Cleantech Open West's Day of Innovation

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Congratulations to all our Western Region Semi-finalists! You made it through to our Awards and Innovation Showcase. After four months of hard work, you certainly deserved a celebration and chance to unwind and meet your fellow startups.

The day kicked off with a chance for our 2014 Accelerator teams to share their innovative, cleantech ideas in our Showcase Expo.

  • Want a neat way to find parking spaces and save on lighting costs – then check out Seevider.
  • Ever thought of converting trash to biofuels? Renowaster's the man.
  • How about recycling carpet into usable plastic pellets? – Rethink Green has it underfoot and under control.
  • Ohmconnect can save you money on your power costs
  • ... and Axiom Exergy can save your superstore money on their refrigeration costs.

Recycling napkins and plastics!

Next, the Mayor of Fremont, Bill Harrison welcomed us all to the speeches, cleantech panels and awards in the conference room. Fittingly, he was able to fashion a matching tie out of the table napkins!

Our first keynote speaker, Mike Biddle of MBA Polymers, treated us to an impassioned speech on the problems of plastic and the perils of being an entrepreneur. Then, a panel on Sustainable Cities discussed their experiences in making cities both more sustainable AND more receptive to innovative, cleantech ideas.

Entrepreneurs have grit, determination and heart

Next, our first awards of the day. The first three prize winners were:

  • Maxout Renewables (Energy Generation)
  • Dragonfly Energy (Energy Distribution/Storage and Transport)
  • Axiom Exergy (Energy Efficiency and Green Buildings)

Each of the Finalists gave a short three-minute pitch to explain their product and try to win the hearts of the audience for the People's Choice Award. Eric Cummings, of Maxout Renewables, thanked everyone in the Cleantech Open and his company plus his mother and his dog, and only had time for 'our company has grit, it has determination and it has heart'. Perfect qualities for a cleantech startup!

After a fascinating panel discussion on Innovation Resources, our next three award winners were announced:

  • Rethink Green (Energy Generation and Chemicals/Advanced Materials)
  • BlueMorphUV (Agriculture, Water and Waste)
  • Climformatics (Agriculture, Water and Waste)

Muscle-man Alexander Farren of BlueMorphUV deserves a special mention for finding the time to work on his body as well his water-saving product! Every cleantech entrepreneur knows the importance of taking time for themselves in order to stay sane.

Rewarding hard work and future potential

Our final keynote speaker, Greg Horowitt, of T2 Venture Creation, talked of the evolving nature of Silicon Valley and how its culture helps to unlock human potential.

Our next group of awards paid tribute to the volunteers in our Cleantech Open organization:

  • Jim Diestel and Andrew Green (Mentors of the Year)
  • Bruce Witney and Joy Montgomery (Volunteers of the Year)
  • SF Peninsula Team – Kim Eva Van Keymeulen, Sebastian Steinbach, Adrienne Pierce, Jane Richards, Claudia Catalanotti and Ted Belanger (Volunteer Team of the Year)

Rex Northen, CEO of the Cleantech Open, then presented the new Linda Gee Sustainability Award in honour of our esteemed colleague, who sadly passed away this year:

  • BlueMorphUV (Linda Gee Sustainability Award)

Donate to the Linda Gee Memorial Fund.

And next, the audience voted in favour of:

  • Axiom Exergy (People's Choice Award)

Or maybe the award was for 'Best Trick Riding of an Electric Scooter'! If you came to the bus tour of Fremont's Innovation District, you'll know exactly what that means.

The Final Four - Ready for the Global Forum

After a day of excitement and innovation, Marc Gottschalk, founder of the Cleantech Open, announced the Final Four. These four startup teams win $20,000 in cash and services and will go on to compete at the Cleantech Open's Global Forum in San Francisco this November:

  • Maxout Renewables – solar power balancer that cuts power use and costs
  • BlueMorphUV – UV sanitizer for food/beverage industry that cuts water use by half
  • Axiom Exergy – stores 'cold' energy to cut refrigeration costs by 20%
  • Dragonfly Energy – reduces cost of lithium-ion battery manufacture.

The Final Four certainly represent a wide cross-section of cleantech ideas. We wish them well at the Global Forum. But let's not forget all our Semi-finalist teams who have made this year a fascinating and rewarding experience for all at the Cleantech Open. We hope to see you all at the Global Forum, pitching your great ideas and connecting with investors. Good luck everyone!

And finally, many thanks to our event sponsors, City of Fremont and Opterra Energy Services.

  • By Skipso Admin on in Western

Updated on March 17, 2015 5:34 PM