U.S. Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition

Washington, DC

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Event Details

The U.S. Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition is a unique national business plan competition, designed to build a network of student-focused business creation contests across the country. Student-led teams have competed in six DOE-sponsored regional competitions by submitting business plans supporting innovative technologies in the area of clean energy. Each regional winner has recieved DOE-sponsored $100,000 prize. And on June 12th, they will pitch their business plans live in front of a panel of judges and a public audience. 

The National Competition event will include panel discussions on important topics in the clean energy technology space in the morning. In the afternoon, the six regional finalists will have an opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges and the audience; they are competing for a suite of cash and other prizes. 

2013 DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition Agenda

Wednesday, June 12, 2012: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM 

George Washington University, Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st St NW Washington, DC 20052


7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Registration

8:30 AM – 8:40 AM Welcome Address 

Dr. Steven Lerman, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, George Washington University

8:40 AM – 9:00 AM White House Address

Nick Sinai, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer


9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Keynote Address

Danny Kennedy, CEO, Sungevity


9:30 AM – 10:45 AM Navigating the Energy Customers: Identification and Being Nimble

The first panel discussion will focus on both the theory and practice of bringing a technology to market in the cleantech space. This includes the importance of how you identify where a technology is in the TRL pipeline and a discussion about how as a start-up it is critical to understand your customer. Given that the “clean energy” space is very vague, this will include discussions of how energy can be brought to market in different fields of clean energy including efficiency, generation, and transportation.  The panel also include former business plan competition participants, who bring their perspective on navigating the cleantech sector. This panel will help to provide not only the theory of bringing a technology to market, but will allow for a look into how a startup navigates the space.


Tom Burton, Chair, Energy & Clean Technology Practice, Mintz Levin

Vanessa Green, CEO, FINsix

Mark Johnson, Program Manager, ARPA-e

Stanley Kowalski III, Chairman of the Board, FloDesign

Mike Rowand, Director, Technology Development for Duke Energy

Moderator: Ralph Braccio, Senior Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton


10:45 AM – 11:15 AM Break


11:15 AM – 12:30 PM The Changing Face of Clean Energy Start-Up Financing

The second panel of the day will focus on how the face of angel and early start-up funding is changing. There have been trends in the sector that have seen VCs and traditional early-stage financiers disappearing. Is this a real trend? Will the VCs and other angels return? Or are there other models that can be explored to fund and boost new startups. Topics will include corporate partnerships and early stage financing, new financing models based utilizing foundations, or even exploring more government-funded or policy solutions.


Nikhil Garg, Vice President, Black Coral Capital

Bill Kingsley, Managing Director, EnerTech Capital

Chris Lohmann, Senior Finance Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Energy

Fiona Murray, Associate Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management and Faculty Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship

Dan Scripps, Vice President, Capital Innovation, Advanced Energy Economy

Moderator: Phyllis Cuttino, Director, Clean Energy Program, Pew Charitable Trusts


12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch


1:30 PM – 3:00 PM – Team Pitches

The six regional finalists, representing the six regional business plan competitions, will have an opportunity to pitch their business plans live in front of an esteemed panel of judges and the general audience. Each team will have 15 minutes to present before the judges and live audience. This will include a 10 minute pitch and a 5 minute Q&A from the judges.

1:30 PM – 1:45 PM Bearing Analytics, Purdue University

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM BioAdhesive Alliance, North Carolina A&T State University

2:00 PM – 2:15 PM SiNode Systems, Northwestern University

2:15 PM – 2:30 PM Inviroment, Brigham Young University

2:30 PM – 2:45 PM Picasolar, University of Arkansas

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM Pyro-E, University of California - Berkeley


3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Break


3:30 PM – 4:00 PM DOE Address

Introduction: Mary Wenzel, Senior Vice President and Director of Environmental Affairs, Wells Fargo

Dr. David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy 


4:00 PM – 5:30 PM Judges Panel

This last panel will provide the judges with an opportunity to discuss the pressing issues facing cleantech startups and how to proceed forward. This will include their thoughts on the day’s proceedings, as well as any other overarching topics that have been identified. They will also, at the conclusion of their remarks, announce the winner of the competition.

Michael Ahearn, Founder, True North Venture Partners

Andrew Chung, Partner, Khosla Ventures

Matthew Nordan, Vice President, Venrock Capital

Katie Peterson, Director at iStart, Manager in Networks and Innovation, Kauffman Foundation

Dan Reicher, Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University 



5:30 PM – Closing Remarks

The Competition is part of Startup America, the Obama Administration’s campaign to inspire and promote entrepreneurship. The overarching goal of this initiative provides student participants with the skills to create new businesses and transform promising energy technologies from U.S. universities and national laboratories into innovative energy products that will help to create jobs, boost American competitiveness, and strengthen our economy. The National Competition event is sposored entirely by the private sector and brings together public, private and non-profit sector stakeholders. For more information about the Business Plan Competition, visit our website at http://techportal.eere.energy.gov/commercialization/natlbizplan.html.