To learn more about the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge, please visit the NVC website at: nvc.cucleantech.org
The CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge (NVC) is an annual regional cleantech business plan competition hosted by CU Cleantech at the University of Colorado at Boulder with a $100,000 first place prize. The NVC is a student-focused competition, for students and organized by students. The eligible region encompasses the states of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The U.S. Department of Energy selected CU Cleantech to host the competition as part of the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, along with M.I.T., Rice University, Caltech, University of Maryland and Clean Energy Trust.
To compete, students form teams around a technology related to renewable energy or energy efficiency and develop a two-page business plan that addresses the key areas of go-to-market strategy, market and industry analysis, technology development, economics, risks and team. These plans are evaluated by a group of judges made up of experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, and the top teams are invited to Boulder, CO to give formal presentations to a group of judges. The top teams win cash prizes and in-kind support, with the winner taking home $100,000. The wining team also gets to compete at the National Competition in Washington, D.C. against the other regional competition winners for additional monetary and in-kind prizes, investor connections and national publicity. Throughout the competition, the teams will receive support to develop their businesses with mentors, connections to industry, webinars and other assistance. To learn more about the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge, visit nvc.cucleantech.org or contact the NVC Program Manager, Steve Herschleb.
Engaging the next generation of America’s energy leaders that have developed effective strategies for commercializing new clean energy technologies that will help American businesses lead the future.
Stephen Chu, Secretary of Energy
Ready to Accept the Challenge?
New Venture Challenge Schedule
The NVC schedule is in alignment with the academic schedule. The competition starts in the fall with team recruitment, mentor assignment and other team- and business-related activities. The teams put together their two-page business plans and compete in a first round in the late winter. From there the top teams will be selected to come to Boulder, CO to compete in the finals round in early spring. The winner will go on to compete in the national competition in Washington, D.C. in the summer. For more information on the competition deadlines, please visit the NVC website at nvc.cucleantech.org.
All the information related to the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge can be found on the competition website at nvc.cucleantech.org. There you will find information on the schedule, eligibility, submission requirements and judging criteria. If you would like to get involved with the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge as a participating team, mentor, judge or organizer, contact the CU Cleantech NVC Program Manager, Steve Herschleb.
Last Year’s $100,000 Winner
In the inaugural year of the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge, Navillum from the University of Utah took home the $100,000 first place prize with their unique process for manufacturing quantum dots. Navillum presented well at the finals competition held on April 20th, 2012, at the St. Julien Hotel in beautiful downtown Boulder, CO in front of a panel of judges made up of cleantech CEOs, investors and industry leaders. They faced tough competition from the other finalist teams, and the judges had a difficult time picking the winner, but eventually chose Navillum. The team then went on to compete against the other regional winners at the national competition in Washington, D.C., where they not only made tons of connections and received great exposure, they won the viewers’ choice award! Congratulations to Navillum. We’re excited to follow their progress as they continue to build their business.
2012 Finalist Teams
University of Colorado – Boulder, CO
At Thrive Energy, we reduce landfill by using locally generated waste in our proprietary process to produce a sustainable fuel. Fabrics, lawn and garden leftovers, compostables, styrofoam and plastics unfit for recycling and other trash can be converted into our fuel. This fuel is combusted in a highly intelligent and efficient diesel engine to generate electricity used for distributed power generation. This renewable energy supplement to grid power has the ability to turn on and off in accordance to demand needed, night or day. Power for your community from your community.
University of Colorado – Boulder, CO
REbound Technology develops distributed energy storage systems to help industrial and commercial businesses avoid peak electricity rates. The modular units use a novel refrigeration technique to leverage the low cost, high availability and excellent storage properties of one of earth’s most abundant substances, water. The result is a low-temperature system delivering reliable, dispatchable, fully renewable load shifting services to a $79 billion national rate mitigation market at a cost up to 50 percent lower than flow batteries, compressed air and other state-of-the-art technologies.
University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT
Navillum Nanotechnologies is a startup chemical manufacturing company originating out of the University of Utah. We have developed and patented an innovative method for making quantum dots. When used in televisions, computer displays or LED lighting, quantum dots will improve color range 50 percent over standard LED displays, increase energy savings by 35 percent, increase battery life of mobile devices through more efficient displays and help LED lighting match the warmth of incandescent lights. Additionally, quantum dots have the potential to increase the efficiency of PV cells up to 45 percent by converting UV light into electricity. Navillum plans to become a key market supplier to end-use application manufacturers. Led by a talented team of university researchers and MBA students, Navillum is poised to commercialize this innovative technology.
Maharishi University of Management – Fairfield, IA
The Cottonwood team, which is proposing a new solution for solar hot water technology, is made up of four Maharishi University of Management graduate students, a faculty advisor and the founding product developer. The Cottonwood Collector uses a unique, patent pending, thin film polymer design to produce solar-heated hot water for less than half the cost of current units, usually reducing the payback period to less than the critical 3-year tipping point. The units weigh 1/6th of the current models, can be shipped UPS and should take less than 2 hours to install. These highly efficient units can withstand freezing and boiling and can be custom-shaped to blend more aesthetically with buildings. Cottonwood promises to revolutionize residential and commercial solar water heating.
University of Colorado – Denver, CO
Bioelectrochemical Solutions (BES) is a company founded in Denver, CO with the goal to use bioelectrochemical systems to meet the most challenging social, economic and environmental problems. BES reactors provide numerous global benefits, including renewable energy, wastewater treatment and the production of desalinated water. Developed at the University of Colorado at Denver, BES-integrated systems are capable of producing large volumes of water and electricity, with a minimal cost in operation and materials. The unique feature of BES technology is that it is modular and can be modified to perform in multiple applications and industries.
University of Colorado – Boulder, CO
BioRecyclean is a pre-revenue bioenergy company that develops and sells customizable on-site waste management systems for horse farms. Our product seeks to eliminate waste disposal costs, as well as drastically reduce horse bedding expenses in an environmentally friendly process. BioRecyclean’s notoriety stems from the utilization of waste disposal costs and recycled horse bedding as economic drivers, which is in direct contrast with a traditional digestion company where energy production is the primary concern. BioRecylean’s technology focuses on upgrading the quality of ever-enduring sources of waste in a sustainable, efficient way. This technology promises to leave a lasting positive impression on the environment, as well as provide our customers with a one- to three-year return on investment.