SOURCE: Cleantech Open

Cleantech Open

October 21, 2009 19:56 ET

Cleantech Open Announces Finalists in California Regional Competition

Six Teams Represent the Best of California Cleantech; Each Team Has Won a Prize Worth $100K, and Is Entered Into the National Competition, Grand Prize Winner to Be Announced November 17

REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwire - October 21, 2009) - The Cleantech Open ( has announced the winning teams in the California region of the world's biggest cleantech business plan competition. In March of this year, 278 teams submitted entries -- the most ever in the four-year history of the competition. 158 of those teams made it through to the California competition, of which 49 were selected as semifinalists. Last week, those teams presented to the Cleantech Open judges, who selected six finalist teams (one for each category) to compete in the national competition next month.

"This is the first year that we have run a California-only competition, and we saw a remarkable increase in the quantity and quality of the contestant teams," said Rex Northen, executive director of the Cleantech Open. "These California finalists will convene with teams from two other regions at the Cleantech Open Awards Gala and Expo, which promises to be a showcase of the best in global cleantech."

The finalists and runners-up in the California competition of the Cleantech Open are:

Air, Water and Waste: Micromidas converts raw sewage into biodegradable plastic. John Bissell, CEO, commented: "The Cleantech Open has proven an exceptional opportunity from which we've drawn an amazing network of mentors and advisers. With their help, we are now eager to push into the pilot phase of our plan that allows us to demonstrate our value to our customers. Thank you, Cleantech Open."

The runner-up in this category is Solum (agricultural sensing to prevent or reduce fertilizer runoff).

Energy Efficiency: Alphabet Energy plans to commercialize a disruptive, low-cost thermoelectric technology (developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) that captures wasted energy and converts it into electricity. Producers of waste heat can use this electricity to power their facilities, or sell it back to the grid. "When you're thrown into a pool like the Cleantech Open, it's sink or swim! This has been an awesome experience that has pushed us to refine every element of our business," said Dr. Matthew L. Scullin, CEO.

The runner-up in this category is PowerZoa (smart plug for residential use that monitors and controls energy usage).

Green Building: tru2earth makes the tru2earth Life Cycle Roof Tile -- 50+ year-rated roofing materials made from recycled PET (water/soda bottle) plastic that are energy-efficient, and cradle-to-cradle recyclable. They allow for rainwater harvesting and, unlike other sustainable roofing materials, are price-competitive with asphalt shingles. "The Cleantech Open provided the framework, resources, and support to make us successful," said Brian Pierson, CEO of tru2earth. "We plan on leveraging our win in the Green Building category to drive momentum in product development and fundraising, and we will be able to go to market two quarters sooner -- a lifetime in the construction industry."

The runner-up in this category is GreenPyro (pioneering the use of carbon- negative products).

Renewables: Armageddon Energy sells a packaged retail residential rooftop solar energy system that is attractive, affordable, and easy to install. "The Cleantech Open helped Armageddon Energy get off the ground. It brought the founding team together, helped us build our business plan and make crucial business connections. And, by winning the Renewable Energy category, it will undoubtedly help us as a small company gain credibility with crucial customers, supply chain partners and investors," said Mark Goldman, CEO.

The runner-up in this category is ZERE (Zero Emission Renewable Energy: energy plants powered by biomass fuel).

Smart Power: EcoFactor won for its personalized residential energy management solution for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, which enables consumers to reduce energy costs and save money on utility bills without sacrificing comfort or giving up control. John Steinberg, EcoFactor CEO, said: "This award should help us advance our mission of providing personalized energy efficiency that works for both consumers and service providers. This recognition also confirms the economic and the ecological value of moving beyond one-size-fits-all residential energy management solutions."

The runner-up in this category is Velkess (grid-scale energy storage technology).

Transportation: FuelSaver Technologies' real-time, shape-changing technology increases fuel efficiency in long-haul vehicles such as tractor-trailer trucks and buses. Full-body streamlining of the vehicle's aerodynamic profile minimizes drag at the back and underbelly of the trailer, and between the tractor and trailer. "The Cleantech Open helped me evolve from an inventor into an entrepreneur. The wonderful volunteers with whom I worked supported me, challenged me, taught me, and broadened my horizon. It's an amazing group of people who want to make our world a better place," said Doron Neuberger, founder and CEO.

The runner-up in this category is itMoves (the car equivalent of a netbook; light, small, easy to use, yet with extended capabilities via connection to the information cloud).

Finalists from all three regions (California, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific Northwest) will convene for a final show-down at the Cleantech Open Awards Gala, held in San Francisco on November 17.

Cleantech Open is made possible by National and California sponsors

The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by National Expansion Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Platinum Sponsor: PG&E; Gold Sponsors: Autodesk, The Cleantech Circle, Google, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati; Silver Sponsors: Accretive Solutions and RoseRyan; and Program Sponsors: California Clean Energy Fund, Ernst and Young, and Korn/Ferry International.

Competition details

Early-stage startups compete in six categories: air/water/waste management, energy efficiency, green building, renewable energy, smart power, and transportation. For more information on the Cleantech Open business competition:

Cleantech Open Web resources

Cleantech Open website:

How it works:

2009 semifinalists:

Cleantech Open blog:



Twitter: @cleantechopen

About The Cleantech Open

The Cleantech Open is the world's largest cleantech business competition. Our mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today's most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. The program provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships to turn ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual business competition and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has helped hundreds of clean technology startups bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helping alumni contestants raise over $125m and making thousands of green collar jobs possible. Fueled by a network of more than 400 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America's clean tech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit, and follow @cleantechopen on Twitter.

In addition to the original competition held in California, the Cleantech Open was expanded in 2009 to include two new regions: the Rocky Mountain region, including Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; and the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Cleantech entrepreneurs will compete for a total of more than $1 million in prizes. Past alumni successes include Adura Technologies, Cool Earth Solar, Enverity, Federspiel Controls, GreenVolts, GroundSource GeoThermal, Lucid Design Group, Mission Motors, and Syncromatics.

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