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Public voting period opens for Hawaii cleantech pitch competition

The voting period for the VERGE Hawaii Accelerate pitch competition opens today, giving the public the chance to weigh in on which innovative startups will be featured at VERGE Hawaii: Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, June 21-23, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.

VERGE Accelerate, produced in partnership with the Hawaii State Energy Office and the Energy Excelerator, elevates early-stage entrepreneurs whose innovations address market opportunities at the intersection of technology and sustainability. The competition reinforces VERGE Hawaii's mission to foster the innovative technologies and solutions that will enable Hawaii to fulfill its ambitious mandate to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2045.

The 2016 VERGE Hawaii Accelerate call for submissions garnered nearly 50 nominations from entrepreneurs in more than a dozen countries from across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, and with solutions across energy, transportation, the built environment, water and agricultural systems.

Between now and April 24, the 20 semifinalists’ 60-second video nominations will be available on the VERGE Hawaii Accelerate website, where everyone is encouraged to vote for their favorites. Community votes will help determine the 12 startups selected to pitch at VERGE Hawaii — six for the Go-to-Market Showcase, for startups under $2 million in combined investment and revenue, and six for the Demonstration Showcase, for startups with between $2 million and $5 million in combined investment and revenue.

"The entrepreneurs who participate in VERGE Accelerate bring a unique kind of passion and purpose to the event, year after year," said Shana Rappaport, VERGE director of engagement who runs the VERGE Accelerate Program. "Community voting period is a unique time when these innovators get to shine and be supported by the larger community, and help determine who gets the limelight in June."

About GreenBiz Group

GreenBiz Group’s mission is to define and accelerate the business of sustainability. It does this through a wide range of products and services, including its acclaimed website and e-newsletters, GreenBuzz and VERGE; webcasts on topics of importance to sustainability and energy executives; research reports, including the annual State of Green Business; the GreenBiz Executive Network, a membership- based, peer-to-peer learning forum for sustainability executives; and conferences: the annual GreenBiz forum and VERGE.

About the Hawaii State Energy Office

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) is a division of the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. With the state’s goal to reach 100 percent renewable energy generation by 2045, HSEO is leading the state’s charge toward clean energy independence. HSEO is committed to developing and deploying high impact solutions that will maximize Hawaii’s renewable energy resources and improve efficiency and transportation standards. Through effective policies and innovative programs, HSEO has positioned Hawaii as a leader in clean energy innovation, which will generate quality jobs, attract investment opportunities and accelerate economic growth.

About Energy Excelerator

Energy Excelerator is a startup program dedicated to helping solve the world’s energy challenges, starting in Hawaii. The program helps innovative companies with funding up to $1 million, strategic relationships, and a vibrant ecosystem of partners. To date, they have awarded $15 million to 43 portfolio companies and launched 14 demonstration projects in Hawaii and the Asia Pacific. Portfolio companies have gone on to raise $223 million in followon funding and scale their Energy Excelerator demonstration projects to larger markets. Energy Excelerator’s dual-track program is primarily funded by U.S. Office of Naval Research, U.S. Department of Energy, the state of Hawaii and corporate sponsors GE Ventures, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, DENSO and Mathworks. Energy Excelerator operates as a non-profit program, part of Pacific International Center for High Technology Research.

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