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Cleantech Open volunteer Carole Low contributes this wrap-up report from the 2009 Cleantech Open Expo and Awards Gala. Thanks Carole!
"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.
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
2009 Alumni Award Winner Adura Technologies
2009 National Sustainability Award Prize: $20,000 in startup services HydroVolts
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