Author: Clare Le

Los Angeles Needs a Zero Emissions Delivery Zone

LA is one of the most traffic-choked cities in America, and suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the nation. This has been exacerbated by a recent threefold rise in e-commerce deliveries, with diesel-powered delivery trucks exacerbating both congestion and pollution.  However, change is coming for the better on both fronts, thanks to the vision of both the Mayor of Los Angeles and the many public and private stakeholders across the region. Many voices are calling for a zero emissions delivery zone—and LACI believes a pilot project zero emissions delivery zone is a key milestone for LA.

A Call to Action: Accelerating Transportation Electrification in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and our Transportation Electrification Partnership members recently released the Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap 2.0, an ambitious plan detailing the pathway we are working toward to create the zero emissions transportation future we want and need for the greater Los Angeles region. It’s a future that will result in cleaner air for residents and dramatically reduce the region’s transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, reducing emissions an additional 25% beyond existing commitments tied to California state law. It’s a future that will take the integrated work of all the Partnership members and many other public and private sector allies, and we invite you to join us.

LACI Announces Creation of $5 Million Early Stage Impact Investment Fund

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Announces Creation of $5 Million Early-Stage Impact Investment Fund, Opens Call for Startups to Apply for New Cohort-Based Incubation Program

Impact Fund announces first two investments into LACI portfolio companies Seatrec and Freewire; Renewed startup incubation program offers $20,000 for pilot deployment, focuses on transportation electrification, clean energy, and circular economy


Los Angeles, January 15, 2020—The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) has launched a LACI Impact Fund for early-stage cleantech startups. As the Los Angeles-area continues to strengthen its position as a global leader in cleantech innovation and sustainability, the Fund will invest in a diverse slate of entrepreneurs ready to bring innovative and scalable cleantech technologies to market.

“The urgency of the climate crisis demands accelerated action – that’s why we are thrilled to announce the LACI Impact Fund, which will help scale innovation from startup entrepreneurs to help meet our region’s bold zero emissions transportation goals as well as solutions for clean energy and the circular economy,” said LACI President and CEO Matt Petersen. “As we relaunch our first cohort based startup program, the Fund provides a new tool to give our portfolio companies the opportunity for investment that aligns with their commitment to environmental, diversity and social impact.”

LACI’s first two investments in LACI portfolio companies Seatrec and FreeWire Technologies represent the organization’s commitment to accelerating the transportation electrification and 100 percent clean energy revolutions.

“Monitoring deep ocean areas with a device that uses no fuel is a key step in the fight against climate change,” said Seatrec Cofounder and CEO Dr. Yi Chao. “The LACI Impact Fund enabled Seatrec to scale and accelerate product development.” 

“We’re enabling the rapid transition to zero emissions transportation revolution with ultrafast EV charging technology that also minimizes impacts on the grid,” said FreeWire Founder and CEO Arcady Sosinov. “The LACI Impact Fund is crucial because it will help us focus our social and environmental commitments as we scale.”

The $5 million LACI Impact Fund invests in LACI portfolio companies as a follow-on investor in active seed, Series A, and Series B rounds. LACI President and CEO Matt Petersen, California State Senate emeriti President pro Tempore Kevin de León (as a volunteer), and representatives from Emerson Collective, a social change organization, will lead the Fund’s Investment Committee. 

The Fund considers a range of criteria when making investments, including: 

  • Economic Impact – Including the number of employees from traditionally underrepresented communities and participation in workforce development initiatives;
  • Environmental Impact – Including the current and potential for GHG emissions avoided, water savings, and waste diverted;
  • Diversity Impact – Including founder, leadership team and board makeup; and
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Community Impact – Including supply chain sustainability, volunteerism, & giving.

Led by Emily Bjorkland Drake, SVP of Unlocking Innovation, LACI’s renewed, cohort based Incubation Program is now recruiting for Cohort 1. In addition to eligibility for the Fund, LACI startups also benefit from the partnership with City of LA and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power through access to the world-class, 61,000 square foot La Kretz Innovation Campus (LKIC).

Participating startups will also benefit from:

  • Advanced startup curriculum and hands-on advisory services from executive coaches;
  • Eligibility for up to $20,000 for small-scale pilot deployment, and financing opportunities from the LACI Debt Fund; and
  • Access to $160,000 in business services and perks, and other program benefits.

The launch of the Fund comes as part of a breakthrough year for LACI which released of the Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap in November 2019 with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and others.  The Roadmap is a result of the unprecedented Transportation Electrification Partnership led by LACI, City of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, County of Los Angeles, LADWP, SCE, CARB, & LA Metro, and includes private partners like Audi, BMW, Proterra, Amply (a LACI portfolio company). The Roadmap sets the nation’s most ambitious transportation electrification targets—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution while addressing equity and growing the regional economy—by the time the world arrives in Greater Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

In December 2019, LACI also announced the publication of the Cleantech Cities: Accelerating Climate Action Through Startups and Corporate Innovation report at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25). The report, issued by LACI in partnership with C40 and with in-kind research and analysis from PwC, outlines the critical role collaboration between cities and cleantech entrepreneurs will play in accelerating climate action and securing a 1.5°C future for our planet. The reports recommendations shows that if followed, there is an opportunity to create a $5 trillion market while further reducing GHG emissions by another 35 percent.


About LACI

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a private 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 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 seven years, LACI has helped 108 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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Sunshine Sachs

Blog – Applications Now Open for Founders Business Accelerator Cohort 2

Just a few months ago, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and Mayor Eric Garcetti introduced the first 13 participants in Cohort 1 of the Founders Business Accelerator (FBA) program. Today, we celebrate the successful completion of the program for our inaugural business participants and the launch of the application process for our Cohort 2 2020 program. 

The FBA is a small business and startup acceleration program designed to assist underrepresented small business and startup founders in low income neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles grow their businesses. The FBA program recognizes the potential of small business owners and gives them the tools they need to succeed and grow their enterprises.

Prompted by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the strong support of Council Members Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Monica Rodriguez, the FBA program is part of a city-wide initiative for cultivating a more equitable economy for all Angelenos. “Small businesses are the beating heart of our economy—job creators that share Los Angeles’ innovative spirit with the world,” said Mayor Garcetti regarding the FBA program. “Working together with LACI, we’re ensuring small business owners have the tools they need to reach new markets, grow their bottom-line and thrive.” 

The long-term goal of the FBA program is to create a collaborative innovation center for small business owners and facilitate future generations of change agents dedicated to making a positive economic and social and environmental impact here in Los Angeles. 

FBA participant NanaEfua Afoh-Manin is the CEO of Shared Harvest Fund. Shared Harvest is the first student loan repayment benefit and rewards program that is mobile and available for independent workers. Nana shared that “the most valuable part of the FBA program was definitely the cohort, the family of people that would support what you’re doing and validate that yes, you are the person to get it done. The way I see my business making an impact in Los Angeles to significantly lower the number of student loan debt overall compared to most of the major cities. The real problem right now in Los Angeles when we’re talking about equity in an urban sector is that African American women still have the largest percentage of student loan debt. And we’re also the ones that are most impactful in volunteering and social enterprises. So this is an opportunity to take the shackles off and allow us to dream big and recreate what we want last time just to look like without that.”

LACI’s FBA program is helping Nana and the other 12 dynamic business leaders selected in Cohort 1 by providing invaluable mentorship as well as legal, human resources and marketing consulting services. Each cohort member was paired with a seasoned business mentor to help refine goal setting, manage finances and provide successful growth strategies.

Do you or someone you know have a small business that is dedicated to making social economic or environmental impact in their community? Applications for the Cohort 2 2020 FBA Program are currently being accepted. 

Learn more about the FBA program, Cohort 1 or to apply for Cohort 2.