Category Archives: Chicago Clean Energy Alliance

CLEANTECH COMPETITION

Impact Engine—Part 7

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

Claire Tramm - Effortless Energy TLoop 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.

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Effortless Energy Logo

Claire Tramm CEO

Lemme ask you a question:

Elec MeterIf 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. Effortless Energy 35 percent
  • 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 Claire Tramm - Effortless Energy 2wants 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!

Effortless Energy Home GraphicI 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.

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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:

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Da Competitors

Software to drive energy efficiency in industrial buildings with alerts.

Wind generator using a venturi to increase safety and efficiency.

Synthetic diesel and jet fuel from garbage.

More efficient hot water solar panel using a mirror.

  • Greenlight5th Place

Smart Meter for consumer electricity savings.

Make your house energy-efficient for free and get paid for it.

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.

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Da Judges

From readin’ the stuff on these judges, I get the impression they ain’t the kinda tree-huggin’ folk I expected:

  • Ben BrownClean Energy TrustExpert on energy systems. Commercializes renewable energy with alotta hands-on experience.
  • K. Quentin Burchill Jr.—Angott Search GroupTrack record fer matching energy companies with the right investment firms. Another hands-on guy.
  • Barbara A Fatina, CPA, MBA—Argonne National LaboratoryDeputy CFO at Argonne and big business. Energy operations experience. She builds businesses and teams.
  • Jared Gonsky—LanzaTechGroups businesses on a global scale. Experience in ethanol, VC work, marketing and supply chain in big business.
  • Diana Y Hu, PhDMolecular physicist and Biophysicist. University of Chicago MBA. Education of foreign-born professionals and clean energy.
  • Philip M Martin—United AirlinesFinance, development, operations, process—especially in transportation. University of Chicago MBA, which counts fer a lot with me.
  • Mark Menarik—UltraCarbonSerial entrepreneur in tech, alternative energy and nano materials. Focuses on cleantech scale-ups.
  • Travis Narum—Acciona EnergyWind and solar energy expert. West Point grad, and that ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at.
  • Anthony F Toussaint PhD, MBA—DSM Functional MaterialsChemical industries expert. R&D in fiber optics. PhD Chemical Engineering, University of London. Kellogg MBA, which gets top marks from me.
  • Klaus Voss—BW IndiaLong-time entrepreneur in environmental energy and biotechnology. Commercialized bio-wastewater tech for Mexico, India, and the ASEAN community. Another hands-on guy.

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Da Organizations

Dis thing is put on by some good folks:

One of over 50 global clusters responsible for nominating companies eachChicago Clean Energy Alliance logo year for the Global Cleantech Cluster Association’s Later Stage Awards competition.

They connect cleantech companies globally to create value chains. They seek GCCAcompanies that are scalable, equity investible, and willing to take risks. Their ten 2011 winners raised $462 Million.

Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management accelerator located Impact Enginewithin the 1871 incubator. Linda Darragh’s baby.  Focus on social entrepreneurship.

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Photos and Video courtesy of Impact Engine, Effortless Energy, Chicago Clean Energy Alliance, and GCCA.

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GO BACK TO PART 1

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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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WHAT’S CLEAN

Impact Engine – Part 6

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

PortaPure WaterChildLoop Lonagan here. I’m at a place where my natural greed ‘n’ avarice can do some good fer dis poor worn-out world. This is the Chicago CleanTech Competition—what you might call a race between high-tech global janitorial services. Ten distinguished judges will pick the best o’ da best—companies that’re really doin’ somethin’ to deal with the mess we’re makin’ outa our little corner o’ God’s creation. What we got here is da last ten finalists in our great city and tonight that gets cut down to five.

Every one o’ these companies is a specialist with a different slant on how to get the job Chicago Clean Energy Alliance logodone. You know as well as I do—the only company that succeeds in this world is the one that makes good business sense. But are those the ones that’ll win? Probably not. But we’ll see.

The MC makes sure we know today is Earth Day, which gets a shrug all around. Then he explains how the winners move on to the big international GCCA event and compete with companies from Europe ‘n’ Asia. You heard all about that organization, right? If you didn’t, see the link and the video at da bottom. I got no time to explain.

.GCCA

A Strange Encounter

Lemme give you summa da local color. Things is movin’ along real nice when I hear this harsh voice all the way from the other side o’ the room. He’s yellin’ at an elderly gentleman for nodding off during the meeting. Then he turns his foghorn on me: “Hey Lonagan, are you going to be writing this up? Because I’m going to call you every hour on the hour till you do!”

Sheesh, I ain’t kiddin’. The guy blares that out right in the middle o’ da meeting in fronta all these gentle souls. I’m wonderin’ if any of them clean tech folks ever ran into anybody like Rong Mayhem before.

I know that Rong singled me out ‘cause of a simple misunderstanding. He thinks I’m some kinda reporter. Well, this ain’t no newspaper and nobody sticks me with no deadline. I’m lookin’ for companies to invest in. So’s I keep takin’ notes.

Then he howls. “Lonagan, what the hell are you doing?”

This time I answer. “Just writin’ down what you say, Rong.”

But he’s got a come-back to that: “You know what you are? You’re a legend in your own mind!” Then he repeats it a couple times.

Impact EngineAfter that, things quiet down for a while. And I’m smiling to myself, thinking about the poor MC tryin’ to control the meeting. So I glance over the program and get a jolt. Outa these ten companies, I see two graduates from Northwestern University’s Impact Engine. Lemme tell you about one o’ them:

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Portapure

Portapure George PageGeorge Page is the founder of Portapure and he’s da keynote speaker tonight. He’s also one o’ da judges, so maybe things’ll work out all right after all. He’s a chemical engineer that worked in Chicago water projects so he’s a practical guy. And he’s on a mission. He wants to make clean water available to anybody, anywhere, anytime. To do that, he makes water filtration affordable for the developing world.

Portapure won this event last year and ended up among the top 30 in the world. I first seen him at BNC Venture Capital when he invented a pocket size water purifier. I’ll tell you about that one first:

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Pocket Pure

Picture this: Say yer goin’ into the jungles of Haiti to do disaster relief. Yer gonna be

Dirty water

Dirty water

there for weeks and the water is mostly muddy streams and swamps. This is da 3rd World. There ain’t no EPA out there to slap people with fines fer makin’ a mess. Still, you gotta get yer butt out there no matter what the conditions. So whaddaya do? Pack in lotsa fresh water, right? Think again. Got any idea how many pounds a few gallons o’ water weighs? It’s impossible to lug all that with you. Airdrop it, maybe? Not a practical solution.

As it turns out, you don’t even need to carry a canteen. Instead, you take along a little pocket-size device called PocketPure. It weighs next to nothin’. Any time you get thirsty, you stop at a convenient swamp and make yerself some clean drinking water—one cup at a time. You can stay in the field as long as you want ‘n’ you never run outa water.

Gathering water in a swamp

Up till now, all anybody had was water purification tablets. Those take half an hour to work and you still gotta filter out the dirt somehow. But technology moves forward and you might as well take advantage of it. As you might’ve guessed, Portapure is sellin’ these things to NGOs by the boxful.

Drinking water is in short supply across the world. Lotsa people in all kindsa places die of E. coli and such. Kids even. That brings me to Portapure’s next product:

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Pure Lives

Purtapure Purelives

Purtapure Purelives

This one’s on a bigger scale. It’s a three-phase filter with a 5-gallon capacity—just right for yer typical grass hut. Hey—people in the developing world want clean water for their families, too.

This thing filters both bacteria and viruses outa real filthy water. I’m talking real nasty critters like cholera, typhoid, amoebic dysentery, E. coli, coliform bacteria, cryptosporidium, streptococcus, salmonella, giardia, and of course, yer ordinary dirt ‘n’ sediment—it’s enough t’ make yer flesh crawl. This device filters out 99.99% o’ that muck—the definition of clean water according to the World Health Organization. And the filter lasts for maybe 10,000 gallons! This thing was tested in an NSF certified lab and reduced the E. coli count from 5490 to less than 1.

Muddy waters

Muddy waters

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Da Business

This keeps getting better. He sells these things to NGOs, but there’s another angle. Clean water’s at a real premium. It’s like liquid gold in some places. And folks livin’ there wanna make a living just like anybody else. That gives Portapure a natural distribution network and a sustainable solution that pays for itself. At the same time, they’re putting people to work and boosting the economy in these far-flung places.

.PortaPure WaterChild

Da Awards

This company’s got its share of ‘em:

  • Impact Engine graduate
  • GCCA Global Top 30 company
  • Chicago Innovation Awards 2011 Up & Comer
  • Office of the Treasurer Small 2012 Business Plan finalist
  • Tech Cocktail 2011 Finalist

Here’s a good video on Portapure:


I wanna tell you ‘bout the other companies and who won. But I ain’t got room to do it justice here, so I’ll be back with more.

GO TO PART 7

GO TO PART 1

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Meanwhile, here’s a video that explains the whole international competition:

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Da Contacts

Portapurewww.portapure.com

Contact – Info@PortAPure.com – 773 251 5779

1507 E 53rd. St, Suite 218PortaPure logo

Chicago, IL. 60615

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Portapure on 5 NBC Chicago

PortAPure’s George Page is Saving the World

http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/inc-well/Portapures-George-Page-is-Saving-the-World-132243943.html

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Portapure on Crain’s Chicago Business

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120823/BLOGS06/120829905/seeing-promise-in-water-purification

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Impact EngineImpact Engine

www.theimpactengine.com

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Chicago Clean Energy Alliance

www.theccea.org

.Chicago Clean Energy Alliance logo

GCCA—Global Cleantech Cluster Association

Their ten 2011 winners raised $462 Million.GCCA

www.globalcleantech.org/

Images and video courtesy Portapure, CCEA, GCCA, Impact Engine, and AP.

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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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3 Comments

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