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Cleantech Open-Midwest 2017 Innovation Showcase Program Guide

Posted by Steve Webster on

Category: Midwest

8th Cleantech Open Midwest Innovation Summit

Program for November 2nd and 3rd, 2017

Day 1, November 2.
7:30 Registration Opens
8:00 – 8:30 Opening Breakfast (Schulze Atrium 1st Floor)
8:30 – 9:00 Welcome (Schulze Auditorium with Host Steve Webster)

Judging for Accelerator Competition
9:00 – 12:00 30min/Team, worksheet and “pitch” scoring (SCH 407, 419, 420)

Plenary Sessions & Panels
11:00 – 5:00 Breakout sessions, open to the public. (Terrence Murphy 260) 11:30 – 1:00 Lunch (Food for Thought Cafeteria Voucher)
3:15 – 4:45 Judges Deliberations (SCH 407 OR 419 OR 420)
5:00 – 7:30 VIP Reception/Networking (Schulze Atrium)

5:15 – 6:00 2017 Company Pitches

6:00 – 6:15 Special Announcements, Mentor of the Year

6:15 – 7:00 Scrolling video pitches (Schulze Auditorium)Voting for 2017 “People’s Choice Award”


Day 1, November 2, continued
Forums, open to the public. (Terrence Murphy Hall Auditorium)

11:00 – 12:00 Online Investing Options (Moderated by Steve Webster)Funding through Financing Communities on the InternetWith Hassan Sayed and Dick Sommerstad

12:00 – 1:00 Due Diligence (Rajiv Tandon)...and the Path to Money!”

1:00 – 2:00 International Cleantech Investment (Moderated by Steve Webster)Access to International Markets and Financing
With Tab Borden, Sam Hollis and Alan Lowdon

2:00 – 3:00 Talent Access for Technology Startups (Moderated by Lee Skaalrud)Transforming Challenges to Competitive Advantage
With John Reynolds

3:00 – 4:00 AgriFood Entrepreneurship (Moderated by Shannon Schlecht)Innovation and Investment in Food-Ag-Water TechnologyWith Mike Bazakos, Ryan Findlay, and Harold Stanislawski

4:00 – 5:00 Sustaining Innovation (Moderated by Garrick Villaume)Pathways and Processes for Sustaining InnovationWith Janine Elliot and Steven Kistler


Day 2, November 3

7:30 – 8:30 Investor/partner network breakfast (SCH 439)

7:30 – 8:30 CTO-M Alumni and 2017 Teams network Breakfast (SCH 419) 90-sec introductions/team

8:45 – 10:30 Investor and Partner Connect (PRIVATE) (SCH 419, 420 & 421) Investors and partners seated, business teams rotate.
2017 and participating Alumni companies

10:30 – 11:45Networking with teams at their tables. (SCH 419, 420 & 421) Investors and partners stroll among seated business teams.

Open to the public.

12:00 – 2:30 Award ceremony luncheon. (The Great Room, Opus Hall 201-202)

2:30 – 4:30 Optional for investors & partners only. (SCH 408-416) Availability of meeting space for investors and partners;


Cleantech Open-Midwest 2017 Teams


Plasma Stream: The revolutionary patented technology allows trucks to substantially reduce it's fuel expenditures by using plasma (4th state of matter). The technology streamlines airflow around vehicles thereby reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency, saving up to 15% in fuel costs.

FGC Plasma Solutions is working on a better fuel injector that incorporates plasma to better control combustion in jet engines and gas turbines. This technology enables more optimum operation of the engine and provides benefits from lower emissions; increased fuel flexibility; and improved reliability.

Reinvia is an innovative food waste solution that creates environmentally and economically sustainable products and services. We process separated food waste using a carbon neutral drying technology, leaving a nutritious, dry, and pathogen free byproduct in minutes, for use as organic compost, or manipulated into other products, such as commercial fish and swine food.   

Elinor Specialty Coatings: We create safer, longer-lasting coatings to protect aluminum, magnesium and bronze by combining novel engineering and chemistry. With expertise in specialty metals and corrosion, and extensive backgrounds in coatings and nanotechnology, we look at every problem as an opportunity to introduce cleaner technology that's better for the environment, applicators, manufacturers and users. Our outstanding chromium-free innovations have proven performance.

Switched Source is determined to improve the last mile of electricity delivery, enabling the grid to support more distributed renewable generation, while making the distribution system more reliable and efficient. We provide a new type of equipment for utilities to better leverage their existing distribution infrastructure to address the most common issues that affect efficiency and reliability of the grid. Our solution is the Tie Controller, a modular, power-electronics device capable of linking disparate parts of the grid, the first of its kind shown to comprehensively manage power flow and voltage stabilization to address costly utilization and reliability issues.

RWEDI Solutions is commercializing the RWEDI Water system. RWEDI Water, a water purification technology, will provide huge economic and environmental savings for facility managers at mid-sized institutions in Southwestern US. Our system offers a 25% reduction in cooling tower operating costs by decreasing makeup water use by 20%, decreasing chemical use by 40%, and reducing maintenance costs.

The Mackinac Technology Company is developing a window covering system that will greatly improve the insulation value of existing windows. Windows account for approximately 60-80% of the energy lost from building envelopes with an economic impact over $60B per year in the US. Mackinac’s products will reduce these energy losses with an aesthetically attractive, multifunctional window covering system.

Emergy Labs grows advanced porous carbon materials using a fungus - finding applications in filtration, catalysis, and energy storage. The bottom-up approach for producing a nano-structured feedstock is unique in the porous carbon industry resulting in production of sustainable materials with over 100% increase in performance and 25% decrease in cost than competitors. Emergy’s bio-manufacturing process improves process line efficiencies, reduces energy requirements, and achieves greater control over the final material produced.

Activated Research Company (ARC): Renewable fuels are a necessary part of our clean energy future. Unfortunately, the development of next generation biofuels and products is impeded by the chemical complexity of their compositions and the difficulties in analyzing them. The award-winning Polyarc system is a new tool for analyzing the composition of organic molecules that enables scientists around the world to develop new fuels with greater accuracy and speed, yet at a lower cost. In addition, the technology has several applications for the improved analysis of pharmaceuticals, foods, chemical feedstocks, forensics and more. 

Kronfeld Motors: The Raht Racer is an electric, enclosed cycling vehicle, with all the safety features of traditional motor vehicle. Our patented drivable exercise machine allows you to pedal as fast as a car, on the highway. Our prototype reached a top speed of 72 miles per hour in a test conducted by Science Channel’s All American Makers. Raht Racer gives the rider the sensation of feeling superhuman regardless of how hard they pedal and recharges when pedaled or plugged in. This product has the potential to be a trailblazer in the power sport category, just like the first snowmobile, Jet Ski or ATV.

Accelerate Wind is an IP and technology development company creating a novel rooftop wind energy solution- one that operates quieter, cheaper, and more aesthetically pleasing than today's solutions.

Teqnizan has demonstrated a wearable photovoltaic energy harvester that extends the wireless earbuds run time to 12 hrs or infinite time operation in direct sunlight. This type of clean wearable energy harvester will enable construction workers, utility workers and athletes to be connected for critical two-way communication of information without having carry heavy gear. Moreover, the worker or consumer is handsfree and eyes-free, leading to significant enhancement in productivity and safety.

ClearFlame Engines is developing a drop-in replacement for Diesel engines in heavy-duty applications (transportation and power generation) that affords 5% higher efficiency and 30% power density, and also lowers CO2 emissions by 10% and reduces the cost of aftertreatment by 90%, all while eliminating the need for petroleum-based fuel. Our goal is to improve upon the performance of the Diesel engine, while simultaneously achieving the clean emissions profile of Diesel alternatives for tomorrow's emission standards, all without the relative drawbacks of either strategy. 

Sofi’s Taste Kineto will focus on one of the best beverages, Kineto. Also known as Tella it's a non-alcoholic beverage that has a sweet smooth taste. Tella is an exclusive beverage well-liked by many Ethiopians and has proven to be very appetizing to old and new consumers. Sofi’s Taste will be the first official Ethiopian Brewery line of business in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. The problem we are also trying to solve is composing the barley that we use to make our brewery drink. With our productivity, we want to be able to use all our products and be mindful of our waste. With the filter grains that we do not need, we work with farmers to make it useful.

Atlas energy Systems, LLC is developing a patent-pending energy conversion mechanism to turn ionizing radiation from radioisotopes and nuclear reactions into electricity. The technology is aimed at utilizing isotopes found in radioactive waste as a portable power source for nuclear batteries. These nuclear batteries have applications in underwater unmanned vehicles, power packs for military uses, space power, remote sensors, and off-grid telecommunication systems.

Human Lift: The custom lift is designed to enable safer and more efficient work on inclined surfaces like the roofs of residential homes. The system allows for installing roof- mounted equipment like Solar PV systems and roof insulation upgrades without walking on or damaging roofing materials. The design compiles both OSHA standards and relevant safety requirements. The innovation dramatically reduces the time required to install equipment and is a leap forward for installation financial performance.

Aker is an in-season crop monitoring service and scouting platform for row crop farming globally. Aker enables proactive field observation or scouting to alert of adverse environmental conditions impacting crop health. Aker collects and analyze high-resolution aerial images and other field indications using drones as primary data collection source. Results are delivered to Ag retailers and suppliers to help match crop protection products based on field evidence.

Project Phoenix presents AegisFlow: a cloud-based drone-services marketplace for pilots to sell their content and be contracted to fly. This full-feature mapping environment is the first of its kind for the one-year-old $127 billion industry. AegisFlow’s purpose is to fulfillthe geo-informational, analytical, and logistical needs of private, public, and government sectors by optimizing the contract-to-delivery process. Our team built the first open-source satellite analytics marketplace as well as the first turn-by-turn navigation system, which is used by four out of every five vehicles today.

Chromatic 3D Materials has the most durable industrial materials for 3D printing. They 3D print highly durable plastics, more than 20% of a $800 billion plastic materials market, and they are persuasive in use despite premium pricing. Since thermoset printed 3D parts perform as finished parts, adoption will grow dramatically beyond prototyping and into finished part manufacturing. Their patented technology tailor’s thermoset materials to beused in a 3D printer adapted to use standard adhesive dispensing tips as a printhead. Using their technology, manufacturers make finished parts with the same final composition as parts produced from their standard manufacturing processes.


Innovation Showcase Forum Panelists

Mike Bazakos is currently Managing Director of the NSF I/UCRC ROSE-HUB UMN Site, with broad responsibility to manage the successful going forward of the I/UCRC at the University of Minnesota. Mike has previously been with Lockheed Martin as the Growth Technology Lead of Manned and UAV Surveillance Platforms, and a Senior Engineering Fellow at Honeywell Advanced Labs directing innovative research in computer vision of multimillion R&D programs funded by DARPA, HSARPA, NASA, NATO, AFRL, and other Government Agencies. Mike was awarded the highest Technical Achievement Award within Honeywell in 2003for his innovative work under the Secure Gate Access Technology Evaluation (S-GATE) program funded by the Naval Research Laboratories (NRL). He is the author or co-author of over 50 publications in the areas of Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) and Computer Vision and he has been awarded 18 patents and 10 pending.

Tab A. Borden began his career in commercial and trade finance working with internationalbanks based in Atlantic Canada. In the mid 1990’s he joined the Province of Nova Scotia workingfor the Department of Economic Development (life sciences sector) and then Department of Environment as Executive Director of Trade and Technology Development. In 2001 Tab joined the Canadian federal government working for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and in 2003 joining Global Affairs Canada as Manager of the Canadian Trade Office in Princeton in New Jersey. In 2008 he was appointed as Head of Office for the Canadian Consulate in Silicon Valley. From 2012 to 2017 Tab served as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Relations for Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa. Tab holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Dalhousie University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. In 2008 he completed the Venture Capital Executive Program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Janine Elliott is a Program Officer at VentureWell, where she designs and facilitates trainings that help early-stage cleantech and medtech entrepreneurs vet their markets, build business models and prepare them to raise first equity investments. Previously, Janine lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was an environmental science and youth leadership educator for 5 years and was co-founder of a cleantech materials startup. She holds a BA- Environmental Policy from Colby College and an MBA- Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University of California.

Ryan Findlay currently serves as Syngenta’s Industry Relations Lead for North America coordinating efforts between external stakeholders, Syngenta’s commercial teams and FederalGovernment Relations. Prior to joining Syngenta in 2014, Ryan was Michigan Farm Bureau’snational lobbyist. Ryan grew up on row crop farm in the thumb of Michigan. He has a degree in PoliticalSciencefromWesternMichiganUniversityandanMBAfromNorthwoodUniversity. He lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota with his wife, Gretchen, and their children Gabby and Teddy.

Sam Hollis joined the Department for International Trade in April 2017 as Vice Consul for Energy, Environment, and Infrastructure. Based at the British Consulate General in Chicago, Sam is responsible for the Midwestern region of the USA: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minneapolis, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Colorado, Kentucky, and Iowa. Prior to joining DIT, Sam’s career was spent in Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency in the U.K private sector. Some of the high-profile projects Sam delivered include: Birmingham EnergySaver’s Phase 1, the installation of Solar PV on local Government buildings; and Bushbury & OakMeadow Passiv, the construction of the first two Schools in the UK successfully built to International PassivHaus Standards. The Department for International Trade are responsible for securing UK and global prosperity by promoting and financing international trade and investment, and championing free trade.

Alan Lowdon is a part-time Dealmaker for the U.K. Government’s Global EntrepreneurProgramme, with over 30 years’ experience of the international energy and water sectors,specialising in research, development, innovation, intellectual property commercialisation and strategic asset management. Alan has worked in major corporations such as NEI/Rolls Royce, British Gas, Suez, Shell, Mott MacDonald and Jacobs, and has held board positions within research and technology organisations such Narec (now part of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult which he helped to establish in 2012), ITI Energy in Aberdeen. Alan has also operated as CEO for two university spin-out businesses, both in the water sector. Alan also spent 3 years as Research, Development and Innovation Director at Green Port Hull - the emerging nexus for U.K. offshore wind technology development and operations and maintenance. Alan also holds seats on the boards of two clean-tech start-ups, is Visiting Professor at Durham University’s Energy Institute (where he is Chair of the Advisory Board), and is offshore wind advisor to the UK Government, the USA Department of Energy and the European Union.

Sue Marshall is an entrepreneur and currently the CEO of NetZro. A start-up that provides integrated solutions throughout the food supply chain eliminating waste and re-harvesting nutrients for plant, animal and human health. Sue has entered NetZro into numerous entrepreneurial contests, accelerators and incubators. She uses her proud range of business experience and education to assist other entrepreneurs with start-ups that desire a focus on socially responsible business models and funding. Sue holds a B.S. in marketing from St. CloudState University and a Master’s degree from University of St. Thomas. She proudly lives and works in Minneapolis, MN—claiming more beach front than its neighboring twin, St. Paul. Sue is partnering with Mother Nature to correct the mistakes of her generation and generations past. She spends her days collaborating with others that share her passion for economic & environmental sustainability while creating socially responsible initiatives. She spends her free time traveling the world in dedication to her role as a world-class mother and wife.

John Reynolds is the CEO of OMNIview. A veteran of several large corporations where he held senior HR and Operations roles, he is excited to be a part of the OMNIview team! John enjoys all things outdoors, including; hiking, boating, golfing, fishing, and climbing, especially when done with family and friends.

Shannon M. Schlecht, Executive Director, of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute(AURI) is responsible for the overall strategic and operational oversight for the organization’sstaff, programs and execution of its mission. AURI provides technical services to businesses, conducts applied research initiatives and convenes networking events to create value-added economic opportunities for the food and agriculture sector. AURI operates three laboratories and its dedicated staff assist industry with over 200 food and agricultural innovation projectseach year to further the Institute’s mission of fostering long-term economic benefit for Minnesota through value-added agricultural products. Schlecht most recently served as Vice President of Policy for U.S. Wheat Associates in Arlington, Virginia and held numerous roles within the trade association during his 14 years with the organization. He has extensive background in agriculture, policy, market development, international trade, strategic planning and management. He served as the wheat industry representative to the USDA Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative for the Grains, Feed, Oilseeds, and Planting Seeds Agricultural Trade Advisory Council. He was also the liaison to multiple agricultural coalitions, and staff lead for national committees covering trade policy and biotechnology as well as a food aid working group. Internationally, he conducted initiatives to develop U.S. wheat exports in over 40 countries. He holds Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees from North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.

Lee Skaalrud, retained by Boards of Directors, CEOs, VPs of HR, and top-tier investment groups to fill critically important mechanical, electrical, and life science positions, has worked with industries that include Semiconductor, Telecommunications, Life Sciences, Agriculture, Precision Engineering and Manufacturing. He has worked with public, private, multinational, high-growth, turnaround, startup, and Fortune 500 companies and offers a unique, streamlined, and proven phased approach to create and deliver unique solutions for each client1s situation. With more than 17 years of experience in human resources and talent acquisition leadership roles, Lee offers a consultative, solutions-based approach to each search engagement. In addition to Lee’srole at Versique, he currently serves on the Board of Advisors for ADOGO Pet Hotels, volunteers for YouthLink, the Cleantech Open, is Chairman Emeritus of the Lyngblomsten Foundation, past President for the Colleyville Texas Lions Club, former Director of the Colleyville Texas Economic Development Corp. and the Center for Nonprofit Management of Dallas.

Dick Sommerstad has an extensive business development background spanning more than thirty-five years in economic and community development. Dick has held both active andconsulting management roles with both startup and emerging companies. Dick’s expansivenetwork includes local, national and international funding and investment sources and his network is equally expansive to include legal and accounting firms, foundations, associations,banks and lending institutions. Dick’s personal network of associates are from the areas ofbusiness development, government, communities, higher education, medical and science; and entrepreneurs in in Minnesota, the Midwest, and throughout the world.

Harold Stanislawski is a project development director for the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI). Stanislawski works with AURI staff and clients to further the development of agricultural commodities, coproducts, renewable energy, food and biobased materials. Stanislawski previously served as the executive director of Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission where he, along with community and business leaders, initiated many projects including the formation of the renewable fuel facility in the community. Stanislawski served as the vice president of the Greater Minnesota Economic Development Partnership in 2014. In1995 Stanislawski was appointed by former Minnesota Governor Arnie Carlson’s administrationto lead the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Business Development Services, serving nearly 10 years in that role. He also served on the Board of Governors for the DENCO, LLC Ethanol facility in Morris, Minnesota. Stanislawski was also previously at the University of Minnesota Extension Service, responsible for educational programming in agronomy and later in ag business and farm management economics, and business expansion and retention for the West Central region of Minnesota. In addition, he was one of the original founders of Otter Tail AgEnterprises, LLC, an ethanol facility in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Stanislawski received his Master’sDegree in agricultural education from North Dakota State University and has completed theInternational Economic Development Council’s economic development credit analysis course and profit mastery training.

Hassan Syed is the CEO of Bir Ventures and a board member at TechCast Global. A technologist at heart, he has 30+ years of broad international experience and an impressive track record to convert concepts into successful products. He is the founder of www.ideagist.com, a first-ever SaaS-based virtual incubator, which now connects more than 300 communities worldwide.

Dr. Rajiv Tandon is Founder and Executive Director of The Institute for Innovators and Entrepreneurs. Rajiv is the author of “Planting Seeds” opinion column in Twin City Business magazine. He is a serial entrepreneur and an educator now combining his passion for entrepreneurship and education to develop more robust entrepreneurial enterprises in Minnesota. He was listed by Twin City Business Magazine as one of the “200 Minnesotans You Should Know” for his focus on “EduTech”. Dr. Tandon holds a Mechanical Engineering degree, with honors, from the Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and a M.S. in Operations Research, MBA, and Ph. D. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Garrick Villaume is a technology executive, physicist and systems innovator with over 25 years of experience producing advanced technologies and products. Owner and President of Physical Systems, Inc., he supports businesses developing and commercializing sustainable technology innovations. He’s contributed to several industry firsts and best-in-class products in the disc drive and solar energy businesses leading engineering, program management, operations, and quality organizations. Dr. Villaume also serves as Chief Technology Officer for NetZro, LLC, is on the Board of Advisors for the Cleantech Open Midwest, and mentors and consults for clean technology startups. He is a pioneering analytical data systems developer, experienced in several advanced technical and leadership disciplines. He earned his B.S. in Physics and PhD in High Energy Physics from the University of Minnesota, and a certification in Strategic Leadership and General Management from Harvard Business School.


Cleantech Open Midwest Sponsors

The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship is a leader in entrepreneurial education, providing undergraduate, graduate and community entrepreneurship programs, leading edge collaborative endeavors and opportunities for funding new ventures.

The Schulze School is home to the only family business center in Minnesota, the Twin Cities Small Business Development Center, the Center for Nonprofit Management and its Norris Institute helps startup businesses through early-stage seed investments. Combining a focus on educating the next generation of business founders and creative thinkers with a commitment to serving the business community, the school is a hub of entrepreneurial education, formed by theory, shaped by practice and guided by values.


Cleantech Open Midwest Strategic Partners

Accelerate Michigan
Ag Innovation Prize, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Agricultural Utilization and Research Institute
Agstar Financial Services
Argonne National Laboratories, US Department of Energy
Billion and Armitage
Bird Dog Innovation Strategies Business Finance
Chicago Innovation Exchange Chippewa Valley Angel Investors Network
Clean Energy Economy Minnesota Clean Energy Trust
Coalition: Loop
Community Venture Network Defense Alliance
Edison Welding Institute (EWI) Energy Foundry
Energy Policy Institute, University of Chicago
Energy Transition Lab, University of Minnesota
Fraunhofer – TechBridge
Fresh Energy
Global Midwest Alliance
Great Plains Institute
Green House Minnesota

Illinois Science and Technology Coalition
Impact Engine

Investor Connect
Iowa Biotechnology Association Michigan State Bioeconomy Institute Minnesota Cup
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Office of Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA)
Minnesota Small Business Development Corporation
Minnesota Small Business Innovation Research, Small Business Administration
Plano & Simple
Red River Valley Research Corridor Rocket Network
ROI Business Solutions, LLC
Rudder, LLC
The Network Connect
The Water Council
UI Labs
UIC Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
Versique Executive Search and Consulting
Wisconsin Technology Council
Young Professionals in Energy

  • By Steve Webster on in Midwest

Updated on February 8, 2018 10:07 AM