Maxx Start: Real World Startup Experience for ESTEEM Graduates

Author: Jessica Millen

Kevin O'Keeffe ESTEEM '15Kevin O'Keeffe ESTEEM '15

When ESTEEM graduates enter the workforce post-graduation, they have many options available. While some alumni choose to go into technology, government or consulting roles, 25% of ESTEEM graduates are currently working in a startup or early-stage company.

Maxx Start Logo With No Background

Two of those graduates, Kevin O’Keeffe ‘15 and Tyron Pretorius ‘18, are making an impact in the startup world with Slipstream, a startup founded to commercialize ultracapacitor technology developed by Dr. Peter Bauer at the University of Notre Dame. Kevin, Slipstream’s CEO, has been with the company since its early stages in 2015 and last month, he hired Tyron to help with research and development. A recent investment of seed funding has positioned the company well for a full-scale launch of the Maxx Start technology in the near future.

Prior to the big launch, Slipstream is looking for industry partners to test and evaluate Maxx Start. If you and your company would like to put Maxx Start to the test or know somebody who might, please contact Tyron Pretorius at (574) 387-2152 or via email at

Read below to find out more about Slipstream and their exciting technology, Maxx Start. We can’t wait to see where these ESTEEM graduates take the company next!  

Why was Slipstream created?

Slipstream was founded to commercialize the state-of-the-art ultracapacitor technology developed and patented by electrical engineering professor Dr. Peter Bauer at the University of Notre Dame.  

The overarching goal of Slipstream is to provide powerful, compact, robust, and safe energy solutions that solve the problems associated with conventional energy storage and delivery devices. The flagship technology of Slipstream, called Maxx Start, uses advanced ultracapacitor technology to increase fleet performance. 

What is Maxx Start?

Maxx Start is a powerful 15lb jumpstarting pack, which can instantly restart the heaviest of diesel engines by delivering 6000A of cranking current. Maxx Start sets itself apart by delivering continuous performance: recharging in seconds from the alternator of the restarted vehicle so that it is always ready to restart the next vehicle. The nonstop performance of Maxx Start is guaranteed by the longevity (>20 year lifetime) and resilience (performance in temperatures from –40°F to 150°F) of its ultracapacitor technology, which is why it is the only jumpstarting pack on the market with a lifetime warranty. Capacitor tech is set to replace lead-acid and lithium ion batteries across several industries and Slipstream aims to take advantage of the shift. 

Maxx Start Sb Police

Maxx Start is the first in a series of planned product launches which will be centered around capacitor tech. Products in development include a smart diagnostic tool for testing battery-alternator system health as well as a permanently installed vehicle cranking system which aims to shrink vehicle battery size and cost.

What makes your company stand out?

The greatest strength of Slipstream is the combination of a world leading technology expert in Dr. Peter Bauer along with fellow board members James Larkin and Hari Agarwall, each of whom have over 30 years of experience in their respective specializations of business development and manufacturing process optimization. Two ESTEEM graduates, Kevin O’Keeffe and Tyron Pretorius, manage the day-to-day operations of the company, driving the commercialization of the Maxx Start technology through sales and marketing. 

Together, the Slipstream team uses its unique blend of deep technological knowledge and business expertise to further the company’s goal: to create safe and environmentally sustainable energy solutions for people and companies to perform as efficiently as possible.  

Where is the company at now?

In mid-2015, Slipstream started a customer validation and prototyping effort for several technologies. Three years later, the company has filed for a patent and iterated to an advanced prototype of its Maxx Start technology based on real world feedback from over 200 unaffiliated industry partners. This feedback, in conjunction with sales of these minimum viable prototypes, has confirmed the product-market fit and identified the main value proposition and distribution channels for Maxx Start. 

Have you had any recent investment?

Slipstream was able to secure seed funding from Elevate Ventures & Magnet Investors. This seed investment will be used for a full-scale launch of Maxx Start to take advantage of the $957M estimated Total Available Market by growing the existing revenue stream (sales hires, digital marketing and advertising, trade shows), securing IP assets (2 patent applications) and upgrading from prototypes to production models of Maxx Start (new tooling).

“It’s an exciting time here at Slipstream. This funding will help us build on the strong traction we’ve had to date and help to accelerate as we take on new hires and and ramp up our marketing and sales efforts.” — Kevin O’Keeffe, CEO

To learn more about this innovative new technology visit or check out Maxx Start’s Facebook and LinkedIN pages.