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Blog Archive: November 2010

2010 Judging Update from San Jose

Posted by Katie Payer 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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And the Winner Is...

Posted by Katie Payer at 12:30 PM, 11/18/2010


Congratulations to Pacific Northwest company Puralytics for winning the 2010 National Grand Prize.  OnChip Power from the Northeast Region and EarthClean from the North Central Region were the two runners up, and were also their regions' winners.  INOTEC won the Rocky Mountain Region and pureSolar won the California Region.

There were three additional winners during the 2010 Awards Gala. Silicon Solar Solutions from the North Central Region won the Business Competition People's Choice Award for their exciting on-stage demonstration.  Abeo A/S from Denmark took home the Global Ideas Competition People's Choice Award for their enthralling idea and video. BioVantage from the Rocky Mountain Region took home the National Sustainability award.

Congratulations to all of the companies for their stellar performances throughout the competition and on-stage!

You can read all the press about these various companies here.

And join us on YouTube to watch the 1-minute videos of all 18 regional finalists,plus find plenty of interviews from the winners backstage, insight into the competition and judging, and much more.

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The Passing of DK (Donnie) Foster

Posted by Katie Payer at 1:45 PM, 11/30/2010

It is with a heavy heart that the Cleantech Open announces one of our beloved alumni and excellent mentors has died.  DK (Donnie) Foster died in a kayaking accident during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Donnie entered the competition in 2008 with PowerAssure, a company that won both the Smart Power category and the Sustainability Award that year.  He left PowerAssure in 2009 to consult for cleantech startups.  This year he worked with one of the California semifinalists companies, Amberix. 



“I'm a bit sad to say that I did not Donnie very well or well enough, as we were always going to catch up on things over lunch in the near future. I'm sure he'd say (with that smile) that it was my loss, and I think he would be right. I found him a bright, engaging and personable guy, a kindred spirit who left this big green party way too soon. 

Donnie was the first person I met at the first Cleantech Open event I attended. We quickly got into an animated discussion about some of the geekier aspects of data center efficiency before we both realized we had better see what everyone else was up to. Our encounters thereafter were equally energetic, involving, and all too brief. At the Palace of Fine Arts in 2008, I was very happy to hear that PowerAssure won the Sustainability Award, and then doubly happy hearing that we (GroundSource Geo) would share it with them. Hours later, we also independently developed the Mel's milk shake theory as a dubious cure for hopelessly lost voices.

One of the many benefits of involvement with the Cleantech Open is access to an ever-expanding entrepreneurial social network full of interesting people like Donnie Foster. Do not take them for granted: they inhabit a special place in a special time. We need to pop out of our various silos occasionally and make sure to make good on that lunch.”

~ Dennis Murphy, GroundSource Geo, 2008 Sustainability Winner

“Donnie Foster was one of our true gems. Always ready with good things to say and good advice for others, Donnie was a joy to work with - and to be with.

Donnie, many congratulations on all your successes, many thanks for all you did for all of us at the Cleantech Open as a contestant and as a mentor - and for always coming armed with your inimitable grin. We'll miss you deeply.”

~ Rex Northen, Executive Director, Cleantech Open

“"Donnie was an all-around great guy.  His genuine enthusiasm for cleantech and anyone in it was ever-present.   Donnie led his company Power Assure to win both the Cleantech Open 2008 Smart Power category and the 2008 Sustainability Award, clearly demonstrating his "holistic" approach to doing business.  He took his company on to continued success as a real leader in cleantech.  Donnie will be greatly missed, personally and professionally."  “

~ Annette Walker, Cleantech Open Executive Director during the time Donnie participated in the competition (2008)


“I respected DK as we competed against each other in 2008 Cleantech Open, and loved him as a friend and co-worker when we cooperated in the 2010 Cleantech Open competition.

He never stopped cracking jokes in stressful situations.

The Amberix team will sure miss him.”

~ Behzad Imani, Amberix, co-worker of Donnie



Our condolences to his family and friends.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011. Contact Carole Christian or 650.967.7000 for details.


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