Cleantech Open Selects Four Midwest Startups to Compete at Global Forum

Nationwide accelerator program selects top regional startups to showcase at the Academy Awards of Cleantech next month in Silicon Valley. 

Minneapolis – October 19, 2012: The North Central region of the Cleantech Open business accelerator program announced the three finalists that will represent the region at the national Cleantech Open Global Forum. The top companies, including HEVT, based in Chicago, IL, IrriGreen, based in Eden Prairie, MN, and SiNode based in Chicago, IL, were selected from a group of 20 semifinalist cleantech entrepreneurs that have been working with the Cleantech Open for the last five months to hone their business models and prepare for investor meetings.

The finalists were announced Thursday night at the conclusion of the 2012 Innovation Expo & Awards event in Minneapolis, which brought together all of the companies with Midwest investors and corporate representatives, media, civic leaders and scores of others from throughout the Midwestern business community.

In addition to the regional finalists, Barasa, based in Wheaton, IL, received the regional sustainability award, an honor given to the company most effectively incorporating a triple-bottom-line approach to scaling its business, and DirectDrive Energy based in Lowden, IA, won the People’s Choice award for best two-minute pitch, as voted on by audience members.

Each regional finalist won a prize package with a mix of cash and in-kind services worth up to $20,000. The three finalist companies and sustainability winner will present at the Global Forum, the Academy Awards of Cleantech on November 08-09, 2012 in Calif., to compete for a grand prize of $250,000 in investments and services.

“This year’s group of entrepreneurs are further proof the cleantech industry is a diverse mix of business models, technologies and products that is much broader than typical notions of renewable energy,” said Justin Kaster, Co-Founder and Director of the North Central Region of Cleantech Open. “These top companies also show the Midwest has leadership potential in this exciting space, which has been evident each year since we founded the North Central program.”

Details on each of the winning companies for North Central include:


Regional Finalist: HEVT

Chicago, IL

Advanced electric motor technologies.


Regional Finalist: IrriGreen

Eden Prairie, MN

Landscape irrigation systems that cut installation time in half and water use by 50% through digital technology.


Regional Finalist: SiNode

Chicago, IL

Superior anode Technology for Li-ion Battery.


Sustainability Winner: Barasa

Wheaton, IL

Patented process for converting industrial organic waste into topsoil.


About The Cleantech Open

The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. Our mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. Since 2006, 581 Cleantech Open alumni companies across the U.S. have raised more than $660 million in external funding and created thousands of jobs. The North Central Cleantech Open regional program was founded in 2010 to provide entrepreneurs and technologists across the Midwest with the resources needed to launch successful companies. Learn more at

The Cleantech Open is made possible by generous support from our Global Partner, Chevron; National Education Partner, University of Phoenix; and National Sponsor, Wells Fargo. The North Central Region Accelerator Program 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, Silicon Valley Bank, Andcor, Cleantech Communications, Sage Presence and others.