Author: vince_admin

WHY THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY? AN OPPORTUNITY FOR INNOVATION AND KEY SOLUTION FOR SUSTAINABLE CITIES

By Matt Petersen, LACI President and CEO

When we launched LACI’s updated three-pronged holistic, cross-cutting strategy (see below) in 2018 to create an inclusive green economy in Los Angeles and beyond, we set a thesis to focus on transportation electrification, clean energy, and sustainable cities. We quickly saw a surge of EV related and clean energy startups apply and join our incubation program, like ChargerHelp!, Bluedot, Stak Mobility, Evolectric and many others. This was a natural progression given our long-standing partnership with LADWP through our campus and work regionally with Southern California Edison, but was also driven by the launch in 2018 of our unprecedented Transportation Electrification Partnership and the market discovery we did in the run up to the launch of our Clean Energy Partnership in 2023.

In parallel, we took the time to look at what other aspects of creating sustainable cities–and the innovation needed–that we should prioritize. Through our California Energy Commission-funded annual gaps and opportunities report as well as our cleantech market landscape analysis, along with a deep dive with support of a consultant, we identified that circular economy should be our initial focus for our sustainable cities priority area.  

Over the last couple years, we started to see nearly ⅓ or more of the startups that apply being a circular economy company like Dyrt, Rewilder, Olokun Minerals and others. Soon we will launch our first circular economy-focused workforce training program, building on our similar training programs inspired by our transportation electrification and clean energy partnerships and related startup needs. 

As part of our discovery process, we engaged with experts and given the concentration of fashion and textile related businesses in LA along with the overall municipal waste stream, we saw a need to focus on textile waste. In deeper discussions with City of LA officials, our eyes widened as we saw not just old clothes–exploding in volume due to fast fashion unfortunately–but waste from cut and sew operations and unsold inventories that were all going to the landfill, or worse.  

That’s why LACI is shaping a new textile recycling pilot in Los Angeles. Working alongside LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN), we are bringing together a diverse group of industry leaders, local government officials, and small business founders to reimagine the possibilities of textile recycling.

Starting in the early 1990’s when I chaired the green team committee–a committee of one it turns out–for Habitat for Humanity LA’s Jimmy Carter Work Project in Watts/Willowbrook scheduled for 1995, I have looked at how to reduce waste, to reuse materials, and recycle whatever possible. Later, I helped convene and lead a multi-stakeholder coalition of businesses and environmentalists allied around beverage container recycling that produced what was known as the BEAR report. That worked continued when I got to City Hall in 2013, and set about to create LA’s first comprehensive sustainable city plan–in the pLAn as we called it, we included not only a waste diversion target to get to zero waste, but a remanufacturing target to take materials and put them back to use. 

From these experiences and many others, I have come to recognize the need for strong, coordinated partnerships that bring together the key voices necessary to drive progress on the issues that matter most in our communities while ensuring we protect our most vulnerable by prioritizing equity and environmental justice.

Fortunately, many businesses in the textile industry today are eager to incorporate more recycled materials into their products, but the volume of textile waste currently generated in the region significantly exceeds the amount that businesses can process under current conditions without proper infrastructure, and gainful supply chain models. Without these comprehensive systems to keep discarded textiles from ending up in the landfill, textile waste will continue to increase. This is where LACI, LASAN, and stakeholders of a burgeoning textile recycling pilot are crafting solutions. 

LACI and LASAN hosted a charrette on February 1st at the La Kretz Innovation Campus to begin laying the groundwork for a Sustainable Cities Partnership on the circular economy. The room swelled with energy and enthusiasm as key stakeholders envisioned a resurgence in LA’s massive manufacturing operations with an expanded focus on recycling and upcycling discarded textiles.

We were proud to co-host the event with Barbara Romero, director and general manager of LASAN, and Susana Reyes, commissioner at the LA Board of Public Works, to help frame a vision to the stakeholders in the room. Together, we discussed the contours of a pilot that will test business models to repurpose, reuse, and recycle textile waste. 

I am particularly excited about the ambitious plans to establish a multi-resource textile recycling pilot in the heart of Los Angeles. While the details of the pilot are still being designed, the proposed pilot with the City of LA would hold the capacity to recycle at least 1000 pounds of commercial textile waste daily. In addition to saving used-yet-usable textiles from the landfill, a textile recycling hub could lead to opportunities for entrepreneurs and the workforce. An undertaking of this scale would require innovation from startups as well as trained employees to facilitate collection and material identification. Emerging technologies to identify fibers could speed up the process of textile sorting, thereby diverting more materials from the landfill to the recycling hub and eventually to manufacturing facilities to be made into new products. 

After establishing the textile recycling pilot, LACI, LASAN and partners will seek to continue scaling through a materials marketplace pilot model capable of diverting over 250,000 tons of pre-consumer textile waste from landfills per year by 2028. This achievement, if realized, could serve as a template for cities around the world to replicate, and the model will be on full display when the world arrives in Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

The bold plan that partners outlined during the recent charrette marks the first major step in a series of necessary milestones to establish Los Angeles as the sustainable manufacturing hub of the western hemisphere. And if the momentum generated by these initial discussions are any indication of the possibilities that lie ahead, then the prospect of a more sustainable, economically prosperous future is indeed very bright. 

 

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LACI ANNOUNCES LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK & SEVEN OTHER CITIES REPRESENTING 55 MILLION AMERICANS TO JOIN INAUGURAL CITY CLIMATE INNOVATION CHALLENGE TO ADVANCE ZERO EMISSIONS DELIVERY; PARTNERS INCLUDE C40 & CLIMATE MAYORS

 

First of its Kind City Challenge is Designed to Help Cities Pilot and Scale Innovation to Reduce Congestion & Emissions from Exploding E-Commerce and Goods Movement

 

Los Angeles, January 9, 2024 – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)–in partnership with Climate Mayors and C40–announced the selected cities for the inaugural City Climate Innovation Challenge for Zero Emissions Delivery (ZED Challenge). Joining the anchor partners of Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Santa Monica are: Louisville, KY; Miami-Dade County, FL; New York City, NY; Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; and Washington D.C. The cities’ combined metropolitan populations represent 55 million people–one in every six Americans–representing a bold market signal for zero emissions delivery. Wells Fargo was announced as the first ZED Challenge corporate funder, providing support to launch the inaugural cohort nationwide.

LACI’s ZED Challenge aims to accelerate the move to zero emissions delivery to reduce emissions from predominantly dirty, diesel trucks moving goods for the first mile (e.g., class 8 drayage trucks) to last mile (e.g., medium duty delivery trucks) predominantly impacting low income, disadvantaged communities with disproportionate pollution and congestion. LACI will work with cities to identify startup and corporate solutions to be piloted in innovation “sandboxes” along with access to pilot funding for select startup solutions, technical support, data analysis, peer-to-peer learnings, & convenings with existing private sector delivery companies. Once successful solutions are identified, LACI will work with the cities to scale the policy and business model innovations while providing access to debt and venture funding for startups. The ZED Challenge will build on LACI’s unique model for piloting and scaling solutions with cities, including zero emissions delivery, EV car share for low income communities, and other innovations.

“We are confident the LACI model can help cities better invite innovation, and in turn scale what works to reduce congestion and improve air quality through zero emissions delivery,” said Matt Petersen, LACI President and CEO. “That is why we launched this national Challenge: to help cities accelerate equitable climate action & address local needs.”

“Los Angeles will continue to take urgent action to protect our environment. The Zero Emissions Delivery City Challenge presents an opportunity for cities to engage deeply with experts and city leaders from across the country while developing innovative solutions on the road to zero-emissions goods movement,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “As a leading hub for cleantech innovation we are very excited to collaborate with LACI and the cohort participants while continuing our work to build more equitable, sustainable communities here in Los Angeles.”

“Cities are leading the nation in cutting emissions and adapting to a green future, and we’re proud to be a part of this new cohort of cities driving towards a zero-emissions delivery future,” said Rohit T Aggarwala, New York City Chief Climate Officer. “We’ll work together to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels, to promote cargo bikes, electric delivery vehicles, and new technologies to manage delivery systems better. I’m grateful to our peer cities, as well as to LACI, C40, and Climate Mayors, for our shared commitment to combat climate change.”

“I am thrilled that Oakland has been selected by the LA Cleantech Incubator to work with other cities leading the fight against climate change to pilot innovative zero emission delivery solutions,” said Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao. “Working together with LACI’s cohort, we will strive to find solutions that improve air quality and reduce emissions and traffic congestion brought on by the explosion in last mile deliveries. This collaboration will help us not only to meet Oakland’s own Equitable Climate Action Plan goals, but to develop innovative strategies to address this same challenge faced by cities around the world.”

“DDOT is honored to join the LACI challenge. With the support of this cohort, we plan to create a delivery microhub to support more sustainable last-mile delivery modes, such as e-cargo bikes,” said Sharon Kershbaum, Interim Director, District Department of Transportation (Washington, D.C.). “Not only will this mode-shift opportunity help the city meet its emission reduction goals, it will also encourage better curbside usage and traffic safety.”

“I am thrilled to see such an amazing group of leading Climate Mayors cities join the National Zero Emissions Delivery City Climate Innovation Cohort, each bringing its own unique expertise, ambitions, and solutions,” said Kate Wright, Executive Director at Climate Mayors. “We at Climate Mayors look forward to supporting the cohort in its plans to deliver zero-emissions innovations at scale – a necessary step in securing more sustainable and healthier communities across the country.”

“Cities are leaders and innovators on climate, including creating better ways to manage local deliveries that cut fossil fuel use and reduce emissions,” said Laura Jay, Regional Director for North America at C40 Cities. “Changing the way goods are moved and delivered will yield meaningful benefits for urban residents, from improved air quality to safer streets, as well as contribute to the green economy. The Zero Emission Delivery City Challenge is an exciting new initiative to help American cities tackle the thorny problem of reducing pollution from urban logistics. C40 is delighted to support this effort, which will bring different perspectives together to help build healthier, more efficient cities.”

“Cities across the nation are leading the way in developing solutions that will advance resilient, equitable, and cleaner futures,” said Robyn Luhning, Chief Sustainability Officer for Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is proud to support LACI’s push for innovation to advance clean transportation while delivering long-term benefit for communities.”

Prior to launching the Challenge, LACI created the nation’s first Zero Emissions Delivery Zone with the City of Santa Monica within a one square mile innovation zone or ‘sandbox’, dedicating curb space for zero emissions vehicles only with signage, painting of curbs, and access to light poles for camera and software technology from the startup Automotus, which was selected through a technology RFI. LACI then subsequently partnered with the Cities of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh to secure a $3.7 million engagement grant through the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office to expand curb access initiatives.

The City Climate Innovation Challenge also builds on research jointly conducted by LACI, C40 and PwC entitled Cleantech Cities: Accelerating Climate Action Through Startups and Corporate Innovation. Originally unveiled at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, the research estimated the potential of new technologies and disruptive innovation in cities by 2030 could surpass 1.3 GtCO2e in greenhouse gas reductions from buildings, transport and waste each year. Urban climate innovation is estimated to create just over $5 trillion in new global investment opportunities by 2030, plus inclusive opportunities for job growth, public health improvements, and other co-benefits. The ZED City Challenge represents a manifestation of initiatives called for by the report.

In September 2022 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, LACI announced its Commitment to Action to expand the Zero Emission Delivery work that LACI developed in the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles—with funding and support from C40 and Ingka—to an additional five to seven U.S. metropolitan areas by 2025.

 

About LACI:
Established in 2011 as an economic development initiative of the City of Los Angeles and LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP), LACI is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation through startup incubation, transforming markets through catalytic partnerships, pilots and policies, and enhancing communities through green job training.  Solutions are focused on zero emissions transportation, clean energy, and sustainable cities. LACI’s startup incubation programs provide curriculum, coaching, pilot funding, access to venture and debt funds, additional resources for underrepresented founders, paid interns, and other resources to scale emerging cleantech companies.

About Climate Mayors:
Founded in 2014, Climate Mayors is a bipartisan, peer-to-peer network that has mobilized more than 750 U.S. mayors who demonstrate climate leadership through meaningful actions in their communities. Representing 48 states and nearly 60 million Americans, the Climate Mayors coalition reflects U.S. cities’ commitment to climate progress.

About C40:
C40 is a global network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities that are united in action to confront the climate crisis. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using an inclusive, science-based and collaborative approach to cut their fair share of emissions in half by 2030, help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C, and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities.

 

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LACI in LA Times Column: Can Los Angeles lead the world on climate? We’ll soon find out

When the eyes of the world turn to Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympic Games, will they see a smog-choked city full of traffic jams, gas furnaces and fossil-fueled power plants? Or a beacon of light in a polluted world, bursting with solar panels, electric cars and induction stoves?

The short answer: probably both.

But LACI’s ambitious Clean Energy Roadmap plan unveiled could lead to more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff.

Read the full Sammy Roth column in the LA Times here

LACI CEO STATEMENT ON COP28 AGREEMENT

Los Angeles, December 14, 2023 – Following the unanimous approval of a declaration by COP28 diplomats that included calls for the phase out of fossil fuels and the tripling of renewable energy capacity, Matt Petersen, LACI’s President and CEO, issued the following statement:

“While not adequate in meeting the magnitude of the climate crisis, it is historic that the ‘phasing out’ of fossil fuels—along with the funding of loss and damages, albeit modest, and commitments for the tripling of renewable energy capacity—was included in the final COP28 declaration unanimously approved in Dubai yesterday. In attending COP28 to share LACI’s unique green economic development model to deploy equitable climate solutions at speed and scale, I was also pleased to be amongst hundreds of startup founders and fellow California leaders showing how the world’s 4th largest economy is helping lead the way.

“Along with 2000 others, I signed the letter challenging COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber and all delegates to ensure the final declaration committed to ‘phasing out’ fossil fuels along with commitments for climate finance and biodiversity. The unanimous agreement codifies for the first time in the history of the world’s largest climate conference what we have known all along: that we must end our reliance on fossil fuels to ensure, as I often say, humanity doesn’t just survive but also thrives on this planet.”

LACI’S TRANSPORTATION ELECTRIFICATION PARTNERSHIP SETS NATION-LEADING SCHOOL BUS ELECTRIFICATION, INCREASED CHARGER TARGETS IN UPDATED 2028 ZERO EMISSIONS ROADMAP

Roadmap Builds on Partnership’s Work over the Past 5 Years to Identify Key Initiatives to Reduce GHG Emissions and Air Pollution by Time of 2028 Olympics

 

Los Angeles, December 11, 2023 – Today, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s Transportation Electrification Partnership (Partnership) released Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap 3.0, a detailed report that sets bold new targets to reaffirm the Partnership’s commitment to achieve an additional 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Roadmap sets a nation-leading school bus electrification target of 45% of school buses on LA County roads and 100% of all school bus sales to be electric by 2028. Given that 1 in 11 children in Los Angeles suffer from asthma, and that riding the school bus contributes 33% of a child’s daily exposure to certain air pollutants, this target aims to improve public health–particularly for those most at risk.

In addition to setting a bold new school bus electrification target, this version of the Roadmap:

  • Increases our public and workplace charging target from 84,000 to 129,000 to reflect new targets from our partner LADWP and growing demand as a result of state EV sales requirements;
  • Illustrates where the Partnership has made progress and where we need to accelerate action;
  • Highlights greater ambition and new commitments from some of our partners;
  • Identifies key strategic opportunities to enact the Roadmap’s guiding principles and achieve our bold targets; and
  • Details policy actions, convenings, research, pilots, and partnerships TEP will pursue in the next two years–which are critical years to set in motion the investments needed to bring our shared 2028 vision to reality.

The Roadmap builds on five years of collaboration by the unprecedented public-private Partnership, going further than ever before to drive progress in order to benefit the Los Angeles region by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

“We are so proud of the momentum this Partnership has created, demonstrating political will for great ambition,” said LACI CEO Matt Petersen and Edison Energy CEO Drew Murphy, co-chairs of the Partnership. “While we celebrate the significant progress that has been made, we know we have much further to go to accelerate equitable climate action before the world arrives in the Los Angeles region for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. That is why we are going big with bold new targets to improve air quality and mobility for those most affected in our region. This Roadmap 3.0 builds on our successes and learnings to lay out a clear vision for how together we will take action through policies, pilots, and key infrastructure investments to hit these targets.”

Several prominent state and local leaders provided letters endorsing the TEP Roadmap, including the following excerpted statements:

“As Mayor of Los Angeles, I am proud of the work we are doing each and every day to ensure the equitable transformation of our city to a clean and just economy, ensuring that as we make our air healthier, we are also creating green job opportunities available to all Angelenos,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “The Transportation Electrification Partnership’s Roadmap 3.0 provides a set of goals and specific actions for the City, the Partnership, and all involved stakeholders to band together around in order to achieve our shared vision of welcoming the world in 2028 to the region.”

“At the state, local and regional level, TEP has advocated for policies that increase and accelerate the deployment of more environmentally-friendly transportation solutions,” said Liane Randolph, Chair of the California Air Resources Board. “TEP has convened a broad and diverse group in the region who have come together to offer the people power needed to push for action and to implement solutions on the ground. Thanks to their work, the Los Angeles and the greater Southern California region is implementing zero-emissions programs that put tools like electric shuttles, vehicles and bikes in low-income neighborhoods, so that no one is left behind in a clean air future.”

“We can and should move goods and people in ways that protect the health of our communities, reduce emissions, and create green jobs,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, LA County Board of Supervisors (4th District). “The County of Los Angeles supports the work of the Transportation Electrification Partnership and the goals outlined in this Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap. The bold targets it sets are necessary to get us to a zero emissions future here in LA County and across the country. I look forward to working with LACI and know that together we will lay the groundwork for a future that serves the health and welfare of all those in our communities.”

“As California continues to feel the acute impacts of climate change, at the California Energy Commission (CEC) we understand the urgency for immediate action and the magnitude of the task at hand to transform the transportation landscape of our state. Thanks in part to TEP’s bold goals and leadership, we are well on our way,” said Patty Monahan, California Energy Commissioner. “I am proud to serve as an advisor to a Partnership that is a model for the kind of broad-based collaboration needed to bring about a change of this magnitude, making the critical infrastructure investments now that will benefit the LA region in the long term.”

The release of Roadmap 3.0 also marks the launch of an online dashboard to track LA’s progress towards the targets the Partnership has set.

The full Roadmap, complete with the Transportation Electrification Partnership’s recommendations, targets, and commitments can be found here.

About LACI:

Established in 2011 as an economic development initiative of the City of Los Angeles and LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP), LACI is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation through startup incubation, transforming markets through catalytic partnerships, pilots and policies, and enhancing communities through green job training. Solutions are focused on zero emissions transportation, clean energy, and sustainable cities. LACI’s startup incubation programs provide curriculum, coaching, pilot funding, access to venture and debt funds, additional resources for underrepresented founders, paid interns, and other resources to scale emerging cleantech companies.

About LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership:

LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) is an unprecedented multi-year public-private partnership of local, regional, and state stakeholders committed to accelerating transportation electrification and zero emissions goods movement throughout the Los Angeles region in advance of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It does so by pursuing bold targets, pilots, initiatives, and policies that are equity-driven, create quality jobs, and grow the economy. Established by LACI in 2018, the Partnership released Roadmap 1.0 that same year organized around the principal goal of reducing GHGs and air pollution in Los Angeles County by an additional 25 percent beyond existing commitments set for 2028.

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Announcing a new cohort of LACI portfolio companies

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) recently welcomed its seventh Incubation Program cohort, and eighth cohort of its Innovators program — both full of diverse, game-changing startups that are transforming the landscape of zero emissions transportation, clean energy, and sustainable cities and circular economy.

In the face of an escalating climate crisis, the work of our startups has gained paramount importance. That’s why LACI’s mission is as critical as ever: to empower emerging entrepreneurs and alumni companies through critical early-stage business development, cultivating a new wave of leaders in the 21st-century cleantech sector. These pioneers in technology are hard at work tackling urgent environmental issues like resource depletion, pollution, climate change, and waste management. The startups in these current LACI cohorts are focused on microgrid tech, alternative sustainable materials, electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, ecologically conscious heating/cooling systems, and new EV models to help combat greenhouse gas pollution.

Cleantech startups not only play a crucial role in mitigating climate change by curbing harmful emissions into the ecosystem, but also actively contribute to the growth of the green economy by creating green jobs, fostering economic development, and nurturing a global ecosystem of sustainability.

Please join us in welcoming LACI’s newest program members!

Innovators Cohort 8

This year, the Innovators program broke a LACI record in diversity, welcoming 67% BIPOC founders and 38% women founders. The one-year Innovators Program offers a lighter-touch, high-impact concierge style ecosystem access opportunity. Innovators Cohort 8 consists of 24 founders with an even distribution of Clean Energy, Circular Economy and Transportation Electrification startups to the LACI portfolio.

  • A La Care
    • A La Care offers chic, eco-friendly foodware for LA-based food businesses, targeting owners who prioritize aesthetics and Instagram-friendly products. Their goal is to replace Styrofoam and single-use plastics at local events, food trucks, and restaurants. Traditional plastics dominate due to cost and functionality, but A La Care focuses on design innovation without tech risks. Their products, made from bamboo and sugarcane bagasse using molded fiber technology, are ready to scale rapidly, making us market-ready upon funding. Their stylish prototypes aim to overcome sustainable packaging barriers, establishing them as a market leader in a promising, untapped market.
  • BOLD Swim
    • BOLD Swim is a swimwear brand that uses technical fabrics in their collection, along with resource efficiency-minded production techniques by designing for versatile use and waste management. The signature fabric is Amni Soul Eco which is a highly durable and versatile fabric that is also biodegradable biomass (end of life) and eco-friendly.
  • CarKenny
    • CarKenny is a community-focused Mobility-as-a-Service platform that offers users a single app for planning, booking, and paying for sustainable transportation. CarKenny’s core mission revolves around reducing the number of cars on the road in favor of shared and eco-friendly transportation alternatives. They place a strong emphasis on collaborating with community-based organizations to ensure that traditionally underserved and marginalized communities gain access to clean mobility solutions, particularly in areas currently lacking adequate transit options. Furthermore, CarKenny actively partners with transportation providers to ensure that their assets are strategically positioned to meet the specific needs of these communities.
  • CHRGsystem
    • CHRGsystem simplifies Los Angeles film production decarbonization with unique hardware and software. It integrates clean energy via CHRGconnx, reducing diesel generator reliance. CHRGsystem’s software optimizes supply logistics, cuts emissions, and enhances efficiency for a greener, cost-effective industry. It also promotes EV adoption, making LA a global leader in sustainable filmmaking.
  • Harsh Electronics
    • Gas vehicles currently dominate personal transportation, but the future depends on widespread EV adoption, particularly in cities. As urban areas commit to phasing out gas vehicles, the need for EV charging infrastructure is undeniable. Outdated transformer technology hampers this growth, especially in densely populated and lower-income urban regions. Harsh Electronics addresses this challenge with TransformerX, a compact, cost-effective solid-state transformer. Harsh Electronics empowers utilities to expand EV charging networks, propelling the urban EV revolution.
  • High Note Technologies
    • High Note has introduced a mobile app that transforms the parking and EV charging experience. Users can easily locate and reserve parking slots and EV charging spots in areas lacking commercial infrastructure. High Note achieves this by providing a platform for public and private parking space owners to list their units, generating additional revenue streams.
  • LA Mushroom Lab
    • LA Mushroom Labs is introducing an innovative mushroom-based coffee cup, a sustainable alternative to traditional single-use cups. Crafted from used coffee grounds and infused with the power of mushroom mycelium, this cup offers a breakthrough solution for eco-conscious coffee lovers. Each cup is carefully grown using locally sourced coffee grounds, transforming waste into a durable and compostable material. Our mushroom-based coffee cup is not only waterproof and insulating, but it also helps reduce plastic and styrofoam waste. Embrace a greener coffee experience with a cup that’s as earth-friendly as the brew it holds.
  • Looks For Lease Inc.
    • Looks for Lease is creating an innovative ‘Circular Inventory Tracking System’ that facilitates the logistics of a dynamic environmentally conscious Wardrobe Rental experience by combining Stylish Size inclusive fashion, an extensive recycling program and perfecting fit through body measurement integration. By keeping Wardrobe within a rental infrastructure, it maximizes the use of textiles, reduces landfill waste and production of excessive goods.
  • Owlet Bikes Inc.
    • Owlet Bikes offers city commuters an immersive visual and sensory experience, enhancing their journey with convenient mobility and storage solutions. Their product is an elegantly designed, sustainable, and affordable designer e-bike. It’s compact, yet not foldable, fast, yet quiet, providing a comfortable and experiential ride.
  • Pencil
    • The Pencil software product, born after the pivot from Atop in April 2023, identifies financial incentives for the energy transition and organizes them into a structured dataset accessible via web app and API. Following extensive customer interviews, particularly with policy experts in various technology sectors, it became clear that they struggle to keep up with the evolving policy landscape and requested a solution to streamline financial incentive tracking. To address this issue, Pencil is currently focused on EVs and EV infrastructure in California, exploring the use of AI and LLMs for expansion. Incentives are substantial, potentially reducing total project costs by 10-30%, though accurate data is hard to come by.
  • Shape
    • Shape revolutionizes waste practices at fast-service restaurants like Chipotle. Our solution blends hardware and software to streamline trash disposal, monetize recycling and composting, and encourage eco-conscious choices. The hardware redesigns trash bin openings, simplifying waste sorting for recycling, composting, or landfill. Clean materials are sent to recycling and composting agencies, generating profits. The software features a mobile app serving as a digital marketplace, incentivizing waste reduction and eco-friendly shopping through reward points within the Shape network.
  • Thermal Smart Aerogel
    • Thermal Smart Aerogel provides advanced, aerogel-based thermal and fire barrier solutions, expertly designed to mitigate thermal runaway in batteries, enhancing the safety and efficiency of clean energy and logistics industries. Applications for the technology include use on refrigerator trucks and other logistics/shipping equipment.
  • Turtle
    • Turtle is a forward-thinking platform designed to enhance bicycle parking and rental services within urban environments. It is dedicated to establishing an extensive network of affordable bike infrastructure that serves as a very secure parking solution for micro-mobility enthusiasts. Turtle offers businesses and individuals a trusted marketplace for renting bikes, ensuring secure and convenient access to sustainable transportation options. This initiative fosters a greener and more accessible urban bicycle landscape.
  • Venaera
    • Venaera’s proprietary air-source heat pump is modular, allowing rapid and easy refurbishment, upgrade, up to 70% cost savings, and avoided environmental impact; smart, with external facing sensors and software to optimize operation, as well as internal sensors to predict component failure and preemptively service units to maintain reliability.
  • Werlpower
    • Werlpower, a new green energy startup, innovatively generates cost-effective carbon-free electricity. They utilize the kinetic energy in outfall from Wastewater Treatment Plants to power modified wind turbine generators. WWTPs, operating 24/7, offer a reliable source of hydropower. Werlpower focuses on treated water about to be released into rivers or oceans, containing untapped energy. Overcoming low head challenges during water release, Werlpower holds a patented process to efficiently harness this energy.

Incubation Cohort 7

LACI received 89 applications in total for Cohort 7 of LACI’s Incubation program this year – a record breaking turnout! We selected 12 startups, and welcomed 83% companies with one or more  BIPOC founder and 43% women founders. LACI’s Incubation Program helps cleantech companies to become more competitive, resilient, environmentally sustainable, and scalable!

Admission into LACI’s Incubation Program unlocks a two-year program for startups in Southern California, offering four months of acceleration through workshops and peer learning, diverse funding opportunities and access to LACI’s state of the art campus, joining a cleantech ecosystem of over 375 cleantech portfolio companies and alumni. 

As we continue to look to the future, applications for Incubation Cohort 8 are opening soon – more info can be found on the Incubation and Innovators page.

  • AirVitalize
    • Airvitalize has developed a patent-pending technology that cleans outdoor air by pulling it in, ionizing particulates, and releasing purified air. It can purify a city block daily using minimal electricity, comparable to simply the energy of charging your phone three times. The design evolved through two pivots to align with market needs. The tech has been extensively prototyped and lab-tested, proving its effectiveness. Currently emerging from RevIthaca’s Rapid Prototyping Hardware Accelerator, we anticipate a beta launch this fall.
  • Biliti Electric
    • Biliti offers a 10kWh+ modular, manually swappable battery, addressing energy access and fast charging challenges in busy urban mobility scenarios. Use cases like last-mile delivery, ride-hailing, and micro-mobility demand constant vehicle uptime, making lengthy charging breaks impractical. Traditional fast chargers are costly and often require significant infrastructure upgrades. In contrast, Biliti’s solution enables quick setup of stationary and mobile swapping stations, eliminating the need for extra real estate and costly grid enhancements. This approach is especially valuable in emerging markets. Biliti Electric manufactures highly efficient last-mile and passenger vehicles, boasting a 30% improved drivetrain efficiency and a superior payload ratio in their vehicle class.
  • Blip Energy
    • Blip introduces a cost-effective energy storage solution, seamlessly adaptable for any home. Their innovation answers the global demand for affordable, dependable energy storage while expanding smart grid accessibility. Utilizing second-life battery cells, they reduce hardware costs significantly. Prioritizing hard-to-reach households, Blip addresses backup power, promoting smart energy storage adoption. At scale, their grid services stabilize demand, prevent outages, and cut emissions.
  • Duet
    • Duet is a data-driven, fully integrated, and turnkey software platform for mobility fleet operators to optimize operation efficiency, service to emission ratio and fleet economics. The platform includes our proprietary optimization algorithms and predictive ML model for trip allocation, and a suite of web or mobile based applications for each of the main stakeholders involved in the services to manage, monitor and analyze the services.
  • it’s electric
    • Cities want EVs on the road as quickly as possible, but don’t offer a way to charge for the millions of drivers who park their cars on the street. While major EV charging companies focus on regional growth with limited interest in curbside charging, disadvantaged communities in dense urban neighborhoods are being excluded from the electric transportation revolution. It’s Electric will solve this by installing and maintaining a network of curbside charging posts across all city neighborhoods, with a focus on deployment in disadvantaged communities. It’s Electric will rapidly scale by using existing, privately-owned distribution; sharing revenue with adjacent properties to expand participation in the new EV economy. It’s Electric’s rugged charging hardware features a minimal footprint and proprietary plug-and-play interface, able to survive on the toughest city streets.
  • Mack Research
    • Our product is a clean wind energy facade system for buildings. The device produces energy that is stored in the building through oscillation of leaf-like external sails through fluid wind flow.
  • Planette
    • Planette’s SaaS platform, tailored for the Renewable Energy sector, allows for advanced site selection and location strategy optimization (over an energy facility portfolio), energy policy monitoring, and (1- to 30-year) energy production/demand/pricing forecasting. The platform allows users to optimize energy production, minimize losses due to climate hazards, and maximize profits over the lifetime of a RE project.
  • SALUBATA
    • Salubata offers a revolutionary line of modular and customizable shoes that are made from upcycled plastic bottles. Our innovative footwear combines style, comfort, and sustainability. The modular design allows customers to easily interchange components like soles, uppers, and accessories, enabling endless style possibilities and reducing waste. We are committed to creating durable, high-quality shoes that not only look good but also contribute to reducing plastic pollution. By using recycled materials and promoting circularity, our products are a step towards a more sustainable future.
  • Symmetry Wood
    • Symmetry Wood offers a sustainable alternative to precious woods called Pyrus™, crafted from food waste. Pyrus™ exhibits impressive hardness and density, rivaling hickory and African Ebony, thanks to its bacterial cellulose (BC) fiber structure. It’s also less prone to cracking in humid conditions, as it lacks tree-derived wood compounds like lignin and hemicellulose. Symmetry’s innovative process replicates wood components, avoiding common wood issues. Pyrus™ is produced additively, drastically reducing waste and eliminating the need for logging forests, enabling diverse product customization.
  • TAINR
    • TAINR is an innovative smart refill kiosk that transforms the traditional grocery store bulk aisle. It offers a hygienic, package-free shopping experience for dry goods while utilizing AI, sensors, and RFID technology for efficiency. This solution benefits both customers and retailers, providing real-time inventory data and sales insights, reducing restocking time, and curbing product losses. TAINR promotes a circular economy, addressing plastic waste concerns while improving sustainability in retail. Moreover, it addresses grocery store inefficiencies, labor shortages, and data collection issues, optimizing supply chains and promoting smart container reusability.
  • Zen Technologies Inc.
    • Zen is a mobile application rideshare platform that is redefining micro-mobility by providing short-duration rides through Low speed electric vehicles. Zen Shuttles set out on a mission to bring peace to the university communities. Zen Shuttles exist to provide students with a safe, fast and reliable way to get around campus and to provide peace of mind to parents that their students will be safe. Say goodbye to traditional forms of transportation and #JustZen!
  • Sundial Foods
    • Sundial has built a manufacturing process for using a proprietary single-step heat and pressure process to texturize delicious, complex plant-based meat alternatives. Our goal is to give people the wonderful experience of eating chicken — including “bone-in” wings, boneless wings, and chicken breast — in a nutritious and eco-friendly way. Because of the nature of the Sundial process, all of our products are totally plant-based and clean label, with no binders, additives or processing agents.

 

FBA Winter2023 Cohort

The LACI Founders Business Accelerator (FBA) boosts the growth and impact of small businesses and micro-enterprises in Los Angeles. This free six-month virtual program provides participants with a strategy for success in the evolving business landscape. Participant companies receive training and personalized support from LACI’s seasoned Executives-In-Residence and industry experts, helping them strengthen their business plan, access crucial resources, and accelerate their success.

  • Nearby Consulting
    • Collaborating with emerging social impact organizations to advance economic empowerment.
  • Prize Coffee
    • Providing contactless Nitro Cold Brew Coffee & Kombucha Kiosks for businesses and residential buildings.
  • Watt Ave.
    • Wattblok is a peer-to-peer EV charging app that connects EV drivers with nearby home-charging stations.
  • First Gen Tours
    • First Gen Tours is an Augmented Reality startup focused on equalizing the college touring for first generation students.
  • American Pet Apparel
    • American Pet Apparel creates functional and sustainable dog apparel that is thoughtfully designed to address a dog’s physiology and adaptation.
  • Uprisers
    • Streetwear brand rooted in telling stories of the underrepresented.
  • EORTE
    • We are a circular, sustainable clothing brand based in LA that generates new clothing from textile wastes, with a focus on hotel waste linens.v
  • Tunelink.me
    • We are a platform for delivering Latin music, assisting record labels in significantly reducing the distribution costs for their artists’ music.
  • Holloway R&D
    • Holloway R&D is a human-centered research and design consulting firm specializing in early-stage software development. We partner with clients – startup founders, Fortune 500 leaders, and public sector innovators.
  • Guau Guau Treats
    • Guau Guau Treats is a wife and husband owned dog treat business based in Los Angeles. Our goal is to provide pet owners with a healthy and delicious alternative to traditional dog treats.
  • Common Canvas
    • Common Canvas is a unique outdoor and indoor nail salon located in Los Angeles.
  • Hamilton Perkins Collection
    • Hamilton Perkins Collection is an independent brand that designs and produces unique and award-winning bags and accessories made from upcycled materials.
  • Mas Amor Boutique
    • Mas Amor Boutique is an online women’s boutique dedicated to spreading love and making women feel beautiful, confident, and capable of achieving anything.
  • One Mauve
    • One Mauve, is a leading software platform specializing in on-demand peer-to-peer mentorship programs. We help universities create robust pipeline systems for underrepresented students, with a specific focus on Black, Latinx, Native American, and first-generation individuals.
  • Proclaim
    • We are a socially and environmentally conscious brand, dedicated to crafting inclusive women’s wardrobe essentials that embrace diverse shapes, sizes, and skinones, while championing a positive impact on our planet.

LACI’S PUBLIC-PRIVATE CLEAN ENERGY PARTNERSHIP RELEASES CLEAN ENERGY 2028 ROADMAP TO ACCELERATE REDUCTION OF GHGs BY 15% ACROSS GREATER LOS ANGELES BY 2028 OLYMPICS

Roadmap Sets Targets for Creating a Virtual Power Plant, Installing Heat Pumps, Vehicle to Grid Charging, Green Jobs, Equitable Access to Solar, and Other Targets to Advance Building Electrification, Clean Distributed Generation, Energy-Transportation Nexus, and Grid Efficiency and Resiliency

Partnership Leadership Group Includes the California Energy Commission, Office of Mayor Karen Bass, Southern California Edison, LA Department of Water and Power, Los Angeles County, Clean Power Alliance, and California Independent System Operator (ISO)

 

Los Angeles, CA, October 25, 2023 – Today, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s Clean Energy Partnership (Partnership) released the Clean Energy 2028 Roadmap (Roadmap) to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Greater Los Angeles region by an additional 15% across the electricity, building, and transportation sectors by the time Los Angeles welcomes the world for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

During a launch event at the La Kretz Innovation Campus, LACI CEO Matt Petersen, LA City Council President Paul Krekorian, and fellow Partnership leaders cited the importance of the Roadmap’s ambitious targets for Greater LA in further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, achieving 100% clean energy, and ensuring equitable access to clean energy solutions across the region. The Roadmap targets include creating a Virtual Power Plant and accelerating deployment of distributed energy resources, such as heat pumps, solar and storage systems, battery integrated electric vehicle charging stations, community solar, and other solutions, all of which are eligible for Inflation Reduction Act incentives. 

To better spur innovation, advance equity, and accelerate implementation, the Roadmap lays out three solutions-oriented pathways along with recommended policies, pilots, and other initiatives to achieve the targets: 1) electrification of buildings; 2) meeting new building and transportation electric load with clean distributed generation and energy-transportation nexus technologies; and 3) bolstering grid resiliency while improving affordability, equity, jobs, and health risks. 

“LACI’s Clean Energy Partnership establishes potential pathways to reduce our carbon emissions and improve the lives of Angelenos,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “I applaud this partnership’s goals to ensure reliable, clean, and affordable energy powers our city. I encourage others in the region to engage in this vital Clean Energy Partnership to work together with government leaders, utilities, state regulators, energy solutions providers and other stakeholders to create a lasting impact.”

“As the City moves toward 100% clean energy, we need solutions to help advance the transition while boosting affordability and reliability,” said Paul Krekorian, LA City Council President (CD2). “Through this roadmap, the Clean Energy Partnership has set forth actionable targets and goals to accelerate progress toward a clean energy future for the people of Los Angeles. I am proud to support LACI and this effort.”

“To accelerate the electrification of Greater LA’s buildings and transportation while ensuring grid resilience and equity, we need unparalleled regional collaboration and innovation,” said Matt Petersen, LACI CEO and co-chair of the Clean Energy Partnership. “Thanks to the political will demonstrated by the Partnership and the bold Roadmap targets we set together, we can advance initiatives like creating a Virtual Power Plant to better improve our air quality and health while creating good paying green jobs that will uplift individuals and economy by the time the world arrives in Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“California is a leader in climate action that inspires the rest of the nation and the world to follow suit,” said David Hochschild, chair of the California Energy Commission and co-chair of the Clean Energy Partnership. “To continue to lead on climate action and improve public health, we need to tackle the emissions from our buildings and  while continuing to decarbonize the grid. These shared commitments to action and the goals to decarbonize our buildings and grid are why I am proud to co-chair the Clean Energy Partnership.”

“As California moves at an impressive pace toward its clean energy goals, CAISO is pleased to support the Clean Energy Partnership as it will drive the innovation that is needed to build a more resilient grid,” said Mary Leslie, chair of Board of Governors, California Independent System Operator (CAISO). “For the state to continue to transform its grid to zero-carbon, a diverse set of clean energy solutions are needed, including smaller energy resources that make regions like Los Angeles more resilient in the face of escalating climate and extreme weather risks.” 

“Southern California Edison has been a longstanding partner and supporter of LACI and its mission to create an inclusive green economy. We share the vision of a clean energy future that benefits all Californians, especially those who are most impacted by climate change and pollution,” said Steven Powell, president and CEO of SCE. “We look forward to collaborating with LACI and the other members of the Clean Energy Partnership to make this vision a reality while ensuring the grid is reliable, resilient and ready to provide the energy for what’s ahead.”

The Partnership has identified three calls to action for the region for the initial implementation of the Roadmap. These include: 

  1. Accelerating the electrification of buildings by reducing an additional 29% of GHG emissions in buildings in LA County by 2028;
  2. Deploying 1298 MW of clean, responsive distributed generation to power the electrification of our homes and transportation, including developing a virtual power plant that provides needed increased, responsive distributive energy by the time of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in 2028; and
  3. Developing a smart, modernized local distribution grid to increase community resiliency and enable innovative clean technologies.

Through these efforts, the Partnership also aims to minimize power outages—particularly for those most at risk—increase energy affordability, and increase equitable access to clean technologies and jobs.

The full Roadmap, complete with the Clean Energy Partnership’s recommended goals, targets, and key takeaways can be found here.

ABOUT LACI:
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation through scaling cleantech startups, transforming markets through catalytic partnerships with policymakers, innovators, and market leaders in transportation, energy, and sustainable cities, like the Transportation Electrification Partnership, and enhancing communities through green jobs workforce training, pilots and other programs. Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP) in 2011, LACI is recognized as one of the top 10 innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. LACI has helped 375 portfolio companies raise over $1 billion in funding, generated $335 million in revenue, and created 2,626 jobs throughout the Los Angeles region, with a long term economic impact of more than $587 million.

ABOUT THE LACI CLEAN ENERGY PARTNERSHIP:
LACI launched the Clean Energy Partnership to accelerate the move to 100% clean energy while meeting the needs of transportation electrification, building decarbonization, and grid resiliency in the Greater Los Angeles Region by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Partnership is Co-chaired by LACI CEO Matt Petersen and California Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild. Members include Los Angeles City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP), LA County’s Sustainability Office, Southern California Edison (SCE), Clean Power Alliance, California Independent System Operator (CAISO), Sunrun, Swell Energy, and Wells Fargo.

 

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National Coalition of Clean Energy Incubators – Led by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator – Adopt Principles to Advance & Support Biden Administration’s Commitment to Justice40

The Coalition’s Justice40 Principles Commits Incubators to Prioritizing

Opportunities for Underrepresented Cleantech Entrepreneurs, Investing in

Disadvantaged Communities & Ensuring the Clean Energy Economy

Benefits All Americans

 

Los Angeles, CA, September 20, 2023 – Leaders of the nation’s most innovative clean

technology incubators–via the National Coalition of Clean Energy Incubators (NCCEI) led by

the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)–adopted a new joint Statement of Principles to

advance President Biden’s environmental justice goals, promising to prioritize investments

and initiatives that “increase support and enhance opportunities for diverse

underrepresented cleantech entrepreneurs, provide job training for at-risk communities and

scale deployment of clean energy solutions in disadvantaged communities that will provide

increased benefits from the clean energy economy for all Americans.”

 

“Thanks to President Biden and the U.S. Congress, federal agencies are making historic levels

of investment to advance environmental justice as we respond to the climate crisis,” said

Matt Petersen, CEO of LACI. “That is why clean technology incubators like those represented in

the NCCEI understand that we need to help advance the President’s equity priorities–as

represented by Justice40–as we play our individual and collective roles in building an

inclusive green economy, creating good-paying, green jobs while deploying equitable

climate solutions in disadvantaged communities, and supporting underrepresented founders

to scale their game changing solutions.”

 

The NCCEI promotes robust growth of regional energy innovation ecosystems across the

nation by providing support for startups and entrepreneurs whose businesses focus on clean

energy-related technologies. In addition to Petersen, those signing the Statement of

Principles include Danny Kennedy, Chief Energy Officer of New Energy Nexus, Kate Frucher of

The Clean Fight, Rick Stockburger of BRITE Energy Innovators, Nina Axelson of Grid Catalyst,

Cortney Piper of Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC), Isaac Vanderburg of

Launch Alaska, Dawn Lippert of Elemental Excelerator, Pamela Fann of Impact Energy, Erik

Birkerts of Evergreen Climate Innovations and Felicia Davis, HBCU Green Fund Inc, Laura

Teicher of FORGE, Aina Abiodun of VertueLab, Doug Davenport of Prospect Silicon Valley, Kevin

Knobloch of Greentown Labs, Rebecca Taylor of the Austin Technology Incubator, and

Kenneth B. Hayes of Cleantech Open.

 

“The policy vision behind Justice40 is that when all communities can access the benefits of

our new energy future, our entire economy and society will thrive,” said Cortney Piper,

Executive Director of The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and a member of

NCCEI. “I am proud to be part of a community of clean energy incubators around the nation

that are making the connection between innovation and inclusion in order to create a

national advanced energy economy.”

 

The NCCEI’s Statement of Principles on the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative were

transmitted today to President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Congressional leaders. The

Principles include commitments to support underrepresented founders, deliver innovative

cleantech solutions in disadvantaged communities–including green workforce training–and

expand access to dedicated funding resources for women, Black, Latinx and Indigenous

founders who are chronically underrepresented as recipients of traditional venture capital

funding.

 

About the National Coalition of Clean Energy Incubators (NCCEI)

The NCCEI represents some of the most innovative clean technology incubators in the U.S., promoting

robust growth of regional energy innovation ecosystems across the nation by providing support for

startups and entrepreneurs whose businesses focus on clean energy-related technologies. LACI began

convening the NCCEI early in 2020 to advocate for increased federal funding for cleantech incubators

across the country. The NCCEI also championed the Transportation Electrification Partnership’s $150

billion federal stimulus proposal. The NCCEI worked with Rep. Tim Ryan to secure funding for the U.S. DOE

Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) and also championed the creation of the National Clean Energy

Incubator Program, which was authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act which was signed into law by

President Biden in August of 2022. NCCEI has hosted nearly two dozen roundtables and two national

advocacy events with federal policymakers in Washington, D.C.

 

About The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is creating an inclusive green economy for Greater Los

Angeles and beyond through: unlocking innovation by incubating cleantech startups to scale their

climate solutions, and helping support underrepresented founders in particular; transforming markets

through catalytic partnerships with policymakers, innovators, and private sector 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 Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI has been recognized as one

of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI Global. LACI has helped 375 portfolio

companies raise over $1 billion in funding, generated $335 million in revenue, and created 2,626 jobs

throughout the Los Angeles region, with a long term economic impact of more than $587 million. Learn

more at www.laci.org.

 

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