Tepper Cleantech Case Competition (TC3)
On October 9th and 10th, the Energy and CleanTech Club hosted its first-ever case competition, the Tepper CleanTech Case Competition (TC3). But it was almost not meant to be.
Originally planned to coincide with Carnegie Mellon University’s Energy Week in March of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a sudden cancellation of all events and threw our case competition in jeopardy. But thanks to the flexibility of the university and our sponsors, we were able to reorganize the competition to take place virtually while still providing an exciting opportunity for student teams to demonstrate their case skills to panels of judges from across the energy and cleantech industries.
Placing Students at the Center of CleanTech Venture Capital
Developed in association with BCI Technology Investments (BCI-TI), the TC3 prompt asked students to develop a methodology to evaluate and structure a venture capital investment portfolio in the clean energy/clean technology space. Given a set of pre-existing investments, students would then need to put their methodology to use in proposing two new seed-stage or series-A startups that BCI-TI should invest in, subject to a series of predetermined technology categories that fell within BCI-TI’s purview.
Across the submissions received from across the globe, teams proposed a variety of interesting and unique solutions to portfolio analysis and recommended over 50 unique startups for investment. In the end though, the TC3 team had to whittle these submissions down to 16 teams that would advance to the live rounds.
First Pitches to the Judges Live (Virtually)
Our first day of competition involved the 16 finalist teams pitching their investment strategies and suggested target investments to our judging panels. The TC3 team was fortunate to have judges from both academia and industry with a wide variety of experiences in energy, clean technologies, and venture capital. Despite having to present virtually via Zoom, the teams and judges were able to have very engaging conversations about the strengths and opportunity areas of their proposals. The competition was quite close after the initial round and it took a decent amount of deliberation and discussion among our judges to eventually narrow the field down to 4 teams that would be competing for the top prizes. After the first day, the following teams advanced to the finals:
GG Cleantech Consultants from the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business
Sustainable Impact Partners from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
The Decarbonizers from the University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business
A Clean Sweep from the Yale School of Management
But before they could present to the final judge panel, they’d need to complete one more challenge…
The Twist and the Finals
The four finalist teams were asked to propose an entirely new technology category for BCI-TI to invest in outside of their current scope of considerations. This new technology category would have to be justified using the investment portfolio methodology proposed by the teams and show demonstrable value to BCI-TI in terms of investment targets and portfolio diversification. The finalist teams were given around 12 hours to alter their cases based on judge feedback from the first round and account for the aforementioned “twist” to make the case just that slightest bit more difficult.
The teams presented their final cases before our finalist judging panel consisting of Carnegie Mellon professors and BCI-TI representatives. All four teams presented solid, well-researched, and strongly-justified arguments and gave the judges a lot to deliberate over. After a good deal of discussion, the judges’ decision was the following:
3rd Place - Sustainable Impact Partners from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
2nd Place - GG Cleantech Consultants from the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business
1st Place - The Decarbonizers from the University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business
Our Sincerest Thanks and Congratulations
The Tepper Energy and CleanTech Club would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all the teams who helped make this event the success that it was. It was indeed a privilege for us to host this event and we can’t wait to do it again next year (hopefully in-person!). We would also like to extend a special thanks to our sponsors and judges for their support as we transitioned this event from an in-person one to a virtual competition. We could not have put TC3 on without their support:
Shell - Hilary Mercer and Helmut Brenner
BCI Technology Investments - Josh Beck, Andrew Chabot, and Cameron Peterkin
CleanCapital - Carly Battin
Oriden - Mas Ogiso and Mike Berlin
Carnegie Mellon University - Prof. Scheller-Wolf, Prof. Jay Apt, Prof. Nick Muller, Prof. Chris Telmer, Prof. Panos Moutis, and Anna Siefken (Director of the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation)