California Cleantech Open Awards Six Visionary Entrepreneurs

From environmentally friendly diapers to innovations in solar technology, six clean tech startups receive $100,000 in prizes

San Francisco, Calif., November 7, 2008 — At its third annual Awards Gala held at the Palace of Fine Arts yesterday, the California Cleantech Open, the innovation catalyst for clean technology, announced the six category winners of its 2008 competition. Selected from a competitive field of 43 finalists, the award winners will each receive a $100,000 "start-up in a box" package to assist them in transforming their clean tech visions into successful businesses.

"Innovation has never been more critical for our economy and our environment," said Chris Vargas, Partner, Cleantech Circle, a judge and mentor for the 2008 competition. "That's why I'm absolutely thrilled to see the breadth of ideas the 2008 Clean Tech Open winners have brought to the table. I have no doubt this is just the beginning for them - as it is for the clean tech industry as a whole."

In the last two years, the Cleantech Open has helped its alumni raise over $115 million in funding and create hundreds of jobs. Expectations for the 2008 winners are high. The six winners represent a diverse group of Californian entrepreneurs, with businesses ranging from environmentally friendly diapers to innovations in solar technology to energy efficiency management for data centers. The winners competed in six categories, and include:

  • Air, Water & Waste Award: Over the Moon Diapers - makes high performance, consumer friendly diapers that are industrial wash compatible and can be laundered by diaper services.
  • Energy Efficiency Award: Viridis Earth - company makes an efficient retrofit product to save 20-30% off of the $30 billion spent annually in the U.S. operating residential air conditioners, offering a payback of less than two years.
  • Green Building Award: BottleStone - manufactures ceramic stone surface material made of 80% recycled waste glass.
  • Renewables Award: Focal Point Energy - offers solar hot water and steam generation for industrial applications.
  • Smart Power Award: Power Assure - makes on-demand energy efficiency management software for data centers.
  • Transportation Award: ElectraDrive - offers rapid, inexpensive adaptation of existing vehicles to electric drive.
An additional "Alumni Award" recognizing outstanding business achievement by a 2006 or 2007 CCTO finalist was presented to Jim Sanfilippo, CEO of NiLA Inc., winner of the Energy Efficiency Award in 2007. The company offers environmentally sustainable lighting to the motion picture industry. The new James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace," features NiLA lights.

Runners up in each category were also announced and include: Porifera, creates carbon nanotube membrane for reverse osmosis desalination; NexChem, develops energy-saving process improvement for zinc galvanizing; GroundSource Geo, uses drilling technology to provide a complete green building heating, cooling and hot water solution; Solar Red, reduces cost of residential photovoltaic installations by 50 percent; Renewable Fuel Technologies, uses agricultural waste biomass and converts it to BioCoal, for use in California cement plants; Energy Empowered, offers home displays and controls to reduce standby power usage; and Goose Networks, offers hosted commute management software.

Each winner completed the Cleantech Open's unique and valuable training program, including a summer-long set of entrepreneurial workshops providing vital preparation and training in all facets of business planning, from legal to finance to marketing, and has included mentoring services from successful entrepreneurs.

"Seeing the Cleantech Open grow over the past three years has been nothing short of inspiring, and the 2008 winners provide further validation that our mission to provide education and support to passionate entrepreneurs can make a decided impact," said California Cleantech Open Co-Chair, Michael Santullo. "I'm grateful to the volunteers, sponsors and participants of this year's Open, and am excited to see what's ahead."

2008 Clean Tech Open Sponsors
As a nonprofit organization, the Cleantech Open is reliant on the participation, funding and support from this year's sponsors, including: AMD, Google, Grundfos; California's investor-owned utilities PG&E, SCE & SDG&E; Lexus, Siemens TTB, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the five National Labs: Argonne National Laboratory; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

2008 Clean Tech Open Prize: "Start-up in a box"
The winning startups each received $100,000 in prizes from a "start-up in a box" package to help launch their clean tech business. The prizes include $50,000 in cash from the category prize sponsors, and essential business worth another $50,000 from Accretive Solutions, Adaptive Planning, Autodesk, Inc., Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, City of San Jose, Cisco WebEx, Environmental Business Cluster, MacCorkle Insurance Service, MarketWire, Moyo Group Inc., New Energy Finance, Page One Public Relations, People Connect, Plug and Play Tech Center, Positive Impact Partner, San Jose BioCenter, San Jose Redevelopment Agency, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

About the Cleantech Open
A non-profit organization, The Cleantech Open is an innovation catalyst, helping today's clean tech innovators become tomorrow's viable cleantech businesses. The core of the Cleantech Open is an annual regional business plan competition that provides cleantech entrepreneurs and early stage companies with the training, services and insights they need to successfully go to market. To date, the Cleantech Open has assisted alumni companies in raising over $115m in funding, as well as created hundreds of jobs in the clean tech market. Fueled by a one of a kind network of over 400 volunteers and in-kind sponsors, the Cleantech Open connects the public and private sectors with a shared vision for making the cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. Past alumni start-ups include GreenVolts and Adura Technologies. To learn more, please visit:

The Cleantech Open is under the fiscal and administrative sponsorship of Acterra: Action for a Sustainable Earth, a California 501(c)3 non-profit public benefit corporation. Acterra is located at 3921 East Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4303.

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