CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge Cleantech Business Plan Competition
The CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge is a platform to grow the most innovative cleantech ideas that can have the greatest impact on how we produce and utilize energy into successful businesses. We’re working to inspire a new generation of energy entrepreneurs to serve the nation’s clean energy mission. The CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge is a student centered regional $100,000 cleantech business plan competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy focused on business ideas with technologies that impact renewable energy or energy efficiency.
All submission materials must be received by 11:59 PM MST on February 24, 2014. Ready to accept the challenge? Sign up here.
This competition is open to undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students. In order to participate, 1) at least 50% of the team members must be current students, 2) at least 20% of the company equity must be held by current students and 3) businesses must utilize a technology related to renewable energy or energy efficiency. More information on eligibility can be found on the eligibility page.
Awards and Prizes
The first place team will win $100,000 cash. First, second and third place teams will win 40 hours of NREL commercialization service, and all fees waived for the NREL Industry Growth Forum for the fall of 2014, and entry into the Cleantech Open Accelerator Competition. More information on awards and prizes can be found on the prizes page.
Teams will submit a 2 page executive summary business plan and a 5 minute video pitch for the semi-finals round. The top 6 teams will be selected for the finals, and the finalist teams will present their plans (20 min + 10 min Q&A) to a panel of judges on April 11th, 2014. More information on the submission materials can be found on this page.
Businesses will be evaluated on the following criteria: market validation and analysis, industry attractiveness, product and solution, business model, risk vs. talent and presentation quality. More information on the judging criteria can be found on the judging page.
Since the teams that compete in the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge Business Plan Competition are primarily student driven, the teams may lack the experience that serial entrepreneurs or business leaders have. To help our teams put together the best possible strategies and business plan, we match each team up with a mentor sourced from a pool of cleantech entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and industry leaders. More information on the mentor matching can be found on the mentors page.
February 24, 2014 - All submission materials due
March 10, 2014 - Finals teams selected and notified
April 19th, 2014 - Finals competition in Boulder, CO
June 2014 - National competition in Washington D.C.
More information on these dates can be found on the important dates page.
Free to enter, finalist teams will be given a stipend for travel expenses.
The top six teams will be invited to present their plans in front of a panel of judges (20 min + 10 min Q&A) in Boulder, CO on April 18th, 2014.
The CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge Cleantech Business Plan Competition is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. The University of Colorado was selected to host a regional competition, along with M.I.T., Rice, Caltech, University of Maryland, and Clean Energy Trust. The top team from each region will go on to compete in the national competition in Washington D.C. in the summer of 2014 for a chance to win more prize money and in-kind support. Additionally the teams will get national exposure and have a chance to meet and network with top investors and government officials. The runner-up team will be invited to Washington D.C. as well to participate in all events except the competition.
University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT
Navillum Nanotechnologies is a startup chemical manufacturing company originating out of the University of Utah. We have developed and patented an innovative method for making quantum dots. When used in televisions, computer displays or LED lighting, quantum dots will improve color range 50 percent over standard LED displays, increase energy savings by 35 percent, increase battery life of mobile devices through more efficient displays and help LED lighting match the warmth of incandescent lights. Additionally, quantum dots have the potential to increase the efficiency of PV cells up to 45 percent by converting UV light into electricity. Navillum plans to become a key market supplier to end-use application manufacturers. Led by a talented team of university researchers and MBA students, Navillum is poised to commercialize this innovative technology.
University of Colorado – Boulder, CO
BioRecyclean is a pre-revenue bioenergy company that develops and sells customizable on-site waste management systems for horse farms. Our product seeks to eliminate waste disposal costs, as well as drastically reduce horse bedding expenses in an environmentally friendly process. BioRecyclean’s notoriety stems from the utilization of waste disposal costs and recycled horse bedding as economic drivers, which is in direct contrast with a traditional digestion company where energy production is the primary concern. BioRecylean’s technology focuses on upgrading the quality of ever-enduring sources of waste in a sustainable, efficient way. This technology promises to leave a lasting positive impression on the environment, as well as provide our customers with a one- to three-year return on investment.
University of Colorado – Denver, CO
Bioelectrochemical Solutions (BES) is a company founded in Denver, CO with the goal to use bioelectrochemical systems to meet the most challenging social, economic and environmental problems. BES reactors provide numerous global benefits, including renewable energy, wastewater treatment and the production of desalinated water. Developed at the University of Colorado at Denver, BES-integrated systems are capable of producing large volumes of water and electricity, with a minimal cost in operation and materials. The unique feature of BES technology is that it is modular and can be modified to perform in multiple applications and industries.