Cleantech Open West, a Program of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), hosted its 2019 Awards & Innovation Showcase, the culmination of its annual cleantech acceleration program in the West. The event featured 35 early-stage cleantech startups, including 31 startups from our 2019 accelerator cohort that participated in our annual showcasing competition. Winners of the competition will advance to represent the Cleantech Open Western Region at the Cleantech Open Global Forum, our National competition, which takes place on November 10-12th at the University of Southern California in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Cleantech Open West’s 2019 Awards & Innovation Showcase was a two-day event.  We began on Wednesday with closed-door judging.  The public event on Thursday began with speed networking between startups and investors and our innovation showcase, an expo for our 35 startups.  We closed the day with our Awards Ceremony, a celebration focused on the winners of the 2019 competition.

2019 Cleantech Open West 6 Finalists and 3 Award Winners

This year, Cleantech Open West selected six finalists, startups that will advance to the Global Forum.  In addition, Cleantech Open West conferred three awards for overall excellence to three of these six finalists.  In 2019, our award winners for overall excellence each receive USD $5,000 in cash and $5,000 in services.

This year’s award winners for overall excellence are:

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 controls platform integrates external information while continuously monitoring and updating the entire facility, making them safer for employees, cleaner for our environment, and dynamic demand-side grid assets.

Oasense develops a luxurious sensor-enabled showerhead. It delivers a full cascade of high-pressure water flow, and pauses the water for you when you take a step back while soaping and shampooing. This can easily save up to 60% of water and energy from your shower, without compromising on the experience and bathroom aesthetics.

Swirltex has developed a revolutionary membrane technology that can significantly improve filtration efficiency and lifetime. It has many applications including wastewater treatment, as well as food and beverage processing. The unique technology opens the tubular membrane utilization to a broader market through significant improvements in flux and energy efficiency compared to existing membranes. The design combines membrane filtration with buoyancy manipulation in a unique flow pattern to greatly increase permeate production while reducing fouling.

Our additional three finalists include:

Radii Robotics combines multi-rotor UAV with robotics technology to automate physical work performed at high altitude, reducing the reliance on rope access team technicians for various industries such as wind energy generation and electrical transmission industry. This unique aerial robotics system automates tasks requiring physical contact and touch, such as inspecting structural health using ultrasonic probes, cleaning field equipment, and controlling vegetation growth around transmission lines. This technology can help industries find issues earlier and significantly lower maintenance cost.

RePurpose Energy reuses electric vehicle batteries to create lower-cost, more sustainable energy storage systems for solar developers. This addresses both the need for cheaper energy storage to integrate variable renewables and the need to manage the imminent flood of electric vehicle battery waste.

Skycool Systems has developed a passive rooftop cooling panel, enabled by a patented optical film that cools when outside exposed to the sky. Over their lifetime, our panels save millions of dollars worth of electricity and water when integrated with air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Cleantech Open West 3 Honor Winners

Cleantech Open West also conferred three honors, each recognizing a startup for excellence in a specific dimension of performance that Cleantech Open values and promotes:

Two of our six Finalists were also honor winners:

RePurpose Energy received our Impact Honor for the greatest potential to move the needle against major environmental challenges Cleantech Open is committed to addressing through early-stage commercialization support.

Skycool Systems received our Emerging Technology Honor for the most game-changing technology innovation.

Finally, our Sustainability Honor called out an additional startup for the best integration of Sustainability:

InPipe Energy is a renewable energy and smart water technology company that has developed a patent pending, hydro product that converts running water to electricity in pressurized water pipelines.  We make it easy for water agencies to recover wasted pressure and convert it to energy (dollars) without changing operations.

Cleantech Open West People’s Choice

Again this year, our audience voted for one startup from among our finalists as the People’s Choice winner.  This year, our People’s Choice winner is CrossnoKaye.

Program Recap

This year’s speaker program was focused squarely on the startups we support.

We were delighted to welcome Dan Kalb, City Councilmember of Oakland, and Vic Shao, Founder and CEO of Amply and  Board Member of New Energy Nexus, to share their welcome and thoughts on early-stage cleantech innovation and commercialization.

For the first time this year, each of our six finalists made a 5-minute pitch to the audience.  And for the second year in a row, we brought back a successful Cleantech Open Alumnus – this year, Mark Chung, Co-Founder and CEO of Verdigris Technologies – to share perspective on the challenges and triumphs of building a cleantech business from the ground up.  2017, Fast Company named Verdigris one of the world’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Energy.

“I was so impressed and inspired by the continually increasing calibre of companies participating in Cleantech Open. I’m proud to be a part of this mission-driven community and I was honored to share our story!”

In 2017, Fast Company named Verdigris one of the world’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Energy.

This year, Cleantech Open West also recognized the City of Fremont for its longstanding and robust commitment to the Cleantech Open West and the broader cleantech commercialization support ecosystem in the Bay Area.  We were honored that Lily Mei, the Mayor of Fremont, was on hand to accept the award and share her reflections on Fremont’s commitment to cleantech innovation.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

The Cleantech Open program in the West was made possible through the generous financial support of our corporate sponsors Wells FargoDorsey & Whitney LLP, and Stoel Rives LLP, and the financial support of the State of California through the CalSEED (via New Energy Nexus), the Socal Renewable Energy Innovation Cluster (via  LA CIeantech Incubator).

In addition to direct financial support for the program, a number of in-kind sponsors have stepped forward to offer services to our winners, including: Stoel Rives LLPDorsey & Whitney LLPMomentumGSVlabsMomentum FinanceBroadreach, and CFOs2go.

Our Cleantech Open West 2019 Awards & Innovation Showcase was made possible through our event sponsors, Bluetech ValleyMomentum, and Dow.

For the second time, our Awards & Innovation Showcase aligned with the VERGE conference, an annual gathering of more than 3,000 corporate sustainability professionals.

About the Cleantech Open

Cleantech Open is the oldest and largest cleantech startup accelerator program. Our mission to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurs with ideas to solve our greatest environmental and energy challenges. Through Cleantech Open’s annual accelerator and business competition, we connect cleantech startups with the people and resources they need to accelerate their success, and provide a national platform for public visibility.

About Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a private non-profit organization creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation (through working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies), transforming markets (through partnerships in transportation, energy and sustainable cities) and enhancing communities (through workforce development, pilots and other programs).