Author: Clare Le

U.S. Secretaries of Energy and Labor Tour Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to Showcase Startup Innovation and Green Jobs, Highlight LACI’S Model Accelerating Transportation Electrification

Secretaries Granholm & Walsh Joined by Members of Congress Meet LACI Start-up Founders & Green Workforce Graduates, Learn more about LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership


Los Angeles, CA, April 21, 2022 – Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh put a spotlight on Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator‘s leadership in creating an inclusive green economy through startup innovation, workforce training, and transportation electrification.

Led by LACI President and CEO Matt Petersen and joined by Congresswomen Linda Sanchez, Judy Chu and Norma Torres, as well as LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, the two Cabinet secretaries talked with LACI startup founders and green jobs training graduates, while also learning about LACI’s groundbreaking Transportation Electrification Partnership. In 2021, LACI won two related US Department of Energy grants, including $1 million from DOE OTT EPIC for startup innovation through startup pilots, as well as $3.6 million from DOE VTO to increase the use of EVs for commercial delivery building on LACI’s Zero Emissions Delivery Zone pilot in partnership with the City of Santa Monica. LACI has also presented recommendations from the 2021 Green Jobs Report (i.e. renewing green job tracking and definitions at the federal level) to Secretary Walsh’s senior staff.

The Secretaries discussed with LACI staff and entrepreneurs how the Biden Administration is fostering innovation through its Bipartisan Infrastructure law and a series of executive orders to grow the economy and restore America’s economic leadership in addressing the climate crisis. 

“LACI is proud to host Secretaries Granholm and Walsh to showcase our entrepreneurs and programs, as well as highlight the work we have done with the Departments of Energy and Labor,” Matt Petersen said. “LACI is truly a national model for creating public private partnerships that move us towards a more inclusive green economy by accelerating equitable climate action. It says a lot about the importance of our work in Los Angeles that two Cabinet Secretaries wanted to see firsthand the ways in which we are unlocking innovation that will transform and grow our economy into a model of clean energy and equity for all.”

“What is really unique about LACI is that they are on both sides of the equation: Incubating these businesses and training the workforce for these businesses, with a lens of equity,” said Energy Secretary Granholm. “We want people to see the great opportunity in clean energy as a future. Those who are working in oil and gas, they have powered our nation for 100 years and we are grateful. But we want them to see themselves as powering our nation for the next 100 years as well, in clean energy. We know that the clean energy economy provides all kinds of jobs for people in all pockets of America.”

“Today we saw what is really required for a true clean energy transition. It requires innovations, investment, community engagement and especially workforce training. We saw today at LACI that it is possible to address the climate crisis in a way that expands opportunities,” said Labor Secretary Walsh. “The jobs the LACI’s startup companies are creating by developing and deploying technologies to make our communities healthier and stronger are great models that need to be deployed across the country. The possibility of creating good jobs for workers in communities that have been shut out in the past is the future that the Biden Administration is investing in and that LACI is demonstrating is absolutely achievable.”

 “Without the work of LACI, without pilot funding, without being able to present our concepts to funders, ChargerHelp! would not be in 11 states expanding to 50 states. Charger help would not have 35 employees. ChargerHelp! would not be a black owned company that has raised 4.25 million in venture capital,” said the startup company’s CEO, Kamaele C. Terry. “Let’s offer hope: the opportunity to create a new workforce, a workforce that’s okay with getting dirty, and a workforce that’s okay with plugging in a laptop computer.”

“On behalf of LACI’s partners in the public and private sectors, I want to thank Secretary Granholm, Secretary Walsh, and the Biden Administration for their commitment to act on climate, the support of cleantech entrepreneurs and growing the green workforce, and embracing the critical role of zero emission transportation,” Petersen concluded. “We look forward to doing more to help advance climate equity and the Administration’s Justice40 commitment, such as through the EVs for All bill that LACI is sponsoring in Congress.”

The tour took the officials through La Kretz Innovation Campus—owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power—in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, which is LACI’s home. The tour included a stop at LACI’s Advanced Prototyping Center where graduates of LACI’s innovative job training program shared their professional accomplishments and successes in green economy careers. On the tour, the Secretaries and members of Congress met the founders of Automotus, ChargerHelp!, ElectricFish, Electrum (formerly PickmySolar), Hive and URB-E.


About The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

LACI is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation by working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies; transforming markets through partnerships with policymakers, innovators, and market leaders in transportation, energy and sustainable cities; and enhancing communities through workforce development, pilots, and other programs. In the last ten years, LACI has helped 315 portfolio companies raise $695 million in funding and create over 2,480 jobs in the LA region, with a projected long-term economic impact on the LA region of more than $555 million dollars.  Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is a non-profit recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. Learn more at

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Expands Free Zero-Emissions Shuttle Service in Leimert Park

Funding secured by Senator Sydney K. Kamlager also supports creation of LACI satellite green workforce training site in South LA

LACI also announces call for new community pilot program partners for next round of clean mobility projects


Los Angeles, CA – In partnership with Senator Sydney Kamlager (D-30), community groups, and local businesses, LACI extended and expanded the Leimert Park neighborhood EV shuttle pilot and announced a request for information to establish a LACI-led satellite green workforce training site in South LA. As of January 31, shuttle operations were expanded to Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm, Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday from 9am to 7pm.

“The success of LACI’s Leimert Park EV ride-share pilot with Circuit is an important and impactful demonstration of how communities can model clean energy solutions and support underserved communities with electric transportation,” said California State Senator Sydney Kamlager. 

Joe and Celia Ward-Wallace, Co-Founders of South LA Cafe and 501c3 The SLAC Foundation remarked, “We have been so grateful to have the shuttle in our community! It has allowed local residents to travel to and from our food distribution, The South LA Grocery Giveaway, which takes place every Wednesday and provides food for over 1000 people. Together our partnership has provided access and equity to those who need healthy food options the most.”

With State funding secured by Senator Kamlager, LACI is also identifying a satellite green workforce training hub in South LA for electric vehicles (EVs), e-shuttles, e-bikes, and EV charging stations, and diagnostic tools for hands-on learning, in partnership with LACI startup  ChargerHelp! in anticipation of launching this training program in the fall of 2022.


More on EV Shuttle Pilot

The EV shuttle pilot in Leimert Park was created based on community group ideas and needs submitted to LACI through the Zero Emissions Mobility and Community Pilot Project Fund, with the goal of piloting clean and affordable transportation solutions in communities that are most heavily impacted by poor air-quality and lack adequate transportation. LACI has partnered with community groups in three different neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles, with the added goal of connecting local small businesses with emerging startup technology and transportation options in Leimert Park. Ride On! Bike Shop and South LA Cafe–which both have participated in LACI’s Founders Business Accelerator–have been key partners in the pilot.

The EV shuttle pilot with LACI startup Circuit (which also participated in LACI’s Market Access program tied to making the LA region the epicenter of cleantech and zero emissions mobility innovation) offers both flag down and on-demand mobile app service within the local designated coverage. The program was re-upped in response to early community adoption and high demand, with more than 2,300 (non-unique) riders taking 1,750 trips since pilot inception. Feedback from users and residents was collected to develop the initial service and to implement the new schedule changes to better meet travel needs.  

LACI selected and deployed program technologies after deep community engagement in the Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor community that included outreach to local elected officials, business owners, and grassroots organizations to assess their greatest transportation needs. The program was initially developed in partnership with a number of Leimert Park community partners including: We Love LeimertKOAS Networks / SankofaCity, Ride On! Bike Shop / Co-op, the Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor Business Improvement District (GLPVCC)Community Build Inc.Destination Crenshaw, and the Community Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) / Institute for Maximum Human Potential.

“Creating sustainable clean mobility programs that work for communities is at the very heart of LACI’s ZEV pilot program initiative,” said Matt Petersen, President and CEO of LACI and Chair of its Transportation Electrification Partnership. The success of programs like the Leimert Park EV ride-share pilot demonstrate the value of EV transportations solutions for  community members and a return on investment when projects focus on cleaning our air, supporting the region’s emerging cleantech industry and ensuring that everyone has equitable access to a zero-emissions future. We are proud to be leading equity-based solutions that give people transportation options while reducing L.A.’s carbon emissions.”  

“Los Angeles is leading the path forward toward zero emissions, ensuring that the future leaves no one behind,” said Daniel Kramer, Vice President at Circuit. “LACI’s pilot programs allow us to demonstrate in real time how to make zero-emission mobility options work while meeting important needs for local communities.”


More on Green Workforce Training Satellite Location

The training program is designed to create pathways for underrepresented groups to earn high-road green job opportunities. LACI will recruit trainees from the community to participate in their workforce development programs, and place graduates in paid internships where they can apply their new skills with local partner companies. 


Seeking New Community Pilot Project Partners

LACI is also looking to partner with additional community organizations across Los Angeles to continue the expansion of pilot programs like the one in Leimert Park.

Another Request for Information has been issued for applications from interested community groups who want to partner with LACI to incubate local zero emission and other cleantech pilots. LACI has recently secured state funding from the California Workforce Development Board to support an additional two to three deployments of zero emission transportation, energy/transportation nexus, and clean energy pilots focused in disadvantaged communities. This RFI will determine the next partners and location for the pilot deployments, which will be designed to increase access to affordable clean transportation and/or clean energy, support local economic and workforce development, reduce GHG emissions, and improve air quality and health for communities. Funding for the pilots will range between $100k – 250k. 


About The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

LACI is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation by working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies; transforming markets through partnerships with policymakers, innovators, and market leaders in transportation, energy and sustainable cities; and enhancing communities through workforce development, pilots, and other programs. Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is a non-profit recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. Learn more at


Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator reboots its incubation program with 16-member cohort

The Los Angeles Cleantch Incubator is rebooting its incubator program and moving from rolling applications to a cohort model beginning with 16 new startups. 

Los Angeles’ not-for-profit incubator exchanges sweat equity in the form of services and office space, and the promise of $20,000 in funding for local pilot projects, for a 1.5% to 3% stake in a company.

LA Cleantech Incubator Announces New Cohort of Startups with Over 50% Founders of Color, Nearly 40% Women

Updated Incubation Program Includes the First Ever Equity Earn Back Option for Founders; New Cohort are Advancing Zero Emissions Mobility, Clean Energy, and Other Climate Tech Solutions While Creating Green Jobs

LOS ANGELES, CA (April 20, 2020) – Today the
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) announced the first cohort of 16 startups selected to participate in its renewed LACI Incubation Program. 

The startups are led by the most diverse slate of founders in LACI history, with 31% of the participating entrepreneurs female, 56% persons of color, and 6% veterans. Half of the startups in the new cohort are focused on zero emissions mobility, 25% on clean energy, and 25% on the circular economy. A more detailed overview of each of the 16 startups is below. 

“LACI is committed to not only incubating startups whose solutions are key in tackling the climate crisis and creating green jobs, we need to support underrepresented entrepreneurs who reflect our energetic, diverse, and innovative city,” says Matt Petersen, CEO of  the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. “Cleantech entrepreneurs and startups are key to restarting our economy and ensuring that the improved air quality we are enjoying right now remains permanent.”

The new two-year incubation program was created to help entrepreneurs, including entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, with game-changing climate and clean technologies to become market and investor ready. The program also includes the first-of-its-kind equity earnback approach, where LACI returns a portion of the equity stake to founders as they and their startups make demonstrated, lasting commitments to key impact milestones. Linking social, economic and environmental goals to finances embeds LACI’s commitment to impact and provides an attractive investment for impact-focused investors. 

The 2020 LACI Incubation Program officially kicked off on April 20, 2020.


About the 2020 LA Cleantech Incubator Cohort:

  • Alumina Energy
      • Alumina Energy is a U.S based energy storage technology company designing and building Alumina Packed Bed Energy Storage systems for the utility, industrial, and commercial scale power generation and process heat markets.
  • CERO Bikes
      • CERO Bikes is a family-owned and operated business that designs and produces compact electric cargo bike, purpose-built to move people and goods.
  • ChargerHelp!
      • The ChargerHelp! App enables on-demand repair of electric vehicle charging stations by utilizing local workforces.
  • ePave
      • ePAVE is a revolutionary high performance cold applied Polymer Enhanced Composite overlay product for roads that can reduce greenhouse gas effects. 
  • InPipe Energy
      • InPipe Energy is a renewable energy and smart water technology company focused on generating low cost, clean electricity from the flow of water in gravity fed water pipelines to improve resiliency in cities and communities around the world.
  • Jump Watts 
      • Jump Watts is working to create zero emission infrastructure for e-mobility by building charging stations that are mobile and efficient, as well as stationary and convenient.
  • Maxwell Vehicles
      • Maxwell Vehicles designs and manufactures electric powertrains for commercial vehicles bringing operators a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution.
  • NeoCharge 
      • NeoCharge manufactures smart splitters that allows safe, easy, and fast electric vehicle home charging without the need of a panel upgrade or making changes to the home.
  • Noria
      • Noria is revolutionizing the way critical infrastructure and industrial processes are run using real-time surface monitoring and machine learning.
  • Prime Lightworks
      • Prime Lightworks makes breakthrough electric propulsion systems for space satellites that are solar powered, fully renewable, and consume zero fuel.
  • SEED
      • SEED offers a full-service, technologically-advanced “farm in a box” that offers easy technical skills to anyone who wants to grow their own produce to help fight world hunger and impact climate change.
  • SparkCharge 
      • SparkCharge makes a modular electric vehicle charging unit and partners with roadside assistance providers to service electric vehicle owners when they run out of range.
  • Substance Power and Mobility 
      • Substance Power and Mobility builds energy storage hardware aiming to revolutionize the way we store renewable energy and distribute power across infrastructure, industry and transportation. 
  • Sustainable Building Council 
      • The Sustainable Building Council manufactures low-cost, steel modular structures with grid independent water and power to combat the affordable housing crisis.
  • TBM Designs 
      • TMB produces self-shading window systems using a thermo-bimetal that dramatically reduces artificial cooling needs by reducing solar heat gain.
  • Xeal 
      • Xeal is an electric car charging platform that makes EV chargers profitable assets to own for apartments and workplaces.

Thanks to the City of Los Angeles Mayor and City Council’s support, the Economic and Workforce Development Department provides LACI with CDBG economic development funding to run our incubation programming. LACI and startups we support are housed at the La Kretz Incubation Campus (LKIC), a world class LEED Platinum and WELL Gold certified facility owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and managed by LACI.


About LACI

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a City of Los Angeles established nonprofit organization, is creating an inclusive green economy by: unlocking innovation through working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies, transforming markets through partnerships with policymakers, innovators and market leaders in transportation, energy and sustainable cities; and enhancing communities through workforce development, pilots and other programs. Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. In the past eight years, LACI has helped 78 portfolio companies raise $221M in funding, $220M in revenue, create 1,750 jobs, and deliver more than $393M in long term economic value. Learn more at



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