Five MN Cos. Named Semifinalists in Cleantech Open

Of the 20 semifinalists chosen from the Cleantech Open's 10-state North-Central region, five are based in Minnesota.

Five Minnesota companies have been named semifinalists in this year's Cleantech Open for the North-Central region.

The companies are among 20 semifinalists that were chosen from a pool of start-ups from 10 states: Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

The Cleantech Open is a national business-plan competition and incubator that was launched in 2006. Spokeswoman Amy Fisher on Monday said that, nationally, there were about 300 qualified applicants in this year's program. It awards start-ups in the cleantech industry with training, mentoring, investments, and professional services. The North Central region competition was founded in 2010.

The 2011 semifinalists from Minnesota, including where they are based, the category for which they were recognized, and their areas of focus, are:

  • Atmosphere Recovery, Eden Prairie; renewable energy category: developing a system to increase the energy output from gas- or liquid-based energy processes
  • CleanTrack, Plymouth; transportation category: creating a system to reduce fleet-fuel consumption and hydrocarbon emissions
  • Invelox, Chaska; renewable energy category: building technology for safe, silent, low-cost, and high-efficiency wind power generation
  • Route Perfect, Minneapolis; transportation category: developing a new fuel-optimization technology for the transportation industry
  • Supreme Energy Products, Lakeville; green building category: creating seamless building envelope systems that allow for 50 percent to 70 percent greater energy savings

The five Minnesota companies will compete for regional awards, which include a mix of cash and in-kind services, and the top companies advance for a shot at the grand prize of $250,000 in investments and services and an opportunity to present in front of roughly 2,000 people at The Cleantech Open's Global Forum in November.

The semifinalists also will receive advice from Cleantech Open mentors, a chance to take part in entrepreneurial “boot camp” programs in California and Boston, and access to a pool of investors at a national conference.

The list of all semifinalists from throughout the country is available here.

“We are exceptionally proud that the North-Central region is showcasing an excellent group of entrepreneurs again this year,” Justin Kaster, regional director of the Cleantech Open and an investment banker with Minnetonka-based Cherry Tree Companies, LLC, said in a statement. “These start-ups are working to solve some of today's most significant environmental and energy challenges through innovation.”