The 2015 Clean Energy Trust Challenge is LIVE!

The 2015 Clean Energy Trust Challenge has been live for two weeks, here's what you need to know!

As you might have heard (thank you for the shout out CleanTechnica!) the 2015 Clean Energy Trust Challenge is now accepting applications!

For those of you who didn’t hear, or want to know more, here is what you need to know about the Challenge.


The Clean Energy Trust Challenge brings together venture capitalists, industry executives, civic leaders, the media and the public to watch startups pitch their businesses and learn from keynote addresses by prominent thought leaders. By combining access to capital with premier mentorship and national exposure, Clean Energy Trust Challenge finalists receive value beyond funding. Through CET’s direct investment, finalists gain commercialization assistance, mentorship, access to an elite partner network and the promotion of a supportive clean energy community and business climate.

The Challenge is designed to spur innovation in clean tech while helping the most promising companies and ideas get to market.  It provides a platform for students, scientists, and the next generation of entrepreneurs to present their ideas, receive feedback, and compete for the investments in their future to expand to the next phase of their development.

At the challenge, Clean Energy Trust will be awarding $1 million dollars in combined funding to the winners.  But this is just the beginning of the investment.  Through CET’s direct investment, finalists gain commercialization assistance, mentorship, access to an elite partner network, and support with marketing, branding, communications, and government relations.  Since 2011, CET has invested in 29 startups across the Midwest states. Clean Energy Trust Challenge companies have gone on to raise an additional $71 million in follow-on funding and have created more than 300 new jobs.

Here are some companies that thrived because of the Challenge:



  • LuminAID, a then-student company who after winning $100,000 at the CET Clean Energy Challenge went on to become a Shark Tank Season 6 success story;


  • Detroit’s GreenLancer, who has since gone on to raise $5 million in Series B funding after winning the Clean Energy Trust Business Model Innovation Prize in 2014; and


  • Chicago’s AMPY, who after winning a Clean Energy Trust Challenge award launched a national Kickstarter campaign which raised $309,000 and was featured in Forbes Magazine, CBS This Morning, Fast Company, CNET and others.

This year, prize sponsors for the 6th Annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge include the Department of Energy, Wells Fargo, The Pritzker Foundation, United Airlines, and the Hanley Family Foundation, among others.

“CET is one of the leading sustainable technology accelerators in the U.S. and Wells Fargo is thrilled to be sponsoring a prize at the Clean Energy Trust Challenge for the 5th year,” said Ashely Grosh, VP for Environmental Affairs for Wells Fargo. “CET has successfully created a unique ecosystem, while helping us keep a pulse on emerging technologies.”

We can not wait to see what new technologies this year’s challenge unearths!

By Alex Foucault | October 7, 2015