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FLoW Reveals Leading Edge Innovations in Western Universities

LOS ANGELES, April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Competition Will Award $200,000 to Student-Led Start-Ups

First Look West (FLoW), the largest clean energy business plan competition in the western United States, has tapped the depth of innovative talent in university students. These students are helping to create the clean energy future through their promising clean energy business ventures. A six-month competitive process attracted 80 applicants from 34 universities across twelve states and saw inventions ranging from new battery materials for portable electronic devices to net energy + home kits and solar panel cleaning robots. On April 30 and May 1, these entrepreneurial students will compete before a blue chip panel of venture capitalists at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, for $200,000 in prize money, and a prize package including pitch time with Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures. The winning team will also have the chance to compete against five over regional winners at the National Competition in Washington D.C., June 2012.

FLoW is a consortium of universities running the western region of the Department of Energy’s $2 million National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition (NCEBPC) for university students. NCEBPC was launched under Startup America, the White House campaign to inspire and promote entrepreneurship. This national initiative enables student participants to gain the skills required to build new businesses and transform promising energy technologies from U.S. universities and National Laboratories into innovative new energy products that will to solve our nation’s energy challenges, spur business creation, create American jobs, and boost American competitiveness.

Altogether, 39 teams from 29 universities across the Western Region from Hawaii, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Indiana, and Texas as California Universities will compete in the Regional Finals. Their ideas include new composites for the airline industry that may save billions of dollars fuel costs annually; a rechargeable utility-scale lithium battery; a technique for producing photovoltaics from previously unusable earth abundant materials (able to significantly reduce the cost of producing solar cells); and new processes for yielding biofuels and chemicals from brewery waste. “They have demonstrated the very best of the entrepreneurial spirit that will make us world leaders in clean energy,” says Neil Fromer, Executive Director of the Resnick Institute, the Caltech organization driving the competition.

The final judging round for the Western Region, will be held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California on April 30 and May 1, 2012, where a top panel of judges from Mohr Davidow, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, CALCEF, the Angeleno group as well other VC groups will decide which of these future entrepreneurs will win the $100,000 first prize and move on to the National Competition in Washington, D.C. An evening ceremony will celebrate the winners with the awarding of the first, second ($60,000) and third ($40,00) place prizes, a keynote address from a top Venture Capitalists, and student fast pitches showcasing the best in class of the finalists.

For more information contact: Stephanie C. Yanchinski, Executive Director, FLoW, 626-395-5759 stephanie.yanchinski@caltech.edu.

SOURCE USC Stevens Institute for Innovation
Source maketwatch.com

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