Rho AI, one of 11 companies awarded a grant through the EERE’s US $7.8-million program called Innovative Pathways, plans to use artificial intelligence and data science to efficiently connect investors to startups.

By using natural language processing tools to sift through publicly available information, Rho AI will build an online network of potential investors and energy technology companies, sort of like a LinkedIn for the energy sector.

Using the US $750,000 it received from the DOE, Rho AI has just two years to build, test, and prove the efficacy of its system.

To build the database, Rho AI will use Google Tensor Flow and Natural Language Toolkit-tools that can read and analyze human language-to scan public documents such as Securities and Exchange Commission filings and news articles on energy companies.

Rho AI will compare the machine-built network with the real professional network of Carmichael Roberts, a leading venture capitalist in clean technology.

“If Rho AI is able to be successful in what they’re building, that will be in some sense self-scaling,” says Johanna Wolfson, director of the tech-to-market program at the DOE. In other words, Rho AI could grow on its own and the industry could start seeing the effects of these connections.

Investors and clean energy technology companies could find each other directly, while reducing the burden on the government to invest so much in energy innovation.