Starters

Jobs, patents, pivots and more from MN Cup’s Energy Division finalists

By Melissa Kjolsing

MN Cup is the largest, statewide, startup competition in the country and hosts an entire division dedicated to support entrepreneurs who have the next big idea related to energy, clean technology and water. This division has received significant attention over the last few years with the 2014 grand prize winner, 75F, advancing from this category.

On February 2, 2017, Eide Bailly hosted an event featuring MN Cup’s clean energy/technology/water division finalists from 2014, 2015 and 2016. The finalists shared their progress-to-date since the competition to a room full of MN Cup judges, mentors and community supporters who were enthusiastic about the startups’ advancements — and they shared feedback for continued growth.

 

2014 Grand Prize Winner
75F uses the power of the cloud to create systems that predict, monitor and manage the needs of your building to optimize comfort, increase energy efficiency and gain insight into how your building uses energy. Over the past year, the company’s sales increased by 500% and it has received rollout commitments from major United States retailers. The 75F team has expanded internationally and recently opened a new business unit in India. 
 
2015 Division Finalist 
Irrigreen is a sprinkler that conserves water using a multi-stream nozzle that’s wirelessly programmed to follow the shape of your yard. The system is flexible, easy to maintain and lowers your water bills. Irrigreen is expanding its product offerings to include water-based budgeting features that help to address the global issue of water scarcity. Irrigreen has received two patents on its product design and developed a mobile application to serve residential homes, golf courses and construction sites around 
the nation.  
 
2015 Division Winner
Stratetek is an early-stage startup developing LightNG, a portable power solution. Since its time in the 2015 MN Cup, Stratetek has pivoted its product strategy. Its goal is to produce small and lightweight portable generators that can be carried by hand, combining simplicity and fuel efficiency. Stratetek has successfully created a working prototype and was featured in the AeroInnovate accelerator program last summer. 
 
2016 Division Finalist 
Arc Suppression Technologies protects Grocery HVAC-R Systems with NO-sparc Arc Suppressors. Since last year’s competition, it has gained new business with some of the country’s largest retailers and is pursuing new market segments in the industrial maintenance sector.
 
 

AUTHOR BIO

Melissa Kjolsing is the director of the Minnesota Cup, an annual entrepreneur competition at the University of Minnesota.