The World Economic Forum announced the winners of its Annual Technology Pioneer awards this week, and ten cleantech companies made the cut. (Hat tip to GreentechMedia). The WEF believes that the work undertaken by these companies holds the promise of significantly affecting the way business and society operate.
Five of the ten are based right here in California. And quite a few we’ve covered in the past. What’s in it for the winners? Well, aside from being invited to participate in the WEF for two years, including the high-profile annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, past winners have also seen a boon financially. And the winners are:
- GridPoint– Washington, DC:
Presidential hopefuls have been talking a lot lately about smart grid systems that help utilities store and discharge energy according to demand. GridPoint sells software and hardware to create an intelligent power-grid — think what Cisco (CSCO) did for networking — enabling intelligent distribution and optimization. We interviewed CEO Peter Corsell back when the company raised a $48.5 million Series D round, led by Goldman Sachs Group (GS) and Susquehanna Private Equity Investments.
- Nanostellar – Redwood City, CA:
We noted Nanostellar back in August when news came out that the company was raising a $3 million bridge round. The startup uses nanotechnology in the automotive industry, making materials for diesel catalysts that cut emissions, and boosting the performance of catalytic converters which reduces pollution.
- Cima NanoTech – St. Paul, MN:
Cima NanoTech uses nanotechnology primarily to improve conductivity of electronic components, which reduces energy usage. Some of its products are conductive inks for inkjet and conventional printing of electronics.
- FluXXion – Eindhoven, The Netherlands:
FluXXion makes membranes as thin as a single micron that filter liquids for the semiconductor industry, increasing efficiency and reducing waste.
- Hycrete – Carlstadt, NJ:
Hycrete makes water-based additives for concrete that allow the material–which currently accounts for up to 15% of US landfill waste–to be crushed and recycled. Green building startups like Hycrete, Serious Materials and Xtreme Homes are are constructing their businesses off of a growing interest in reducing the energy usage that goes into creating our homes and businesses.
- LS9 – San Carlos, CA:
LS9 is one of Vinod Khosla’s biofuel bets, and the startup uses synthetic biology to develop biofuels from traditional feedstocks that contain more energy than current biofuels, require less energy to produce and can be distributed through the existing petroleum infrastructure. The company has raised $20 million in 2 rounds from Khosla Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners.
- Primafuel – Signal Hill, CA:
Primafuel invests in infrastructure and technology for large scale biofuel projects. The company develops processing equipment, and is working on a biofuel-convertible feedstock that grows in water. With corn-based ethanol dominating the discussion of the current biofuel market, biofuels have been getting more controversial, but companies like Primafuel are focusing on the next generation of more sustainable biomass-based fuels.
- Silver Spring Networks – Redwood City, CA:
The company provides networking platforms for utilities to connect various energy-related technologies, from monitoring devices to storage and energy-efficient appliances. Like GridPoint, Silver Springs Networks is working on making the power grid as smart as the Internet.
- Unidym – Menlo Park, CA:
Unidym makes carbon nanotubes for electronics such as lighting and displays, and is working with partners on portable fuel cells. The technology has also been linked to ideas as futuristic as the space elevator.
- SkySails – Hamburg, Germany:
We noted SkySails as an alternative to some of the dirty practices of the shipping industry. The company makes giant kites to help propel cargo ships while greatly reducing fuel costs and emissions.