NREL Industry Growth Forum for cleantech investor pitches previewed at RMI

By: Steve Tuesday July 16, 2013 0 comments Tags: Ed VanDyne, Fort Collins, Kate Cheesbrough, Rob Writz

By Steve Porter


FORT COLLINS - Potential business pitch presenters at the 26th Annual National Renewable Energy Laboratory Industry Growth Forum got a preview Monday of what they can expect if they decide to pitch their startup at the event on Dec. 3-4.

Rob Writz, Rocky Mountain Innosphere's cleantech coordinator on the NREL campus in Golden, gave pointers to clean energy startup entrepreneurs attending the preview session at RMI.

Writz said RMI is expanding its geographical reach with a cleantech presence at NREL. He said RMI will work with Northern Colorado cleantech companies to help them prepare for the two-day pitch event at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver.

In addition to more than 100 potential investors who attend the pitch event, Writz said the event will also include representatives from large corporations looking for new ideas.

"There's a significant amount of corporations here, and we're finding out they're looking for innovation, talent and potentially investing," he said.NREL Growth Forum logo

Kate Cheesbrough, representative from NREL's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center attending the preview session, said of the 400 to 500 expected attendees at the event, one-third are investors.

Cheesbrough said Colorado startup companies who apply to pitch can receive substantial discounts on their application and registration fees and also get one-on-one networking with investors.

"There's much value for clean energy companies to apply," she said. "We always build in lots of networking opportunities across the agenda."

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 16, and 30 companies will ultimately be chosen to make pitches at the forum. Cheesbrough said since 2003 nearly $5 billion has been raised for cleantech companies.

Ed VanDyne, president and CEO of Loveland-based VanDyne SuperTurbo, was a pitch winner in 2011. VanDyne said Colorado cleantech startups are "lucky" to have nearby access to NREL's Industry Growth Forum.

"I've gotten more value (from the forum) than any other forum I've been to around the world," he said.

VanDyne said judges at the event will be looking for companies with passion.

"Your passion is really what needs to come through in your presentation - that you believe in what you do and what you're going to do to make it happen," he said.

Writz said RMI has "a big reach" and can help startups who want to pitch get in touch with investors before the event.

"Our intention is to get to them before the Growth Forum, so when you get to the forum it's not the first conversation and you're building on that relationship," he said.

For more information, contact Writz at [email protected] or visit

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