DoE Cleantech Competition

The Department of Energy’s National Business Competition

The U.S. Energy Department’s (DOE’s) Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) looks to inspire and equip young clean energy entrepreneurs and innovators by providing them with competitive funding for business development and other opportunities.

In the previous week, The Energy Department held its Cleantech UP, at a national business competition on June 27-28, 2018 at Rice University within the Jones Graduate School of Business. Twenty-Three teams came together to compete for the 1st place, grand prize of $50,000.

The competition was divided into two separate days, the 1st was a pre-judging practice round. This round is designed to give the teams a chance to test their presentation skills and business models in front of real judges without points deducted for mistakes. During this round, judges are allowed to give feedback meant to help the teams better preform for day two. On the 2nd day the competition is real, and the teams are expected to hit the ground running. This rigorous round took the entirety of the day, stressed teams, but ultimately provided a winner.

There were five GOOSE Society of Texas members there representing GOOSE as judges, mentors, and observers.

The top six finalists where NUMIX, ETC Solar LLC, SurgePower Materials, PolarPanel, Hearth Labs, and CarbonSul.  ETC Solar LLC took the grand prize and 1st place.

ETC Solar accepting the Grand Prize

ETC Solar LLC, a Los Angeles, California based is a spin off from the California Institute of Technology, developing manufacturing equipment for solar cell manufacturers. Thereby the efficiency of its solar cells are increased by 5%.

Thomas Russell (CEO & Co-founder) and Michael Kelzenberg (Head R&D Team) were there to represent the company. Prior to the 1st place announcement, Thomas and Michael where interviewed. Thomas, when asked about his concerns coming into the competition said, “Basically the biggest fear is there being one judge experienced in ETC Solar’s field asking the tough question(s) that potentially make the business model look weak, but as a start-up we don’t know all the answers.” Furthermore, Thomas was asked what the team expected out of this competition, he replied, “There are so many judges, it is a great test from outsiders to be able to see if they understand and get the story ETC Solar is telling.” Thomas added “This is an opportunity to meet friendly investors to go home on and this gives a boost of confidence. Exposure to all judges is great!”

GOOSE would like to congratulate ETC Solar and their team on the successful win and all other regional competitors in this year’s competition!

Special thanks to GOOSE Analyst, Blake George, for writing this post.

Samantha Jo Lewis

View posts by Samantha Jo Lewis
Entrepreneur x2. World Traveler. Rice MBA. Texas A&M. Now in start-up investing.

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