Student Profiles

Startup Profile: HelioSucrose

Meet the Blackstone LaunchPad fellow making solar energy more accessible to all.

Connor Gallagher-Moore was finishing his second semester of graduate studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio when a conversation with a fellow student led to an interesting question: What if they could harness the power of the sun and store the energy captured in a single solar panel? Intrigued by the idea, he began researching the technology and behaviors that kept the solar industry from dominating the energy space. As he learned, solar adoption has become more common in recent years, yet it is still too expensive for most homeowners to see a net benefit from installing a system. So, he decided to do something about it, launching HelioSucrose – a startup created to address the shortcomings of today’s solar panel systems, helping homeowners and businesses see solar as the best option for their energy needs. The startup’s unique name is a combination of Helio, the Greek god of sun, and Sucrose, better known as sugar, a form of “energy” that is harvested and distributed by farmers – an analogy Gallagher-Moore feels accurately represents what the company is on a mission to do.

While HelioSucrose is still in its early stages, the company is already onto the second prototype of its more advanced solar panel system. It’s a system Gallagher-Moore refined during his time in the Summer 2021 Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship, using what he’s learned in this 8-week intensive entrepreneurship bootcamp to hone his business acumen and solidify his go-to-market strategy.

As Gallagher-Moore says, “What we would love to get out of Blackstone LaunchPad Program is help validating the market, where our solution fits, a better understanding of the initial market, and what the customer is looking for. We would like to do a lot of customer discovery.”

This initiative and drive is no surprise to Randolph Borland Quinn, Executive Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Texas at San Antonio, “I recommended Connor for the Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship program because of his passion for entrepreneurship and his desire to take his startup idea to the next level.”

The Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship was designed to help founders learn the entrepreneurial process with workshops on design thinking, customer discovery, marketing, and more. Gallagher-Moore hopes that within the next few months, he and his co-founder will be able to take what was learned from the Fellowship and move from the ideation phase to an operational startup.

At launch, HelioSucrose will first focus on building small 50-to-100-watt panels for the RV and mobile home segment. Gallagher-Moore sees this area as the best way to enter the market on a smaller scale. These homes have very little space for storage, so working within those constraints will allow the company to find innovative solutions to capture the highest amount of energy to store within the panels. For residential applications, the HelioSucrose panels will be part of an integrated system that will not require homeowners to have separate systems for energy and storage. This innovation will reduce the installation cost of the system and amount of space required. Gallagher-Moore also expects the panels to outlast what is currently available on the market today, which will make solar a worthwhile investment for homeowners.

Gallagher-Moore wants the second phase of HelioSucrose to cater to the transportation sector, which looks extra bright thanks to the United States’ recent commitment to increasing electric vehicle production to 50% of cars sold by the year 2030. He envisions the panels as the main source of power for carports and charging stations that could be used to power entire fleets for companies.