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Cleantech Open Northeast Announces Four Regional Finalists

Teams receive $20,000 in prizes and chance to compete in national competition, community celebrates cleantech entrepreneurs.

BOSTON – October 9, 2012: Cleantech Open Northeast, the region’s largest cleantech accelerator, announced today that Pika Energy, Rentricity, Red Ox Systems and Coincident will represent the region at the Cleantech Open Global Forum, where they will compete with emerging environmental and energy technology firms throughout the nation for $250,000 in cash and services and an overall prize chest of nearly $1 million.

“With the largest applicant pool and most rigorous training schedule in Cleantech Open Northeast history, tonight’s finalists are well-prepared to take home the national Cleantech Open prize,” said Alexandra Adler, Northeast Regional Director of the Cleantech Open. 

More than 250 start-ups, business leaders and public officials from the region’s cleantech community attended the cleantech entrepreneurship accelerator’s annual Regional Awards Gala at the Microsoft NERD Center to hear pitches from the top six semifinalists and to rally around the region’s thriving cleantech start-up community.

A panel of the region’s top cleantech business leaders selected the top four teams who were awarded $20,000 in cash and in-kind services each and will move on to compete for category prizes and a national grand prize of up to $250,000 at the national Cleantech Open Global Forum in San Jose, California on November 8 to 9, 2012. Cleantech Open Northeast also awarded a Regional Sustainability Award to team that most effectively incorporated a triple-bottom-line approach to scaling its business. For the first time ever, a special prize was also awarded to a software company with a particularly strong business model.

Below is information on the four northeast regional finalists and the categories they entered:

  • Air, Water and Waste. This category covers technologies that focus on improving resource availability, conservation and pollution control. Red Ox Systems (New Haven, Connecticut) won with its innovative technologies that create valuable products from waste streams. Their first product, the Electrochemical Desalination Cell (EDC), desalinates wastewater, produces inorganic chemicals and generates electricity. 
  • Energy Efficiency. This category includes technologies that can significantly reduce wasted energy (including natural gas), driving toward the common goal of saving the equivalent of “a power plant a year” (or “NegaWatts”). Coincident (Boston, Mass.) won with its technology that optimizes HVAC performance in residential, multi-tenant, and small commercial facilities by replacing thermostats with a new type of sensor network that measures room-by-room performance and applies adaptive analytics to operate heating and cooling zones more comfortably and efficiently. 
  • Renewable Energy. This category includes innovations that use, enable and accelerate the migration to renewable energy. Renewables encompass technologies that use waste streams to directly produce energy. Pika Energy (Gorham, Maine) won with its personal wind energy systems that help homeowners produce their own electricity from clean renewable sources. Rentricity (New York, New York) also won for renewable energy. Rentricity is a leading developer of in-pipe hydropower systems that provide clean electricity and monitoring solutions for water infrastructure.

In addition to the four regional finalists, Cleantech Open also recognized the following teams with the Sustainability Award, for most effectively incorporating a triple-bottom-line approach to scaling its business, as well as a new prize for an innovative software or service company.

  • Regional Sustainability Award – Awarded to Red Ox Systems (New Haven, Connecticut) 
  • Innovative Software or Service Award – Awarded to Save Energy Systems (Beverley, Massachusetts)  


“Cleantech Open is not just a business plan competition, but also a sector building organization,” said Rob Day, Partner at Black Coral Capital and chairman of Cleantech Open Northeast’s regional board. “This year’s record-breaking pool of teams is evidence of the strength and vitality of the region’s cleantech and entrepreneurship community.”


“Cleantech Open Northeast provides our region’s most promising cleantech start-ups an opportunity to turn their innovative technologies and business ideas into the leading clean energy companies of tomorrow,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Chief Executive Officer Alicia Barton McDevitt. “MassCEC is proud to support this competition and its role in fostering cleantech innovations here in Massachusetts and beyond.”


This year, 77 teams of innovative cleantech entrepreneurs entered the Northeast region of the Cleantech Open, up from 60 in 2011.  In June, a panel of local judges selected 39 teams to compete as semifinalists in the region. This year’s semifinalists were the most geographically diverse group in the program’s eight-year history (Cleantech Open Northeast is formerly known as the Ignite Clean Energy Competition).  A total of 20 firms were from Massachusetts, 11 from New York, four from Maine, and four from New Jersey and Connecticut. The teams also span sectors including Air, Water & Waste (8), Energy Efficiency (13), Green Building (2), Renewable Energy (11), Smart Power (2) and Transportation (3). The full list of participating semi-finalists is posted here. 


Already, each team has benefited from an impressive list of benefits offered by the Cleantech Open Accelerator program: expert mentors to guide them through the process and provide feedback on their business strategy, extensive entrepreneurship training, networking opportunities with investors, and focused business training at the Cleantech Open National Academy.


The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided Global Partner, Chevron; National Education Partner, University of Phoenix; and National Sponsor, Wells Fargo. In addition, Cleantech Open Northeast is sponsored by Premier Sponsor, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC); Gold Sponsors, Mintz Levin and Cleantech Innovations New England; Silver Sponsors, Dow Chemical, Foley Hoag, Deloitte and Bingham McCutchen; Bronze Sponsors, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Silicon Valley Bank, Saul Ewing and NYSERDA; National Investor Members, Black Coral Capital and General Catalyst; and In-Kind Sponsors, Solomon McCown & Company Inc., T3 Advisors, Fraunhofer CSE, Plano & Simple and New Relic Media.


About The Cleantech Open

The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest cleantech accelerator and is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs and technologists the resources needed to launch a successful cleantech company. Our mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Over the past seven years, the Cleantech Open has awarded over $5 million in cash and services. During that time, our 581 alumni companies have raised more than $660 million in external funding. Fueled by a network of more than 2,000 volunteers, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.