CHICAGO – Clean Energy Trust is calling on the most
innovative cleantech startups from across the Midwest to compete in the 6th
Annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge, a single-day pitch competition that will
award $1 million to start-ups in April 2016 – nearly ten times the amount
distributed at the annual event in 2011.
The Clean Energy Trust Challenge brings together venture
capitalists, industry executives, civic leaders, the media and the public to
watch startups pitch their businesses and learn from keynote addresses by
prominent thought leaders. By combining access to capital with premier
mentorship and national exposure, Clean Energy Trust Challenge finalists
receive value beyond funding. Through CET’s direct investment, finalists gain
commercialization assistance, mentorship, access to an elite partner network
and the promotion of a supportive clean energy community and business climate.
CET invested in Detroit’s GreenLancer, which has since gone
on to raise $5 million in Series B funding after winning the Clean Energy Trust
Business Model Innovation Prize in 2014.
Entrepreneurs, researchers, and students with the best
clean energy ideas and business plans are invited to compete for a chance to be
selected to participate in the nationally acclaimed competition. This year’s
categories include: Renewable Energy, Advanced Transportation, Efficiency,
Energy Storage, Building Technologies, Microgrids/Smartgrids, Bioenergy,
Water-Energy Nexus, and Internet of Things/Smart Cities.
Since 2011, CET has invested in 29 startups across the
Midwest states. Clean Energy Trust Challenge companies have gone on to raise an
additional $71 million in follow-on funding and have created more than 300 new
“Every year, the Clean Energy Trust Challenge helps
boost the environment for Midwest cleantech startups by providing a platform of
opportunity and funding that is essential for the growth of early-stage businesses.
I can’t wait to see what this year’s applicants have to offer,” said Amy
Francetic, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “CET Challenge award winners are
accomplishing great things after completing our accelerator program and we’re
very proud to have played a vital role in their successes.”
Since the first Clean Energy Trust Challenge, CET has
awarded more than $2 million to deserving companies. This year, prize sponsors
for the 6th Annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge include the Department of
Energy, Wells Fargo, The Pritzker Foundation, United Airlines, and the Hanley
Family Foundation, among others.
Student-led teams developing innovative business plans for
their MBA, researchers working on promising research and early stage startups
in the beginning stages of raising funds and generating revenue are eligible to
apply by going to www.cleanenergytrust.org/challenge.
All applications will be thoroughly reviewed by a panel of
industry, finance and innovation experts who will select a group of
finalists. Finalists will be notified in early 2016 and be invited to
pitch their company to an esteemed panel of judges who will select the awards.
The full day competition will take place on April 12 at
Venue Six 10 at the Spertus Institute, 610 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL