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Cleantech Open Announces 2009 Competition Winners at Annual Expo & Gala

Thousands rallied for the Cleantech Open’s daylong festival of cleantech innovation, entrepreneurship and policy, which culminated in the award of the grand prize of $250,000 for the national winner. For the first time, international cleantech ideas were featured, with attendees selecting a winner from countries worldwide.

Media contact: Tim Cox, tim@zingpr.com, +1-650-369-7784

SAN FRANCISCO, November 18, 2009 — The Cleantech Open, the world’s largest business competition created to find, fund and foster startup clean technology companies, announced the winners of this year’s competition at the annual Cleantech Open Expo and Awards Gala at the Masonic Center in San Francisco. Dubbed the “Academy Awards of Clean Technology,” the event marks the grand finale of the Cleantech Open's yearlong business competition. This year, at the Cleantech Open’s biggest event ever, thousands of people representing the nascent cleantech industry —contestants, alumni teams from previous years, mentors, venture capitalists and budding cleantech entrepreneurs — convened to showcase the best in cleantech innovation from national and international teams. 

2009 National Prize winner
Selected from the 12 finalists of the Cleantech Open business plan competition, the National Prize was awarded to EcoFactor (www.ecofactor.com). A finalist in the Cleantech Open California regional competition, EcoFactor entered in the smart power category, with a personalized residential energy management solution for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The grand prize is valued at $250,000, including $100,000 of seed capital, and was presented by vice president and managing executive of venture capital Trond Unneland at Chevron Technology Ventures. Separately, today Chevron announced they were joining the Cleantech Open’s roster of corporate partners as inaugural Global Partner for the 2010 Cleantech Open business competition.

“We're thrilled to be named the national winner of the Cleantech Open, especially considering the high caliber of cleantech companies we were up against,” said Scott Hublou, SVP of products and co-founder of EcoFactor. “It's a great honor to win an award in which we were evaluated and judged by our peers and people whose feedback and opinions we value.”
 
“This award is as much about the strength of our whole team as it is about the important work we're doing. Being named the Cleantech Open national winner really validates our solution and our business model, and proves that the market is looking for energy-efficiency solutions that don't ask people to change their behavior or sacrifice comfort,” said John Steinberg, CEO and co-founder of EcoFactor. “This award will help us further advance our mission of providing personalized residential energy management solutions, because we believe consumers shouldn't have to choose between savings, comfort and convenience.”

The judges also nominated two runners-up for the National Prize: Alphabet Energy (waste-heat recapture www.alphabetenergy.com); and MicroMidas (transforms raw sewage into biodegradable plastic www.micromidas.com). Earlier in the day, audience members at the Awards Gala voted Alphabet Energy as the People’s Choice business competition winner.

2009 Alumni Award winner
Each year, the Cleantech Open leadership team identifies an alumni company that has made significant progress during the year. This year, the Alumni award went to Adura Technologies, which manufactures and sells lighting and energy management controls that are easy to install and use. In a recent two-week test with PG&E, Adura managed to reduce light load by 72 percent. www.aduratech.com 

2009 National Sustainability Award winner
Sustainability of technologies and ideas of the teams that enter the Cleantech Open are given additional scrutiny by the mentors and judges, and each team receives specific sustainability mentoring. This year’s National Sustainability award of $20,000 goes to HydroVolts, whose innovative in-stream hydrokinetic turbine enables distributed clean-energy generation from canals, waterways, spillways, rivers, streams, and tidal currents around the world. www.hydrovolts.com 

2009 Global Cleantech Open Ideas winner
For the first time, cleantech innovations from around the world were featured at the Cleantech Open. The Global Cleantech Open Ideas Competition looks to find ‘big ideas’ by working at a grassroots level and to support and foster those ideas. Orchestrated in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation, startups from around the world competed for a prize worth $100,000 in startup services. Entries were received from Brazil, China, Denmark, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, and the USA. Audience members voted Replenish Energy of Puerto Rico the winner of the Global Cleantech Open Ideas competition. Micro-algae are the world’s most efficient renewable energy source currently available: it can deliver 48,000 kilowatts of electricity per million dollars capital invested; this compares to 470kW for solar panels and 1,300kW for wind turbines. www.replenishenergy.org

“We wish this year’s winners every success — their collective innovation and spirit of entrepreneurship will spur crucial advances to address the energy, environmental and economic challenges that we face,” said Rex Northen, executive director of the Cleantech Open. “While this marks the completion of our annual competition, it is only the beginning for this year’s semifinalists. As Cleantech Open alumni, we will continue to help them successfully commercialize their cleantech ideas and create jobs.”

The Cleantech Open Expo and Awards Gala is a carbon-neutral event.
The organization has partnered with Planet Up to offset emissions created by air travel and on-site activity through contributions to local forestry projects and other community environmental initiatives. In fact, the overall impact of this year’s event will be a positive one – the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road for one day.

The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by National Expansion Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Platinum Sponsor: PG&E; Gold Sponsors: Autodesk, The Cleantech Circle, Google, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati; Silver Sponsors: Accretive Solutions and RoseRyan; and Program Sponsors: California Clean Energy Fund, Ernst and Young, and Korn/Ferry International. Media and outreach partners include Marketwire, the Matter Network, San Francisco Business Times, Greener World Media, TriplePundit.com, Sustainable Industries, and Sustainable Life Media.

Relevant Web resources:
Cleantech Open blog: www.cleantechopen.com/app.cgi/blog/  
Cleantech Open on Facebook: www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=21709779424 
Cleantech Open on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/companies/cleantech-open 
Cleantech Open on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cleantechopen — @cleantechopen 

The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest cleantech business competition. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. The program provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships to turn ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual business competition and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has helped hundreds of clean technology startups bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helping alumni contestants raise over $125m and making thousands of green collar jobs possible. Fueled by a network of more than 400 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s clean tech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit www.cleantechopen.com, and follow @cleantechopen on Twitter. 

In addition to the original competition held in California, the Cleantech Open was expanded in 2009 to include two new regions: the Rocky Mountain region (including Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; and the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Cleantech entrepreneurs will compete for a total of more than $1 million in prizes. Past alumni successes include Adura Technologies, Cool Earth Solar, Enverity, Federspiel Controls, GreenVolts, GroundSource GeoThermal, Lucid Design Group, Mission Motors, and Syncromatics.