Alex Hagen Named Director of the Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator (SCI)
Alex Hagen has been named the Clean Energy Program Director for the Binghamton Incubator Program at the Southern Tier Incubator (Koffman) in Binghamton, NY. The Koffman was inaugurated in June, a $19 million facility that includes 35,000 square-feet of offices, high-tech labs, wet labs, dry labs, common areas, and co-working spaces.
Hagen, who also is the Chief Financial Officer for Rev Member Company ShrubBucket, assumed his new position in October. In his new capacity, he will seek to attract, retain, mentor, and graduate clean energy startups in the Southern Tier. In an interview, Hagen said that he’s excited about the opportunity to develop specialized services to help clean energy startups, which often operate at a larger scale than new companies in other sectors.
“The clean energy program requires different management than a normal business incubator program,” he said. “The kinds of companies that we’re attracting, and the kinds of companies that are in the clean energy incubator right now, might require tens of millions of dollars of start-up capital to actually hit the ground running as a full-fledged company, and it might take them several years to get to that point.
“Because these kinds of companies are dealing with solar panels or batteries or grid-level type infrastructure questions, they need a lot more time and money to get started,” he continued. “As a result, there’s specialized programming that we’re going to offer them.”
Hagen highlighted that SCI will seek to forge partnerships with accelerators and technology consortiums like NEXUS-NY and NY-BEST, in addition to tapping into the battery and energy storage research happening on campus at Binghamton University and at research institutions around the region. Given the strong momentum in the Southern Tier for innovation in the clean energy sector, Hagen is enthusiastic about SCI’s opportunity to harness resources to support the growth of new startups.
“We’re in the early days right now, but there is a tremendous entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Southern Tier, and a lot of support coming from a lot of different angles,” he said. “The president of Binghamton University, local economic development agencies, and a lot of the Governor’s programs are trying to reinvigorate this part of the state around clean energy. We’ve got a lot of different folks that are pulling together at the same time, and it doesn’t feel like we’re trying to do this all by ourselves.”
Hagen, who has worked with Rev mentors Brian Bauer and Brad Treat in his role with ShrubBucket, noted that SCI’s proximity to Rev and the community of entrepreneurs at Cornell will boost the incubator’s clean energy program as it gets off the ground.
“Cornell and the other STSA incubators are going to play a big role in what we’re doing,” he said. “There are parts of their startup programming that we’re going to be able to take advantage of, and the network and mentors will be a big help.
“Working with ShrubBucket at Rev has really given me an appreciation for what incubators can do for startup companies like ours—the connections it can help make, and how powerful that can be,” he added.
Hagen will continue in his day-to-day role as CFO for ShrubBucket, an online store that aggregates and sells plants from regional nurseries. After a successful 2017 that saw sales continue to rise, the company is looking forward to expanding throughout New York State in the coming months.
“We’re going to strengthen our presence in Western and Central New York, and we’re also expanding down into the Hudson Valley, closer to the city,” he said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to move the company forward, and we’re looking at other partnerships and vendor agreements that will help us grow even beyond that, including with local schools and area garden clubs.”
Hagen said he’s looking forward to balancing his responsibilities at ShrubBucket and the Southern TIER Clean Energy Incubator in the new year.
“It’s an exciting time,” he said. “So it’s nice that I’ve got the opportunity to do a bit of both.”