Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Alicia Barton today announced MySunBuddy as the grand prize winner of the Fourth Annual Boston Cleanweb Hackathon, earning the team $5,000 for their digital solution that creates a new market for solar net metering credits.
Held this past weekend at WeWork South Station in Boston in partnership with Greentown Labs, the Hackathon brought together students, programmers, software developers, entrepreneurs and energy experts and to develop user-friendly, web-based applications to help consumers and businesses use energy and natural resources more efficiently.
”Massachusetts is a hub of innovation and the Boston Cleanweb Hackathon is a shining example,” said CEO Barton. “Watching innovators create inventive solutions to real-world environmental challenges over a single weekend never ceases to amaze me.”
"The teams, ideas, and potential are as a dynamic as when we launched this annual tradition four years ago," said Mark Vasu, Executive Vice President of Greentown Labs and co-founder of the event. "Once again, it's exciting to see new energy-focused companies emerge from whiteboards and laptops."
For over 30 hours, nearly 70 participants from across the energy and technology sectors competed for $11,000 in cash prizes, creating 16 innovative new projects. The weekend-long event was sponsored by Microsoft New England, National Grid, EnerNOC, the Energy Innovation Centre and Posternak.
The trio at MySunBuddy – Andrew Belden, Kathryn Wright and Brandon Bass – developed a new online marketplace aimed at simplifying the sale of solar energy through net metering credits. Rather than asking buyers and sellers to navigate the web of regulations and taxes applicable to solar trading, MySunBuddy connects them, allows them to agree on a price, and streamlines the complex paperwork and verification processes for them.
“It feels incredible,” Belden said about winning the competition. “We see a lot of potential for this business model, and we think it could play a big role in the multi-billion-dollar solar industry.”
Taking home the $3,500 second place prize was GRDN, a digital marketplace where users can find, list and book green spaces – from traditional backyards, to greenhouses, to vertical rooftop gardens – around Boston. In third place and winning $1,500 was AdaptiveAlgo Analytics, which offers innovative new pricing tools that incentivize energy customers to save energy during peak load time, enabling companies to better predict consumer behavior and improve demand forecasting accuracy. Receiving the $1,000 Crowd Favorite prize was RECLAIM3D, a team of Northeastern University freshmen that developed a business model for collecting and recycling 3D printing materials that would otherwise be discarded.
The competition judges were MassCEC CEO Barton; Austin Blackmon, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space for the City of Boston; David Miller, Founder and Executive Managing Director of the Clean Energy Venture Group; Vinit Nijhawan, Managing Director of the Boston University Office of Technology Development; Mark Vasu, Executive Vice President, Greentown Labs; and Christopher Scranton, Senior Manager for Big Data and Technology Initiatives at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
An additional prize competition, the Haccelerator (formerly known as the Data Jam) launched during the Hackathon this weekend. A two-month-long mini-business accelerator program, the Haccelerator allows Hackathon teams to go beyond the initial competition, developing their ideas to build actual products and to launch real companies. The Haccelerator will begin in April and award a $5,000 prize to the winner in June.
Haccelerator entries include MySunBuddy, MyLight, Eat Aware, Naturegy, WoodTable, RECLAIM3D, Footprint Power, flexGrid, Demand Director, EnerScore, AdaptiveAlgo Analytics.