NewsProtecting Paradise


New class of entrepreneurs and innovators part of 35 Mules

'We want to help accelerate the success of these companies'
Posted at 7:04 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 19:04:27-04

JUNO BEACH, Fla. — A new class of entrepreneurs and innovators claiming to have the next groundbreaking solution in energy is hard at work in Juno Beach. They’re part of an innovation hub specifically for early startups to bring these solutions to the world.

Five years ago, Rodrigo Griesi, Neptunya Ocean Power founder and president moved to Florida from Brazil with an idea for a start-up and a goal to make our oceans a renewable clean power source.

”That’s because the ocean can provide way more power than the whole globe needs,” said Griesi. “This is the energy behind my company, to make this happen and make this feasible.”

Just meters away from Griesi inside the 35 Mules hub you’ll find innovators from SustainaBase in a meeting with top industry experts about new software in development for more streamlined data collection for corporations and governments. “We’re here to help them understand what their goals are and are they making progress towards those goals,” said Matt Zirkelbach, SustainaBase co-founder and president.

And not to be out beat inside the 35 Mules incubator at Florida Power and Light headquarters in Juno Beach is another team from New York focused on power. 

“We are developing a new power flow technology that can allow utilities to decrease the number of power outages that their customers experience,” said Lane Nelson, Switched Source chief financial officer.

WPTV got a first look at six early startups. Crystal Stiles, FPL senior director of economic development calls it a game-changing opportunity supported by her company and Next Era Energy. She calls Florida a great place for startups with a strong economy driven by cultural innovation.

”We want to help accelerate the success of these companies,” said Stiles. “We’re also offering them subject matter expertise - our engineers, our technical advisors, our professionals around the company who can help them build their businesses here.”

It’s a 12 to 18-month opportunity that comes with a $100,000 grant to change not only the lives of Floridians but the globe.

“Each of these companies is at a different stage,” Stiles said. “I think the outcomes are going to be different for each one of them but they should have a product or viable concept by the time they leave us.”

For more information about 35 Mules and for entrepreneurs with ideas in the energy, energy-adjacent, and water fields, as well as new COVID-19 related challenges, companies can visit