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2010 Judging Update from San Jose

Posted by at 3:00 PM, 11/16/2010



Finalist judging is now complete and the judges are in ardent deliberation . . . the judging criteria they are using to choose the winning team includes: 

  •  Concept/Product
  •  Product Feasibility
  •  Market
  •  Financial/Profit Potential
  •  Sustainability
  •  Team



We've received excellent feedback from the teams being judged. Silicon Solar Solutions, stated "the panels of judges were excellent. They clearly had a wide breadth of knowledge and were able to ask probing technology questions in addition to general business strategy. If we gain nothing else but their feedback, we have already won. We received some incredibly useful pointers for our demonstration to a large audience." 

Puralytics remarked that "the feedback on the business plan was universally positive and the interest in the technology seemed genuine. All the constructive feedback was in line with what we predicted the hang-ups for the panel would be. Direct feedback is always appreciated and the judges (for the most part) came across as direct, unbiased and objective" 


And Rory Faber of Stramit Strawbord had this to say:  "The Cleantech Open judging was well organized and went OK. It was a room full of smart, well-informed people who wanted to dig deeper so I was glad to be fully prepared.

Personally, I feel Stramit Bio-Board is not  “very sexy” compared to other gizmos. But Stramit really works; it has a proven technology and a field-tested product, so we’re ready to go! Stramit Bio-Board will make a real difference to a cleaner and greener world!"

And finally, Suntulit really appreciated the wide range of expertise areas from the judging panel. "The final judging session was a great experience.  With the stakes so high and the scrutiny more intense, we got a really good sense of where we did great and where we can further improve.  With the more diverse panel, we now also have a better understanding of which points to emphasize based on the background of the investor.   I can’t wait to get on the fundraising circuit and make some noise!”

Stay tuned for the Grand Prize Winner Announcement LIVE Tomorrow at the Center for Performing Arts in San Jose at 5pm. We look forward to seeing you all there for live demos, voting, and life-altering announcements. 

Visit for more information. Last minute registration can be found at


Written by Kailani Swenson


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Venture capitalist’s top tips: essentials of a successful investor pitch

Posted by at 6:30 PM, 10/01/2009

This week marked an important milestone for semifinalist teams, who are honing their business plans and pitching skills in preparation for regional judging. Reporting by Carole Low and Tim Cox.

Cleantech Accelerator

The 2009 Clean Tech Open program is now in full swing, which means the 60+ semifinalist teams are working diligently toward one major goal: pitching their business idea to a panel of expert judges. This week, to hone their skills and gain valuable feedback from seasoned experts, California-based teams convened on the offices of Cleantech Open sponsor Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for mock judging sessions, and then at the Investor Summit were able to practice their elevator pitches to representatives from the venture capital community.

Pitching investors is something of an art. Tone is as important as content for this endeavor, and delivering an investor pitch is a daunting proposition to the uninitiated. At Clean Tech Open’s recent Accelerator business training event, the business plan competition’s semifinalists gained an insider’s perspective from charismatic Andrew Chung, principal at Lightspeed Ventures.

Andrew Chung

Some might consider Andrew a true cleantech triple-play: current venture capitalist, former entrepreneur, and Cleantech Open advocate and sponsor. Andrew candidly offered his dos and don’ts for what it takes to secure funding, in a packed session titled “Fundamentals of an Investor Pitch.”

Knowing that one size does not fit all with cleantech startups, Andrew offered numerous examples throughout the module and closed with a no-holds-barred Q&A session. What a rare privilege for entrepreneurs to have direct access to an accomplished venture capitalist. After the session, he also offered some useful tips for entrepreneurs, so I thought I’d share these nuggets.

Top Four Tips on Securing Cleantech Investment Funding

  1. Be persistent, but be tasteful and methodical.
  2. Be passionate.
  3. Figure out ways to solve problems.
  4. Be scrappy.


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Contestant screening is underway

Posted by at 1:23 AM, 06/02/2009

With our official entry deadline now behind us, we start to take a look at this year's rich crop of entries.


Today, we're screening Executive Summaries! Our co-founders, our Contestant Recruitment Chair, some experienced screeners, and some staff members, are all double-checking the entries for eligibility and completeness, and getting the Executive Summaries ready to pass off to our judges. What a day it's been...

Amazing kudos goes out to Shawn, our web developer, for pulling off some amazing support throughout the weekend of entries. Also, Rebeca Hwang, our Judging Chair, pulled an all-nighter getting everything ready for the judges, finalizing the screening process, and reading *every single* Executive Summary herself. What incredible supporters and volunteers we have!

We'll release final entry numbers for all the regions soon. In the meantime, thank you to all of you who entered the competition, got someone to enter, reached out to a random stranger, and otherwise supported the competition. It looks to be a good spread among our six categories, with plenty of fun technologies and great innovations. The judges are definitely going to have a hard time picking the top teams to go onto the semifinal round.

Just a quick reminder: on June 25th we'll announce the semifinalists. In the meantime, you can meet some of the teams by attending our Green Building Symposium on June 23rd at AMD in Sunnyvale. Look forward to seeing you there....



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