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America's Best Student Start-Up Companies Pitch for Your Vote

May 24, 2012 - 9:03am


After pitching their business plan to panels of judges at the regional semifinal and final, six teams advanced to the national competition for a chance at the cash grand prize. | Energy Department file graphic.

After pitching their business plan to panels of judges at the regional semifinal and final, six teams advanced to the national competition for a chance at the cash grand prize. | Energy Department file graphic.

UPDATE: Voting closed June 12 at 2 p.m. EDT. NuMat Technologies from Northwestern University won the grand prize. SolidEnergy Systems from Massachusetts Insitute of Technology was awarded second place. Navillum Nanotechnologies from University of Utah was most popular on the online vote. 

As the six regional finalists of National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition tweak their company pitches for the final competition, you have the opportunity to vote online for what you think is the most promising among the student-run start-up companies.

Online voting opened at 10 a.m. on May 24 for voters to review company summaries online, view their 3-minute video pitches, and then ‘like’ the companies they think will most positively impact America’s energy future. Click here to vote.

In the competition, students from the top U.S. universities were tasked with forming a complete business plan that commercializes a technology developed at their school or one of the National Labs. They are evaluated, just like in the business world, with pitches to panels of experts. 

In advancing to the national finals, the six teams have already pitched to panels of judges at the regional semifinals and finals and progressed further than 300 other student teams. One last pitch will decide who wins the cash prize, and technical, legal and financial assistance for their start-up.

The final pitch for these companies takes place on June 13 in front of a panel of expert judges in Washington, D.C. The judges will have to rank the plans on their clean energy impact, solution creativity, execution and financial strategy, market and customer knowledge, and team composition, chemistry and commitment.

As the pitches conclude and the judges confer on the financial and technical details of each company’s plan to decide who wins, the online public voting will also end -- determining whose ideas for securing America’s energy future appealed to the general public.

Public voting runs until 2 p.m. on June 12, and the team with the most votes will be announced along with the grand prize winner.

Below are the companies that are competing in the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition finals and the public voting.

NuMat Technologies from Northwestern University: NuMat Technologies is commercializing a nanomaterial that stores gases at lower pressure, reducing costs and increasing design flexibility. One potential application for this innovation is in designing tanks to store natural gas more efficiently in motor vehicles. Finalist from the Eastern Midwest Regional Competition run by Clean Energy Trust, Chicago, Ill. Vote for this company.

Navillum Nanotechnologies from University of Utah: Navillum Nanotechnologies has developed a method for low cost commercial scale production of semiconducting nanocrystals, such as quantum dots. These unique nanomaterials will accelerate the development of more energy efficient products including televisions, tablet displays and LED lighting. They also improve the energy-harnessing capabilities of solar panels, making future generations of panels more efficient.  Finalist from the Western Midwest Regional Competition run by the University of Colorado Cleantech New Venture Challenge, Boulder, Colo. Vote for this company.

Mesdi Systems from University of Central Florida: Mesdi Systems developed precision manufacturing modules that increase production capacities and reduce costs of lithium ion batteries used in vehicles, consumer electronics, and medical devices. Finalist from the Southeast Region run by University of Maryland, College Park, M.D. Vote for this company.

SolidEnergy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology: SolidEnergy’s battery technology innovation, which improves the safety and energy density of rechargeable lithium batteries, is intended to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles. Finalist from the Western Southwest Region run by the Rice University Business Plan Competition, Houston, Texas. Vote for this company.

Stanford Nitrogen Group from Stanford University: Stanford Nitrogen Group developed a new wastewater treatment process that removes and recovers energy from waste nitrogen (ammonia). Finalist from the Western Region run by the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Cali. Vote for this company.

Radiator Labs from Columbia UniversityRadiator Labs developed a low-cost, easily installed radiator retrofit that converts steam radiator heating systems into a controlled zoned system to significantly increase the efficiency of radiator heating while improving occupant comfort. Finalist from the Northeast Region run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. Vote for this company.

Though only one company will take home the grand prize, these companies won cash prizes at their regional levels, formed business plans vetted by industry leaders, and gained valuable technical and business advice.

The National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition is part of the Obama Administration’s Startup America initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. More information is available on the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition website.