A Mankato company that uses wireless technology to reduce commercial heating and cooling costs is the winner of the 10th annual Minnesota Cup entrepreneurial sweepstakes.
The company, 75F, a finalist in the energy/clean tech/water category, won $105,000 in the annual business-plan competition. The awards celebration was held Wednesday night at the University of Minnesota.
75F has put wireless monitoring and computer-controlled dampers together in a system that allows individual room temperature control in small commercial buildings, yielding savings of up to 40 percent in energy costs.
“We look at weather forecasts and predict how the building will behave,” CEO Deepinder Singh said Thursday. “We also monitor inside carbon dioxide levels to ensure that the building and people are getting the optimal air quality required using outside air inflows.”
The name of the company was inspired by a United Nations initiative in 2008 to make its conference rooms in the Secretariat building more ecological by raising thermostats from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
“75F demonstrated a well thought out business plan, superior presentation skills and an unmatched vision for the future,” Scott Litman, a co-founder of the Minnesota Cup, said. “We’re looking forward to seeing and hearing big things from this entrepreneurial enterprise down the road.”
Other winners included: Trovita Health Science in the food/agriculture and beverage category; Yoxo in the general category; Elevate in high technology; Andas Inc. in life sciences; Verde Environmental and Medsaway in social entrepreneur; Johnny Pops in the student category.
Steve Eilertson, a 1971 graduate of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and president of Grain Millers, was named 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year.
Singh said 75F has been in development for about seven years and employs 15 people. He said the Minnesota Cup exposure will help it grow.
“We are excited to represent the Minnesota Cup,” Singh said. “We promise to do it proud as we continue to keep everyone from being to hot or too cold and to grow over the next year.”
Before starting the company, Singh worked in electronics and computing for AT&T, NTT and Verizon for about 25 years.
In addition to winning $30,000 as the energy/clean tech/water division winner, as the grand prize recipient, 75F took home an additional $50,000 award and a host of professional services and other benefits to help build its business. 75F also received a matching grant of $25,000 from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.
More information is at the competition’s website: www.breakthroughideas.org.