Windows as warm as a wall
V-Glass was founded in 2008 with technology that promised to disrupt the window industry, and whose market is estimated at over $25 billion worldwide. The company’s vacuum-insulated window glass insulates three times more effectively than the best technology on the market today. Early on, the company’s founder and CEO, Peter Petit, received two small state grants that enabled him to retain a professional consultant to assist in writing a business plan. After taking first place in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest and receiving well-informed guidance from the UW-Extension Center for Technology (CTC), in 2014 the company received a $75,000 grant under CTC’s SBIR Advance Program, which is supported by WEDC. As a result, V-Glass was able to hire its first employee and rewrite its business plan based on fresh interviews with key potential customers. The grant also helped pay for two patent applications, a significant expense that is ineligible for federal funding.
Supporting promising new technologies
The results of this state-level support speak for themselves. Between 2011 and 2015, the company received four Phase I Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) grants for $150,000 each. In 2016, not only was V-Glass awarded its first key patent, but also the company was awarded a $723,000 Phase II SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation. To date, the assistance provided by Wisconsin has been leveraged into federal grants totaling over $1.3 million to develop its game-changing technology, which will be offered under license to existing window-makers, primarily for the residential market. It is expected to be ready for commercial sale as soon as 2020.