California Comes Clean

There's a new gold rush under way in the Golden State. On Tuesday, several Silicon Valley-based venture capitalists teamed with researchers and local government to unveil the Clean Tech Open, a business plan competition in which, this autumn, the best ideas are to be awarded cash and start-up services.

The competition will be broken into five different categories: energy efficiency, smart power, transportation, water management, and renewable energy. News.com reports that the top winner will collect a $100,000 grand prize and five others will receive $50,000 and support services for a year. (Interesting aside: Four of the five prizes are named after their sponsors, a la college-football bowl games -- for example, the "AMD Smart Power Prize." Who says green is granola? Not this Fool.)

I'm excited by the idea because one of my best investments, Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM  ) , was borne of a business-plan competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the late '90s. Former MIT professor and co-founder Tom Leighton remains with the company to this day, and MIT is a coordinating partner in the Clean Tech Open.

Should we expect a winner like Akamai to emerge from this competition? "Expect" is too strong a word, but the amount of cash being poured into the clean-energy industry as a whole -- $1.18 billion during 2005, according to researcher VentureOne -- makes the emergence of a stock market winner from somewhere within the clean-energy realm practically inevitable.

But this competition deserves special attention for two reasons. First, it's in California. (Sorry, right-coasters, but the land of sun and smog is still ground zero when it comes to tech innovation.) And, second, the backers of the event have funded dozens of big tech winners, including Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) ,WebEx Communications (Nasdaq: WEBX  ) , and Hotmail, which was sold to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) for $400 million.

That's why I'll be watching. You may want to do the same.

Renew your taste for related Foolishness:

High-tech. Biotech. Nanotech. Any tech. David Gardner and his Foolish band of analysts cover it all forMotley Fool Rule Breakers, and they're walloping the market's average return by more than 20% as of this writing. Find out which stocks are powering the portfolio by asking us for a30-day all-access passto Rule Breakers. All you have to lose is the prospect of richer returns.

Microsoft is aMotley Fool Inside Valuerecommendation, and Amazon is aMotley Fool Stock Advisorpick.

Fool contributorTim Beyerslived in California for 16 years. He still likes the state, but now he calls Colorado home. Tim owns shares of Akamai. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking his Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 512487, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/23/2014 12:38:56 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement