News and Blog

20 March, 2015

EcoMachines partners with CleanTech Challenge to Select Finalists

On Thursday 12th March we welcomed fifty researchers, industryCTC logo leaders and investment professionals to our offices in central London to judge the second round of the CleanTech Challenge, a business plan competition run by members of University College London and London Business School. The competition, which EcoMachines has sponsored for the last two years, is open to students from all over the globe who have developed clean technology business ideas. Thursday’s judging round required our expert judges to narrow down the shortlisted applications to just six finalists who will be invited to London for a two day bootcamp and the chance to win a £10,000 prize.


Alexandre Gilbert, one of the Co-Chairs of the Challenge, opened the event by describing the opportunity the competition presented for student entrepreneurs, and the importance of encouraging innovation within the cleantech sector. The EcoMachines CEO, Ilian Iliev, followed with a brief presentation on the difficulties faced by cleantech startups. Ilian explained his belief that EcoMachines’ unique structure, which combines VC funding with a tailored accelerator programme, allows hardware businesses to scale along a lean startup model. It is these sorts of new finance models, Ilian explained, which are necessary to encourage investment in environmental technologies.


After these introductory remarks, the audience was split into four groups to examine the business plans for the twenty shortlisted companies. What followed was a heated debate over which companies performed best when judged against the CleanTech Challenge competencies of innovation, environmental impact and feasibility. After the groups narrowed down their options to just the two best companies in each sector, the judges gathered to watch one minute elevator pitch videos made by those eight applicants. They then voted for the six groups of entrepreneurs to progress to the bootcamp:


Solatom – Designing the first modular and transportable Concentrated Solar Power plant for use in industry.


Aerial Power – Adapting UAVs for the more efficient cleaning of solar panels.


Bionovae – Establishing a new methodology for the clonal propagation of plants at greater speed and with higher survival rates.


GreenSeed – Creating an app to connect gardeners and exchange horticultural information within local areas.


PAK Energy – Designing portable biogas digesters which use cow dung to provide energy in rural areas of South Asia.


Openwatt – Producing a plug-in device which provides demand response ‘Balancing Services’ to the National Grid by actively managing the electricity use of clients’ fixed load equipment.


The judges were struck by the inventiveness and diversity of the business proposals and it was exciting to see such a large number of young entrepreneurs looking to develop cleantech businesses. EcoMachines wishes the best of luck to the six finalists!