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Small Biz Insider: Breaking Down Electrified Chemical Manufacturing with Syzygy Plasmonics

Published May 12, 2021 by Maggie Martin

Small Biz Insider

Trevor Best is co-founder and CEO of Houston-based Syzygy Plasmonics. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

Syzygy Plasmonics is a technology company that's developing a photocatalytic chemical reactor to reduce cost and emissions from different chemical reactions used in manufacturing. The Houston-based startup has recently hit some exciting milestones. That includes the recent announcement that it's raised $23 million in Series B funding, led by venture capital firms based in Hong Kong and Norway. 

On this episode of the Small Biz Insider podcast, we talk with co-founder and CEO Trevor Best about why the startup wants to make chemical manufacturing cleaner, how Houston can solidify its position as the energy transition capital of the world and fundraising advice for founders. 

On the interconnectedness between energy and technology 

“To really embrace the energy transition, we need new technologies," said Best. "A lot of technologies that make up our energy infrastructure are many, many decades old. And the capital costs of replacing them are very expensive.”

That's why, the CEO said, companies are looking for new types of technologies that push the boundaries of what's possible and find ways to reduce costs and emissions at the same time. 

On Houston drawing international attention as energy transition work grows

“Houston’s always been a traditional center for energy and drawn in a lot of international capital for traditional energy" said Best. "In the energy transition, there’s been a lot of effort focused on Silicon Valley and Austin, but with Greentown Labs coming into the community, I think a lot of international investors are looking at our startup scene. And so I think that if the next few years go right, Houston can absolutely solidify its position not only as the energy capital of the world, but as the energy transition capital of the world, as well.”

On fundraising advice for founders

Best said he encourages founders to keep their pitch to investors simple.

“A lot of people have unlimited opportunity and not enough time" he said. "You really need to think about what your one key message is. Make sure you get to the root of it very quickly."

Reflecting on their own fundraising efforts, Best acknowledged the startup's Series B investors, including Horizons Ventures and Equinor Ventures, and recognized the team it takes to succeed.

"If any of you out there are trying to start your own company, it takes a village," he said. "Make a lot of friends, don’t be shy, try to get a lot of people involved. It’s easy to get this mentality that the founders are these amazing people, but we’re not that great. The only reason anything I do looks good is because there are 100 incredible people supporting us. That includes our team and investors.”

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