Cleantech Open North Central Region Showcases Top 20 Startups at Innovation Expo & Awards

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The North Central region of the Cleantech Open will hold its 2012 Innovation Expo & Awards event in Minneapolis on Thursday, October 18, highlighting entrepreneurial trends across the Midwest.

Since 2006, the non-profit Cleantech Open accelerator program has been working to find, fund and foster the most promising cleantech startups on the planet. To date, 581 alumni companies have raised more than $660 million in external funding and created thousands of U.S. jobs.

Over the last four months, a new group of 20 regional startups has worked closely with the North Central Cleantech Open (NCCTO), honing their business models through in-person and virtual training programs with industry experts, and connecting with investors. These companies will be featured at this month's regional showcase and at the national Cleantech Open Global Forum on November 8-9. Four of them will be chosen to compete for the National Grand Prize of a "startup-in-a-box," valued at $250,000.

This year's regional startup class reflects low-cost trends in the cleantech industry at large and addresses environmental and agricultural challenges long associated with the Midwest. "There's currently a misconception that cleantech ventures are inherently cost intensive. In fact, the industry includes a tremendous diversity of business models, product technologies and capital requirements," said Justin Kaster, Co-Founder and Director, NCCTO.

"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 grid to agricultural processes," Kaster added. Other trends include small-scale solar power applications, the conversion of organic waste into valuable agricultural products, and the emergence of "meta" cleantech companies focused on enhancing the industry itself. The list of companies is available here.

The Expo & Awards event also will showcase sponsor companies, partners and regional startups from previous years. An invite-only segment will bring together venture, angel and corporate representatives from across the Midwest representing approximately $2 billion in active capital, and the evening will conclude with an awards program. The Expo & Awards will be held throughout the day in the Aria at the Jeune Lune Event Center. Attendance is open to the public. Media passes are available here.

About Cleantech Open

The mission of the Cleantech Open is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today's urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. It's made possible by generous support from Global Partner, Chevron; National Education Partner, University of Phoenix; and National Sponsor, Wells Fargo. The NCCTO is additionally sponsored by the following partners: Chevron, University of Phoenix, Wells Fargo, Faegre Baker Daniels, The Dow Chemical Company, Deloitte, Autodesk, Clise Billion Cyr, Gopher Angels, True North Venture Partners, AMEC, Andcor, Cleantech Communications, Sage Presence and others.

Learn more at - YouTube - Facebook - LinkedIn - Twitter: @cleantechopenNC.

Media contact:
Bart King, Cleantech Communications

SOURCE North Central Cleantech Open