In many areas of the world, there may be no more precious commodity than water — and that’s especially true in Los Angeles. So, it’s probably not surprising that L.A. has become a font of activity for companies looking to tap the water market in myriad ways. “I think Los Angeles is definitely a hub of water innovation because we have to (be),” said Matt Petersen, president and chief executive at downtown-based Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. “We are dependent on water imported from hundreds of miles away to make the life we enjoy here possible,” he added.
On October 1, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) hosted its Second Annual LACI Power Day Conference, bringing together the clean energy ecosystem in California and celebrating accomplishments that have resulted from bold policy commitments. The event provided LACI Startups with the opportunity to showcase their technology to stakeholders in the region and broaden their potential customer and partner base.
LACI’s President and CEO, Matt Petersen, kicked off the event welcoming guests and affirmed the importance of clean energy innovation and technology including LACI’s support of Governor Newsom’s commitment to accelerate the state’s decarbonization goals, including the goal of a clean energy grid by 2045.
After, California Energy Commission Vice-Chair Janea Scott provided opening remarks, spotlighting the renewal of the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program through 2030 that will invest $1.5 billion in clean technology over the next 10 years. Commissioner Scott also emphasized the Empower Innovation Network Platform that enables users to find resources and funding opportunities and connects individuals and organizations to create a clean energy economy for all.
Innovators Pitch Competition
In the first pitch session of the day, CAMUS Energy and Green Light Labs, graduates from LACIs Innovators Program, a light touch one-year program for cleantech startups in the pre seed stage, pitched their clean technology and how their solution provides benefits in a post-COVID Society. In order to select a winner from this pitch competition LACI invited venture capital partners from Tech Coast Angels, Element 8, and Pasadena Angels to judge the pitches, culminating with Green Light Labs as the winner.
Power Talk Panels
The second part of the half day event was filled with panels focused on two major industry topics: Transportation and Battery Circularity.
The Transportation Panel focused on transportation needs in a post-COVID Society and how to make zero emission and clean mobility accessible to all. The panel was moderated by Aric Ohana, the CEO of Envoy There, who led the discussion with industry leaders including Phil Washington, CEO of LA Metro, Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of MetroLink, Tamika Butler, transportation advocate and Principal of Tamika L. Butler Consulting, and Peter Lee, CEO of URB-E. Their discussion touched on how the COVID-19 Pandemic affected transportation operations and ridership as well as what policies, investments and behavioral changes are needed to ensure equitable clean public transit.
The battery circularity panel was led by LACI’s very own Alex Mitchell, Sr. Vice President of Unlocking Innovation. Alex navigated panelists through a discussion on the potential for developing a marketplace for second life batteries, the challenges and opportunities that exist around battery recycling and how the clean energy ecosystem should capitalize on those opportunities. The panel consisted of Jeremie Papin, Vice Chairman of Nissan North America, Teresa Bui, Special Advisor at Cal Recycle, Arcady Sosinov, CEO of FreeWire Technologies, and Vaughn Blake, General Partner of Blue Bear Capital.
Remarks from UCLA’s Provost
In between the first and second half of the day, Dr. Emily A. Carter, UCLA’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost provided remarks on how Los Angeles is positioned to lead the state and the nation in the adoption and deployment of sustainable city practices. Dr. Carter highlighted the energy and climate research that has been produced by UCLA as a living lab and the critical collaboration between LACI and UCLA that leads to innovative technology solutions.
Incubation Pilot Pitch Showcase
Later in the day, we showcased LACI startup companies in our Incubator program through a pilot project showcase with technology solutions related to Clean Energy, Clean Mobility and Circular Economy Solutions. Pitches from the twelve LACI Incubation Cohort 1 startups companies focused on their Pilot Project funded by LACI’s Pilots Program under its Market Transformation Pillar. Startups featured in the Showcase included: Alumina, ChargerHelp Inc., ePave, JumpWatts, Maxwell Vehicles, Neocharge, Noria Water Technologies, SEED, Sparkcharge, Substance Power and Mobility, TBM Designs , Xeal.
Keynote Speaker Address from Board Chair of the Energy Foundation
Lastly, the day concluded with a speech from our Keynote Speaker, Rose McKinney-James, Board Chair of the Energy Foundation. She discussed the urgent need for climate change mitigation action, additional collaboration, and the intersection of clean energy and social justice. She spotlighted the important role that innovation plays in addressing challenges and advancing advocacy to support economic, environmental and social issues.
The half-day event brought together 288 stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and sectors – Including 197 unique organizations such as corporate business, utilities, investors, government agencies, non-profits, startups, other accelerators, national labs and universities. The connections established through this event by LACI enable best practices and new technology trends to be shared throughout the ecosystem strengthening our collective efforts to combat climate change and create an inclusive green economy. We look forward to next year’s Power Day and celebrating the continued efforts and achievements of the clean energy ecosystem.
Watch portions of LACI Power Day 2020 below via our Power Day 2020 YouTube playlist.
Power Day 2020 YouTube Playlist
The L.A. New Mobility Challenge is a major global startup competition focused on solving the challenges of urban mobility. The fourth edition of the Challenge brings together cutting-edge startups looking to solve two critical issues: Solutions for Transporting Goods in Urban Environments and Solutions for Transporting People in Urban Environments. Interested companies should apply by October 30, and semi-finalists will be invited to pitch their concepts to our esteemed judges at CoMotion LA LIVE: November 17-19. Apply Now!
This year’s Challenge is a joint initiative of CoMotion, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, the NewCities Foundation, and our partners at the UK Government / British Consulate-General in Los Angeles, SparkLabs Group and Urban Movement Labs. The Grand Prize winner receives an amazing array of prizes and benefits: a trip to Seoul to present at SparkLabs Korea DemoDay16 (and a five-star hotel stay), three months of mentoring by SparkLabs Partners, the right to join Urban Movement Labs, intros to key stakeholders at the UK’s Department for Transport, and much, much more.
This year’s L.A. New Mobility Challenge is an integral part of CoMotion LA’s Advancements track of programming. Join us November 17-19 to learn from and meet with the next wave of innovative mobility startups, connect with leading VCs and technologists, and dive deep with highly tailored programming.
Climate science has long warned us of the extreme heat and extreme fires that we are now facing on the West Coast. As tragically historic fires burn 4 million acres and repeated heat waves ravage our state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) recent executive order on zero emission cars and trucks is the bold action required to tackle this climate crisis.
Transportation is responsible for 40 percent of our state’s emissions and has long been the major source of smog-forming pollution our residents live with every day. Transforming how we move people and goods away from the internal combustion engine and fossil fuels will also help prevent thousands of deaths annually due to air pollution and reduce the risk for vulnerable populations due to upper respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement from LACI CEO and Transportation Electrification Partnership Chair Matt Petersen
LOS ANGELES, CA – After today’s announcements from California Governor Gavin Newsom on climate initiatives, Matt Petersen, CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and Chair of the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP), released the following statement:
“On behalf of LACI and our unprecedented Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP), we applaud Governor Newsom’s ambitious yet needed targets to only sell zero emission passenger cars and trucks by 2035 and have all medium- and heavy-duty trucks be zero emissions by 2045, with a 2035 goal for drayage trucks. We also applaud the Governor’s commitment to advancing equity by increasing access to zero emissions solutions, including used EVs and micromobility options such as electric bikes. Governor Newsom’s leadership shows that, in the face of the worst climate crisis with wildfires and extreme heat ravaging our state, California will continue to lead.
“Through our collaboration with California Air Resources Board, regional utilities, Mayor Garcetti, Los Angeles County, LA Metro, labor, and industry, LACI and our partners set bold transportation electrification targets for light duty cars, mode shift, and goods movement for the LA region to advance climate equity, reduce air pollution, and more by the time the world arrives for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
To help achieve our targets and the state to lead, we are calling for the creation of a California electric vehicle authority to enhance the coordination needed and create additional financing tools for vehicles and charging infrastructure while boosting equity, job creation, workforce training, and economic development. Given the economic recovery needed due to COVID, we also convened a national coalition of over 80 companies, business organizations, and labor groups to push for comprehensive stimulus measures to support not just California’s zero emissions transportation efforts, but to grow this critical sector at the national level.
“California is building the future here now to clear the smoke and pollution from our air so all our state’s residents and future generations can breathe freely. LACI and TEP look forward to working with the Governor and the legislature to ensure all of our communities benefit from these policies.”
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is creating an inclusive green economy for the people of Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. In the past ten years, LACI has helped 236 portfolio companies raise $508 million in funding, $272 million in revenue, and create over 2,100 jobs in the Los Angeles region. Learn more at laci.org.
LACI recently welcomed its fifth cohort of LACI Innovators—16 startup businesses seeking to change the world for the better. This year’s cohort includes companies that are innovating to make the power grid cleaner and work better; to move LA toward an electric transportation future; and to reduce waste in our environment.
Through Cohort 5 and those that came before, LACI empowers a new generation of entrepreneurs to lead the 21st century cleantech economy. Through the LACI Innovators program, startup founders receive a free 12-month network access program for early-stage cleantech companies. Designed for companies based in Southern California, this program helps startups become more competitive, resilient, and environmentally sustainable.
The work of our startups is more important than ever in the face of a pandemic and climate crisis. These companies are on the front lines, implementing solutions that will improve public health and environmental outcomes while also creating new wealth in California communities.
The cleantech innovation ecosystem in California is growing thanks in large part to the dedication of the California Energy Commission (CEC) which has funded programs to nurture cleantech like the LACI Innovators Program over the past several years. This year we received 36 applications in total for the Innovators Program.
Please join us in welcoming LACI’s Innovators Program Cohort 5!
The full cohort is listed below:
Advanced Energy Analytics have developed a software platform for utility companies, Interconnection Qualifier (IQ), that streamlines and automates the approval process that new technologies need to undergo to be used by utilities. The software reduces the processing time, provides cohesion among all utilities, and removes uncertainty associated with the process.
BioZen Batteries develops advanced organic electrolytes for organic redox flow batteries (O-RBFs). Our technology is a key component in stationary battery storage that helps meet immediate needs in (1) modernizing the electric grid, (2) providing emergency back-up systems in the form of community micro-grids, and (3) various applications in off-grid storage.
ChargeNet’s cloud-based Energy-as-a-Service platform integrates EV Fast Chargers, Solar, Energy Storage and Restaurant/Retail Point-of-Sale systems to stack value streams into one consolidated solution, built to scale for the EV and clean energy revolution. We use point-of-sale and other valuable data that provides highly accurate forecasting to optimize charging arrays, solar, and energy storage resulting in maximized returns for customers, partners and investors.
EV Life is a web platform that makes it easier for people to drive an electric car than gas. It offers car shopping tools, charging & range calculators, and an EV Climate Loan that can save drivers $200 per month on financing.
Fil₂R sells plastic reducing and sustainable water filtration devices for at home use. Their first product is a Fil2R case reusable water filters compatible with existing water filter pitchers (BRITA and PUR).
Hemptensils(tm) is Greentek’s line of first-in-kind compostable plasticwares made from industrial hemp and corn byproducts. Designed to offset the 40 billion plastic utensils used annually in the US that is increasing due to the pandemic, it offers a solution for the millions of pounds of stalks being wasted in the recently federally legalized industrial hemp industry.
The Hurd Co produces Agrilose™, a cost-competitive, sustainable, fiber feedstock pulp made entirely from agricultural waste. This material can be used to make sustainable fabric.
hybriData addresses potential power losses and electrical faults caused by manual evaluation of power transformers by intelligently and actively monitoring the transformer.
LAMAR is a cold chain logistics innovator that provides a hardware-software platform that leverages flexible electronic sensors and predictive analytics to identify and mitigate temperature condition excursion damages, increase supply chain efficiency, and decreasing costs due to supply chain waste processes in real-time.
MeterLeader helps curb carbon emissions from electricity use and heating by leveraging real-time data and proven social science principles to motivate people to adopt energy efficient equipment and behaviors in their homes and buildings. Users can easily create and participate in customizable energy saving challenges that are integrated with real-time energy data.
Newbury Power Solutions LLC (note: website is not yet live)
Newbury Power Solutions’ FESS (Flywheel Energy Storage System/Solution) product aims to compete against residential and small commercial Li-ion battery storage products. Flywheels do not pose a risk of fire and are not adversely affected by temperature changes. They can operate at much wider temperature ranges and are not subject to limited cycling or power degradation over time.
ONYX POWER builds rugged, portable, clean, and quiet power systems that act as substitutes and replacements for gas and diesel generators.
Rewilder is a consumer goods company that specializes in products made out of post-industrial high-tech materials. Rewilder is building a platform for distribution called Rewilder ReSupply. The platform will give corporations, institutions, and independent businesses and designers access to upcycled high tech materials, creating a circular solution that decreases landfilled waste by introducing viable resources back into the supply chain.
Rhoman Aerospace builds drone control systems that allow current electric vertical take-off and landing drones to fly farther with a single charge, and allow for new use cases to enable the commercial UAV of the future.
Rivieh is a smart living platform specifically designed for rental businesses. Their solution enables these businesses to offer tenants all the appeal of smart home tech minus the complexity and confusion.
Veloce Energy is developing technology to create intelligent, flexible, scalable grid edge energy networks. This IP creates solutions that address key barriers in EV charging infrastructure, distribution grid upgrades, and distributed generation connection. The first focused application is cost reduction in EV charging stations, by combining energy storage, intelligence, and streamlined installation systems with existing charger products. The second application focus is deferral or elimination of distribution grid upgrades.
LACI is pleased to announce that the local utilities for the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena have joined the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) as part of the Advisory Group. The Partnership now includes over 30 members who have committed to working individually and collectively to achieve an additional 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by the time Los Angeles welcomes the 2028 Olympics.
“We appreciate LACI’s interest in involving local electric utilities, like Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena Water and Power,” said Pasadena Water and Power Electrification Program Manager Mauricio Mejia. “No doubt this partnership will help to advance the adoption of transportation electrification and zero emission good movements in the Los Angeles region.”
Burbank Water and Power (BWP) electrical engineering associate Drew Kidd stated, “BWP is excited to join LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership and champion the adoption of electric vehicles and help clean the air in the Greater LA region. The City of Burbank is committed to reducing greenhouse gases and improving the air quality for Burbank and surrounding communities.”
“BWP’s transportation electrification program team looks forward to engaging with the innovative members of the Partnership to make a tangible difference in the quality of our environment,” Kidd said.
“Glendale is looking forward to being involved with LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership’s advisory group,” said Glendale Water & Power General Manager Stephen M. Zurn.
“Our involvement will offer an opportunity for our City to demonstrate government leadership toward advancing EV infrastructure and increased EV integration in our surrounding communities. Glendale recognizes that the electrification of transportation is a crucial strategy towards achieving improved air quality and climate goals both locally and statewide. Glendale is eager to collaborate with the advisory team in achieving air quality and climate goals.”
The Partnership, alongside a coalition of 50 other organizations from 15 states, recently sent a letter to Congressional leaders asking for commitment to federal transportation electrification stimulus funding. The federal stimulus proposal of $150 billion would invest in zero emissions infrastructure that could create 2.3 million new jobs across the U.S., restart the economy, and ensure cleaner air.
“LACI is excited to work with these municipal utilities to advance the Partnership’s transportation electrification and zero emissions goods movement goals, as outlined in TEP’s Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap,” said Matt Petersen, chair of TEP and CEO of LACI.
LA CityView (Channel 35) program LA Currents recently featured an in-depth conversation with LACI CEO Matt Petersen discussing our various innovative programs and efforts to build an inclusive green economy for the city of Los Angeles. Watch the full interview above.
As our nation continues to reel from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that getting America back to work as safely and as quickly as possible is the key to surviving the current crisis and thriving in the future.
Stimulus measures under consideration in Congress have to be bold, sweeping and comprehensive if we want to create jobs, unleash innovation and protect public health as we try to restart the U.S. economy. In order to take on this once-in-a-generation cataclysm, we have to make a significant federal commitment to clean energy and zero emissions transportation.
The murder of George Floyd and the righteous uprising this latest tragedy sparked across the United States and around the world has been an inflection point for all of us. Our team at LACI has also spent a lot of time reflecting, as well as engaging in conversation and action.
With our mission of creating an inclusive green economy, equity and racial justice are central to our organization’s purpose. Whether it is our programs to empower startup founders, support local small businesses who want to increase their impact, or train individuals to be part of the green workforce, we recognize and prioritize recruiting and supporting underrepresented communities. Other LACI programs deploying zero-emissions mobility solutions in disadvantaged communities and accelerating the move to transportation electrification and clean energy will create a cleaner future in neighborhoods that have long suffered from severe air pollution.
We know that Black lives matter, they have always mattered. But after many candid conversations, all of us at LACI agree there is more we can do to tackle institutional and systemic racism.
A few weeks ago, LACI decided to honor Juneteenth as a paid holiday this year and going forward for all of our employees this important milestone in U.S. history. To encourage civic engagement, we are giving our team members two paid days a year for volunteering and community work. We are making sure our teams have the resources they need for their wellbeing during these challenging times, and started a modest yet staff-directed fund to collectively support the intersectional work of key organizations. We are also fortifying our organization’s foundational values of diversity, equity, and inclusion by bringing in outside experts to evaluate our own practices.
These are small yet important steps we have taken as an organization that takes pride in the diversity of our team, and we are focused on supporting the movement for racial equality in all aspects of society beyond our downtown campus.
At this moment, it’s hard to keep the push for climate action front of mind yet we are also reminded of the need to be relentless in tackling the inextricable links between inequality and the environment, of the importance of pursuing racial justice and climate justice together. As my friend and marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson reminded us recently in the Washington Post, we all need to and must do more on both fronts together:
“So, to white people who care about maintaining a habitable planet, I need you to become actively anti-racist. I need you to understand that our racial inequality crisis is intertwined with our climate crisis. If we don’t work on both, we will succeed at neither.”
There is so much more work we need to do individually and together, and LACI will redouble our existing efforts and explore new ways to uproot racism in our communities and our environment, to increase access to capital and markets for underrepresented founders, and ensure everyone can be part of the growing green economy in which Los Angeles and California are leading the way.
Whether you use this Juneteenth to rest or rise up, celebrate or contemplate, know that LACI will always be in the fight for freedom with you in the pursuit of racial and environmental justice.