BiMBY Power Company Big Mass Battery
Big Mass Battery
Going green is part of BiMBY Power Company’s bottom line. The fledgling company has a vision of building on-demand, renewable energy power plants using mountains of mine waste rock and other recycled materials. Its technological and environmental focus fit when it was a Bootcamp trainee in 2016, and it makes sense for the world.
Founders Ray and Margaret Donelick filed a utility patent on the idea last spring, and read about the Palouse Knowledge Corridor’s Be the Entrepreneur Bootcamp™ in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News not long after.
“We were just starting to put together a pitch deck to approach investors, and it seemed like the Bootcamp could give us pointers on how to prepare one,” Margaret said.
BiMBY’s objective is to build grid-scale, compressed air energy storage power plants, which would be run by renewable energy using active and abandoned open pit metal mines, active coal strip mines and associated waste rock.
“This will smooth out the power from renewable sources, clean up unsightly and often toxic mine sites and provide ongoing jobs in communities that are often decimated when their mines close operations,” Margaret said. “We had been thinking for some time about energy storage, and the mine idea, we believe, is a winner.”
Palouse Challenge Winner
It was a winning idea at the Bootcamp, too. BiMBY took second place in the Palouse Challenge, winning $2,000 in the process. The Palouse Challenge is a Shark Tank-style entrepreneurial challenge, during which Bootcamp businesses pitched their idea to three Palouse-area “sharks.” Investors grilled the business owners, who worked with mentors, helping them to both improve their pitch and compete for funds.
“It was a nice ego boost,” Margaret said of the win. “We are doing a lot of traveling for the business, so the prize money is helpful there, but really it was most valuable to see that other people, with experience in startup businesses, see our idea as having real merit.”
Beyond the ego boost and financial winnings, the Donelick’s experience at the Bootcamp also helped prepare them to launch their business.
“It was really interesting to meet so many people offering such a wide range ideas of businesses, and all in different stages of development,” Margaret said. “Without a doubt, the Bootcamp met our goal of helping us craft our pitch deck, and it went beyond our expectations by introducing us to helpful people far and wide.”
With the first big step of their entrepreneurial lives behind them, the Donelicks have been focused on growing BiMBY. That includes research funding, like government grants, industry partnerships and private equity, Margaret said. They are also looking for funding and partners to build a scalable proof-of-concept device in the next year or so.
“When it is completed and we have learned from it, we plan to advance to building a complete prototype at a mine site, and providing clean, reliable energy,” she said.
BTE Bootcamp – Connection Central
Participation at the Bootcamp may help make those connections, both in construction and in finance.
“Most people are very helpful to a startup business,” Margaret said. “I have been very grateful for the many people that have given us their time to help us advance our research and ideas.”
Eventually, the Donelicks hope to return the favor. After all, their entrepreneurial philosophy is “Work hard and try to do good.”