The ten fastest growing and most innovative cleantech companies in Europe were awarded special recognition last Thursday at Cleantech Connect 2012, with over half of the awards being picked up by UK companies.

Amongst the UK winners were Southampton-based water pressure management company i2O Water, who picked up the Judges Award for being a leading contender in all categories, and London-based global water treatment company, Bluewater Bio, who won the Ones to Watch award for the most promising emerging company. The Unique Leadership Award was a UK clean sweep, with the CEOs of AlertMe, Enecsys, E-Leather and Smarter Grid Solutions all being recognised.

Elsewhere, Finland-based LED lighting company Valoya won the ‘Fastest Growing Company’ category with an annual growth rate of 408%, and RTR Rete Rinnovabile, the largest Italian producer of solar electricity, was awarded the ‘Fastest Growing Larger Company’ award for its growth rate of 1,061%.

The fastest growing larger and smaller companies were ranked by growth, according to their audited financial results for the last three years. Andre Shortell, partner at GP Bullhound, explained, “The compound annual growth rates have been tremendous, averaging a whopping 130% for the larger companies and 66% for the younger ones, particularly impressive considering how much harder it is to grow as a bigger company.”

Winners of the 2012 Cleantech Connect 2012 Awards, organised by leading technology investment bank GP Bullhound, included:

One to Watch: Bluewater Bio (London, UK. Provides global water and wastewater treatment technology)
Fastest Growing Company: Valoya (Helsinki, Finland. Provides energy efficient LED growth lights for horticultural purposes)
Fastest Growing Larger Company: RTR Rete Rinnovabile (Rome, Italy. Largest Italian producer of solar electricity)
Most Innovative Company Award: Lucibel (Rueil-Malmaison, France. Produces new generation lighting products and solutions)
Best Global Potential Award: Newlisi (Milan, Italy. Process disaggregates the sludge coming from wastewater)
Judges Award: i2O Water (Southampton, UK. Advanced water pressure management systems)
Unique Leadership Award: Mary Turner, AlertMe (Reading, UK. Provides comprehensive energy solutions)
Unique Leadership Award: Mike Fister, Enecsys (Cambridge, UK. Produces grid-connected solar micro inverters and monitoring systems)
Unique Leadership Award: Chris McBean, E-Leather (Peterborough, UK. Provides high performance recycled natural leather)
Unique Leadership Award: Alan Gooding, Smarter Grid Solutions (Glasgow, UK. Provides electricity network operators with comprehensive solutions).

Shortell commented, “The cleantech industry is becoming less stand alone and incorporated into main line industry as strategic players such as GE, BP, Siemens and BASF progressively continue their efforts to become more resource efficient and profitable at the same time. To be successful, technologies can’t just be green, technologies need to function better, cost less and have a mass adoption potential.

“We expect to see a significant pick up in M&A in the next 24 months, with the majority of European companies in the sector yet to exit. Considering the growth rates and revenue potential of the leading quartile, we anticipate some sizeable deals.”