These Startups Won a Combined $1M at the Clean Energy Trust Challenge

The sixth annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge–a Midwest cleantech showcase and pitch competition–took place yesterday, with four startups winning a total of $1 million in prize money.

Evanston-based Hazel Technologies won the $500,000 Clean Energy Fund Award, the largest award, for FruitBrite, the startup’s product for produce retailers and distributors that can extend the shelf life of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

SPLT, a ridesharing platform that connects employees within organizations to share their commute, won $100,000; Nexmatix, a platform of products that makes pneumatics more efficient, won $310,000; and NovoMoto, a social enterprise that aims to empower communities in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing renewable, sustainable electricity with its MicroPlant technology, won $90,000.

Since 2011, the Clean Energy Trust has invested in 29 Midwest cleantech startups, and those companies have gone on to raise an additional $86 million in funding and have created more than 300 new jobs. The competition says it has helped jumpstart more than 80 startups in the Midwest, including Chicago’s NETenergy and LuminAID.

“The group of finalists participating in our accelerator program this year is testament to the advanced level of innovation happening in the cleantech space,” Erik Birkerts, CEO of Clean Energy Trust, said in a statement. “Midwestern startups are thriving, and Clean Energy Trust is proud to serve as a launch pad for companies that are leveraging science, innovation and technology to create a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.”

Here’s the full breakdown of awards at this year’s Clean Energy Trust Challenge:

  • SPLT-Pritzker Foundation Award, $100,000

  • NexmatixWells Fargo Award, $240,000

  • NovoMoto-Power Clean Cities Award, $20,000

  • NovoMoto-U.S. DOE Cleantech UP Student Award, $50,000

  • Nexmatix-United Airlines and Boeing Sustainable Energy Award, $45,000

  • NovoMoto-Hanley Family Foundation Award, $20,000

  • Nexmatix-ComEd Female CEO Award, $25,000

  • Hazel Technologies-Illinois Clean Energy Fund Award, $500,000