Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator Prize Winners Announced

Four clean technology startups honored with cash prizes and other support for their clean technology innovations.

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PORTLAND, Ore. – VertueLab and CleanTech Alliance today announced the four winning startups that participated in the 2019 Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator, a 15-week program that offers Pacific Northwest startups cleantech-specific training in business planning, customer discovery, manufacturing and planning for environmental and social sustainability.

Operated by VertueLab in Portland and CleanTech Alliance in Seattle, the Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator is now in its fourth year helping early-stage cleantech startups speed their technologies to market through curriculum, mentorship and business connections.

BlueDot Photonics, developer of an efficiency-boosting coating for solar panels, won the Grand Prize of $5,000 cash, $2,500 in-kind legal services from Dorsey & Whitney and an invitation to introduce the company at an upcoming E8 Angels meeting. The Seattle startup was also honored with the Impact Award, which recognizes the startup with the biggest tangible environmental and market impact.

Hempitecture, the Ketchum, Idaho, developer of hemp-based insulation products for building construction, and Hexas Biomass, the Olympia, Wash., producer of sustainable, non-wood biomass that can supplement or replace wood in multiple applications, were each awarded the Standout Company Award of $2,000 cash and $2,500 in-kind legal services from Dorsey & Whitney.

Stark Street Materials of Portland, Ore., won the Customer Discovery Award, which recognizes the startup that demonstrates the best customer discovery execution. Stark Street Materials produces lightweight, nontoxic and recyclable X-ray shielding garments for use in the healthcare, dental and other industries.

"It's very exciting to see the positive potential impact of these entrepreneurs and their innovations on the climate crisis and other environmental challenges and it’s rewarding to know that the Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator is helping them get their technologies to the world faster," said David Kenney, president and executive director of VertueLab.

Participants in prior cohorts include Wheyward Spirit, a Eugene, Ore., startup that's converting excess whey and water from cheese making into vodka, and Sironix Renewables, a Seattle producer of plant-based surfactant ingredients that enable detergents to be made with fewer harmful chemicals and at higher concentrations.

The other startups that participated in the 2019 cohort were:

  • Maxwell Vehicles (Seattle) – Maker of electric vehicle retrofits for fleet cargo vans.

  • SCW Technologies (Seattle) – Developer of a patent-pending technology that uses water to convert plastic to its original petro-chemical state, providing a cost effective solution to plastic marine litter and the landfilling of end-of-life-plastics.

  • SHB Power Plan Engineering (Portland, Ore.) – Developer of a biomass power system that produces carbon-neutral co-generation power from otherwise intractable fuels, such as sugarcane bagasse and other agricultural waste products.

  • Sustainabilist (Portland, Ore.) – Developer of a process improvement platform specifically designed for the HVAC and solar trades that small business owners can use instead of an outside consultant.

"Early mentoring and support are critical to any startup's success, but especially to clean technology startups that often require prototype development and extensive testing," said J. Thomas Ranken, president and CEO of CleanTech Alliance. "Many startups previously in the Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator have gone on to make national headlines and attract follow-on funding, which shows that the work the accelerator does is playing a key role in bringing Northwest technologies to the national and international stage."

The cohort companies presented their technologies at the September 13 VertueLab Impact Summit, which brings together a large community of impact investors, innovators, philanthropists and others working to solve the climate crisis.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gregg Kleiner, 541.740.9654
SOURCES: Tom Rankin, CleanTech Alliance, 206.389.8655; David Kenney, VertueLab, 503.780.8736

About VertueLab 
VertueLab is a climate impact accelerator.
It pioneered a groundbreaking approach that combines direct investment and entrepreneurial support so that new climate solutions achieve scale faster. Since 2007, VertueLab has supported and made direct program-related investments in innovative cleantech startups, connecting promising companies with state and federal resources, while preparing these companies for follow-on investment through a series of focused entrepreneurial support programs. VertueLab is blazing new pathways to build a unique climate solutions community of impact investors, foundations and individuals, helping ensure their investment dollars are aligned with their values and having a measureable impact on the climate crisis. VertueLab is an independent nonprofit supported in part by a grant from Business Oregon. Learn more at

About CleanTech Alliance
CleanTech Alliance represents more than 300 member companies and organizations across the greater Northwest region. Founded in 2007 by business leaders, the organization facilitates the generation and growth of cleantech companies, jobs, products and services to advance the cleantech economy. CleanTech Alliance offers a range of business services and benefits uniquely designed to help businesses gain visibility, access services at a lower cost and benefit from public policy. For the latest news and updates, follow CleanTech Alliance on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.