European Start-ups Dominate Global Clean-tech Oscars
LONDON, December 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –
European start-ups in the fields of aquaponic farming, solar simulation technology and
hybrid solar have dominated this year’s Cleantech Open Gobal Ideas Competition in Silicon
Valley last month. All three winning start-ups are supported by Climate-KIC, the European
Union’s main climate innovation initiative.
The Global Ideas Competition – also known as the clean-tech Oscars – brings
early-stage start-ups with breakthrough clean-tech ideas to Silicon Valley to compete for
the Global Ideas Award. It is organised by US-based Cleantech Open, the world’s largest
For the finals, 28 teams from around the world convened in San Jose, California, to
pitch their businesses. After two days of intensive judging, a group of five winners were
selected to present to a final jury of investors and technology experts.
Three out of the five finalists were European start-ups supported by Climate-KIC,
Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on mitigating and adapting
to climate change, and took home the overall prizes of their categories.
Aquaponic farming start-up ECF Farmsystems, supported by Climate-KIC Germany, won the
overall prize of the Gobal Ideas Competition.
Hero Prins, Climate-KIC’s entrepreneurship director, said: “The very positive result
for Europe in this global competition shows that Climate-KIC’s acceleration programme is
paying off. Our start-ups are leading the way and act as role models for a new business
culture across Europe.”
“There is a real and imminent need for clean technologies. It is great to see
Climate-KIC’s start-ups get global recognition – bringing Europe’s new entrepreneurial
efforts in this field to the forefront,” Prins said.
Start-up ECF Farmsystems picked up the main prize of the competition, the Global Ideas
Award. The company is enrolled in Climate-KIC’s acceleration programme in Berlin, Germany,
and has developed scalable aquaponic farm systems which have the potential to dramatically
reduce water usage and carbon emissions.
In addition to winning the overall award, ECF harvested a number of other awards: the
People’s Choice Award for their technology pitch, and the overall winner in the
Agriculture, Water and Waste category.
Nicolas Leschke, CEO of ECF Farmsystems, said: “It is a great recognition to be part
of this fantastic event. All clean-tech start-ups are winners because we dedicate our
lives to leaving a mark for future generations.”
Kevin Braithwaite, chair of the Cleantech Open Global Ideas Competition, said: “The
winning team, ECF Farmsystems from Germany, was our first-ever Global Ideas Winner focused
on agriculture. As 14 to 24 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 70 per cent of
humanity’s fresh water usage are as a direct result of agricultural activity, ECF
Farmsystems could have a major impact far outside Germany.”
Solar start-ups Eternal Sun was announced as overall winner in the Energy Efficiency
category. The company is supported by Climate-KIC in the Netherlands and is based in
The company supplies innovative and accurate solar simulation technology that enables
customers to accurately test the performance and reliability of products in the solar
photovoltaic, solar thermal, chemical, and bioenergy industries.
The third Climate-KIC start-up to make it to the finals was Naked Energy, which won
the overall award in the Energy Generation category.
Naked Energy is supported by Climate-KIC in London, UK, and has developed an
innovative, highly efficient hybrid solar technology that generates combined heat and
Climate-KIC is the European Union’s largest public-private innovation partnership
focused on mitigating and adapting to climate change. Climate-KIC consists of companies,
academic institutions and the public sector.
The organisation is headquartered in London, UK, and uses its centres across Europe to
support start-up companies, to bring together partners on innovation projects and to
educate students to bring about a connected, creative transformation of knowledge and
ideas into products and services that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Climate-KIC currently has centres in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and
the UK and is represented in the regions of Valencia, Central Hungary, Emilia Romagna,
Lower Silesia, Hessen and the West Midlands.
Climate-KIC is one of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created in 2010
by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the EU body tasked with
creating sustainable European growth while dealing with the global grand challenges of our
US-based Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest clean-tech accelerator. Its mission
is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent
energy, environmental and economic challenges.
A not-for-profit organisation, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure,
expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global
Since 2006, through its annual business competition and mentorship programme, the
Cleantech Open has enabled 727 clean-tech startups to bring their breakthrough ideas to
fruition, helped its alumni companies raise more than $800 million in external capital,
and created thousands of green-collar jobs.
Interviews with the winning start-ups can be arranged:
Angela Howarth Head of Communications, Climate-KIC email@example.com +44(0)20-7492-1972