Feb. 7, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Sixteen student teams from six universities across Michigan will present their green technology solutions and vie for more than $100,000 in prizes at the Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge next week.
The Challenge, established by the University of Michigan and DTE Energy and supported by such campus groups as the University of Michigan Energy Institute, encourages students from Michigan colleges and universities to grow clean-energy solutions into thriving businesses.
Bob Lutz, retired General Motors vice chairman, will speak at the event, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. in Blau Auditorium at the Ross School of Business. Read the day’s schedule.
“All of the teams participating this year have done a tremendous job in moving their clean energy business ideas forward,” said Doug Neal, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at U-M College of Engineering. “It is exciting to see teams from all over the state of Michigan working together, learning together and pushing each other to create the next cohort of clean energy entrepreneurs that will have a significant impact on our economy and the nation.”
In addition to U-M, students from these universities are involved: Lake Superior State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.
Eight teams from U-M are among the finalists. They are:
- PicoSpray, which is building cleaner, cheaper and more efficient small engines for motorcycles, lawnmowers and mopeds. Elevator pitch video
- Arbor Solar Technology, which is developing a hybrid solar lighting solution.
- Reversible off the Grid Heated Blankets, which is developing non-electric blanket aimed at preventing hypothermia in premature infants in the U.S. and in developing nations. Elevator pitch video
- NusKu Energy Applications, which has come up with a way for companies to reduce their power consumption in computer datacenters. Elevator pitch video
- Torch Hybrid Marine, which is creating a hybrid electric propulsion systems for boats. Elevator pitch video
- Arborlight, which is commercializing better LEDs that could replace fluorescent light bulbs.
- EVStation, which is working to overcome range anxiety in electric vehicles. Elevator pitch video
- BooCycle, which is developing lightweight bicyles made of bamboo. Elevator pitch video
Pitch videos from many of the teams from other universities are posted at this YouTube playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3637A6B7D83AE5E6&feature=view_all
At the start of the competition, business ideas ranged from a sketch on a napkin to a fully-formed, pre-revenue company. This year, each team competed for the full six-months of the challenge and received assistance identifying their business model as well as mentoring and discussion opportunities with venture capital and angel investors.
This year, for the first time, this competition is part of a national effort encouraging young entrepreneurs to develop greener energy solutions through President Obama’s Startup America campaign. The winner of the Michigan contest will advance to a regional competition in the spring, and could eventually have a shot at a national grand prize in Washington, D.C. this summer.
In addition to a first- and second-place prize at the Michigan contest, judges will give awards in six categories, including best resource conservation, increased energy efficiency and green building. They will give five special achievement awards to best prototype, most disruptive, best team assembled, best pivot(s) and judges’ choice.
Clean Energy Venture Challenge sponsors include DTE Energy, MASCO Corporation Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, Google, UBS Investment Bank, Eisbrenner Public Relations, the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Wayne State University, Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University. Partners include the University of Michigan’s Ross Energy Club, Energy Institute, Center for Entrepreneurship and MPowered.
February 17 will be a big day for entrepreneurship at U-M. In addition to this contest, the Ross School of Business will hold its semi-final and final rounds of the Michigan Business Challenge. Hosted by the Zell Lurie Institute, the competition is in its 28th year. More than $60,000 in cash prizes will be awarded. Semi-final round begins at 9 a.m. Winners will be announced at an awards reception at the Ross School from 5-7 p.m. New Dare to Dream student start-up grant recipients for winter term will also be announced. For more information on the event, and the finalist teams, see http://www.zli.bus.umich.edu/pdf_files/2012_MBC_Semi-finals_teams.pdf or www.zli.bus.umich.edu.
About the Clean Energy Venture Challenge
The Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge is a state-wide competition administered by the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan. It is a new version of the Michigan Clean Energy Prize that provides student teams interested in clean energy entrepreneurship the education, mentorship and resources to accelerate their ideas forward. Teams that are accepted into the program will be part of a cohort of clean energy entrepreneurs from across the state of Michigan. In addition to experience, connections and feedback they will receive there are also opportunities for micro grants and other prizes totaling more than $100,000.
Contact: Nicole Casal Moore, (734) 647-7087, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information:
Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge: http://micevc.com/