Thursday, May 3, 2012

Colorado’s Cleantech Market Expansion for 2012 Part 3: Colorado Cleantech Community’s Rising Stars

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

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the presence of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden and the wealth of new ideas and research coming out of the lab and its partner organizations. NREL, and its hundreds of scientists focused on the development of solar, biofuels and wind solutions in Colorado, is a huge boon to the state. 

Another truly prominent and successful example of Colorado’s ongoing leadership in the renewable energy space is Tendril, (which happens to be in Access Venture Partner’s investment portfolio). Tendril has raised more than $70 million dollars over the past six years, and is at the forefront of smart grid deployment by enabling consumers to manage energy usage and costs through their proprietary cloud-based platform.

According to Sheila O’Neil, Director of Corporate Communications at Tendril, the organization signed their first major international customer in 2011 — Origin Energy, based in Australia., Since then, they have developed several new industry partners including Siemens Energy and Whirlpool Corporation. As a result, the company has doubled in size. Sheila notes that “as the smart grid industry moves from pilots to full scale deployments and as our cloud-based platform continues to become the platform of choice for utilities as well as energy ecosystem partners looking to connect more closely to consumers and transform the way they use energy, we see this growth trend continuing. We're excited by the prospects for 2012, not just for Tendril, but for the entire Colorado cleantech industry as the state cements its position as a global cleantech industry hub."

Another exciting example of how the state continues to produce successful renewable energy businesses is Boulder Wind Power. Based in Boulder, the company has a unique global focus and entered the highly competitive $40 billion dollar wind industry with an eye on changing the paradigm through technology.

Their edge in the market is their innovative generator and power conversion system that enables turbine vendors to deliver products that are cost competitive, produce more power, and have higher reliability with lower unscheduled maintenance costs. Tim Connor, BWP’s VP of Business Strategy and CFO helped close a $35 million dollar Series B funding initiative recently.

According to Tim, “Boulder Wind Power’s technology is powerful because of its ability to reduce wind power costs to truly compete with fossil fuels.” 

Tim acknowledges that, like many other renewable energy technologies, the correct incentives and portfolio standards need to be in place, but he’s certain that 2012 is going to be a great year for Boulder Wind Power and for Colorado’s cleantech industry.

The examples we’ve highlighted cover a fraction of the exciting clean energy developments going on in Colorado. There are myriad organizations focused on improving technology transfer, incubating and fostering the growth of companies with great ideas and funding those organizations with the most promise. 

These organizations are only successful as a result of the time, energy and commitment of the visionaries behind them. 

Every quarter in 2012, we will examine the growth and pitfalls that the cleantech sector in Colorado is facing. We’ll talk about hiring trends, growth trajectories and what’s really happening out there.

Colorado’s Cleantech industry has a bright future. We hope you’ll join the growing Colorado Cleantech movement and take an active role in making it even brighter.

Dave Mayer is a Colorado Cleantech Industry Association member and serial entrepreneur based in Denver. He is one of three co-chairs of the Colorado Clean Economy Network, which focuses on creating awareness of issues that will affect the future of this country's energy policy. Currently, Mayer is CEO and founder of Technical Integrity, a cleantech recruiting firm. For more information, visit his website at

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