Capacitech Energy (Capacitech) is an early-stage company with a simple concept and big potential. Their offer? An energy storage component, known as a capacitor, built on the surface of a wire. Capacitech’s Cable-Based-Capacitor (CBC) can reduce both the size and cost of electronic devices while also enabling new innovations.
Founders: Joe Sleppy and Dr. Jayan Thomas
Joe Sleppy and Dr. Jayan Thomas founded Capacitech in January of 2016. Dr. Thomas had invented the CBC technology while at the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Nanotechnology Science Center in 2014. The world has never seen a capacitor on the surface of a wire before which lead to its selection to the R&D100. Meanwhile, Sleppy had yet to finish high school. He learned of the CBC technology, and Dr. Thomas’ desire to bring it to market when he joined the lab as an undergraduate researcher in 2015. By this time, Sleppy already had experience launching a company. He started SleppSolutions in 2013 after receiving a $10k grant as the winner of the Pinellas County Next Generation Entrepreneurs competition. Dr. Thomas invited Sleppy to participate in the UCF I-Corps program, leading to the launch of what would become Capacitech.
Sleppy joined forces with Dr. Thomas, ultimately graduating from the I-Corps program and leading Capacitech to other accomplishments by winning the UCF Joust in 2016 and being granted a Phase I National Science Foundation STTR grant in 2018. Sleppy graduated from UCF with an electrical engineering degree in May of 2018 and now works full time as the CEO of Capacitech.
Orlando is a fantastic place to do business. There are many opportunities, a large and diverse pool of talent, and a variety of different industries to work with. Even the city demonstrates innovation such as Chris Castro’s sustainability department. I feel blessed to have access to and have been able to leverage so many local resources designed to help startups like Capacitech. For example, winning the UCF Joust is not just about the cash prize, but the many pro-bono services, such as Burr Forman’s legal services, that helped establish us as a company.- Joe Sleppy
Capacitech’s unique technology is the only wire-based or cable-based capacitor on the market. The CBC is flexible, reduces the cost of electronics, and uses less space on circuit boards than traditional capacitors — allowing for smaller electronics. The CBC has the potential to significantly impact new technologies too. A project currently gaining momentum is to embed the CBC inside DC voltage power cords connected to Wi-Fi routers, IT servers, game consoles, and cable boxes among other everyday electronic products. In doing this, the CBC will prevent those devices from shutting down when the power flickers during a summer storm.
Figure 1: Artistic view of (a) a circuit board with eight capacitors connected and (b) circuit which replaces the eight capacitors with 8 CBC devices.
The CBC is valuable and disruptive for various other reasons. It can be easily customized by cutting the CBC at different lengths to control its performance. This feature allows electronic component distributors to buy a single spool of the CBC and sell a wide variety of different capacitor performances cut from that single spool. This significantly reduces their inventory cost, logistics costs, and lead times.
Capacitech is strong, thanks in part to its utility patent, filed by UCF and licensed exclusively to Capacitech. Capacitech’s founders also credit the “Orlando ecosystem of innovation”. The founders have received training from Orlando programs such as VentureScaleUp, Blackstone Launchpad, UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, UCF Office of Research and Commercialization, Starter Studio (FireSpring Fund), and mentors such as Dr. Cameron Ford, Oscar Rodriguez, Richard Fox, Mike Pape, and Mike O’Donnell.
Currently, Capacitech is working with a variety of local companies to launch and scale the CBC in the power electronics industry. Capacitech seeks to establish the CBC as a trusted technology before looking into potential larger-scale applications, of which there are many. One day, the CBC might provide energy storage for renewable energy sources or even electric vehicles. For now, Capacitech’s huge potential for growth has many excited for its bright and positive future.