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Lighting company Ecospark wins Nordic Cleantech Open

  • Published 18/04/2011
10 very promising early stage companies reached the final of the first Nordic Cleantech Open competition. On 13th of April they presented their business ideas in front of a large group of international investors in beautiful surroundings at Axelborg in Copenhagen. Ambitious Swedish lighting company Ecospark was awarded first place, based on its presentation and impressive growth potential.

Ten finalists selected from 80 applicants

Nordic Cleantech Open is a business plan competition for start-ups and early-stage companies in the rapidly developing Nordic cleantech industry. The objective is to promote the companies and their innovative ideas towards potential investors.

 

More than 80 companies applied for participation in the competition, 25 of which were invited to give presentations and receive coaching at an event at Trolleholm castle in Sweden in February. The ten best business cases were then selected and given the opportunity to present their ideas and strategies at the final.

 

Nordic Cleantech Open was initiated by Cleantech Scandinavia, Venture Cup Denmark and Innovit in Iceland. Nordic Innovation Centre is among the event’s main sponsors.

 

Four minutes to make an impression

The ten finalists were Oricane, Sorbwater Technology, Innowind, Windflip, BT Wood, Ecospark, Sorubin, ZenRobotics, Applied Nano Surfaces and Svenska Aerogel, covering a broad range of cleantech innovation concepts.

 

The format of the competition allowed each of the finalists four minutes to present their business ideas, followed by questions from a panel of investment experts. The questions addressed issues like fundraising needs and activities, how the companies aim to bring their solutions to market, competition issues and value proposition for potential customers. Information on prototyping and patents was also of great interest to the investors.

 

Lighting, Internet energy savings and nano coating in top three positions

The three top spots in the competition were announced at a gala diner at Axelborg, based on a judgement from a jury of 32 business-, investment- and innovation experts and voting from the 180 attendees at the final.

 

Lighting company Ecospark was awarded first place for its ambitious plans of using nano wires to develop the next generation of LED technology.

 

- We were very proud to be among the ten finalists, so winning the competition is absolutely fantastic for us. We have established contacts to investors and other cleantech actors and the coaching we have received has allowed us to further sharpen our business concept and improve our presentation of it. All in all, the participation has been very valuable, says Ecospark chairman, Hans Lindberg.

 

Second place went to Oricane, working towards making Internet greener by supplying energy efficient software for data communication and database applications. Third place was awarded to Applied Nano Surfaces, offering a revolutionary technique to create low-friction, energy saving coatings for engine manufacturers.

 

Bringing start-ups and investors together

Josefine Åhl, who made quite an impression with her enthusiastic presentation of 2nd placed Oricane, was optimistic that the participation would bring capital to the company.

 

- Working in software, we are not the typical cleantech company. It has been great to get seen and heard in between all the wind energy companies, because we need both types of cleantech. It has been a really good opportunity for us to establish new business contacts and we have been approached by many interesting investors that see the potential in our technology, Åhl tells us.

 

To instigate investment, the event also featured a speed dating session, where start-ups met directly with representatives from the large array of investment companies attending. No less than 380 meetings took place in one hour.

 

- We have succeeded in bringing together an exceptional number of interesting investors for this event, there are around 50 risk capital companies present. I am confident that the participating companies will be able to find investors that want to support their development, says Alexander Lindgren, Managing Director of Nordic Cleantech Open.

 

Trends in cleantech investment

The gap between the companies’ need for capital for early development and investor interest in fast return on investment was prominent in presentations and discussions on general trends in cleantech investment. The issue will be treated in an article on the website shortly.

 

Further information

For further information on Nordic Cleantech Open and investment in the cleantech industry, please contact:

Hans Christian Bjørne
Innovation adviser
Nordic Innovation Centre
Tel. +47 9900 9969
h.bjorne@nordicinnovation.org

 

Text: Páll Tómas Finnsson