Paul Seidler's
Take 4

The dust has finally settled following the 2017 Clean Energy Trust Challenge. We invested in four companies this year following a three-month process that began with 85 applicants from across the Midwest. I’m excited to have these four new companies joining our portfolio, and I must say… there’s a lot to be excited about. Here’s my take on each one.


What they do: Drone crop-monitoring service for precision ag

What I’m excited about: The team.

 I couldn’t dream up a better entrepreneurial marriage for an AgTech startup than Orlando Saez—a savvy serial tech entrepreneur with a knack for software and storytelling—and Todd Golly, an actual, real-life farmer with a 6,000 acre farm and a rolodex of relationships throughout the massive Midwest agriculture industry. I have a good feeling this team will know how to take our seed funding, make it grow, and ultimately harvest a strong yield.




Idle Smart 

What they do: Eliminate unnecessary idling when trucks are parked

What I’m excited about: The value prop.

It’s a no-brainer. Big ass trucks sit idling all night at truck stops to maintain cabin comfort and protect the engine and battery, burning a gallon of diesel every hour. Idle Smart’s sensor-based start-stop technology ensures the engine runs only when necessary. For less than $2k, this solution can be installed in any Class 8 truck in less than an hour and save $2300 per year in fuel.



Lotic Labs 

What they do: Financial resilience for water utilities

What I’m excited about: The vision.

The Lotic Labs founders see a financial inefficiency and they’re quickly developing an innovative, data-driven solution. Climate change is causing volatility in weather patterns—more drought and more deluge. Supply and demand shocks leave water utilities drowning in debt, but Lotic has figured out how to keep them afloat with customized insurance contracts pegged to localized weather conditions. Financial stability allows Lotic’s clients to maintain critical infrastructure and ensure uninterrupted service to their customers.



PowerTech Water

What they do: Water treatment using no membranes or consumables

What I’m excited about: The technology.

The scientists behind PTW’s patented technology are among the world’s leading water treatment experts. They’ve reinvented the way water is treated by replacing expensive membranes with a durable deionizer. I love that this company—based in Lexington, KY—is piloting their technology at nearby bourbon distilleries, but the long-term vision is to replace reverse osmosis for everything from water softening to desalinization. Drink local, think global.


This post also appears on Clean Energy Trust’s Medium channel.



By Paul Seidler | August 29, 2017