SfunCube is still in a celebratory mood. The solar startup incubator hosted over 300 guests last week at a sold-out rooftop party to inaugurate their new Uptown Oakland digs.

As SfunCube CEO and co-founder Emily Kirsch noted, “The outpouring of enthusiasm at the party reflects the state of entrepreneurship in the solar industry — and that is one of winning.”

But that was just the start. SfunCube also announced a major new corporate sponsor: GE Energy Ventures.

GE was clearly won over by the incubator’s focus on solar, which as far as we know makes it the only solar startup incubator in the world.

Full disclosure: We’re lucky to work at SfunCube ourselves, surrounded every day by solar entrepreneurs. That would be 50 entrepreneurs at 15 solar companies — and that doesn’t include the 150 people employed by SfunCube solar startups in the U.S. and around the world.

SfunCube, which launched in 2013, offers both an incubator and an accelerator. Incubator startups rent office space and share common areas. Accelerator companies have to go through an application process to get free rent and other resources for a certain period, but all the startups share the same space. That results in constant networking, and in sharing ideas and resources.

Now GE is providing more resources, which can take the form of funding, access to expertise, and more. In GE’s own words:


“GE is committed to identifying, scaling and accelerating ideas that will make the world work better. GE has a history of fostering startup ingenuity to scale new energy adoption. We are impressed with SfunCube’s unique Incubator and Accelerator and their explicit focus on solar.

GE’s integrated team helps startups scale via access to capital, expertise, and customers, all of which can help reduce development cycles and accelerate time to market. Through our Global Research Center, GE offers 5,000 research scientists, 10,000 software professionals, 35,000 engineers, and 40,000 sales, marketing and development resources in over 100 countries.

GE has more than 60 startup investments, technology and commercial collaborations undertaken or in progress. We are happy to be bringing these resources to SfunCube to support solar entrepreneurs to succeed.

SfunCube’s focus on solar allows them to convene a diverse and impressive group of solar startups that are transforming the future of energy. Companies in the SfunCube that I have met with are using software, data analytics, the cloud, and financial innovation to accelerate solar adoption. We are impressed with SfunCube’s efforts and are proud to be their newest corporate sponsor.”


SfunCube startups have also had support from other quarters. Four of the companies have received SunShot or other U.S. Department of Energy grants. And now SfunCube is partnering with the DOE’s SunShot Catalyst Initiative to host the first ever SunShot Catalyst Jamathon on Wednesday September 10. Teams are eligible to win up to $1M in total prize awards, including $25K for software development and $100K in cash. As with the rooftop party, tickets are going fast.

We know that solar is getting popular. It turns out that solar events are a big draw, too.