INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (January 2, 2020) – VisionTech Angels closed 2019 by leading a Series A seed round investment in Carmel, Indiana-based Atlas Energy Systems, LLC, exceeding the energy technology company’s goal of $400,000 by nearly 35 percent. When the funding tranche closed December 27, 2019, the Indianapolis-based angel investing group succeeded in leading a $558,000 raise. West Suburban Angels of Naperville, Illinois, and Lateral Capital of Sarasota, Florida, also participated in the round.
Although VisionTech Angels has invested in 43 startup companies since 2008, this is the first investment round it has led in last 18 months, says Executive Director Ben Pidgeon. He credits the triple value proposition of the company’s technology, strength of the leadership team, and exit potential for the incredible momentum of the investment round’s first tranche.
“Atlas Energy Systems CEO Ian Hamilton originally pitched to VisionTech Angels for funding in April 2019 and while they were early in the commercialization process, our investors immediately liked what they saw. Based on investor interest, we started due diligence,” explained Pidgeon. “We also connected Ian with Scott Noble, who has mentored a number of startups associated with the Purdue Foundry and the Notre Dame IDEA Center, for his business acumen and experience with mergers and acquisitions activity. Scott is now Atlas Energy Systems’ chief financial officer.”
Although Atlas Energy Systems is a startup, its patent-pending technology, thermionic energy converters for waste heat power generation, concentrated solar, and advanced nuclear reactors was originally developed by NASA in the 1960s. The original technology designs were either top secret or patent protected. However, most of the original patents were for space and nuclear applications and expired in the 1980s when the government lost interest in the space program. Hamilton first learned about the technology while an undergrad at Purdue University—he now holds a Masters in Nuclear Engineering—and has since repurposed the thermionic energy converting technology for contemporary industrial energy applications.
Hamilton says interest his company’s technology is high. “We’ve been approached by multiple industries and have chosen to focus on the oil and gas industry for our commercial launch. The main advantages of our thermionic energy converters are their compact size, high power density and no moving parts operation, making them virtually maintenance free even in the harshest environments. We can provide onsite power using flare gas, while reducing CO2 emissions and the environmental impact of drilling sites.”
He adds that the seed round funding will be used in part to deliver converters for oil and gas power generation as soon as the first half of 2020.
In conjunction with the successful seed investment raise, Atlas Energy Systems has added three new board members. Scott Baxter, a VisionTech Angel member, will serve as the seed investor reserved director. James Barkley, also a VisionTech Angel member, will serve as the board observer. Former GE executive George Sassine joins the board as the at-large independent director. Atlas CEO Ian Hamilton is the board chair. The first board meeting is scheduled for late January.
VisionTech Angels who invested in Atlas Energy Systems and reside in Indiana qualify for the Indiana Venture Capital Investment income tax credit.
Funding momentum continues as Atlas Energy Systems has been invited to pitch to Tamiami Angels of Naples, Florida, January 9.