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Chicago’s HEVT Wins National Grand Prize at the 2012 Cleantech Open Global Forum

Next-generation electric motor company draws national attention to the Midwest cleantech community


Chicago, Ill. – November 13, 2012: Chicago-based electric motor company HEVT prevailed as the National Grand Prize winner at the 2012 Cleantech Open Global Forum, marking the second year in a row a startup from the North Central region of the business accelerator program has been named top cleantech entrepreneur.

HEVT’s disruptive electric motor technologies leverage smart software with optimally designed hardware to create electric motors that provide a rare combination of performance, efficiency, reliability and affordability, while reducing supply volatility due to the motors’ elegant design, simplicity of active materials and the absence of rare earth metals.

“Our technology is a key building block for renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable mobility technologies, and we solve critical global environmental and supply chain problems surrounding the mining and refining of rare earth metals,” said Heidi Lubin, CEO and co-founder of HEVT. “The validation we have received as part of the Cleantech Open accelerates our growth and helps us meet growing customer demand in a challenging macroeconomic environment.”

HEVT’s technologies are scalable from 150 watts to one megawatt and beyond—or from air conditioners to oil and gas pumps to hydroelectric generators (learn more). HEVT beat out 24 other finalists from the 356 companies participating nationally in six market categories, and will receive the equivalent of $250,000 in cash and services from the Cleantech Open in addition to the ongoing support and mentoring that all alumni companies receive from the nonprofit accelerator program. 

Minnesota-based Atmosphere Recovery won the Grand Prize last year, and SiNode—another Chicago company—received the Energy Efficiency Category Award this year for its silicon-based anode technology, which dramatically increases the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries and reduces charging time. Midwestern startups now have received two of the six Category Awards in each of the last two years. 

“Heidi and her HEVT team are a group of savvy entrepreneurs that will be fun to watch as they scale up. HEVT and SiNode are both stellar examples of Midwestern innovation,” said Justin Kaster, Director and co-founder of the North Central region of the Cleantech Open. “According to the Brookings Institution, one-third of all U.S. R&D funds go to the Midwest, but little more than 10 percent of venture capital is invested in the region. This is despite the fact that more than 40 percent of the LPs (large pension funds) invested in VC funds are from the Midwest. This points to a broken model around funding early stage businesses here, but our program is changing that equation. More than 90 percent of our finalist alumni have received funding.” 

Last month, four companies from the North Central region–HEVT (Chicago, Ill.), SiNode (Evanston, Ill.), IrriGreen (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Barasa (Wheaton, Ill.)–were selected by a panel of Midwest business leaders to represent the region as finalists at the 2012 Cleantech Open Global Forum, which marked the grand finale of the Cleantech Open’s yearlong national business accelerator. More than 1,000 business professionals, including accelerator companies and alumni, mentors, civic leaders, investors, and large corporate representatives attended the two-day festival of cleantech innovation and entrepreneurship in California on November 8-9.

About The Cleantech Open
The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest cleantech accelerator, a nonprofit organization that fosters the most promising startups in cleantech fields through a five-month program that includes targeted entrepreneur training, showcasing and meetings with investors. A broad cross-section of corporations, academia, industry experts and successful entrepreneurs participate in the Cleantech Open’s accelerator and mentoring program, including the cutting-edge workshops at the Cleantech Open National Academy. 

Since 2006, 581 Cleantech Open alumni companies across the U.S. have raised more than $660 million in external funding and created thousands of jobs. The North Central Cleantech Open regional program was founded in 2010 to provide entrepreneurs and technologists across the Midwest with the resources needed to launch successful companies. Learn more at

The Cleantech Open is made possible by generous support from our Global Partner, Chevron; National Education Partner, University of Phoenix; and National Sponsors, Wells Fargo and PARC. The North Central Accelerator Program is additionally sponsored by the following organizations: Faegre Baker Daniels, The Dow Chemical Company, Deloitte, Clise Billion Cyr, True North Venture Partners, Gopher Angels, Andcor, Cleantech Communications, Sage Presence and others. 


Media contact:
Bart King, Cleantech Communications