The atmosphere at Cleantech Open Northeast’s Regional Finals held a unique mix of collegiality, nerves, celebration, and excitement. As the audience waited on the group of seven VIP judges to decide the top four Finalists from the Northeast (who will go on to compete at the Global Forum), the rest of the cohort was able to finally sit back and relax. We caught up with a few of them while they were basking in accomplishment to ask if they had any final thoughts about completing the summer’s intensive accelerator program.
"I really appreciate all of the help you have provided,” offered Dave New of Obaggo. “The CTO program was very well run, really helped organize my business plan, and introduced me to many excellent people." Obaggo was one of four Cleantech Open Northeast teams that completed the Company Development Program (CDP), an abridged version of the accelerator offered as an opportunity to move earlier-stage ideas forward with the assistance of a Cleantech Open mentor.
Showcase Fosters Connections
Sebastien Mannai of Acoustic Diagnostic Systems, Guillaume Defrance de Tersant and Matthew Rosen of Haystack connect during the Cleantech Open Showcase at the Hynes Convention Center.
Showcasing at Finals provided teams the chance to meet some of those “excellent people,” like investors and fellow innovators. The energy in the room was palpable as startups were able to foster connections and answer burning questions about their innovations. “Thank you for creating and running such an exceptional program this year, it has been a real treat…” said Alex Kats-Rubin, one of the accelerator mentors. His sentiment rang true as competing teams posed for photos to commemorate their accomplishments.
Top Eight Teams Give the Final Pitch
Donna Sanders of Social Solar delivering her winning pitch at the Cleantech Open Showcase & Awards Night.
While 30 teams graduated from the accelerator, all attention was on the top eight semi-finalists as they gave their final pitches to a captive audience. Acoustic Diagnostic System, presented by Sebastien Mannai, was the first to pitch, followed by Conrad Hopp of Aquova and Andrew Tsang of Insanerator. Tsang drew a laugh from the crowd when he stated his team’s tagline: “Let’s make a cleaner tomorrow, using the shit from today!”
Ravish Majithia of Magnomer, Chip Terry of OysterTracker, Kristin Taylor of Radical Plastics, and Donna Sanders of Social Solar followed up with their pitches. Judges asked a few clarifying questions of each team before heading out to deliberate. “Judging will be tough with so many amazing innovations. Once again this accelerator reignites my optimism for the future,” NECEC Vice President of Innovation & Partnerships, Alistair Pim tweeted in anticipation.
Winners Announced & Graduates Celebrate
The VIP judges, the four 2018 Cleantech Open Northeast Winners, and the Cleantech Open team.
Applause rang through the audience when the top four finalists were announced. Acoustic Diagnostic System, Aquova, Radical Plastics, and Social Solar were named winners and received a collection of top prizes, including $10,000.
Sponsor Sustainable Minds tweeted, “This year’s winners were impressive and extremely impactful!” We’d have to agree since they solve problems like “enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of electrochemical wastewater treatment plants” (Aquova) and “driving urban green energy adoption where consumers, channel partners, and energy suppliers all win” (Social Solar). Cleantech Open is proud to be a driving force for these innovations and others like them.
By Kaitlin Hollinger on in Northeast