A Princeton University startup with new solar technology that harnesses ultraviolet light to power smart windows captured top honors in the Princeton Startup Showcase.
The winner, Andluca Technologies (Princeton), was one of six finalists competing virtually on Zoom for bragging rights and exposure. Of the six finalists, three were faculty-led spinoffs and three were alumni-led startups.
Don Seitz, assistant director of alumni engagement at the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, noted that the finalists had been “curated based on a few factors. We wanted to showcase faculty-led spinoffs and alumni-led start-ups. We also wanted to represent a broad spectrum of industries, from all of the sectors — the fintech, cleantech, foodtech and healthcare industries.
“And we wanted a rich mix of diversity and folks from all different backgrounds. We also looked at the quality of the presentation and the potential impact of each startup, and solicited recommendations from others across Princeton’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he said.
Andluca Technologies cofounder and CEO, Nick Davy, who holds a master’s degree and doctorate from Princeton, noted that “smart glass is able to dynamically tint to shade building interiors from sunlight and solar heat gain.” However, “conventional smart glass has been expensive and difficult to adopt because of external wiring, which accounts for 20 percent to 30 percent of the total cost.”
He then explained his company’s technology, saying, “We harvest ultraviolet light for electricity in the window, meaning we can have a wireless version of smart glass. Being a wireless product means that it can be installed like a normal window in any building — including existing buildings.”
“We harvest ultraviolet light for electricity in the window, meaning we can have a wireless version of smart glass. Being a wireless product means that it can be installed like a normal window in any building — including existing buildings.”Nick Davy of Andluca Technologies
Davy observed that “daylight is the most requested design element in these spaces, and natural light is considered beneficial to health and productivity and even sleep. That’s why glass is so popular in architecture. The issue with glass, however, is it’s covered 59 percent of the time with glare.”
He added that buildings are the biggest carbon emitters, in large part due to the inefficiency of windows. “This inefficiency accounts for over $50 billion of wasted energy every year. The kicker is over 50 percent of these buildings will still be in use by 2050. In New York City, this number is greater than 90 percent.
“We have to address existing buildings if we want to meet our climate goals. Our smart glass can save energy in these buildings and also improve wellness and productivity,” Davy said.
“Nick stood out because Andluca is a faculty-led spinoff in the cleantech space with very significant opportunities for energy conservation, for smart city implementation and for new and retrofitted building implementation,” Seitz said.
In second place was Invictis Technologies (Princeton), another faculty spin-off led by student founder Miles Cole, class of 2021, along with a faculty member as CTO. The company offers a portable automatic intravenous injection device that positions a needle with more accuracy. He had recently won the first prize at the UPitchNJ 2020. To Cole, the company’s mission is a personal one, as he has to manage his own hemophilia with daily injections.
In third place was Pocket Naloxone (Bethesda, Md.), with cofounder and CEO Ashanthi Mathai, class of 1995, pitching over-the-counter naloxone as a way of tackling the opioid overdose problem. The solution provides much broader access to those who might otherwise be unable to afford therapeutics.
The other pitches included fintech startup InterPrice Technologies ( New York); We Are the New Farmers (Brooklyn, N.Y.), which promotes a powerful microalgae and food nutrient, Spirulina, that the company farms indoors; and NeuTigers (Brooklyn, N.Y.). The company applies machine-learning analytics to synthesize big and complex data into actionable insights.