The Cleantech Open, the world’s largest cleantech business competition, has helped launch successful startups like Cool Earth Solar, Adura Technologies, and BuildFast. Now Cleantech Open alums are getting more love than ever as the competition announces that two 2009 finalists–Micromidas and Ecofactor–have secured venture capital funding. Cleantech Open alums have also scored a record $65 million in VC funding and grants during the first months of 2010.
The competition deserves kudos for seeking out the two companies, but both Micromidas and Ecofactor have compelling stories that propelled them to success. Micromidas converts carbon from organic wastewater into biodegradable and recyclable bioplastics. The advantages are twofold: Micromidas eliminates the need for petrochemical-based plastic and cuts down on the amount of solid waste for disposal by wastewater treatment facilities. The company’s innovative approach to bioplastics scored a $3.6 million series A round.
EcoFactor offers a straightforward solution to high residential energy costs: a broadband gateway-connected wireless thermostat system that combines information from set parameters, past thermostat usage, and local weather patterns to adjust the temperature to comfortable–and energy-efficient–levels. “A big part of what’s resonating with people is the realization that a huge percentage of energy consumption
in the U.S. is home energy use,” explained Ecofactor CEO John Steinberg in an interview with Fastcompany.com. “Half of all energy use in the country is in buildings, half of that
is residential, and half of that is controlled by thermostat.” That huge potential market is why investors ponied up $3.6 million for a series A round of funding.
Other Cleantech Open alumni who have received funding in 2010 are listed below.
• Adura Technologies received a $12 million funding round from NGEN Partners, VantagePoint Venture Partners, and Claremont Creek Ventures
• Alphabet Energy received $320,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Army, and the Air Force
• Cascade Clean Energy received a $400,000 PIER Grant from the California Energy Commission
• EnerVault received $3.5 million in funding from U.S. Invest and Oceanshore Ventures
• FloDesign Wind Turbine closed a $34.5 million Series B funding round, with Series A venture investor Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers adding a syndicate of three major new investors: a Goldman Sachs managed investment fund, Technology Partners and VantagePoint Venture Partners
• Lucid Design Group received a $1.5 million Series A funding from Dry Creek Investments
• New Sky Energy received $750,000 in upfront R&D funding from the Westlands Water District (Fresno, Calif.), with a total of $3.2 million set aside for a carbon capture and desalinization project in California’s Central Valley
• Nila received $100,000 from an individual investor
• Power Assure received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy
• SolarNexus received a $312,000 California Solar Initiative grant