Three Start-ups Awarded At Saint-Gobain NOVA Innovation Competition 2012 Held
At The Greenbuild International Conference In San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --After a final "speed dating"
round, Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction markets,
and the U.S. Green Building Council – Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC)
announced today the three winners of the NOVA Innovation Competition 2012 held
this year at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in San
Francisco. The NOVA Innovation Competition rewards start-ups offering the most
innovative solutions in the field of habitat, energy and the environment.
After being held twice in France and once in Germany, the international
Saint-Gobain NOVA Innovation Competition occurred in the USA for the first
Heliotrope, the winner of the competition was awarded the top cash prize
of $50,000 (about €38,000).
Based in Oakland, CA, Heliotrope is a developer of energy-efficient
electrochromic (EC) glass that switch reversibly between three states: solar
transparent, heat blocking, and heat and light blocking (i.e. darkened).
Heliotrope's technology can be relevant to a range of windows products,
including buildings, satellites and automobiles. The company is focused on
the commercial window market given the immediate potential of its technology
to improve the efficiency of building lighting, heating, and cooling.
Heliotrope's smart window technology leverages a novel electrochromic effect
discovered by the founders to control light and heat transmission
dynamically. A small voltage controls the optical state of the device.
Minimal power is consumed during switching and almost none is used to
maintain either of the two solar blocking states. This yields great
flexibility for system integration and low cost installation.
PlanGrid, the second-place winner received a cash-prize of $25,000 (about €
Based in San Francisco, Calif., PlanGrid is a complete collaborative
platform for construction information and the fastest PDF viewer in the
universe. PlanGrid is a platform that combines the power of the cloud with
the mobility of the iPad to provide a service that finally allows builders
to view and communicate with all their project information right from the
field. PlanGrid allows builders to easily distribute, version and view all
their drawings, specifications, submittals, schedules and progress photos
right on the iPad. PlanGrid is a SaaS (Software as a Service) business that
charges a monthly recurring subscription fee per user. By leveraging
cloud-based computing, PlanGrid can perform computation and image processing
on people's construction documents to make the rendering of them
instantaneous, even on relatively underpowered devices like tablets.
SmarterShade, the third-place winner was awarded a cash-prize of $10,000
Based in South Bend, Indiana, SmarterShade is a unique approach to the
emerging technology being called "smart windows." A user can control the
amount of light and heat entering a home or office through controlling the
tint level on their window. The first generation of SmarterShade is a
retrofit film system that is integrated into the window itself. This film
is designed so that it will selectively tint at the push of a button. Unique
features of the SmarterShade system are that it does not require wires or
electricity, it is instantly switchable, and achieves full privacy-
eliminating the need for blinds and shades. All of this while reducing
energy usage in a home or office. SmarterShade not only gives the user the
ability to tint the window, but also to control the level of tinting. A
window can go from clear to dark or anywhere in between. Its products can
be applied to windows that are positioned in difficult places where a
traditional blind or shade is not possible; such as doors, skylights, and
transportation windows. The SmarterShade system is also a well suited
wire-free alternative to other "smart window" technologies that utilize
The bigger prize for all NOVA Innovation Competition contestants is the
opportunity to partner with Saint-Gobain in exploring potential joint
development, licensing or other collaboration agreements.
"This year's NOVA Innovation Competition attracted our largest and most
innovative field of contestants yet," said Rakesh Kapoor, director of NOVA
External Venturing. "We congratulate Heliotrope, PlanGrid and SmarterShade on
their winning presentations, and we look forward to forging long lasting
relationships with any NOVA Competition participant whose innovation and
entrepreneurial drive aligns well with Saint-Gobain's market objectives."
The NOVA Innovation Competition involved several months of assessment using an
open, transparent judging process with experts from MIT, Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory, the USGBC-NCC and Webcor, one of the world's top
commercial building contractors.
Of the 168 original entrants, eight finalists were notified at the end of
September that they were selected to participate in the final speed-dating
round at Greenbuild. The three winners were then chosen following the live
speed-dating format where the eight finalists pitched their innovations to a
judging panel of Saint-Gobain business leaders.
"We expect to be working with the industry to turn our lab discoveries into
commercial technologies over the next few years. We were looking for partners
to help us create revolutionary products, and to help us scale the
manufacturing and production of those products, and ultimately to get those
products into the hands of end users," said Andrew Lim, CEO, Heliotrope.
"Saint-Gobain has a strong platform in window products. We believe we can
provide additional features and functionality to those products and contribute
to the success of Saint-Gobain in the future."
Saint-Gobain and Innovation
World leader in the habitat and construction markets, Saint-Gobain is present
in 64 countries with nearly 195,000 employees. The Group designs, manufactures
and distributes building materials, providing innovative solutions to meet the
key challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection.
Innovation is at the heart of the Saint-Gobain strategy. This notably involves
working closely with young companies. More than €430 million were invested in
R&D last year. 3,700 researchers (37 nationalities) are working on more than
700 projects. 396 patents were registered in 2011 and more thanone product
out offive sold by the manufacturing sectors did not existfive years ago.
Saint-Gobain and start-ups
oNOVA examines how projects coming from innovative start-ups can be
implemented faster by leaning on the industrial and commercial assets of
Saint-Gobain, for the greatest benefit of each partner. NOVA serves as a
unique interface for start-ups and helps create and develop links with all
Group activities worldwide.
o168 candidates from 28 nationalities participated in the 2012 Saint-Gobain
oSince 2006, Saint-Gobain partnered with 54 start-ups thanks to NOVA.
For more information about NOVA External Venturing, please visit
http://www.saint-gobain.com/en/nova. To learn more about the NOVA Innovation
Competition, visit www.saint-gobain.com/innovationcompetition2012.
About U.S. Green Building Council, Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC)
The USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through
cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its
mission of market transformation through its LEED green building certification
program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and
affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and
advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green
buildings and communities.
USGBC-Northern California Chapter is one of the largest USGBC Chapters in the
country, with 22,000 constituents, 10,000+ LEED credentialed professionals,
and more than 5% of the world's LEED certified square footage. The Chapter
hosts more than 150+ annual events, workshops, and conferences with regional,
national and international organizations, and is a leading voice in green
building public policy throughout Northern California. As the premier green
building organization in the region, USGBC-NCC plays a pivotal role as a
convener, mobilizer and educator in transforming the built environment.
Contact: Press contact for Saint-Gobain France: Sophie CHEVALLON, + 33 1 47 62
30 48, or Susanne TRABITZSCH, + 33 1 47 62 43 25; Press contact for
Saint-Gobain North America: Dina SILVER POKEDOFF, +1-610-341-7031,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ed MARSHALL, Brodeur Partners,
+1-603-559-5816, email@example.com; Press contact for Saint-Gobain
Germany: Regina DECKER, + 49 241 516 25 04; Press contact for Saint-Gobain
Great Britain: Allyson POAD-HINDLE, + 44 24 76 56 07 23; Press contact for
Saint-Gobain China: Nicolas NIE, + 86 21 63 61 87 00; Press contact for
Saint-Gobain India: Bharti SANJAY, + 91 99 52 96 33 98
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