Humboldt Signs First Contract with BlueTechValley     

images (1)Fresno State, spearheaded by the International Center for Water Technology (ICWT), was awarded a 5million dollar grant from the California Energy Commission to create the BlueTech Valley: Central Valley Regional Innovation Cluster.

The grant funding is being used to expand the existing programs and services that are available at the Cluster Hubs and link them to maximize the benefits of regional planning and collaboration. The funding is also allowing Fresno State’s WET Center to double their dedicated office space from six to twelve companies and to expand the “plug-and-play” space available to participating entrepreneurs.

Humboldt State University (HSU), one of seven hubs, was the first to sign its contract with the BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster. The purpose of HSU serving as a BlueTechValley hub is to seek out, and provide resources to entrepreneurs working on efficiency in agriculture, water, and energy in Northern California.

BlueTechValley has been working out of Fresno State University to bring commercialization services to entrepreneurs since 2011. This partnership between Humboldt State University and BlueTechValley brings BTV’s previous success in areas surrounding Fresno to now include Northern California entrepreneurs and inventors.

Northern California entrepreneurs, will benefit from increased access to critical resources such as advanced testing at Schatz Research Energy Cluster. Lonny Grafman, faculty member at HSU, discussed that “BTV benefits by expanding their reach, resources, and cohort into the northern part of 

the state. HSU benefits from the institutional knowledge, processes, and resources that have been developed by BTV over the last six years. Northern Californian communities benefit from increased traction and growth opportunities for local entrepreneurs and businesses. Finally, California rate payers benefits from the increased efficiency and cost saving measures brought to market by these commercialization services.

The benefits of the partnership are critical to entrepreneurs, BTV, Humboldt State University, Northern California, and California rate payers.

 PowWow Energy     

Founder and CEO of PowWow Energy, Olivier Jerphagon, describes PowWow as, “In technical terms, we take different sources of data, integrates them, and uses machine learning to turn that data into simple answers. It is very scalable. In business terms, we improve ag productivity with a decision support tool that is scalable.” The company is headquartered in San Mateo, CA.

PowWow has worked since 2014 with the Water Energy Technology (WET) incubator and the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) part of BlueTech Valley. Their first web application sends text alerts when a pump has an anomaly, and provides easy access to daily, weekly, and annual groundwater records. Data is secure and privacy is controlled by the farms that easily shares their data to their team of farm advisors. PowWow’s platform was deployed on more than 20,000 acres of farmed land thanks to a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to facilitate compliance with the new water regulations under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The results of the two-year study will be presented at a CIT event in July 19, 2017.

 “We are growing our relationship with BlueTech Valley. We are able to engage with local growers, experts in irrigation, and interact with larger organizations.” To PowWow, it has become a second home. So much so that PowWow will be managing their second CEC grant project from their office at the WET incubator at Fresno State. The new project started on June 6 with a gathering with local farms and partners. PowWow and other BlueTech Valley members recently received a new CEC grant of $3 million to add fertility management and remote pump control via a mobile application. This will improve productivity even further. Yet a key goal of the project is to do so without impacting negatively disadvantaged areas.

BlueTech Valley has created a welcoming space to connect Silicon Valley and Central Valley where companies can develop relationships with local farms and also with each other. It is critical to go deeper and provide the right solutions for the farming industry. When asked how PowWow Energy benefits the agricultural industry, Jerphagon had two responses “Energy and and water use efficiency, for one. We do that with our Pump Monitor compliance product. And two, we are preparing a with the new mobile application  the next generation of farmers to keep better paid jobs here in the valley.” PowWow and BlueTech Valley’s partnership has not only been beneficial to both organizations. They have a common goal in mind to create jobs and assist farms to be more efficient in both water and energy use.

powow pic                                                

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Team Member Highlight

 Benjamin Francis  
Ben Francis
Benjamin Francis grew up in Clovis, California and first attended Fresno  State University where he received a degree in entrepreneurship. He then entered graduate program at Vanderbilt University where he received a Master’s of Science in Finance. His job position is Project Coordinator, and he is in the process of building out the accelerator program for Valley Ventures. This position was an easy choice as it taps  into his interest in entrepreneurship, and to be a part of the Fresno community. Benjamin finds the most challenging aspect of his job to also be the most fun-ensuring that the resources and network of the International Center for Water Technology are being fully leveraged to bring about an excellent accelerator in the Central Valley. Something most people don’t know about Benjamin is that he was a gymnast, and  ranked 4th place as a national diver when he was younger. A few things Benjamin enjoys are hitting the gym,spending time with family and friends, and admiring cool cars.


Upcoming Events

UC Berkeley Law-New Business Practicum: New Business Legal Checklist Workshop & One-On-One Legal Advice 
June 29, 2017 11:00 am - 2:30 pm 
WET Center 2911 E Barstow Ave Fresno, CA 93710

If you are interested in meeting with a legal team for one-on-one counseling 
click here and our time will get back to you with more information:
GO-Biz Workshop- CA Tax Credit Program
June 26 through July 20, 2017 
For workshop locations and registration visit 

Free Small Business Tax Seminar in Tulare
July 11, 2017 8:30 am - 12:00 pm 
Energy Education Center 4175 South Laspina Street Tulare CA 93274
For more information and registration visit: 

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