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2010 Cleantech Open Academy: Day 3 Highlights

Posted by at 5:00 PM, 08/03/2010

The third and final day of the Academy was focused on the investor presentation and the next steps in the Cleantech Open Competition.

The day began with a talk by Joe Khirallah, CEO of cleantech marketing and PR company Green Bear Group, titled “Tell Your Story, Sell Your Story.” He advised the teams about the art of giving an impressive presentation. He used metaphors, drew verbal images and explained the importance of engaging the investors in the conversation during a pitch.

The morning continued with a panel of Khirallah and Investment Manager of Applied Ventures, Annette Finsterbusch as judges for mock Cleantech Open semifinalist pitches by Matt Scullin of Alphabet Energy and Brian Pierson of tru2earth. Khirallah and Finsterbusch were very open and critical so that the semifinalist teams could learn and understand exactly what a good pitch looks like. The semifinalists evaluated the two presentations as well, rating both quite high in quality. A discussion around the room ensued regarding the best aspects of each presentation.

Executive Director of the Cleantech Open, Rex Northern took the stage before lunch to present on the next steps for semifinalists and guidance on how exactly to win the competition. He get the semifinalists to their feet to make a pledge that they would “prove Steve Blank wrong,” meaning they would all be successful. Blank, during Day One, had said only a very small percentage of startups become profitable.

After a social lunch thrown in honor of the semifinalists, the day ended with an Action Plan Workshop. The team thought and planned out the next steps in the development of their small businesses and to reflect on everything they learned in the last three days.

Again, a great thanks to Christina Ellwood, Cleantech Open Academy Chair, for doing such an incredible job organizing and hosting such a fantastic event, all of the wonderful volunteers, and our corporate sponsors.

Read about Day One of the Academy here.

Read about Day Two of the Academy here.

By Jackie Blair

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"We need to have a clear vision, aim high, and keep our eye on the ball."

Posted by at 10:48 AM, 12/17/2009

Cleantech Open volunteer Carole Low contributes this wrap-up report from the 2009 Cleantech Open Expo and Awards Gala. Thanks Carole!

EcoFactor Award

"We need to have a clear vision, aim high, and keep our eye on the ball."

Bill Weihl Green Energy Czar, Google 

Black blazers coupled with pressed shirts. Ready smiles accompanied handshakes aplenty. A steady buzz of 3,000 well-heeled cleantech fanatics that included investors, entrepreneurs, sponsoring companies, corporations, members of academia, press, and others interested in hearing clean-technology ideas and getting involved, convened yesterday at San Francisco's Masonic Center. On a day filled with sparkling sunshine, clear blue skies, and cold, crisp air, you could almost momentarily forget concerns of global warming, while meeting for the "2009 Academy Awards of Clean Technology." 

Nevertheless, speakers made it clear that combating the economic downturn and global warming remained two key challenges facing us all. Fittingly, the event coincided with Global Entrepreneurship Week, in which 88 countries participated this year. 

The competition section of the day's proceedings kicked off with the Global Cleantech Open Ideas competition. In tribute to the power of global ideas, startups worldwide had a chance to compete for bragging rights and $100,000 in services as the "People's Choice" Award recipient for the best global idea. Videos from New Zealand, Israel, Italy, China, Denmark, and the United States sought to dazzle the audience with ideas ranging from Danish Danfoss IXA's sensors for industrial environments to New Zealand's Nova Eco Tech's clean fuel conversion solution for vehicles. In the end, Puerto Rico-based Replenish Energy Enterprises secured the "People's Choice" Ideas Award with its micro-algae biofuels in a text invitational for the in-house audience reminiscent of Dancing with the Stars. 

To liven up the stage, entrepreneurs shared demos along with well-timed 3-minute pitches that didn't fail to entertain and at many times, delight. On entertainment alone, EcoFactor and LivinGreen Materials drew numerous laughs like no others. At the end of the day though, EcoFactor's residential energy solution of software-as-a-service (SaaS) that sits in the cloud and returns thermostat adjustments to take advantage of waste in a hands-free environment won the grand prize. 

All the stage presentations are on Cleantech Open's YouTube channel. Or watch this great video overview on 

For details on all of the finalists in the three regions from attending media, take a look at what earth2tech's Josie Garthwaite and Cleantech Group's Lisa Sibley had to say, or see Cleantech Open's official press release


2009 National Prize Winner: (valued at $250,000, including $100,000 in seed capital) — EcoFactor 

(1st runner-up - Alphabet Energy 2nd runner-up - MicroMidas)

2009 Alumni Award Winner Adura Technologies 

2009 National Sustainability Award Prize: $20,000 in startup services HydroVolts 

2009 People's Choice Global Cleantech Ideas Award Winner Prize: $100,000 in startup services Replenish Energy Enterprises Watch the video here

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