On November 10-12, 2019, the Cleantech Open held its annual Global Forum, including a showcase expo, a lively series of startup pitch sessions, a curated speed dating match-up with active investors, a “Funding Trends in Cleantech” fireside chat, and two competitions—one with finalists and winners of the U.S. National Prize and another for the Global Ideas Award. Over 250 people attended the event, with more than 60 companies exhibiting their clean technologies.
Global Forum caps the annual accelerator cohort, in which 104 companies from around the United States and Canada underwent a six month intensive process to improve their businesses, participating in academies, business clinics, pitch clinics, mock judging events, regional showcases and 10 modules of business training, producing eight Essential Business Deliverables.
The U.S. National Prize was awarded to Aeroshield for their development of a super-insulating, nanoporous form of glass for energy-efficient windows. The U.S. National Runner-Up was Flux Marine for their development of a line of high -performance, all-electric marine propulsion systems.
The Global Ideas Award went to Germany’s SINN Power for their development of the wave energy converter (WEC), consisting of a series of individual modules combined and connected in one rigid structure allowing it to float on the ocean’s surface like an anchored ship. Through the waves’ up-and-down movements, the attached floating modules turn a lifting rod attached to a generator that produces electricity. The Global Ideas Runner-Up was German company kaputt for its platform providing smartphone DIY repair and premium repair services to prevent cellphone-based electronic waste.
The event started on Sunday, November 10, at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, where Finalists and judges congregated to pitch, deliberate, and finally select the six US National Finalists.
On Monday, in the USC Hotel across the street from the business school, the public portion of the event launched. The morning began with two workshops to support the new startup cohort successfully navigate their next steps through the cleantech ecosystem, as well as to effectively market their cleantech solutions to the broader world.
After the morning workshops, the four Global Ideas finalists gathered for Live Pitching in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. SINN Power and kaputt pitched. French company PowerUp presented its smart dynamic battery technology that doubles energy storage capacity, making possible longer battery use with less waste. German company Sustainabill presented its supply chain insights for sustainable businesses that enable customers to visualize their supply chains for better risk management and supply chain transparency.
Afterward, as the judges deliberated, the global and national startups were offered two more workshops on pitching to investors and clarity in messaging.
During the remainder of the afternoon, the U.S. National Finalists performed Live Pitching before another panel of esteemed judges. In the early evening, as the judges deliberated over who would receive the U.S. National Prize and Runner-up, the startups and other attendees gathered for a networking reception and technology expo.
On Tuesday, the main public day of CTO's annual Global Forum, the showcase expo continued while participating startups attended Investor and Partner Connect. Over the 90 minutes of Investor and Partner Connect, 55 participating startups— including the CTO 2019 Regional Finalists, members of the 2019 accelerator cohort, Cleantech Open alumni, Global Ideas finalists, and portfolio companies from the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator—met with 30 invited investors and corporate partners to hold a series of brief 1-on-1 introductory meetings.
After the 90-minutes of Investor and Partner Connect “speed dating,” attendees sat down for a luncheon and final award ceremony. After announcing the Global Ideas winner and runner-up, CTO Executive Director Ken Hayes led a discussion of “Funding Trends in Cleantech” with Jason Blumberg, Co-founder and Managing Director of Energy Foundry, and John Glushik, Managing Partner of HG Ventures. The three discussed the new sources of capital flowing into the cleantech ecosystem, the importance of entrepreneur “coachability,” the danger posed by cleantech investment “tourists,” and the importance of guarding one’s ideas from disingenuous self-dealing investors.
After the panel discussion, the U.S. National Prize and U.S. National Runner-Up Prize were announced by Wells Fargo’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations Jess Tirado. After an exhilarating day of the tech expo and awards ceremony, startups and participants were offered Innovation Tours of various leading facilities around SoCal related to cleantech, including the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) System "bunker" underneath L.A. City Hall, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Grid Alternatives, the airport hangar where electric planes from Ampaire are manufactured, the newly renovated L.A. Memorial Coliseum's zero-waste recycling facility and the Endeavor Space Shuttle at the California Science Center.
We particularly want to thank Wells Fargo and FedEx for their generous support as national sponsors, as well as the hundreds of pro-bono professionals who participated as mentors, judges, and staff. We also owe thanks to University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business for hosting our judging day. Cleantech Open congratulates all the accelerator graduates and cannot wait to see what you all do next!
On the Event Site see details of the entire Global Forum, including all participating companies
See social media posts from the event on Twitter at: #CTOGlobalForum
U.S. National Prize Winner
*2019 CTO Northeast Winner* Aeroshield has developed a highly transparent, super-insulating silica aerogel. The nanoporous glass is composed of 95% air. By placing Aeroshield between two panes of glass, performance is now competitive with triple-pane windows at the cost and installation ease of a double-pane. This makes for a window 50% more energy efficient than 80% of windows installed in today’s homes.
U.S. National Runner-Up
*2019 CTO Northeast Winner* The automotive industry has recently undergone an electric revolution, yet the marine industry lags far behind. Flux Marine has set out to design, manufacture, and market electric outboard marine motors to the boating industry. Flux Marine’s electric outboards are designed to minimize failure points and utilize long-life solid state components, making them extremely reliable and virtually maintenance free. The electric outboard motors do not leave a footprint on the environment, and have the potential to reduce overall recreational outboard CO2 pollution levels by 240 million pounds annually with a 1% market capture.
Other U.S. Finalists
*2019 CTO West Winner* Oasense develops a sensor enabled showerhead that helps people save up to 60% of water and energy from their shower. The showerhead delivers a full cascade of high-pressure water and pauses the water when the user steps back while soaping and lathering. Our proprietary sensor technology delivers reliable sensor performance in dense fog and learns to adapt to the ambient environment over times. We target the hospitality industry(B2B) in drought affected areas and hope to deliver a pleasant experience for hotel guests to ultimately convert them to end customers (B2B2C).
*2019 CTO Southeast Winner* ecoSPEARS is a cleantech solutions company with green and sustainable remediation technologies to extract and destroy PCBs, dioxins, and other chlorinated contaminants from the environment - forever. ecoSPEARS imagines a future where everyone has access to clean water, clean food, and clean air. We achieve this vision by developing cost-effective and eco-friendly technologies that will protect human health by ushering in the carbonless future of environmental cleanup.
*2019 CTO West Winner* CrossnoKaye is optimizing heavy resource consuming industries with smart control systems that use physics-based modeling to reduce energy use and costs up to 40%, all without updating hardware. Our technology constantly monitors facilities making them safer for employees, cleaner for our environment and more dynamic on the grid.
*2019 CTO West Runner-up* RePurpose Energy tests, reassembles, and operates used electric vehicle batteries to store solar energy. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, “the long-term success of the solar industry depends on the cost-effective integration of energy storage”. Our team leverages over ten years of academic research on the reuse of electric vehicle batteries to provide solar developers with energy storage at less than half the cost of new battery alternatives, so they can double the net present value of each installation, and California can accomplish its clean energy goals.
Global Ideas Award
Germany’s SINN Power offers energy solutions to provide people living near coasts all over the world with access to clean electricity to enable sustainable development and contribute to our planet at the same time. In 2014, Dr. Philipp Sinn founded the company SINN Power based on intense years of academic research. The main goal was, and still is today, to turn the unlimited power of ocean waves into clean and cost-efficient energy that is accessible for everyone. Today, five years after SINN Power was founded, the company operates fully functional prototypes and are on the verge of commercializing our technology.
Global Ideas Runner-Up
As part of the Right to Fix It movement, German company kaputt has developed a platform providing smart phone DIY repair, professionals, and premium services to replace cellphone electronic waste with repair and reuse.
Connecting Cleantech Entrepreneurs to Partners, Mentors, and Funders
The Cleantech Open (CTO) startup accelerator finds, funds, and fosters entrepreneurs with ideas to solve the world’s greatest environmental, energy and sustainability challenges. Now, in our 14th year, Cleantech Open is the longest-standing andlargest cleantech startup accelerator in the United States and–arguably–the world. Cleantech Open is headquartered at LACI, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and is a program of Community Partners, a large 501(c)3 non-profit organization.