Cleantech Open Sees Best of Midwest Cleantech Startups

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

The Cleantech Open bills itself as the largest cleantech accelerator. Its mission is to “find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges.”

Its North Central regional program, founded in 2010, will be holding its 2012 Innovation Expo & Awards event in Minneapolis on Thursday, October 18.

It will be highlighting the entrepreneurial trends across the Midwest, this year focusing on companies that address low-cost trends in the cleantech industry and address environmental and agricultural challenges oft-associated with the Midwest.

“There’s currently a misconception that cleantech ventures are inherently cost intensive. In fact, the cleantech industry includes a tremendous diversity of business models, product technologies and capital requirements,” said Justin Kaster, Co-Founder and Director of the North Central Region of Cleantech Open, headquartered in the CoCo Minneapolis collaborative working space in downtown Minneapolis.

“For instance, the cost of hardware and web services has declined dramatically in recent years, opening up opportunities for increased monitoring and analytics. Several of our startups are leveraging these capabilities to improve energy efficiency in everything from buildings to agricultural processes.”

The last four months have seen a group of 20 local startups working closely with the North Central region program, “honing their business models through in-person and virtual training programs with mentors like Steve Blank, and connecting with investors from across the country.” The 2012 North Central region companies are:

Barasa Wheaton, IL
Patented process for converting industrial organic waste into topsoil.

BioPetrol Ltd. Lino Lakes, MN
Synthetic oil production from municipal sewage sludge and other biosolids.

Dioxide Materials  Champaign, IL
Low cost CO2 sensors for monitoring building occupancy and adjusting energy usage.

IrriGreen Eden Prairie, MN
Landscape irrigation systems that cut installation time in half and water use by 50% through digital technology.

Material Mix Saint Louis, MO
Online exchange for the trade and recycling of industrial byproducts.

Real Time Ag La Motte, IA
Monitoring software to improve farming efficiency and reduce runoff.

Cocoa Chicago, IL
High-quality humus fertilizer reduces cost to farmers and pollution.

QuadROI Minneapolis, MN
Definitive source for cleantech financial data.

Comfort 3.0 Chicago, IL
Online tool for customizing home thermostat settings for comfort and savings.

LandMentor Golden Valley, MN
Software for designing sustainable communities.

Concept Catapult Indianapolis, IN
Internet crowdsourcing platform for cleantech startups.

Grainvalue Saint Paul, MN
Selective separation of corn grain to maximize utility and economic use.

Heatwave Solar Edina, MN
Manufacture of solar air-heating units that reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Peppermint Energy Sioux Falls, SD
Personal solar power in a box.

Piezo PowerTech Detroit, MI
Wireless thermostat with predictive web analytics for existing HVAC.

SiNode Chicago, IL
Superior anode Technology for Li-ion Battery.

Switch Fargo, ND
Cost-effective, cloud-based platform for home energy use monitoring.

Direct Drive Energy Lowden, IA
Energy conservation and cost savings for idling trucks.

HEVT Chicago, IL
Advanced electric motor technologies.

JPODs, Inc. Saint Paul, MN
Solar-powered urban transportation networks.

These companies are set to be featured at the national Cleantech Open Global Forum “Academy Awards of Cleantech” on November 8-9. Before that rolls around, however, four of the startups will be chosen during the awards ceremony on October 18 to compete for the National Grand Prize, where the winner will receive a “startup-in-a-box” valued at $250,000.

Source: Cleantech Open

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica TV Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

Joshua S Hill has 4403 posts and counting. See all posts by Joshua S Hill