The National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2), an association of university startup officers, will hold its first University Startups Demo Day on September 20, in Washington, D.C. According to the organization, universities create over 800 startups each year around the country, and 200 companies were submitted and screened to find the “Best University Startups 2016.” A company founded by a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Ph.D. graduate that includes several undergraduate students is one of 35 participating companies that will be recognized as the most exciting early-stage companies presented by the country’s great universities.


CEO Santosh K. Gupta

Building Energy Efficiency Solutions (BEES) is focused on building a smart, energy-efficient solution for residential homes and commercial buildings. Team members include co-founder and CEO Santosh K. Gupta, who received his Ph.D. in May 2016, and now serves as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering. Gupta, a Silicon Valley veteran who worked at Cisco and Apple, has been working on this solution since 2013. Additional team members include Sam Atkinson, a junior majoring in electrical, computer, and systems engineering; and computer science majors Ian O’Boyle, who is a senior, and Jake Bartles, a sophomore, who is the youngest member of the team. Koushik Kar, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, serves as the team’s adviser.

“We are honored that Building Energy Efficiency Solutions was one of the 35 early-stage university startups selected among a large national pool to be a Best University Startups 2016,” said Esther Vargas, director of the Emerging Venture Ecosytem (EVE) at Rensselaer. The program is a university-driven, community-centered distributed venture development program primarily organized to facilitate the transfer of scientific and technological breakthroughs from the laboratory and classroom to the marketplace. “The BEES’ innovation will revolutionize energy efficiency and intelligence, and represents one of the many emerging university technology startups benefiting from the robust entrepreneurial ecosystem at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.”

To lead the world in the 21st century, our nation must have a sustained commitment to education, scientific research, and startups.” —Tony Stanco

“To lead the world in the 21st century, our nation must have a sustained commitment to education, scientific research, and startups,” says Tony Stanco, NCET2 executive director. “American universities are uniquely positioned to deliver on all three to ensure the U.S. continues to lead socially and economically in this century, as it did in the last.”


Building Energy Efficiency Solutions is working to create an intelligent home solution, “moving the smart home ecosystem from connectivity to intelligence.” The company’s product is a smart AC controller with a patented machine learning algorithm that maximizes comfort of everyone present at minimal energy expenditure. It connects with a smartphone to dynamically adjust the temperature as occupants move around their home.

According to NCET2, while everyone is familiar with the dominant position of American universities in two of the three pillars, education and research, little attention has been drawn to the revolutionary transformation occurring at universities to build campuswide innovation ecosystems. Universities have quietly hired startup officers to help students, researchers, and alumni create and fund innovative social and for-profit startups. And, at the same time, they have been establishing new innovation districts on their campuses to nurture and incubate these American dreamers.

The organization noted that “individuals who walk onto a university campus today will find unheralded doers and makers solving the world’s most pressing problems, from remotely powered medical devices to regenerative medicine, and from Internet of Things (IoT) building solutions to alternative sustainable coatings and materials.”

More information about the University Startups Demo Day.