Clean Energy Trust Explores
Midwest Innovation Centers - Part 3

Third stop: Ian Adams wrapped up a series of visits across Big Ten country traveling to Madison, Milwaukee, and Columbus to meet with investors, entrepreneurs, and the stakeholders supporting them.

Though Clean Energy Trust is based in Chicago, we are dedicated to uncovering the best innovations and startups from all over the Midwest region. As we continue to source our deal flow pipeline for our annual investment program, Clean Energy Trust employees are hitting the road to expand our reach into the region. This is the third installment of a multi-part series to find the best and the brightest cleantech entrepreneurs from all over the Midwest. Read Part 1 and Part 2

In December, I wrapped up 2017 by visiting a number of innovation centers in Big Ten country. I am excited to share the incredible sense of momentum on the ground from the entrepreneurs, investors, and innovation hubs that are currently transforming our region.


While in Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to meet with a number of folks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and the Energy, Analysis, and Policy program, and received a great tour of the Engine Research Center at the University. I also had a chance to connect with Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation aka WARF (the entity that handles UW’s intellectual property).

No, not this WARF

My travels to Wisconsin also took me to Milwaukee, where I was able to attend M-WERC’s WERC Bench Labs Demo, where portfolio company NovoMoto took home first prize (congrats, Mehrdad!). NovoMoto launched with support from the UW-Madison Weinert Center’s entrepreneurship programs, so the whole trip came full circle.

Fortunately I was also able to support the local economy by buying some karben4 brewery beer – they make a good IPA with a GREAT label.



The following week, I was off to Columbus, where I was hosted by Ohio State University’s Technology Commercialization Office and met with their new ventures program. Aspiring entrepreneurs at Ohio State and in the Columbus area have access to a number of great tools, from pre-business formation support in the form of the Technology Validation Startup Fund, to funds managed out of the Columbus-based Rev1 Ventures.

While in town I also had a chance to connect with our longtime partner Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, the clean energy business advocacy group that has been an ardent supporter of clean energy businesses in the state.

All in all, Clean Energy Trust staff made visits to 6 Big Ten schools this fall to meet with stakeholders and support emerging cleantech entrepreneurs; we look forward to traveling to the rest of the conference soon!


By Ian Adams | January 24, 2018