“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller
- Utility tech creating efficiencies
- Jobs with a noble mission
- WeatherCheck joins insurtech accelerator
- UPS delivers grants
- Understanding visual processing
- Kentucky's big Ag move
- DeSales announces gaming lab
- Know your city!
July 14, 2020
Companies team up to make utilities smarter
Photo by Heather Barr for Shutterstock
Louisville company Virtual Peaker and Waukesha, Wisconsin’s Generac are teaming up to help make public utilities more cost effective and ecologically sound. The companies have inked a licensing deal to collaborate on tech that improves the way utilities manage energy storage via the cloud.
Virtual Peaker makes technology that works with smart energy devices in the home – stuff like residential battery systems, thermostats, water heaters, circuit breakers and heat pumps. When customers grant a utility permission, the technology manages energy use during peak hours, bringing costs down for the utility and, in turn, the consumer. Read our April interview with Virtual Peaker founder and CEO William Burke to learn more about the company.
Generac made its name in generators and pressure washers, but has branched into clean energy with its PWRcell battery storage system that harnesses solar power.
The new agreement gives Virtual Peaker access to the PWRcell systems, meaning customers of both companies can take advantage of the technology. Initial implementation of the systems is rolling out now in Vermont and Maine, where utility customers enjoy credits based on the amount of power saved.
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Work for a startup with a noble purpose
How would you like to work for a company whose sole purpose is to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for people who are chronically ill? A company where you will find yourself working side by side with the best tech professionals out there?
Hive Networks is a mission-driven software company whose sole purpose is to improve outcomes for patients by connecting them, their caregivers, clinicians, and researchers via a data-sharing learning platform.
That mission is an important one. According to a parent of a patient involved in one of Hive Networks largest Learning Health Networks, “The doctor was my world, with Hive Networks, the world is now my doctor.”
Though Hive is a new company, it’s already experiencing the need to spread and scale their technology. “We want ‘players’ who are used to working with other top performers with minimal direction. Players who can trust senior management. Players who are truly committed to our mission,” says CincyTech Executive in Residence and Hive CEO John Bostick.
If you want to be a part of a fast-paced, challenging, and exciting work environment and think you have the talent to help Hive Networks with their mission, take a look at their current job openings here.
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Louisville's WeatherCheck joins insurtech cohort
Kansas City’s Brush Creek Partners, a new insurtech accelerator has revealed its first cohort and a Louisville company--WeatherCheck-- is one of those chosen.
Brush Creek Partners helps digital health, fintech, insurtech and high-growth companies manage technology and cyber risk. The goal is to identify innovators in the insurtech space and to help those companies get access to clients, mentors, and investors who can help them quickly grow their companies.
WeatherCheck, a SaaS web application that monitors properties for hail damage so that insurance carriers, mortgage companies, and property owners can take action, was a natural choice. Its out-of-the-box solution provides sophisticated modeling without the need for additional IT or actuarial resources.
“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, BCP tech attracted an incredible group of applicants, all with unique broker-focused insurtech solutions,” said Travis Holt, CEO and co-founder of BCP tech and Brush Creek Partners, reflecting on the selection process that resulted in a seven-member inaugural cohort.
UPS gives nearly $500,000 to COVID-19 relief
The UPS Foundation has donated $481,100 to nonprofit organizations that are fighting COVID-19 in the Louisville area. The Foundation has made a total of 39 grants in its most recent round of giving. Those grants are in addition to $297,000 donated locally to the COVID-19 fight by the shipping giant earlier this year.
The recipients include the University of Louisville, which is involved in the COVID-19 fight on numerous fronts. The UPS grant will go toward UofL research into blocking the virus from infecting human cells, a technology that researchers initially developed as a cancer treatment. Another grant goes to Dare to Care, which helps feed the hungry in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.
Other recipients include WaterStep, Uspiritus, Ronald McDonald House, Volunteers of America, Association of Community Ministries, Scarlet Hope, SOS International, Family Scholar House, and Home of the innocents. The targeted, purposeful giving campaign makes a difference, said community relations supervisor Justin Heckel. “Working with these community organizations to identify immediate needs allows us to provide resources that give the largest impact,” he said.
Scientists closer to understanding the brain’s visual thalamus
Scientists at Virginia Tech and the University of Louisville are coming closer to uncovering the cellular structure of the brain’s visual region. The brain’s ventral lateral geniculate nucleus (vLGN) receives signals from the eye, but scientists hadn’t mapped the region’s cellular architecture. Now researchers have identified more than 40 genes and discovered six new neuron subtypes.
To conduct their study, Virginia Tech researchers used a nonhazardous viral tracing tool to see which neurons in the vLGN communicated with the eye’s retina. That showed that cells in the vLGN received direct visual signals from the eye. University of Louisville researchers then analyzed the communications properties to describe how the vLGN processes visual information.
Science has much to learn about the vLGN beyond its role in visual processing, including its function in regulating mood, brain evolution, and comparative biology. "This is an exciting find,” said Michael Fox, director of Virginia Tech’s School of Neuroscience. “We still have more work to do to fill in gaps, but I expect we'll find more cell types, and maybe even more layers as we continue to find more biomarkers."
Kentucky going big in agriculture technology
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has big plans to become America’s capital of agriculture technology. Kentucky’s governor, Andy Beshear, has inked a deal with 16 partner organizations to focus on the initiative. Signatories include five universities in Kentucky, two universities in The Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, and several Dutch ag-tech companies. The Netherlands is considered the world’s leader in the field.
A central component of the effort is a new hub called Kentucky AgriTech. The hub, located in Kentucky’s Appalachian region, aims to create 30,000 jobs and grow food in a more sustainable way. Kentucky AgriTech will develop technology that includes robotics, farm-management software, biotechnology, bioengineering, logistics, distribution, food safety, food traceability, and online marketplaces. The governor believes agriculture could become a $10 billion sector for the Bluegrass State. Kentucky has an ideal climate for growing fruits and vegetables and its central location is within a day’s drive of 70% of the US population.
Louisville high school announces Gaming Innovations Lab, e-sports
DeSales High School, an all-male Catholic college prep school in Louisville, will open a new Gaming Innovations Lab this fall. The lab will be home to state-of-the-art gaming gear and offer classes including “Intro to 3D Design” and “Intro to Video Game Design.” In future years, the lab will offer advanced-level courses. Students in the lab will learn the basic coding and STEM skills that employers increasingly seek.
The lab will also provide an opportunity for students to practice and play in e-sports competitions statewide. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association sanctioned e-sports as a championship sport in the commonwealth in 2018. Kentucky joins Connecticut, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Rhode Island as one of the first five states to sanction the sport, which is rapidly growing in popularity worldwide.
The lab is under construction now and will open when school starts next month. "We have so many graduates that leave DeSales that go into tech design and 3D design and even video game design, so now we're going to be able to offer a curriculum based around that," said director of admissions Justin Lewis.
Have you checked your "Louis-Q" recently?
- What downtown arena was used as an armory, a setting for the Kentucky Colonels basketball games and a professional wrestling venue?
- Where was the world’s largest tape ball, according to the 2018 Guinness Book of Records?
- Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence dropped out of school at age 14. But prior to that, what Louisville middle school did she attend?
Click here for today's answers.