The Binghamton University supported Koffman Southern Tier Incubator in downtown Binghamton, NY, has fast become a hub for cutting-edge clean energy businesses in the state. The Koffman facility is home to the Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator Program (SCI) which advances carbon-reduction and climate justice start-ups through mentorship, connections, and funding support.
With 20 members pre-pandemic, the program was one of the most active of its kind in New York state. The pandemic brought about the introduction of virtual participation, leading to increased accessibility and worldwide interest. The incubator now supports 35 clean energy companies and is continuing its growth. In one year’s time the program went from zero to six international members and now supports 15 companies from states outside of NY.
“To see this level of interest in the area is awe inspiring,” said Michael Jagielski, Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator Program Director. “These companies see tremendous value in the vast resources the area has to offer — from renowned manufacturing capabilities to a highly talented workforce. This area is a natural clean energy magnet and its proximity to New York City further helps budding tech or energy start-ups establish an East Coast presence for sales and marketing.”
The program attracts and grows companies eager to invest, hire, and take root in the area. To date, SCI program members have raised a combined $116 million in grants and investment since 2017, up from $23 million just one year prior, highlighting program growth and increased interest in clean energy technologies by investors. The program is contributing to the Southern Tier’s transformation into a hotspot of cutting-edge innovation, supporting environmental sustainability and growing the regional economy.
The 35,000-square-foot Koffman Incubator facility and its programs are managed by Binghamton University. The SCI program leverages connections at the University including talented interns, testing capabilities, lab space, grants, pilot projects and more. Dr. Stanley M. Whittingham, distinguished Binghamton University professor and Nobel Laurette for his invention of the Lithium-ion battery, serves as the Chair of the SCI Board as well as an inspiration for the numerous battery-related start-ups in the program.
“There are a lot of different battery companies in the incubator, just down the hall,” said Alex Kosyakov, CEO of Natrion, a sodium-battery start-up and member of the SCI program. “It was really a natural choice to locate in the incubator because there’s really no place quite like it.”
The Koffman Incubator is an innovation asset within the statewide NYSTAR network.
For years, New York state has been building out its innovation infrastructure through NYSTAR, Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation. NYSTAR oversees a robust, statewide network that provides innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders access to the support they need to solve challenges and grow, even during periods of downturn. Over 70 NYSTAR-backed centers across the state that are actively generating technology-driven economic growth.