Company Success Story: Cadens, LLC

Products: Cadens utilizes cutting-edge 3D printing technology to create affordable, custom water turbines to generate hydroelectric power at locations around the country that are often overlooked due to size or cost constraints.

Location: Global Water Center, Milwaukeecadens3-300x78

Employees: 3

Founded: 2011

Leadership: Partners: Randal Mueller, Joseph Millevolte, Dan Gieschen

Market: Cadens targets smaller capacity rivers and water sources to tap into largely unused sources of domestic and global renewable hydroelectric energy. Their site-specific water turbines will help create more sources of energy at an affordable cost.

Business Success: Due to their innovative response to a growing need for renewable energy, the company was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Advance matching grant. A collaboration between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the UW-Extension, SBIR Advance helps fill in the gaps from federal SBIR/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding, including staffing, patent filing and more, and also helps companies prepare for future federal SBIR/STTR funding. Cadens presented during WEFTEC—the world’s largest water quality conference, with more than 20,000 attendees—in September 2015. Cadens Partner Randal Mueller presented during a panel recognizing federal SBIR/STTR grant winners, organized by The Water Council. Mueller discussed how the company fills a significant gap in the market, due to the reluctance of other water turbine manufacturers to take on small-capacity projects, which Cadens specializes in.

Wisconsin Business Environment Benefits: In addition to its SBIR grant, Cadens was able to tap into many state-provided benefits, including participating in both The BREW (Business. Research. Entrepreneurship. In Wisconsin.) accelerator and the Midwest Energy Research Consortium’s WERCBench Labs. The BREW is an accelerator for water-related technology that helps emerging companies to bring ideas and products to commercialization. The program also provides participating companies office space in the Global Water Center in Milwaukee, a collaborative atmosphere to help further research into water technology. Cadens also participated in WERCBench Labs, a business accelerator for companies focused on energy solutions. Both programs helped Cadens hone their business model to find greater success. In addition, through the SBIR/STTR grant, Cadens is partnered with UW Milwaukee, with professor Ryoichi Amano, mechanical engineering faculty in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, as principal investigator. Project manager Bruno Lequesne and Duck Creek Engineering are also partners in the project.

“Being located in Wisconsin allows us to leverage the state’s strengths as a premier global hub for energy and water,” says Mueller. “These strengths include strong state support for water technology and a leading electric-drive and generator industry, all supported by a framework of higher education institutions that lead the world in these fields.”

(January 2016)