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June 17, 2021
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Meet the 24 Semifinalists for Cleantech.org’s GS Beyond Energy $100K Challenge

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We’ve been working with one of our major LPs to drive open innovation, as well as relaunch Cleantech.org, and are excited to share the 24 semifinalists out of the hundreds of applicants for our first challenge in a long time, the GS Beyond Energy Challenge, funded and hosted by the innovation arm one our limited partners, a major Korean conglomerate GS Group, with Refining, Chemicals, Power, Retail, and Construction businesses. The startups run across stages, and range from carbon and CO2, hydrogen, solar, storage, SaaS, IoT, synthetic biology, power electronics, electric charging, home resiliency, robotics, quantum technology, energy harvesting, materials, distributed generation, grid, et al. It’s been a blast meeting these teams. Meeting people like this is why I love venture capital. I’ve seen so many tech startups in energy and cleantech over the last 20 years it is very hard not to dismiss things as having been done before. But times like this keep you grounded. There is so much old that may be interesting now, and so much that is truly new.

I started Cleantech.org 15 years ago to solve a problem – no geographical center of gravity for cleantech – so we built one on the web, and launched Cleantechblog.com to do the blogging. We still 15 years later have two of the top sites for cleantech on the web. The first portal was a jobs board and a one click submission to every venture investor in the the NREL investor database (since gone). We’re working on what the next Cleantech.org portal and help for the cleantech startup world will look like. Our Cleantech.org Linkedin groups are over 50,000 members, and are a Who’s Who of the Cleantech and Carbon sectors, and you should join them. We started them because our rolodexes had gotten so big we couldn’t keep in touch with all the awesome people we were meeting often enough. Cleantech Blog became a household name, cited in dozens of books, anchoring the launch of the Greentech Blog of CNET/News.com, and Energy Voices for Christian Science Monitor, named a Top 50 Business Blog by the London Times alongside luminaries like Techcrunch and Freakanomics.

This challenge came out of a desire to introduce GS (which just happens to be our anchor LP for Energy Transition Ventures) and its innovation group to the world (hint, GS was the energy, construction and retail business of the old LG, which split itself in 2004), and figure out how to relaunch Cleantech.org. It was driven off ideas I used to launch the challenge competitions for Shell Gamechanger 7 years ago while I was launching the CVC at Shell in the US. The Shell Gamechanger challenges actually started as a Cleantech.org idea before I joined Shell, when our team was advising and being funded and developed by, you guessed it, a Shell Gamechanger, to help Shell figure out how to do cleantech (they called it Future Energies then, New Energies now), and venture capital. It will be no surprise that you will find some GameChanger funded startups on the list below. That challenge for Gamechanger came from ideas we used to fund seed startups at New Zealand’s state owned all renewable power company Meridian Energy Ltd, and ConocoPhillips, in 2005-2009, when I and my teams were advising Meridian’s $400 mm corporate venture capital arm, and advising on the launch of the alternative energy business and the first corporate venture capital group for ConocoPhillips. It is amazing how far the world has come in the intervening years.

And what better way to meet startups than just giveaway $100K in cash with no strings or dilution? To pull this off, we went back to old friends and quickly built relationships with some new. We partnered with Greentown Labs, Techstars, Austin Technology Incubator, Elemental Excelerator, Third Derivative, and then got a lot of help from people at Cleantech San Diego, CleanStart, Cleantech Open, Ion, and many others, who sent their startups. It really helps to have the largest network in cleantech!

Congrats to all the 2021 semifinalists, I have amazingly high expectations for you all. And I look forward to seeing the winner. Read the full article on Cleantech Blog.

2021 Cleantech.org GS Beyond Energy Challenge Semifinalists

CompanyCategoryLocation
AllumeDigitization of EnergyLos Angeles, CA & Melbourne, Australia
AmperonDigitization of EnergyNew York, NY and Houston, TX
Blue Planet EnergyDigitization of EnergyHonolulu, Hawaii
Brimstone EnergyNew FuelsOakland, CA
CemvitaNew FuelsHouston, TX
DianomicDigitization of EnergyMenlo Park, CA
EnergyHawkeMobility in CitiesBoston, MA
EnPowerNew FuelsPhoenix, AZ
Hygge PowerDigitization of EnergyBoulder, Colorado
KUHMUTEeMobility in CitiesFlint, MI
LuminDigitization of EnergyCharlottesville, VA
MekaworkseMobility in CitiesAustin, TX
Origen HydrogenNew FuelsSan Carlos, CA
Packetized EnergyDigitization of EnergyBurlington, Vermont
PantoniumeMobility in CitiesToronto, Canada
QuibbitekDigitization of EnergyVista, CA
ReJouleeMobility in CitiesSignal Hill, CA
SaaSChargeeMobility in CitiesNew York, NY
Sapphire TechnologiesNew FuelsCerritos, CA
SkyCoolNew FuelsMountain View, CA
South 8 TechnologiesNew FuelsSan Diego, CA
Switched Source LLCDigitization of EnergyVestal, NY
TeratonixNew FuelsPittsburgh, PA
Veloce EnergyeMobility in CitiesLos Angeles, CA, & Houston, TX

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About the Author

Neal Dikeman

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Author Neal M. Dikeman is the Chairman of online network and cleantech think tank Cleantech.org, and a partner at early stage venture capital fund, Energy Transition Ventures. He has cofounded half a dozen cleantech and energy startups, previously worked in venture capital at Jane Capital Partners and Royal Dutch Shell. He has been one of the most prolific writers on the subject of cleantech, as chief blogger for Cleantechblog.com, named a 50 Best Business Blog by the London Times. He authored What is Cleantech?, the first brief history of the term cleantech, Cleantech.org, 2008, What is the Energy Transition? Cleantech.org, 2020, author of a book chapter on cap and trade in The Green Movement, Greenhaven Press, alongside George Will and John Kerry, and a former cleantech columnist for CNET/News.com, Christian Science Monitor, and Sustainable Industries Magazine.