Autodesk woos cleantech start-ups with design software "grants"

Summary:Autodesk is preparing to give out more than 100 additional “grants” of its digital design and prototyping software to cleantech and greentech companies in the United States and Europe. The company also is planning to introduce an enhanced Web site, featuring sustainable design information, on Earth Day 2010.

Autodesk is preparing to give out more than 100 additional “grants” of its digital design and prototyping software to cleantech and greentech companies in the United States and Europe. The company also is planning to introduce an enhanced Web site, featuring sustainable design information, on Earth Day 2010.

The company awarded software grants to more than 100 companies in phase one of the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program, which was first launched in July 2009. The awards included software licenses valued at up to $150,000 per company.

Lynelle Cameron, director of sustainability for the design software company, says Autodesk will continue to work with venture capitalists and other investors in stage 2 of the program to pick companies at the right stage of development for its software. It also includes its resellers, who help Autodesk determine which software applications are most appropriate for the award recipients.

Why would a cleantech company need Autodesk’s software? Cameron says some of the first 100 recipients are reporting tangible cost benefits. One example is a company working on ultra lightweight electric bikes, Pi Mobility. Using Autodesk digital prototyping software, the company realized it could reduce the diameter for one of the frame components by a half-inch. The change saved more than $300,000, which had a significant impact on early profitability for this company.

Examples of the sorts of cleantech companies using Autodesk’s technology include Springboard Biodiesel, which is prototyping small biodiesel processors; Micromidas, which is working on water treatment technologies that can be used to create bioplastics; and Utility Scale Solar, which is working on next-generation technology for solar power plants.

Topics: Software, CXO, IT Employment

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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