Three CTO Alumni Take their Technology Abroad

Posted by Jessica Smothermon on

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The portfolio of companies that have moved through Cleantech Open's annual accelerator since its launch in 2005 contains a multitude and variety of #CTOAlumniSuccess stories. Early-stage cleantech companies often find opportunities in international markets. While many CTO Alumni have cut their teeth in international markets, let's highlight three standouts: Advanced Materials company Urbix  in Vietnam (CTO 2016), Agriculture, Water, and Waste company Viroment in China (CTO, 2014), and Smart Power company Fenix International in Africa (CTO 2009), which was purchased a year ago by Engie Africa .

CTO 2016 Advanced Materials - Urbix in Vietnam

Urbix found a new way to more effectively provide natural graphite products— recognizing the near irreversible damage China has caused to their country due to antiquated graphite refinement methods. Starting with a low-temperature, non-oxidative purification technique, Urbix avoids the use of Hydrofluoric Acid and the huge energy consumption often required to achieve the same low-transition metal purities. Urbix’s trade secret refinement techniques simultaneously lower production cost while minimizing impact on the surrounding environment.

The Vietnamese state-of-the-art graphite purification plant will be situated within VGG’s graphite mining operations in North Western Vietnam and will serve customers in Japan and the surrounding region. The facility is scheduled for stage one completion in late 2020. It is anticipated the purification plant will have the capability of achieving revenues exceeding U.S. $200 million annually once the second stage is completed the following year.

CTO 2014 Agtech-Water-Waste -  Viroment in China

Sludge disposal technology company Viroment was awarded the First Place Water Prize, presented by Wells Fargo at the 2015 Cleantech Global Forum in San Francisco,California. In November of 2017 Viroment was among a select group of USA companies accompanied by Secretary Ross, President Trump and Chinese President Xi to execute agreements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing China. Viroment’s advanced waste dewatering technology drastically reduces disposal costs.

Here is a link to the Viroment interview by China Global Television Network (in English).

CTO 2009 Smart Power -   Fenix International in Africa

In 2009, Fenix International participated in Cleantech Open’s accelerator in the category of “Smart Power.” The company had been founded that same year, in 2009. By late 2017 Fenix employed 350 people, basing its operations in Uganda, where it is the leading Solar Home Systems company with 140,000 customers. At the end of 2017, global utility company ENGIE acquired 100% of CTO Alumnus Fenix International. Fenix was the first SHS company to join a major worldwide energy company. Fenix‘s flagship product, ReadyPay Power, offers lighting, phone charging and power for TVs and radios. The technology is offered on a lease-to-own basis so that off-grid customers can pay for their power system through micro installments using mobile money via their mobile phones.

Support early-stage cleantech startups by pointing an ecopreneur toward Cleantech Open! Tell them to apply to become a #CTOAlumniSuccess by participating in this year's 2019 accelerator! Early-bird deadline to sign up is March 31st!


  • By Jessica Smothermon on in

Updated on April 10, 2019 2:51 PM