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
|Allume||Digitization of Energy||Los Angeles, CA & Melbourne, Australia|
|Amperon||Digitization of Energy||New York, NY and Houston, TX|
|Blue Planet Energy||Digitization of Energy||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Brimstone Energy||New Fuels||Oakland, CA|
|Cemvita||New Fuels||Houston, TX|
|Dianomic||Digitization of Energy||Menlo Park, CA|
|EnergyHawk||eMobility in Cities||Boston, MA|
|EnPower||New Fuels||Phoenix, AZ|
|Hygge Power||Digitization of Energy||Boulder, Colorado|
|KUHMUTE||eMobility in Cities||Flint, MI|
|Lumin||Digitization of Energy||Charlottesville, VA|
|Mekaworks||eMobility in Cities||Austin, TX|
|Origen Hydrogen||New Fuels||San Carlos, CA|
|Packetized Energy||Digitization of Energy||Burlington, Vermont|
|Pantonium||eMobility in Cities||Toronto, Canada|
|Quibbitek||Digitization of Energy||Vista, CA|
|ReJoule||eMobility in Cities||Signal Hill, CA|
|SaaSCharge||eMobility in Cities||New York, NY|
|Sapphire Technologies||New Fuels||Cerritos, CA|
|SkyCool||New Fuels||Mountain View, CA|
|South 8 Technologies||New Fuels||San Diego, CA|
|Switched Source LLC||Digitization of Energy||Vestal, NY|
|Teratonix||New Fuels||Pittsburgh, PA|
|Veloce Energy||eMobility in Cities||Los Angeles, CA, & Houston, TX|
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