Friday, March 30, 2012

Global New Energy Summit Comes To Colorado

Join us April 9-11 at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs for the Global New Energy Summit.
Topics will include a wide range of subjects from the impact of major energy consumers on markets to the emergence of innovation across the broad energy spectrum.
Public policy and finance and the impact on global energy will also be explored among many other subjects.  In its 4th year the Summit looks to delve into the latest trends in oil, gas, solar, wind, water, biofuel, nuclear, transmission and smart grid innovations.
For more information or to register for this event visit

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Access to Capital for “Emerging Growth Companies”

By Greg Pfahl, Audit Partner, Hein & Associates

As an auditor of both public and private companies for almost 15 years, I sometimes look back to realize that I have been practicing through some unprecedented times in the financial markets. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was considered by many to be the death of the “small IPO,” an initial public offering of less than $50 million. The primary reason for this belief was the increased cost of becoming and remaining a public company due to some of the requirements within the Act.
On March 8, 2012, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Jump start Our Business Start ups, or the “JOBS” Act. The JOBS Act contains several bills, one of which will attempt to decrease the burden on smaller companies accessing capital through an IPO. If ultimately enacted into law, following are some of the key provisions of the Act:
· A new status of issuer will be created called an“emerging growth company,” defined as an issuer with total annual gross revenue of less than $1 billion for its most recently completed fiscal year. A company will remain an emerging growth company for up to five years unless it hits the $1 billion in revenue mark, or meets the definition of a large accelerated filer (basically greater than $700million of non-affiliated market capitalization).
· Emerging growth companies would not need to comply with Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which is the requirement to submit the independent auditor attestation of the company’s internal control over financial reporting. Note that, in general, companies with less than $75 million in non-affiliated market capitalization have not been subject to 404(b) because it was being phased-in with multiple delays until finally the Dodd-Frank Act provided a permanent exemption for these companies.
· Reduce the number of years of audited financial statements to be included in the initial registration statement from three years to two years. Again, this is already the requirement of smaller reporting companies.
· Will allow emerging growth companies to adopt new accounting standards based on the effective date requirements for private companies as opposed to the public company effective date requirements. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)often provides for a longer transition period to newly issued standards for private companies than it does for public companies.
The Alternative Energy industries are generally incredibly capital intensive and, for early stage companies in these industries, access to capital is a critical issue. Public equity is only one option to access capital, but it has historically been a very common option for providing venture capitalists or other investors with liquidity for prior investments, and to get the companies to the other side of the “valley of death.”
On the surface, these provisions appear to be great news to provide more access to the public markets. On their own, however, I do not believe they will make a significant difference. As mentioned earlier, smaller reporting companies, those with less than $75 million in non-affiliated market capitalization, are already exempt from the auditor’s opinion on their internal controls and they are also able to utilize scaled reporting requirements. So the current rules already accommodate the small IPO yet they are still virtually non-existent in today’s markets. In fact, statistics show that the small IPO was already declining in use through the 1990s and into the 2000s.

About the Author
Greg Pfahl, CPA, is an audit partner in the Denver office of Hein & Associates LLP, a full-service public accounting and advisory firm with additional offices in Houston, Dallas and Orange County. He also serves as a local leader for the alternative energy practice area. Pfahl can be reached at or 303.298.9600.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CCIA Welcomes New Deputy Director

The Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA) is thrilled to announce the addition of Christopher Votoupal as Deputy Director of legislative operations.

Votoupal will be responsible for amplifying CCIA’s voice in state legislation and advocating for policies that CCIA and CCIA member organizations support. Votoupal will also represent Colorado’s best interest on federal policy issues.

Prior to his position with CCIA, Votoupal served as Deputy Press Secretary for Congressman Ed Perlmutter of Colorado’s 7th district. Part of Perlmutter’s team for years, Votoupal served as a communications team member and Economic Recovery Coordinator.
Having Votoupal on the CCIA team equates to having a valuable resource with years of direct congressional experience and a familiarity with the small business owners and residents of Colorado. 

“Chris’ depth of legislative knowledge and experience will be a great asset to CCIA,” says Chris Shapard, Executive Director of CCIA. “So much of economic development —especially in the energy industry — is being driven through legislation that we felt that it was time to expand our voice a the state level.”

Despite the slow economic recovery, Colorado’s cleantech investments and venture funding continue to grow. Votoupal’s addition to CCIA will only help to enhance Colorado’s stake in the cleantech economy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Three NREL Partners Selected for National Competition

The US Department of Energy (DOE) ran a competition to name America’s Next Top Energy Innovator. The DOE even went so far as to encourage the public to vote on an energy technology that they thought would impact the most.
Three of the 14 competitors had been contributed to by NREL.  NREL is dedicated to the further development of technology in renewable energy.  Of the three NREL backed competitors, two are based in Colorado.
Element One of Boulder has developed a cost effective hydrogen indicating system to visually indicate the status or a change in hydrogen in a given environment. A variety of uses could include protective gear, pain, piping and other equipment. Basically, it’s a coating that changes color to indicate hazardous gas leaks or dangerous levels of hydrogen.
Also based in Boulder is CCIA member, US e-Chromic LLC. US e-Chromic LLC creates thin films to retro fit windows to create smart windows that reflect the sunlight instead of absorb and reemit it as heat. These thin films can save commercial building operators in air conditioning costs.
The third NREL partner, based in Woburn, Mass. is developing technology that allows for solar or other waste heat sources to be used in liquid desiccant HVAC systems for commercial and industrial buildings. Ultimately, these systems can become net-zero retrofits to existing buildings and operate at costs comparable to traditional HVAC systems.
All three technologies were born at NREL and are now being developed by the partner companies. 
Voting ended Feb. 6th; you can view voting results at

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Members Only Event—Sign Up Today!

Energy storage is quickly becoming an important issue in the cleantech industry. Join us March 14th to hear from Colorado’s experts in the field of energy storage. From Colorado State University to National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado is a leader in research and solution development for current energy storage market challenges. Find out how solutions are being developed from Versa Power and Boulder Ionics.

Don’t miss this CCIA member’s only event! RSVP today by clicking here.
If you’re not already a member, you can join today. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Colorado’s Cleantech Market Expansion for 2012 Part 2: Is the Bubble Bursting? Perspectives from Cleantech Investors

In the second of a three-part blog series on the Colorado cleantech marketplace outlook for 2012, recruiter and entrepreneur Dave Mayer offers an glimpse into the growing Colorado cleantech community.

To get a clearer vision on what to expect this year, we interviewed a number of well-respected leaders on what 2012 holds for Colorado’s cleantech industry.

Dave Gold, of Access Venture Partners believes the bursting of the proverbial Cleantech Bubble is a good thing. Dave believes that 2012 will be a “back to business kind of year”…with a solid amount of activity in Colorado, and “We agree that perhaps a dose of reality isn’t a bad thing,” Dave said in a recent blog post. Currently, renewable energy only constitutes 8 percent of US power consumption but that number is increasing at an average rate of 7 percent over the past several years…extrapolating from that, renewable energy consumption would likely double less than every 11 years. 

He continues, “Colorado will continue to be recognized as a hotspot for cleantech in 2012 and beyond.” Dave has been involved with a number of successful cleantech investments in Colorado, including Tendril Inc., which we cover in the next post.

According to Trent Yang, Director of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) at the University of Colorado, and Managing Director of Clean Range Ventures, there are several solid examples of Colorado’s recent success in cleantech. Trent notes that “In 2011, GE specifically selected Colorado for their largest solar manufacturing facility, Advanced Energy Economy recognized Colorado's leadership in the space by inviting the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association to become one of its founding partners, and the Governor's Energy Office continues to take a balanced and pro-business policy approach that will ensure sustainable growth into the future.”

Yang goes on to note that “University of Colorado's spin-out companies, Sundrop Fuels and OPX Biotechnologies, have received significant follow-on funding and are being recognized as having some of the most innovative solutions in the marketplace.” These are just a few specific examples of how Colorado continues to cement its status as a national leader in cleantech development and innovation.

In the next post, we’ll look at the Colorado cleantech marketplace from the perspective of the research labs and companies that are quickly growing our economy. 

Dave Mayer is a Colorado Cleantech Industry Association member and serial entrepreneur based in Denver. Currently, Mayer is CEO and founder of Technical Integrity, a cleantech recruiting firm. For more information, visit his website at

Friday, March 2, 2012

US e-Chromic LLC Bursts Onto The Cleantech Scene

Loren Burnett, a serial entrepenuer, is now leading the charge for US e-Chromic LLC based in Boulder, Colo.

We are developing an electrochromic thin film for windows. Basically, our product will allow owners to reduce AC usage by 25- 40%,” says Burnett of his company’s basic mission.

Burnett obtained the NREL technology license for a refelctive electrochromic thin film that can be retrofitted and applied to existing windows. “Our competitors absorb light and re-emit it as generate heat. Because we reflect we can transform existing windows into highly efficient smart windows,” says Burnett.

Reaping the benefits without having to replace the entire window system makes US e-Chromic LLC unique amongst the competition. It leads to a lower price point and less waste because there is not additional cost for window replacement and dislocation.

US e-Chromic started operations in May 2010 commencerate with licensing with technology from NREL and the company is still in development phase. Current projections have US e-Chromic ready with product to go to market on a limited basis by later half of 2013.

Getting into the cleantech business was not exactly a far leap for Burnett.

“As part of my career I have gained expertise in commercializing technologies – basically licensing technologies and turning them into commercial products,” says Burnett. “I looked for several years and found it at NREL.”

For Burnett, being a part of the cleantech community has been a good experience.

 “I’ve been really pleasantly surprised at how cooperative and colegial people and companies are in the cleantech areana,” said Burnett. “In cleantech everyone wants to see each other succeed. It acrues to all of our benefits when someone does well.”

US e-Chromic LLC was recently part of the Department of Energy’s America’s Next Top Energy Innovator.

For more information on US e-Chromic LLC visit their website at