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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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Pacific Northwest Cleantech Open Announces Three Winners

Posted by at 12:00 PM, 10/30/2009

Winners Receive $50,000 in Cash and Services and Earn Spot in National Finals for Up to $250,000 in Cash and Services

Pacific Northwest Awards Gala

SEATTLE, WA--(October 30, 2009) - The Pacific Northwest Clean Tech Open (CTO), an innovation catalyst that helps great ideas become viable clean tech businesses, announced the three winners of the inaugural clean tech business plan competition: Green Lite Motors (100 MPG Commuter Vehicle), Hydrovolts (In-Stream Hydro Power), and LivinGreen Materials (Advanced Solar Technology). The winning teams each received $50,000 in cash and in-kind services and will now participate in the national competition for up to $250,000 in cash and services next month in San Francisco. Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire headlined the event last night at Seattle's ACT Theatre, where she also met with the semi-finalists to learn about their inventions. She recognized the important contributions of the CTO for its efforts in building a viable and sustainable clean tech sector to help the economy and environment of the region. "

In its first year the Clean Tech Open has become a critical driver for the type of technology innovation our state needs to create new green jobs and find clean energy solutions for our future," said Governor Gregoire. "I commend the contestants and the Clean Tech Open community for their dedication to our state's green economy and improving the way we produce and use energy." 

The three winning teams were chosen from a field of 10 semi-finalists, winnowed down from an initial group of 56. The 10 semi-finalists have benefited from a summer of focused, hands-on mentoring from local and national business leaders to hone their business plans. Judging of the competition was conducted by a group of leading venture capitalists, angel investors and business professionals with deep experience in helping companies turn ideas into viable businesses. Teams were judged not only on the scientific viability of their technology, but equally on the team's ability to move from their idea from the lab to commercial success.

"There are two goals for Pacific Northwest Clean Tech Open," said Byron McCann, co-chair of the Pacific Northwest CTO and Founder of Ascent Partners. "First, help find and fund the best and brightest clean tech ideas. Second, develop a vibrant and lasting clean tech ecosystem to foster job growth and innovation. We've made tremendous progress on those goals and we look forward to building on this great foundation for years to come." 

The winning teams and their technologies are: 

-- Green Lite Motors (Portland, OR)

  - 100MPG Commute Vehicle
  Commuters are stuck in traffic and burning up gas money.  This
  breakthrough vehicle delivers the safety and comfort of a car PLUS:
  100MPG efficiency, express lane privileges, 250 miles of freeway
  cruising, sporty driving, and easy downtown parking.

-- Hydrovolts (Seattle, WA)

  - Power from Water
  Patent-pending hydrokinetic turbines to generate renewable energy
  from waterpower for agriculture, industry and global sustainable
  development. Turbines are easy to install, operate and maintain, need
  no dams or watercourse modification and have a capital return on
  investment in less than five years.

-- LivinGreen Materials (Seattle, WA)

  - Light-Capturing Photoelectrode
  Developing a light-capturing photoelectrode, AggraLight, to sell
  to next-generation photovoltaic manufacturers to boost solar cell
  efficiency by over 50%, reduce the cost per Watt by 40%, and thus
  provide the most cost-effective, sustainable, and versatile solar

The Pacific Northwest CTO began with 56 regional entries spanning clean tech sectors such as energy storage, small-scale solar, wind and hydro, transportation and renewable chemicals. Throughout the seven month competition more than 70 volunteer mentors and committee members have hosted business clinics; put on the Clean Tech Accelerator, an "entrepreneuria l boot camp" and provided one-on-one coaching in a range of professional services including venture capital, business, law, marketing/public relations and sustainability. The Clean Tech Awards Gala was made possible by the support of several sponsors, including: Boeing (presenting sponsor); Ascent Partners Group, Silicon Valley Bank, Van Ness Feldman (supporting sponsors); Avista, Puget Sound Energy (annual platinum sponsors); Deloitte and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (annual silver sponsors). 

About the Clean Tech Open Clean Tech Open is a catalyst for clean tech innovation. A non-profit organization founded in 2006, it provides today's clean tech innovators with the tools, training and connections they need to become tomorrow's viable clean tech businesses. The core of CTO is an annual business competition, supported by expert volunteers and mentors, that provides entrepreneurs with the crucial business training, services and insights they need to go to market successfully. CTO has assisted over 100 companies raise more than $120 million in external funding, and has spurred the creation of hundreds of jobs in California. Fueled by a network of over 400 volunteers and sponsors, CTO unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America's clean tech sector a thriving economic engine. Past alumni successes include Adura Technologies, Cool Earth Solar and GreenVolts.

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