Clean Tech Open finds next big green idea

May 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Entrepreneurs and researchers rubbed shoulders in Silicon Valley Thursday night at the Clean Tech Open. It's a place to find and finance the next great green idea.

In Silicon Valley, it's all about who you know. That's why organizers of the Clean Tech Open sponsored this matchmaking event. It gives start ups a chance to network with major labs and universities, like Lawrence Livermore and Stanford.

"Partnering up with someone like that the way it would benefit us it would give us credibility to be able to partner up with somebody that reputable," said Clifton Clarke, from Clarke Clean.

Clarke's young company specializes in cleaning solar panels.

He's hoping to team up with a lab and develop a new cleaning solution.

"For us, we're not scientists, so we need professionals to help in this area," says Mark Karaka, from Clarke Clean.

"This is the guy from the licensing group to talk to," said an organizer.

Help is a two way street. The research groups are looking for it as well. It turns out, thousands of products are developed in the labs, but never leave the facilities. So partnering with an existing company could help.

"They need teams to commercialize these technologies because just the concept, just an idea, probably isn't enough," said Mark Goldman, an event coordinator.

A researcher invented this LED light a few years ago. It's energy efficient, it gives off a lot of light in a small space. That's why Stanford patented it. But they haven't had anyone who's been able to take it to the marketplace.

"We're trying to find someone who wants to license this and if there's an entrepreneur we can find through this event, that would be great," said Luis Meijia, from Stanford.

Wilson Farrar is looking for a new product to back. She's considering the LED light.

"Maybe partnering with someone who could fund the initiative and I could help bring that to market," said Wilson Farrar, an entrepreneur.

A formal union, like any relationship takes time to grow. Those who attended this event, won't rush into a serious commitment, until weighing all of their options.


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