20 Clean Energy Start Ups Vie In Austin

And then there were 20.

Whittling its way down from more than 70 entries, the 2010 Clean Energy Venture Summit (CEVS) in Austin has announced the early-stage companies that will present at the fouth annual event—and, very likely, emerge with anywhere from $300,000 to $1 million apiece in new funding. According to event organizers, that’s the typical payoff to the 20 companies invited to show their wares before investors.

image via Clean Energy Venture Summit

Entrepreneurs vying for a turn in the spotlight at the event this year were also dangled a chance to work with Pecan Street Project, the University of Texas-based smart-grid/smart-home research and development organization.

“Companies that present at our Summit have a strong track record of receiving investment as a result of their participation,” Isaac Barchas, director of the Austin Technology Incubator said in a press release. “The Summit’s utility industry linkages create a unique environment for emerging technology companies, venture capitalists and angel investors.”

Previous participants testify to the potential value of the Austin event. EcoFit Lighting was there last year, and CEO Cason Coplin said the appearance was key to the company’s growth. “The feedback EcoFit Lighting received during the 2009 conference helped us refine our investor pitch, leading to the close of a $2M round of funding,” Coplin said on the Summit website. “The contacts EcoFit developed during the summit have matured into long-term relationships with prominent investors and advisors, some of which participated in EcoFit’s latest round of funding.”

Texas leads the way with five finalists this year, followed by California and New York with four companies apiece. All 20 clean-energy companies are from the United States except one, British Columbia-based SunCentral.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.