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Best investor pitches rewarded

Old water pipes and bacteria ruled the day at the $125,000 Igniting Massachusetts' Clean Energy Technology Future Business Presentation Competition held at MIT on April 27.

The competition is designed to reward the best investor pitches, i.e., the 10-minute spiel every startup company needs to master in order to obtain venture capital or angel funding. Relatively few first-time entrepreneurs are able to give high-quality pitches, so the competition was geared toward helping teams develop their pitches as well as introduce them to investors, fellow entrepreneurs, service providers and other energy industry providers in Massachusetts.

Teams could be formed of Massachusetts residents or students (teams from several schools participated), but could not be funded by investors at the time of the competition.

The winning team out of an original field of 35 was Microbial Scale Solutions, which has developed bacteria that dissolve away the scale that builds up an insulating layer inside hot water pipes, a problem that costs the United States about $1 billion dollars in wasted energy each year. The team of Harvard students won prizes worth $35,000.

MIT teams took the second- and third-place student team prizes. Advanced Conductors, which won second, is developing high efficiency organic semiconductors; Liquid Piston has a novel, high-efficiency engine design. Advanced Conductors also received the Cummings Prize, $25,000 in free rent at a Cummings Properties location.

The second place professional team was Rentricity, which provides the technology to recover energy wasted in existing systems, such as public drinking water infrastructure. Two professional teams tied for third: SuperCool and Advanced Diamond Energy. Second prize for student and professional teams was $5,000 and third was $2,500.

The competition was produced by the Energy Special Interest Group at the MIT Enterprise Forum, which was formed in June 2004. Sponsors were the Mass Technology Collaborative, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, the Mass High Tech Council, Constellation NewEnergy and Cummings Properties.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 18, 2005 (download PDF).

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