Another big win for a University of Arkansas business-plan team…
UA startup Picasolar won the MIT Clean Energy Prize in Cambridge, Mass. on Monday.
The MIT competition is one of the nation’s most prestigious business-plan contests focused on sustainability, and most of the teams Picasolar beat were from MIT and Harvard. UA startup mentor Carol Reeves — literally, the Pat Summit of business-plan team mentors — called the win “simply amazing.”
As of Tuesday team members were still in Boston meeting with potential investors. The team won a total of $250,000 for winning MIT — $150,000 from MIT and $100,000 from the Department of Energy.
Team members are Trish Flanagan, Seth Shumate, Matthew Young and Michael Miller, all UA grad students.
Picasolar is a product of the Walton Business College, and its patent-pending technology potentially could revolutionize the solar industry. Invented by Shumate, the Picasolar tech “fixes…flaws in the surfaces of silicon solar cells,” as Flanagan told the Boston Globe.
Picasolar believes its tech can increase efficiency by 15 percent and save cell manufacturers as much as $20 million annually, and it has a growing legion of believers. Just this spring, Picasolar has shared its story at prestigious competitions from one end of the continent to the other.
Care of Reeves and Chris Branam of UA University Relations, here’s a full rundown of Picasolar’s 2013 accomplishments:
In addition, Picasolar qualified to compete — no small feat — in the uber prestigious Rice University and VLIC (UT-Austin) competitions, but didn’t make the finals (ummm, Texas refs, anyone?). Don’t worry, though. UA teams have fared pretty well at those events over the years. More on those accomplishments later.
The year’s work isn’t complete just yet. Obviously, much more to come on Picasolar (not an IA client officially but linked to IA’s Silicon Solar Solutions)….