Impact Engine—Part 7
John Jonelis – Verbatim from a special correspondent
Loop Lonagan here with a real simple story. I’m at the CHICAGO CLEANTECH COMPETITION watchin’ ten green companies go head-to-head for the chance to move on to the international GCCA contest.
Hey, dis old world needs a good scrubbin’, doncha think? I’m here, trying to use my natural greed on somethin’ constructive fer a change. I glance around and see a company I know has da potential. We’re gonna hear some good stuff.
Claire Tramm CEO
Lemme ask you a question:
If you could make your house energy efficient with no effort and get paid to do it, would you?
Effortless Energy is planning to make that happen. Here’s their offer:
- Their experts figure out what your house needs. Then they find the contractors and do the work. You just sit back ‘n’ sip yer beer.
- They pay for everything. They add insulation, plug air leaks—all the stuff that makes yer house comfortable and cheaper to live in.
- Then they split the energy savings with you.
- You get a nicer house, more money in your pocket every month, and you don’t plunk down any up-front money at all—nada.
With an offer like that, who wants to rob their bank account or take out a loan? Who wants to wait years fer da payback? Who wants to go through the hassle o’ hiring alotta contractors? This makes me smile, ‘cause now I ain’t gotta do them things no more.
And yer helpin’ the environment by doin’ it! Inefficient houses is a big part o’ da carbon footprint and there’s 120 million in the USA. Hey, that’s a $230 Billion opportunity fer Effortless Energy! This one looks like a winner to me!
I hear talk and read stuff—all kindsa complicated explanations about what they do, but it’s really a no-brainer. I got an old house. I want to work with these people. Don’t you?
Have a look-see at their video:
So’s I listen to nine other presentations. Some sound pretty terrific. Others don’t look like real companies. Now the distinguished judges is leavin’ to select the winners. Will they pick the best ones? Don’t make me laugh.
Strange Goings On
The judges is leavin’ to vote on the winners and the audience just moved to the feeding trough. So I’m just sittin’ there when one judge—this delicate oriental lady—hangs back and asks Rong Mayhem to give back her business card. To me that shows good judgement.
But Rong holds it outa reach and asks, “Why do you put PhD at the end of your name?” Sheesh! I mean, why do you suppose? After summore o’ that kinda behavior, she stamps her foot and insists.
His response? “I’m gonna have to put you in my doghouse. That’s for people who give me trouble.” Actually, he used a different word than doghouse, but I can’t say that here.
So I finally speak up: “Rong, she hasta go do the judging. You wanna keep us here all night?” So he hands it over and things get back to normal for a while. Sometimes strange things happen at these events. It don’t bother me none and it’s kinda fun to watch.
When da judges finally file back in, they pick some pretty good companies, but my favorite ain’t one of ‘em. But who can tell what’ll happen when these ventures hit the real world? Here’s all of ‘em and da skinny on what they do:
- Inbalance http://inbalancebuildings.com —1st Place
Software to drive energy efficiency in industrial buildings with alerts.
- Sheer Wind http://sheerwind.com —2nd Place
Wind generator using a venturi to increase safety and efficiency.
- Illinois Clean Fuels www.cleancoalfuels.com —3rd Place
Synthetic diesel and jet fuel from garbage.
- 101 Celsius www.101celsius.com —4th Place
More efficient hot water solar panel using a mirror.
- Greenlight —5th Place
Smart Meter for consumer electricity savings.
- Effortless Energy www.goeffortless.com
Make your house energy-efficient for free and get paid for it.
- Chicago Envro Energy https://sites.google.com/site/chicagoenviroenergycoop/
Pelletized torrefied wood to replace coal in power plants.
- Kriisa Research
Reliable and stable portable energy fer developing countries.
- Chicago Nat Gas Tanks
Custom low-pressure tanks to carry nat-gas using NuMat MOF technology.
- Community Retrofits (participated via Skype)
Just like Effortless Energy, but for entire community associations.
From readin’ the stuff on these judges, I get the impression they ain’t the kinda tree-huggin’ folk I expected:
- Ben Brown—Clean Energy Trust—Expert on energy systems. Commercializes renewable energy with alotta hands-on experience.
- K. Quentin Burchill Jr.—Angott Search Group—Track record fer matching energy companies with the right investment firms. Another hands-on guy.
- Barbara A Fatina, CPA, MBA—Argonne National Laboratory—Deputy CFO at Argonne and big business. Energy operations experience. She builds businesses and teams.
- Jared Gonsky—LanzaTech—Groups businesses on a global scale. Experience in ethanol, VC work, marketing and supply chain in big business.
- Diana Y Hu, PhD—Molecular physicist and Biophysicist. University of Chicago MBA. Education of foreign-born professionals and clean energy.
- Philip M Martin—United Airlines—Finance, development, operations, process—especially in transportation. University of Chicago MBA, which counts fer a lot with me.
- Mark Menarik—UltraCarbon—Serial entrepreneur in tech, alternative energy and nano materials. Focuses on cleantech scale-ups.
- Travis Narum—Acciona Energy—Wind and solar energy expert. West Point grad, and that ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at.
- Anthony F Toussaint PhD, MBA—DSM Functional Materials—Chemical industries expert. R&D in fiber optics. PhD Chemical Engineering, University of London. Kellogg MBA, which gets top marks from me.
- Klaus Voss—BW India—Long-time entrepreneur in environmental energy and biotechnology. Commercialized bio-wastewater tech for Mexico, India, and the ASEAN community. Another hands-on guy.
Dis thing is put on by some good folks:
- Chicago Clean Energy Alliance www.theccea.org
One of over 50 global clusters responsible for nominating companies each year for the Global Cleantech Cluster Association’s Later Stage Awards competition.
- GCCA—Global Cleantech Cluster Association www.globalcleantech.org/
They connect cleantech companies globally to create value chains. They seek companies that are scalable, equity investible, and willing to take risks. Their ten 2011 winners raised $462 Million.
- Impact Engine www.theimpactengine.com
Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management accelerator located within the 1871 incubator. Linda Darragh’s baby. Focus on social entrepreneurship.
Photos and Video courtesy of Impact Engine, Effortless Energy, Chicago Clean Energy Alliance, and GCCA.
Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.
.Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved
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