolution).  Another noteworthy exit was Auditude which sold to Adobe.  Overall, RBPC winners have returned 2x more capital to the GOOSE Society than invested.

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The GOOSE Society and 2017 RBPC Winner Forest Devices.  The GOOSE Society invested the $300,000 grand prize and an additional $1.7 million bringing total investment to $2,000,000.

Click here to vote for the 2018 $5,000 People’s Choice Award sponsored by Sofihttps://poll.fbapp.io/rbpc-2018-poll

The GOOSE Society of Texas is an organization dedicated to the education and funding of entrepreneurs.  We are headquartered in Houston, TX and are dedicated to helping build the Houston entrepreneurial and startup funding ecosystem.

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Anthony George to Join the GOOSE Society

We are pleased to announce that Anthony George, CEO of Nautical Control Solutions, is joining the GOOSE Society of Texas.  Anthony has spent twenty-five years in the fields of automation and control systems engineering and marine fuel management systems as an entrepreneur and inventor.  Nautical Control Solutions owns the FuelTrax line of Marine Fuel Management products and Anthony holds patents in US, Canada, and Europe.  FuelTrax is the first and most advanced, end-to-end, marine fuel measuring, monitoring and reporting system on the market today.  Installed on several hundred vessels world-wide, the company is growing rapidly.

Prior to Nautical Control Solutions, Anthony founded Control Dynamics International (CDI) which managed automation engineering practices in the lumber, food, cement and oil and gas industries.  During his tenure as President of CDI, Anthony had a few stand-out accomplishments including:

  • Picture1Inventing and patenting, in conjunction with ExxonMobil, the Universal Master Control Station that controls all aspects of sub-sea oil and gas production and greatly enhances the control and flexibility oil companies now enjoy in deep water fields.
  • Inventing, in conjunction with Frito-Lay, the automation equipment responsible for the Scoop Chip.

CDI was sold to a publicly traded engineering company in 2001.

Anthony grew up in Beaumont, TX and now resides in The Woodlands, TX.  He is passionate about education and takes an active board level role in Christian school organizations.   He is currently the Board President of The Woodlands Christian Academy and has sat on the board of or founded multiple entrepreneurial organizations including The Woodlands Entrepreneurs Organization and CICE at Lamar University.

He is happily married to Michelle George and has two sons, Blake and Grant.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics with Electrical Engineering Concentration and a minor in Computer Science from Lamar University.  He completed Rice University’s Corporate Financial Management Executive Education course 1999.

Members of the GOOSE Society of Texas invest a minimum of $350,000 – $500,000 annually and must have a passion for getting deeply involved in startup operations and helping GOOSE portfolio startups and the Houston entrepreneurial ecosystem succeed.

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