By Natalie Newport
Copyright © 2013, Tulsa Business and Legal News
CleanNG LLC (CNG) has big plans for newly earned profits and publicity acquired from its recent victory as StartUp Cup winners. Michael Tate, co-founder and chief operating and communications manager said they plan use the $30,000 award towards generating more awareness and additional funding to make their dream of creating innovative means of storing fuel for natural gas vehicles a permanent reality.
“Our main focus is generating sales and bringing in enough funds for investments,” Tate said.
Tate told TB&LN their StartUp Cup success has brought many new opportunities for growth. MagnumCel is the company’s fuel storage system with the ability to offer a higher percentage of weight savings in comparison to type 1 and type 3 CNG tanks, while also storing greater amounts of fuel.
The CNG team is using part of their profits to create a MagnumCel that will be 40 ft long and 4 ft in diameter, according to Tate.
“We are looking to expand it to some sizes that we never believed possible,” he said.
CNG is also growing in numbers, thanks to Ranji Vaidyanathan, Ph.D, P.E. Varnadow Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Oklahoma State University who is going to be supervising two new interns for the company.
Their main incentive will be to create non-cylindrical composite vessels to allow storage tanks to replace gas tanks. By using software specifically designed for these parts the newly acquired interns can contribute to CNG research by improving compressed natural gas tanks for vehicles.
While the end result has been positive, CNG’s journey through the StartUp Cup was not always smooth. Tate explained that because the process was lengthy it required patience while multiple people reviewed their model and examined their business proposal. StartUp Cup provided mentors to guide contenders like CNG in multiple areas including marketing and advertising in addition to venture capitalists. CNG’s mentors in the first round included Jason Martin, President of Omega Capital Holdings LLC, and Ryan Rex, CEO of Rex PR.The second session CNG was coached by Billy Kulkin, president Cubic Creative and Kayvon Olomi founder of Divvy, AppTank, and Whiteboard.
Through it all, Tate said, “the most valuable thing we learned from this is just to really never give up.”