Cleantech Open Announces North Central Competition Winners

Winners receive “Startup in a Box” prize worth $20,000 and move on to compete for the national Cleantech title

MINNEAPOLIS--()--The Cleantech Open North Central region ( business competition has announced the three finalists who will represent the region at the national competition in November. The winning companies, including Atmosphere Recovery based in Eden Prairie, Minn., FORTECO, based in Hartland, Wis., and Whole Trees Structures, based in Stoddard, Wis., were selected from an elite group of 20 semifinalist cleantech entrepreneurs from a region that includes Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. In addition to the regional finalists, Sheerwind (Invelox), based in Chaska, Minn., was awarded the regional sustainability award, an honor given to the company that most effectively incorporated a triple bottom line approach to scaling its business.

Each regional finalist won a “Startup in a Box” prize package including combined cash and in-kind services worth up to $20,000. The three finalist teams and sustainability winner will advance to the Global Forum on November 15-16, 2011 in Calif., to compete for a grand prize of $250,000 in investments and services.

“Now in our second year, the North Central region couldn’t be more excited with the caliber of our companies’ technologies and innovations representing 10 Midwestern states,” said Justin Kaster, the regional director for the North Central region and an investment banker with Twin Cities-based Cherry Tree Companies. “Prepared with world-class training and exposure to a national platform, our North Central finalists will be ready to showcase their businesses at the Global Forum this November.”

Since 2006, the Cleantech Open has awarded over $5 million in cash and services to support cleantech growth companies across the U.S. Its 473 alumni companies have raised more than $300 million in external funding and have created over 2,500 new jobs.

Details on each of the winning companies for North Central include:

Regional Finalist: Atmosphere Recovery
Gas analysis/control systems enabling sustainable manufacturing and renewable energy conversion.

Regional Finalist: FORTECO
Sustainable, lightweight composite framing materials for commercial buildings that saves costs.

Regional Finalist: Whole Trees Structures
Green building systems from abundant forest waste and a competitive option to steel and concrete.

Sustainability Winner: Sheerwind (Invelox)
Safe, silent, low-cost and high-efficiency wind power generation technologies.

Cleantech Open Sponsors Support
The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by our Global Partner, Chevron; National Sponsors, Autodesk and Wells Fargo; and National Education Sponsor, University of Phoenix. The North Central program is also supported by the following corporate partners: Faegre & Benson, Dow Chemical, Deloitte, Jones Lang La Salle, Clise, Billion & Cyr, Padilla Speer Beardsley and HER Communications.

About The Cleantech Open
The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest Cleantech 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 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual incubator program, the Cleantech Open has enabled hundreds of clean-technology startups to bring their breakthrough innovations to fruition and helped alumni contestants raise over $300 million. Fueled by a global network of more than 1,000 volunteers, partners and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine in the future. For more information, visit, or contact the North Central leadership team at


For Cleantech Open:
Padilla Speer Beardsley
Amy Fisher, 612-455-1773

Release Summary

The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with ideas that address today’s energy, environmental and economic challenges.


For Cleantech Open:
Padilla Speer Beardsley
Amy Fisher, 612-455-1773