The Clean Tech Open Can Open Doors For You

The Clean Tech Open Can Open Doors For You

Ken Hayes, Executive Director for the Clean Tech Open nationwide, and Ryan Hoover, Operations Director for CTO West, joined us March 22 for a discussion on the opportunity the CTO provides early-stage entrepreneurs.  Applications for this year’s cohort are due by April 17, so move quickly if you want to take advantage of it.  You can find the application here.

The Clean Tech Open was founded in the same year as CleanStart (2005), originally as a business plan competition in California and Massachusetts.  It has grown into much more now.  It now provides mentoring, training (through a 12-week academy), exposure to sources of capital, and a platform to showcase new companies.  It sees its mission now to help all participants to succeed, to become viable, thriving businesses, and not just to win a prize.  

To participate in the CTO, applicants need to survive a screening process where the team, the technology, and the potential market are examined by volunteer experts.  About 120 teams nationwide are selected each year to go through the process in six regions.  CleanStart provides teams coaching and classes to improve their chances of being selected.  Eight teams from our region have been accepted previously and gone on to greater success.  

The CTO program has become more structured since its inception and its offerings refined to deliver substantial value to those who participate.  One of the most important focal points is to help participants create eight important business deliverables:

  1. Business Model Canvas / Strategy
  2. Impact Statement (including Sustainability)
  3. Customer Segmentation
  4. Competitive Landscape
  5. Financial Model
  6. Executive Summary One-Pager
  7. Intro Video (1-2 min)
  8. Pitch Deck

Possibly even more important than the formal training, the coaching and the feedback teams receive is the opportunity to get connected to a global network of more than 1,000 industry experts, customers, alumni, channel partners, labs, and investors.  This is such a time-saver for entrepreneurs.  Its importance can’t be overstated.  

Selection of the participants for this year will be announced May 6.  The 12-week training is conducted over the summer in June through August.  The big roll-out Showcase for teams is the Global Forum held in mid-October.  There is a $75 fee to make an application and selected teams must pay a $1350 fee per company to proceed ($975 for student-led teams).  Most of the program will be delivered online, so there is no need to do much travel or to relocate.  

We would encourage you to give this opportunity a good look if you are an early-stage team.  And do it soon.  The application is pretty simple. 

Check out Ken Hayes’s talk from the recent CleanStart Perspective

Thomas Hall


Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart’s Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, 

Moss, Greenberg Traurig, Momentum,

College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State

LACI Companies Visit the Capitol

LACI Companies Visit the Capitol

What kind of companies? Don’t worry I’ll bring you up to speed. Rated as one of the top 10 global incubators, the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is the City of Los Angeles’ official business incubator for clean technology and provides key support to high profile teams on the rocky road to commercialization. Though based in LA, the impact doesn’t stop at the county lines. Many LACI portfolio companies are shaking things up across California and around the world. A local example, CarbonBLU, is mixing things up right here in Roseville. The Incubator can  connect with our own growing cleantech hub as they collaborate with other regional incubators like BlueTech Valley (a CleanStart Partner) and internationally with Clean Tech Open. CleanStart works in parrallel with LACI by bringing more companies to its attention and expanding the opportunities we can provide to companies here in Sacramento.

Last Wednesday, nine of these companies visited our capitol for a day of meetings with legislators and agency staff. CleanStart was able to catch up on all the hype at the company showcase to cap off the day. From aviation to roadways to kid’s play toys, LACI companies are taking on massive industries and long standing practices to help pave a green future.

See a full list of the Sacramento visitors below:

Ampaire  – Revolutionary Commercial Electric Aircraft

Advanced Paving Technologies – World’s First 3-D Asphalt Paving Machine

Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing – Reinventing Transportation

Bears for Humanity – Worlds First 100% Certified Organic Stuffed Toy Collection

CarbonBLU – Empowering Proactive Decision Makers (Check out their profile)

Rain Systems – Save 50% off your current landscape water consumption

Repurpose – Sustainable Tableware

Tiny Farms – Hardcore Nutrition, Easy on the Environment

Xtelligent – Traffic Signal Control for Today and Tomorrow


Kate is a recent graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and has a strong background in entrepreneurship and global politics. After helping launch an AgTech startup on the central coast, Kate is back in her hometown looking to take her experience into the world of Cleantech and help grow the Sacramento region.