Tech firm Apis wins 2019 Venture Idol with methane monitor

Melinda Rizzo//November 7, 2019

Tech firm Apis wins 2019 Venture Idol with methane monitor

Melinda Rizzo//November 7, 2019

Venture Idol winner Greg Chrin, founder and CEO of Apis Innovation of Bethlehem. –

Think smart thermostat for landfill gas emissions. Apis Innovation’s concept for outfitting landfills with automated devices to collect methane gas for reuse won the 16th annual Venture Idol contest Wednesday night.

The annual event was hosted by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania on the Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem.

Apis Founder and CEO Greg Chrin was surprised by the win.

“There were great presentations and very different business [ventures],” Chrin said.

His goal for Apis is to increase biogas-to-energy revenue streams for landfill clients world-wide.

Methane is created by decomposing waste in landfills. The gas, including carbon dioxide, can be collected for use as fuel and other needs. Methane emissions in the U.S. result in about 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents each year, according to Chrin.

Chrin’s vision for Apis technology is to match the environmental impact of the global electric-vehicle market over the next decade.

Conventional landfill gas collection systems required on-site monitoring and fine-tuning of wells by skilled technicians. Apis technology creates a remote automatic sensor-controlled system to “fine tune” gas wells. The Apis system allows clients to correct problems immediately, Chrin said.

Apis beat two other finalists. Ian Robson, founder of American Paper Bag, LLC in Sugar Notch, Luzerne County placed second; and Yacoub Habib CEO of Ophidion, Inc. in Bethlehem placed third.

The monetary prize is divided among the three finalists according to their share of the votes. For the first time, Venture Idol used technology to gather votes using the phone ap UBMe. Traditional Paper Ben Bucks were available to those who preferred to use ballot boxes over the digital App.

Venture Idol is a mash up of popular television programs Shark Tank and American Idol, in which audience members “crowd fund” their favorite finalists after hearing them pitch products or services.

A panel of four investment judges critique contestant pitches and offer feedback on the spot.

The contest finalists were narrowed down earlier Wednesday from seven semi-finalists.

2018 Venture Idol winner Andrew Goldberg, co-founder and CFO of Signallamp Health in Scranton, said the experience provided much more than a share of funding capital.

“It’s a great way to build energy, get validation, present your [business] story and get feedback from investors,” he said.

Wednesday night’s investor panelists included Jim Alperin, angel investor and CEO of Astro Apparel; Paul Martino of Bullpen Capital; Mark Mitchell of Delaware Crossing Investor Group; and Doug Petillo of Leading Edge Ventures.