Archive | July, 2008

California Clean Tech Open Finalists

22 Jul

California Clean Tech Open

The California Clean Tech Open, a business plan contest with considerable, hefty backers, this morning announced its list of finalists.  I found the list of technologies and business ideas so interesting I decided to share it here to help bring attention to these impressive entrepreneurial ventures:

Air, Water & Waste Category Finalists

  • Clean Coal Inc.: Removes contaminants from coal
  • Over the Moon Diapers: High performance reusable diapers and service network
  • Porifera: Carbon nanotube membrane for reverse osmosis desalination
  • PURE-T: Salt free water softener using nanobeads
  • Purite: Zero-energy chemical-free whole house water filtration
  • SequesCO: Microbial CO2 capture and conversion to biofuel
  • Waste Water Works (WWW): Microbial wastewater treatment also generates electricity

Energy Efficiency Category Finalists

  • Atomic Precision Systems Inc.: New semiconductor process for ultra-cheap LED lighting
  • Enovative Group: Smart pump for hot water circulation
  • NexChem: Energy-saving process improvement for zinc galvanizing
  • Transoptic: Solar energy assistance for conventional water heaters
  • Viridis Earth: Domestic HVAC retrofit to improve efficiency
  • WicKool: Energy efficient water recovery for existing rooftop air conditioning

Green Building Category Finalists

  • BottleStone: Ceramic stone countertops include 80% recycled glass
  • en-vis-age: Green, modular and customizable buildings
  • Green Design Systems: Straw wall building panels
  • Home improvement website for green products and services
  • GroundSource: Residential geothermal system with installation services
  • ISTN: Eco-friendly building insulation
  • Parco Homes: Manufactured green (zero net energy) home kits
  • Solar Red: Low cost rooftop PV installation system and components
  • Team Wawa: Water-conserving shower system

Renewables Category Finalists

  • Covalent Solar: Organic thin film solar concentrators
  • Focal Point Energy: Solar thermal water heater for industrial processes
  • IEM Applications: Landfill methane accelerated recovery
  • Renewable Fuel Technologies: Agricultural waste biomass converted to Green Coal
  • Solar Ice: Solar powered ice maker
  • Solindis: Optical solar concentrator for thin film PV

Smart Power Category Finalists

  • 1ARC Energy: Higher capacity lithium-ion batteries
  • Cooler: Carbon calculator to allow B2B targeted advertising in LOHAS
  • Energy Empowered: Home display and control to reduce standby power usage
  • Enverity Corporation: Greenhouse gas tracking and compliance
  • Power Assure: Data center energy management software service
  • Renewable Voltage: Treat organic waste to provide hydrogen and energy storage
  • Tangerine Network Devices: Home energy display and control

Transportation Category Finalists

  • AAA Fleets: Turnkey electric vehicles and solar charging systems for fleets
  • E-Chargers: Plug-in hybrid charging station
  • ElectraDrive: Gas to electric drivetrain auto conversion
  • Electric Drive Research: Plug-in/gas hybrid 2 person, 3 wheel sports car
  • ElectronVault, Inc.: More efficient traction battery for hybrids
  • Enhanced Vehicle Acoustics: Flexible engine sound generator for quiet cars
  • FuelMotion: Series hybrid conversions for the developing world
  • Goose Networks: Hosted dynamic scheduler for carpools/vanpools
  • Philo Fuel: GPS-based audiovisual cues to help drivers optimize fuel efficiency

Based upon these short snippets alone, I think I will have my eyes on BottleStone, 1ARC Energy, and ElectronVault.  These all play on existing market demands (countertops, batteries, hybrid vehicles) and don’t require the kind of massive market shifts needed to make ideas like Energy Empowered or IEM Applications viable businesses.

Mashable’s SummerMash San Francisco 2008

16 Jul

SummerMash SF 2008Mashable hosted its annual SummerMash event tonight – it was the third such entrepreneurial hob-knobbing event I have joined since moving back to San Francisco in March.

After receiving a free drink ticket from PubMatic for signing up for their iPod drawing, I set out to meet some other guests.  The first dynamic duo I met were Adam and Braxton from Zannel, the Twitter of mobile phone rich media.  By which I mean, they turn your mobile phone photos and video into micro-blog updates, the same way Twitter and FriendFeed do.  Adam, Zannel’s CEO and a former McKinsey consultant, mentioned that users seemed to take a lot of photos of food, and we got into a conversation about how they might try to monetize that and other types of user content to build a real revenue stream for the micro-blog.

The second person I met was David Koehn of Phlooq, a stealth-mode social technology startup that connects individuals with the events and businesses they are fans of.  Phlooq will enable a publisher like San Francisco’s 7×7 to tap into the social graph of a reader when he or she indicates what events she will be attending.  I got a sneak-peak of the new app on David’s iPhone and from our conversation it sounded like the business was nearing the point of “unveiling.” I would say more, but then I would probably have to kill you…

Finally, I met Brendan Nee and his friend Justin, two young business partners working on an interesting new iPhone app which will help digest the powerful GPS data of local public transportation into a useful form.  Using your phone’s own GPS signal, you could determine the best route from your current location to the destination of your choice using public transit, taking into consideration the current location of the busses, trains, and other vehicles in the network.  The challenges confronting them, they explained, were two-fold:

  • First, getting MUNI and other public transit networks to share their data.  Releasing this data would be potentially embarrasing to the transit authorities, since it could reveal just how often their services fail to arrive on time.  Then again, argued Brendan and Justin, by sharing the data with an application like theirs, users would be better equipped to react and make alternative arrangements.
  • Second, how to monetize the application.  If MUNI doesn’t even want to share the data in the first place, it would be a stretch to think that they would be willing to pay a software developer for delivering it in a user-friendly form to riders.  We discussed alternatives, including helping public transit systems without GPS-enabled networks get online.  The two could serve as a center of excellence in deploying the technology, and deliver the technology to analyze the GPS data on a fee-for-service basis to help the transit authority cut costs and optimize its network.  They could then also push that proprietary data out to riders in the form of a application, perhaps with a small monthly fee.

SummerMash was a great event, even if the organizers didn’t quite manage to get the doors open on time.  It’s nights like these that I will miss most after leaving the SF Bay.