SB'14 San Diego Innovation Open presented by Target

Innovation Open 2014 | SB'14 San Diego

Co-Sponsored by:
PRé Sustainability
sprint Technology Provider:
You Noodle

The Innovation Open is back to catalyze the progress and impact of the next generation of better brands featuring the startups who, given the right support and exposure, can contribute to a flourishing future economically, socially and environmentally. Our finalists benefit from a week of introductions to influential brands, minds, experts and designers
at the SB'14 San Diego event.


Watch what happened in the final


Introducing the 2014 Semi-Finalists

Join us at SB'14 San Diego to meet these finalists in the Activation Hub and watch them pitch to our judges.




Akwamag have developed the latest water softening technology that prevents scaling at fraction of the cost of our next competitor while stops water waste, eliminates salt contamination, and alleviates the maintenance hassles associates with salt-based water softeners. Our technology is scalable to serve the industrial boilers and cooling systems.


Amazi is a location-based app to locate water from filters, fountains and faucets to fill reusable bottles. We also provide data on the municipal water quality so users can make informed decisions regarding their water.


CREW pays people to improve our world. It is a distribution system that can leverage to tens of thousands of social enterprises, green businesses and appropriate technologies, while empowering millions of people to be part of the solution and creating "distributed capitalism."




Raffle For Good

FoodLoop offers the Food-Retail-Industry the first B2B2C marketing platform for a sustainable and optimized supply-chain with a tied consumer app where retailers can automatically market high-quality fresh food at discounted-pricing, as the best-before-dates draw closer in near real-time and the consumers will receive bargain offers pushed directly on their smartphones.


Okeanos was formed in 2010 to develop a next-generation, ultra-efficient desalination microtechnology to address our planets chronic and increasingly alarming fresh water shortages. Their WaterChipTM platform represents a "solid-state" alternative to present-day approaches and through substantial reductions in total water costs, will enable the widespread adoption and decentralization of desalination.


Raffle For Good is an online fundraising platform for organizations to raise money through an interactive, skill-based raffle system. Raffle For Good brings consumers, non-profits, and for-profits together to allow great causes to get back to focusing in what matters— making an impact.




Sustainably Fresh Systems

Servergy's Sustainable Brand promise is "Save Energy. Work Smarter." Their Cleantech Server® literally paying for itself by reducing global datacenters server energy, cooling, space, weight, water and carbon footprints up to 90% or more. For every $1 spent, get up to $5 back in 3 years or less.


SupplyShift enables companies with large supply chains to understand their supply chain sustainability and social responsibility, reduce risk, build shared value with their suppliers, and incentivize supplier improvement. For suppliers, SupplyShift reduces scorecard fatigue and provides a clear path for performance improvement


Sustainably Fresh Systems obsolete freezing, air freight and plastic packaging with their preservative-free, FDA-approved, Controlled-Atmosphere technology, enabling customers to deliver and sell fresher fish, meats and meals - safely, at lower-cost and more sustainably.






EDGEhome is a whole home energy management solution that uses patented wireless technology to monitor and control individual lights and electrical outlets. EDGEhome is purposely built to be simple and affordable throughout the value chain; for builders, for electricians and for homeowners.


WaterBean is a completely unique product that takes the tappiness out of tap water and at the same time creates healthy alkaline water. Simple, cheap to manufacture and indestructible through the supply chain.






The Timeline

  • March 17, 2014 Entry form closes
  • March 18, 2014 Public vote begins - A shortlist of entries will be presented for the SB community to vote for who they want to see make it to the Innovation Open finals.
  • March 28, 2014 Public vote closes
  • March 31, 2014 Public vote winner announced and confirmed to pitch at the finals
  • April 14, 2014 Judges top 10 announced and confirmed to pitch at the finals
  • June 3, 2014 The pitch! The 11 semi-finalists will pitch their ideas to our esteemed panel of judges. Four finalists will be chosen to present at the conference on the following day.
  • June 4, 2014 The finals! The top 4 pitch in front of the full SB audience on the main stage. A live vote will be held to pick a 'People's Choice Winner' and the judges will determine the overall 'SB'14 Innovation Open Winner'.
  • June 5, 2014 Green Lunch Club resource sharing event by Village Green to get resources to help your venture thrive.


The Prizes

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11 Semi-Finalists


4 Finalists


Target Consumer Products Winner


Overall Winner

A full conference pass to SB'14 San Diego

Expo space for 3 days in the Sustainable Brands Activation Hub.

Pitch to the Activation Hub audience, filled with influential brand representatives and thought leaders

Promotion leading up to the conference through SB News & Views

One on one time with our expert panel of judges

4 days worth of networking opportunities

Company description published in conference event guide


Present on the conference main stage as part of the headline session on Day 3.

This presentation is broadcast around the world and recorded for the SB Library to extend its reach and longevity.


$1,000 Target gift card

Strategic consultation from Target’s sustainability and merchandising teams to strengthen the winner’s business case/model




Free sustainability assessment conducted by PRé's expert team to derive metrics to help tell your brand success story. Learn More
PRé Sustainability

Green Lunch Club resource sharing event by Village Green to get resources to help your venture thrive.

Golden SB ticket to grant access to all SB Conference in the next 3 years.



The Judges

Mark Bauhaus
Just Business

Mark Bauhaus is a 30 year technology industry veteran and former EVP of Services, Support, and Supply Chain at Juniper Networks. During his 5 year tenure at Juniper he built a $1B revenue product business group innovating products for global firms such as ATT, Verizon, Apple, Citibank, IBM as well as co-drove Juniper’s global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. Mark launched his career at Sun Microsystems where he led the Java & Web Services product businesses and founded a $600M global .Com / Java / Ecommerce / ISP consulting business which expanded to 35 countries.

Ryan O'Connell
Senior Buyer of Household Commodities,

Ryan O’Connell is a Senior Buyer of Household Commodities for Target Corporation. In this role, Ryan leads a team of buyers managing the fabric care, household cleaning, and air care businesses for Target’s 1,755 general merchandise stores in the U.S. market.  Prior to this role, Ryan served in Merchandising leadership positions in the Electronics and Cosmetics categories, as well as leading M&A efforts for Target’s pharmacy business.  Ryan has also led several cross-functional initiatives at Target, including building multi-channel merchandising capabilities and reinventing the in-store experience for the Electronics and Entertainment categories.

Prior to Target, Ryan worked as an Associate for Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and consulting firm in McLean, VA.  He earned his MBA from Duke University and BA from Yale College.  

Outside of work, Ryan enjoys spending time with his family, coaching high school lacrosse, and playing as much golf as time will allow.

Sandy Skees

Sandy Skees provides businesses, early stage companies and organizations with sustainability communications consulting and program implementation. Sandy works in the sustainability, cleantech and social innovation sectors, creating programs that give organizations a way to focus, share, and motivate change in the world -- change that values people, respects planetary resources and fosters prosperity through campaigns that are relevant, authentic and transparent.

Her expertise is in building accessible, inspirational and shareable messaging with compelling back-stories -- narratives that increase support, encourage advocacy and ensure success.

Through work with Fortune 100 companies, early stage innovators and industry associations, Sandy has experience with B2B and consumer attitudes on environmental issues, energy creation (solar and biofuels technology), energy management and the Smart Grid, corporate initiatives for risk mitigation around resource constraints, recycling and waste management, as well as food and agriculture. Companies and organizations she has worked with include Duracell/Procter & Gamble, Panasonic, Energizer, Vday, Freedom from Hunger, Valvoline, Colgate-Palmolive, Ecological Farming Association, Gross National Happiness World Project, Nextspace, RecycleMatch, Sustainable Brands, Gridata, Driscolls, and Edeniq

Sandy is on the Board of Mini Mermaid Running Club and sits on the Advisory Board for Sustainable Brands. She founded the Yes& Circle of Change and 100+ Women Who Care giving circle, and spends as much time as she can running and biking, sitting on beaches, and learning something new every day.

Kate Heiny
Senior Group Manager of Sustainability,

Kate Heiny is the Senior Group Manager of Sustainability for Target, a Fortune 50 company that has more than 1,700 stores in 49 states.  She leads the enterprise-wide sustainability strategy for Target, including operational innovation, public policy and business integration.  She was ranked #73 on ETHISPHERE Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics in 2010.

Prior to Target, she was a consultant with environmental consulting firms on the east coast.  She earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies and M.S. in Environmental Science from Tulane University and her M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. 

Eli Rabek
Partnerships Director,

Eli is the Partnerships Director at YouNoodle, a role which pairs him with universities, companies and organizations around the world in the development of business plan competitions and innovation challenges. His favorite days are those spent helping organizations support their entrepreneurs by designing programs that provide tools and resources for their growth.

Before YouNoodle, Eli worked in Madrid and later in San Francisco for Opinno, a global network of innovation centers located in the main technology hubs around the world. While at Opinno, Eli collaborated with M.I.T.'s Technology Review magazine to host the TR35 Young Innovators Awards in Spain and Latin America. On days when he wasn't all-consumed by the excitement of learning about amazingly innovative TR35 projects, Eli worked with Opinno's Open Innovation Strategy Group on consulting projects for large companies.

As an undergraduate, Eli served as Co-President of the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES), where he helped launch two of the largest university business plan competitions in the United States, distributing $100,000 in awards to the top ventures. Eli graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a B.S. in Management Science and Engineering.

Renée Morin
President, North America

Renée Morin, President of PRé in North America, leads the North American team in providing product, supply chain, and life cycle management services to leading industry clients. Renée is a sustainability specialist with over fifteen years of climate change, life cycle assessment, and sustainability strategy consulting experience both internationally and domestically. Throughout her career, Renée has built strong relationships with multi-national corporate clients in the financial, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors. She has effectively led her team through numerous greenhouse gas inventories, carbon product footprints, and life cycle assessments resulting in identifying carbon, energy, and cost savings for her clients. Renée focuses on translating traditional sustainability efforts into a business context to ensure programs are integrated and "sustainable".

Renée holds a BA in Chemistry from Wake Forest University, and an MS in Environmental Management and Sciences from UNC Chapel Hill. As with all of her engagements, Renee's primary goal in working with her clients is delivering actionable, value-driven results.

KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz
Sustainable Brands

KoAnn is a seasoned business-to-business media executive who's involvement with the intersection of environmental and human issues in business dates back to the mid-1980s when she launched international conferences on improving log utilization, reducing Waste Paper, and eliminating ozone-layer destroying chemicals (CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons). Throughout her career she has been engaged in testing the connection between purpose driven leadership and competitive bottom line performance. As a result, her teams have consistently outperformed peers in both growth and profitability. Since 2003, she has devoted her full attention to the emerging field of social and environmental sustainability, launching Sustainable Life Media in 2004. She has helped various media entrepreneurs and NGO's including Sierra Club and establish their own paths to effectiveness and economic sustainability. In 2005, she produced the First International Conference on Cradle to Cradle Design in Practice with Bill McDonough, Michael Braungart, Peter Senge and others. In 2006, she launched what has now become and in 2007, the widely respected Sustainable Brands Conference. The Sustainable Brands community has grown dramatically each year, and has become the premier international community of sustainable business innovators, with engaged community members represented from all continents.

Prior to founding Sustainable Life Media, KoAnn founded Organizations That Work a management consultancy focused on her passion for helping companies deliver breakthrough financial performance through purpose-driven leadership and improved organizational alignment and learning. Prior to that she served as Sr. Vice President of Miller/CMP Media, a multinational B2B media company, where she launched and built a $50million division focused on serving various emerging technology markets including the Computer Game Development market and others. While there, she launched several product brands, spearheaded a corporate rebranding initiative, and brought systems thinking and organizational learning principles to the executive level management team of the company.

KoAnn has attended graduate level programs in business management and sustainability at Cornell and Wharton, and currently sits on the Advisory board at the Center for Sustainability at Pennsylvania State University. She regularly speaks to corporate, academic and professional audiences about sustainability as the basis of a new renaissance of business innovation and value, as well as the role brands must play and the steps they must take to survive and lead the way to a flourishing future. She lives with her husband Steve on the San Francisco Peninsula and is most proud of her two sons, Josh and Jake, who are each pursuing their individual passions in music, physics and philosophy.

Andrew Winston
Author, Founder
The Big Pivot, Winston Eco-Strategies

Andrew Winston is a globally recognized expert on how companies can navigate and profit from the world’s biggest environmental and social challenges. His first book, Green to Gold, sold over 100,000 copies in seven languages. Inc Magazine included Green to Gold on its all-time list of 30 books that all managers should own. Andrew’s new book, The Big Pivot, explores how companies can thrive in a hotter, scarcer, more open world, and provides a new roadmap, helping executives create a more prosperous business, economy and world.

As founder of Winston Eco-Strategies, Andrew has advised some of the world’s leading companies; serves on sustainability advisory boards for the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Unilever; and acts as a Sustainability Advisor to PwC. His earlier career included advising companies on corporate strategy while at the Boston Consulting Group and management positions in strategy and marketing at Time Warner and MTV. Today, Andrew is also a highly respected and dynamic speaker, reaching audiences of thousands with an entertaining message of practical optimism: the world’s challenges are great, but business has the tools, resources, and creativity to create a sustainable world. He received his BA in Economics from Princeton, an MBA from Columbia, and a Masters of Environmental Management from Yale.


How to Win



In delivering environmental or social benefit, coupled with identified impact metrics (for example, "our business innovation helps customers lower their carbon footprint by XX% compared to the product we're disrupting", or "our innovation will help customers increase savings by XX% and keep their money local, leading to more stable local economies.")

Team quality

Particularly as it relates to demonstrated track record and understanding of systemic issues of sustainability

Economic scalability

Growth and impact potential

Above and Beyond

Bonus points for disruptive innovation. The idea has approached the issue from a new perspective and is offering a solution that will truly shift the market as we know it.


Meet last year's finalists:

Fenugreen FreshPaper


Isidore Electronics Recycling


Fenugreen is taking on the massive global challenge of food waste with its simple FreshPaper innovation (25% of the world's food supply is lost to spoilage, resulting in massive energy and resource waste). Low-cost, compostable, and infused only with organic spices, FreshPaper keeps produce fresh 2-4 times longer.


Isidore is an electronics recycling company that serves as an on-the-job training and employment program for previously incarcerated people in Los Angeles.






With offshore manufacturing, brands have lost critical visibility into supply chain factories—but when workers are abused, they're still liable. LaborVoices gathers real-time information on working conditions in overseas factories, directly from workers' mobile phones. LaborVoices helps brands and workers collaborate with suppliers to reduce the risks of noncompliance.


Starting in Haiti with plastic, Thread transforms trash in the poorest countries into jobs for the poor and exportable, useful stuff consumers love.



How much does it cost to enter?

It is free! Thanks to our sponsors we are able to put on the competition without an entry fee.

What do you consider a "startup"?

This new venture showcase is focused on identifying and promoting innovative new consumer brands, AND ventures that support existing corporations in achieving their sustainable brand innovation goals. We are looking for companies in their:

  • Post-Launch Phase: The venture is operational and has some early operating metrics and/or proven Beta/prototype to share. In investment terms we are considering "Late Stage" and "Series A" funded companies.

Do I have to attend all 4 days of the conference?

All semi-finalists are given booth space at our Activation Hub which runs June 3-5, 2014 so we recommend taking advantage of at least those 3 days. We are awarding semi-finalists an Expo Staff Pass so that you can man your booth with one team member and have another be your pitch expert. The semi-finals are on the 3rd and the 4 finalists selected will pitch again on the 4th. So it's possible that the person on your team who will pitch could still compete but only be present for those two days.

Can I bring my whole team?

We offer one full conference pass to each semi-finalist startup, one Expo Staff Pass and can provide at-cost passes to any additional team mates should you wish to bring them.

Will I miss all of the speaker sessions by being at the expo?

No. The Activation Hub is open Tuesday 12-7pm, Wednesday, Thursday 12-5pm but there will be plenaries or breakouts in the mornings which you are encouraged to take advantage of. If you do take advantage of the Hub Staff pass then you can leave one team member with the booth while the other explores the afternoon content.

Can NGO's or Non-profits apply?

Not for this competition although we encourage you to find out more about our Causeway. For this competition we're looking for businesses who can successfully balance People, Planet AND Profit.

Do you cover travel and accommodation expenses?

Not at this time. We are convinced that the networking, introductions, leading-edge speakers & publicity generated by taking part make any expense a worthwhile investment. We will however offer any discounts when/if available to us.


Interested in being involved with this year's SBIO? Contact Ben Pawsey, ben[at] / 415.626.2212 if you are interested in participating, sponsoring or promoting the event.

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