Cleantech Open Announces 2011 Winners

The 2011 Cleantech Open has come to a successful conclusion.  Over 300 start-ups competed through months of developing business models, working with industry professionals, prepping presentations and then facing the judges for a verdict on their efforts.  The 6th annual contest concluded last week up in the bay area. 

The National $250,000 Grand Prize winner, which was selected from the five category finalists, was Atmosphere Recovery (ARI), from the Renewable Energy category.  ARI sells a variety of sensors including a laser-based gas analyzer systems for efficient manufacturing and advanced energy process control.  The gas analyzer reduces waste and emissions when used in a variety of precise process environments – heat treating, sampling, combustion, glass and semiconductor fab.  

Grand prize finalists (and category winners):

Air-water-waste: PK Clean, which converts landfill plastics into hydrocarbon fuels through a catalytic depolymerization process.

Energy efficiency: Indow Windows, which manufactures thermal window inserts that press into place on the inside of a window frame to deliver double-pane window performance at a fraction of the price. The startup also took home the sustainability award.

Green building: Whole Trees Structures, which manufactures structural building systems made from round timber, the waste product of sustainably managed forests.

Smart power: GridMobility, whose Color of the Electron™ signal technology enables business, industry and consumers to choose electricity sources based on their personal preferences.

From a group 120 semi-finalists, 21 finalists were selected to compete for the grand prize.  Among the finalists in the Transportation category was gridtest systems, a company that designs and manufactures test instrumentation for companies installing and servicing electric vehicle chargers.  gridtest is headed by CEO and Green LAVA contributor Neal Roche.  gridtest was also finalist in the recent Opportunity Green’s OG25 Innovative Green Startup Award.  Congratulations Neal and gridtest!

I had the privilege of mentoring for Eco-Pros, a southern California energy efficiency company focused on developing a Software as a Service (SaaS) application for building owners and consultants conducting energy audits to American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards.  Eco-Pros is typical of the companies that go through the competition.  A bright founding team, an innovative product or service and the ambition to create a successful company.  These applicants are paired with mentors, attend the Cleantech Academy and work through a process that not only creates better business models, but better entrepreneurs. 

It’s a winning strategy and I’m looking forward to working with another team next year.  If you have an interest in green tech and the skills and experience to assist young, innovative companies, I recommend you sign-up early next year to participate in the competition. It is well worth your efforts.