Thai Team Takes $20K Wells Fargo Clean Energy Prize
Once again, a student team from Thailand captured the Wells Fargo Clean Energy track at the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition (GVLIC). On Saturday, May 3, the RediGen startup team from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University won the prize for the best clean energy solution, and also came in second place in the overall GVLIC competition. RediGen pitched a process for recycling waste tires and recycled plastic to create a multi-functional composite material called RediKa.
The clean energy prize was established with a three-year $450K grant from Wells Fargo to encourage the development of innovative clean energy and green technologies among student startup competitors. This year's winning team isn't the first from Thailand: The 2012 prize went to a student team from Thammasat University for their startup, Paramaxx, a proprietary technology that can extract valuable natural minerals such as magnesium, nitrogen and phosphorus from industrial waste.
The RediGen team enthusiastically showed off samples of RediKa to investors and other attendees at the Venture Expo on May 1 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. RediGen's chief operating officer, Apiwong Wanachaikiat, explained that the process results in a material that is cost effective, green, and which mimics the properties of plastic, rubber, and wood in the manufacturing process.
During the two days of pitches in front of investor teams, RediGen impressed judges to advance to the finals on Saturday, May 3.
"We gained remarkable experience throughout the competition," said RediGen CEO Medhis Ishihara. "The storm of questions in the first round was intense but at the same time enjoyable, and it was a learning experience we could never get in a classroom."
"The Wells Fargo Clean Energy track is a competition feature that has drawn interest from around the world," explained Rob Adams, director of the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs, sponsors of the investment competition. "Young entrepreneurs are enthused about the possibilities of renewable energy and green technologies, and they are helping push ideas that, in some cases, have taken decades to research and refine."
"At Wells Fargo, we continue to be introduced to innovative and game-changing clean technologies through the ecosystem at the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition," said Doug Mangum, regional manager of Wells Fargo's Technology Group. "These student teams are helping to address critical challenges in the global community as their solutions can provide long term environmental as well as economic and social benefits. We were very impressed with their vision and wish them success in taking their idea to market."
Ishihara said his team will continue to reach out to investors, potential partners and customers, "Let us together make a greener world for future generations."