NW Cleantech Open Names Nanocel, Puralytics, and Arcimoto as Finalists

The Cleantech Open Pacific Northwest regional finalists, out of a pool of 15 semifinalists, were announced at NW the Cleantech Open at the Bell Harbor Conference Center yesterday. Of the participants, who have gone through months of training, consulting, and business planning in preparation for the competition, three—Seattle-based Nanocel, Beaverton, OR-based Puralytics, and Eugene, OR-based Arcimoto—were named regional finalists, while a fourth, Seattle-based Hydrovolts, was given the sustainability award for the second year in a row. Nanocel, Puralytics, and Arcimoto each won prizes worth $30,000 each, and will progress on to the national competition—the self-proclaimed “Academy Awards of Cleantech”—in San Jose, CA in November. The winner will receive a grand prize worth $250,000.

Although only four startups were declared victors, every semifinalist will benefit from the last few months of grueling competition, according to co-chair Byron McCann. Once declared a semifinalist, startups are Pacific Northwest Cleantech Open alumni for life.

“The alumni is really like the cleantech mafia—once you become an alum, you can never leave,” McCann told the crowd that had gathered to hear the winners announced. “We like to think that we’re a really nice mafia with a common goal—there are very few business competitions where sustainability is a key element in making these companies profitable.”

This is the fifth year of the national Cleantech Open business competition, and year two for the Pacific Northwest regional chapter. Already, the growing competition has over 380 alumni nationwide, who have collectively raised some $280 billion in financing, $76 million of which was collected in 2010 alone, according to McCann. These numbers, he adds, speak volumes to the market potential that startups in the cleantech space have.

“What you see at the tip of the iceberg is a business competition. We’re having a lot of fun, but below the tip of the iceberg is a lot of work,” he says. “We’re a giant virtual accelerator with the common goal of getting these companies to market.”

To read more on the competition’s semifinalists and finalists, see our preview of the NW Cleantech Open, and check out highlights from the event in our image gallery.

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