By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.
They’ve been on the road to Boston and Santa Clara, CA to learn as much as they can and be as well-prepared as possible when the Southeast Region finals in this year’s Cleantech Open occur.
We’re referring to Suzanne Shelton and Patrick Hunt, principals in Fiveworx, the only local start-up among 24 companies selected for the regional competition. Their product, “Do 5 Things,” is a marketing optimization platform for utilities looking to increase rebate redemptions and encourage behavior change. We previously profiled the company on teknovation.biz at http://www.teknovation.biz/2013/06/05/5-spotlight-week-southland-conference/.
“I wanted to get an immersive experience,” Hunt told us in explaining one of the reasons he attended both events. Another was scheduling. He could only attend two of the three days of the West Coast seminar. Shelton joined him in Boston, where both attended one of the two days of that session.
“They were similar in content,” Hunt said. “They follow the business model canvas approach.”
He described the sessions as “a crash course at the beginning of a nine-week accelerator” to prepare the semi-finalists from each of the eight Cleantech regions. The teams have weekly webinars on a variety of topics ranging from customer discovery to financial modeling and pitch preparation.
“The sessions (in Boston and Santa Clara) were extremely useful,” Hunt said. “We also made some great connections with entrepreneurs, investors and mentors.”
The Southeast regional finalist will join other regional winners from across the United States to contend for the national title at the Cleantech Open’s Global Investor Forum November 20 and 21 in San Jose, CA. The grand prize is up to $200,000 in investment and services.
Whether Fiveworx wins the regional competition or not, the participation does not end there. They will be able to attend the national event which is billed as the “Academy Awards of Cleantech.” It is one of the many local, regional and national activities scheduled during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
“All regional semi-finalists get exposure (in San Jose),” Hunt said. “We get to make a brief pitch and have a tabletop display like the ones used at the Southland conference in Nashville.”