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LACI CELEBRATES $2 MILLION GRANT FROM THE ELI AND EDYTHE BROAD FOUNDATION; FUNDING WILL HELP GROW GREEN WORKFORCE, ATTRACT RESOURCES TO ACHIEVE BOLD TRANSPORTATION ELECTRIFICATION & CLEAN ENERGY TARGETS BY 2028 OLYMPICS

The Broad Foundation Two-Year Grant Marks LACI’s Single Largest Philanthropic Commitment To Date, and is Joined by Paul Jennings’ $1 Million Pledge Over 5 Years to Support LACI’s Mission to Build an Inclusive Green Economy in Los Angeles

 

Los Angeles, April 3, 2024 – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is proud to announce a two-year, $2 million, two-year commitment from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The general operating support grant from The Broad Foundation is joined by a $1 million personal pledge over 5 years by Paul Jennings. Both gifts will empower LACI to advance our mission to create an inclusive green economy for Los Angeles, including training and growing the green workforce as well as advancing bold targets for transportation electrification and clean energy by the time the world arrives for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The $2 million grant from The Broad Foundation marks the single largest philanthropic commitment in LACI’s history. This support not only mirrors the foundation’s vision but also connects communities to emerging opportunities, advancing pathways for a more sustainable, equitable economy in Los Angeles. 

“Our support for LACI’s pioneering efforts in workforce development and clean technology is an investment in the future of Los Angeles,” said Gerun Riley, president of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “In keeping with our vision for LA, LACI’s programs, investments and advocacy are designed to create pathways to upwardly mobile jobs for historically marginalized Angelenos.” 

Thanks in part to previous support from The Broad Foundation in 2021, LACI emerged from the economic challenges of the pandemic as a stronger organization. We attracted new resources to help reduce air pollution by accelerating transportation electrification infrastructure and clean energy innovations, bringing underrepresented populations into the green economy through workforce training, startup incubation, and other key initiatives. 

In the past six months alone, LACI has launched a groundbreaking public-private partnership focused on accelerating the path to 100% clean energy by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games; updated nation-leading targets to electrify transportation and goods movement by 2028; and secured $15.5M in new funding–and built political will–for the first public electric truck charging depot at the Port of LA plus two additional charging depots along the I-710–all while supporting diverse entrepreneurs. 

“We are tremendously grateful to The Broad Foundation for their confidence in and support of LACI–we share the Foundation’s unyielding commitment to creating economic opportunity for our communities and bringing resources to the region to create a sustainable future,” said Matt Petersen, LACI President and CEO. “Joined by our board member Paul Jennings’ personal pledge, the Broad grant will help LACI to accelerate equitable climate action in Los Angeles before the world arrives for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.”

“I have long been committed to expanding opportunities in education, investing in clean energy solutions like EV charging, and giving back to our community,” said Paul Jennings, Principal at PCS Energy. “That is why as a board member and donor I am so passionate about supporting LACI’s mission and programs, whether it is preparing the green workforce of the future, investing in underrepresented cleantech founders to grow our economy, or ensuring our region leads the way on transportation electrification.”

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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 ELI AND EDYTHE BROAD FOUNDATION: 

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation steadfastly stewards our groundbreaking institutions in education, science, and the arts, while elevating organizations, initiatives and leaders that boldly address the challenges of our time and expand opportunity for Los Angeles’ historically marginalized communities. We envision a world where everyone can shape and participate in a sustainable, equitable economy that serves the public good and builds a brighter future. We see our community as a place of opportunity where all Angelenos, inclusive of their backgrounds, have pathways and tools to grow and thrive. To learn more, visit: https://broadfoundation.org/los-angeles/

Ensuring Equitable Access to Capital for Cleantech Founders

By Matt Petersen, LACI President and CEO

 

Cleantech founders are an incredibly inspiring bunch. With the boldness to go where few–if any–previous entrepreneurs have gone, and the brilliance to develop meaningful solutions that serve our communities, these founders reflect the true spirit of innovation. Still, the road that founders face in developing, deploying, and scaling their technologies is often riddled with hurdles that threaten to sink even the most innovative startups. Oftentimes the most daunting of these hurdles is the need for working capital. 

Access to capital can be difficult to come by, especially for underrepresented founders and those lacking sufficient personal collateral or wealthy networks to lean on. Without adequate funding during the critical early stages of development, many innovative cleantech startups crumble early on–much to the detriment of our communities and our planet. 

Even when founders are successful in securing funding through venture capital, they are often left with a significantly diluted stake in their companies long before they ever go to market. 

In 2022, we created the LACI Cleantech Debt Fund to help address these challenges. The $6 million Fund provides loans of $25,000 to $500,000 and aims to support an estimated 100 early-stage startups over five years. The launch of the Fund followed several years of research, market discovery and piloting of micro-loan funds–these efforts affirmed the need for the Fund to provide larger loans, leading to us going out to raise the capital needed to scale the solution. 

The Fund provides an affordable, non-dilutive alternative to venture capital, and it is rooted in LACI’s steadfast commitment to accelerating equitable climate action. By not requiring personal collateral or credit scores, we are seeking to help underrepresented founders–Black, brown, and women–in particular to overcome historical and institutional barriers to accessing capital. And in the two years since the fund’s launch, we have already seen remarkable results.  

The Fund supports companies like LACI-startup ElectricFish, which builds and deploys intelligent grid edge infrastructure to accelerate EV fleet adoption and prepare communities for outages caused by climate change. Their microgrid-capable EV charger uses proprietary power electronics and software optimization to quickly enable fast EV charging at low-voltage grid-constrained fleet sites (in weeks instead of years) as well as backup energy resources for those sites and their local grid. 

ElectricFish joined the LACI ecosystem in early 2021 through our intensive Incubation Program,  a two-year program that supports cleantech startups in Southern California through market access and business services. While participating in the program, ElectricFish took advantage of LACI debt funding to jumpstart hardware development at a time when they needed to quickly unlock capital to move forward pilot deployment. Vince Wong, co-founder and chief operating officer of ElectricFish, cites the Debt Fund as “a phenomenal, flexible, and founder-friendly asset” that contributed to their ability to make the crucial shift from pilot mode to commercialization mode.

Today, this diverse, nimble company has repaid their debt in full, and earlier this month they were selected as one of America’s top greentech companies for 2024 by TIME Magazine–one of six LACI cohort companies to receive the honor. 

The progress that ElectricFish has made reflects the spirit of innovation that characterizes the cleantech startup community. LACI is proud to support the equitable advancement of cleantech startups during the make-or-break stage of their development. 

For companies like ElectricFish, LACI’s Cleantech Debt Fund provides the tailwind that the intrepid founder needs to keep moving their startup forward. And as we continue our work to build an inclusive green economy, so too will we continue to support startups through equity-focused, founder-friendly opportunities. 

The LACI Cleantech Debt Fund is offered to startups directly through LACI’s incubation programs as well as a network of incubation partner organizations we have invited to join us including BRITE (OH), Evergreen Climate Innovations (IL), Greentown Labs (MA & TX), Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TN), Spark Incubator Program (TN), New Energy Nexus (CA, CO, & NY), and VertueLab (OR & WA). Prospective applicants are encouraged to reach out to their respective program managers at LACI or our partner incubators for more details. 

Finally, a huge thanks to our partners at Sobrato Philanthropies and Homecoming Capital who have provided us with the capital to lend to our startups, as well as Wells Fargo Foundation which provided a grant for initial operating expenses and loan loss reserve.

 

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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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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.

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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LACI Launches Zero Emissions Delivery City Challenge in Partnership with C40, Climate Mayors; $1 Million Initially Made Available for Selected Cities to Pilot Innovations

Founding Cohort Members Cities of Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Santa Monica to Be Joined by 5 to 7 Additional Cities

LACI’s Inaugural City Climate Innovation Challenge Helps Local Municipalities Accelerate Emission & Congestion Reduction Through Policy & Innovation Sandboxes, Funding & Other Resources

Los Angeles, CA – August 1, 2023 – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), in partnership with Climate Mayors and C40, has launched the Zero Emissions Delivery (ZED) City Challenge to reduce emissions and congestion from the exploding e-commerce and goods movement sectors. 

LACI’s inaugural City Climate Challenge will help the inaugural cohort of selected municipalities develop innovation sandboxes and select, deploy and scale zero emissions delivery technological, policy, and business model innovations.

Through targeted resources, collaboration and knowledge-sharing, this initiative aims to accelerate the move to zero emissions delivery to reduce emissions from the first mile (e.g., class 8 diesel drayage trucks) to last mile (e.g., medium duty delivery trucks) which predominantly impact low income, disadvantaged communities with disproportionate pollution and congestion. The rise of e-commerce has led to a significant increase in package deliveries in recent years, and is on track to increase by 36% by 2030, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas are likely to increase by 32% and traffic congestion by 21%.

The ZED City Challenge invites expressions of interest from cities across the United States to join a facilitated multi-city cohort whose members will benefit from an impactful spectrum of services and support to advance zero emissions goods movement solutions within their cities, including staff and consultant guidance, crafting ‘sandboxes’ tailored to local context, selecting, deploying and scaling local ZED technology and policy priorities, participation in high level national and regional dialogue with related private and public sector leaders and partners, and eligibility for a portion of an initial $750,000 in pilot funding. This sandbox will serve as a testing ground for various methods of zero emissions delivery, including the deployment of e-cargo bikes for last-mile delivery, electric cars and vans, and medium, and heavy-duty electric drayage trucks; as well as implementation of zero emission curb management systems, and other innovative approaches. By embracing these alternatives, cities can not only mitigate the environmental impact of goods movement but also enhance public health and quality of life for their residents.

LACI has successfully launched a unique model for piloting and scaling startup solutions within cities, on multiple occasions, creating the nation’s first Zero Emissions Delivery Zone with the City of Santa Monica, and subsequently partnering with the Cities of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh to secure a $3.7 million engagement DOE VTO grant to expand curb access initiatives. LACI has also led a series of initiatives, studies, and successful budget requests to accelerate the transition to zero emissions heavy-duty drayage trucks at the Ports of LA and Long Beach, with the region’s first public depot charging stations, with federal funding secured by LACI. 

“Through the Zero Emissions Delivery City Challenge, we are taking LACI’s proven model and putting it forward to help cities innovate, deploy, and scale what works,” said Matt Petersen, CEO of LACI. “By working with cities to accelerate the move to zero emissions delivery vehicles and technologies, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance the overall livability of urban environments.”

To kick-start the ZED City Challenge, LACI has released a Request for Information (RFI) to invite cities to express their interest in joining the pilot. Cities that are eager to become pioneers in sustainable transportation and delivery systems are strongly encouraged to apply and contribute to this groundbreaking initiative. The deadline for submissions is September 4, 2023.

Furthermore, cohort members will join a national network of city challenge participants, facilitating the sharing of insights, learnings, and innovative ideas. Regular convenings with key corporate and government stakeholders will stimulate collaborative problem-solving, leading to scalable solutions that can be implemented in various urban contexts.

The ZED City Challenge also provides participating cities with access to direct and shared resources. These resources include assistance in attracting funding, pilot grants for startup innovation, technical support, travel allowances for convenings, policy advocacy to scale solutions, scalable startup innovations, deployment support, data collection and management tools, and more. This comprehensive support system ensures that cities have the necessary tools and expertise to drive meaningful change.

For more information about the ZED City Challenge and to submit an expression of interest, please visit https://laci.smapply.org/prog/zed_citychallenge. To watch a recording of the ZED City Challenge informational webinar, please visit http://laci.la/zedrfi-webinar

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.

LACI’s Incubation Program Welcomes 12 New Startups to the Forefront of Sustainability

LACI recently welcomed its 6th Incubation Program cohort—12 startup businesses that are transforming the landscape of zero emissions transportation, clean energy and sustainable cities.

By empowering Cohort 6 and their predecessors, LACI helps grow a new generation of entrepreneurs to lead the 21st century cleantech economy. Admission into LACI’s Incubation Program unlocks a 2-year program for startups in Southern California, offering 4 months of acceleration through workshops and peer learning, diverse funding opportunities and access to LACI’s state of the art campus, $150K+ worth of perks and platforms, and joining a cleantech ecosystem of over 375 cleantech portfolio companies and alumni. LACI’s Incubation Program helps cleantech companies to become more competitive, resilient, environmentally sustainable, and scalable!

As the climate crisis continues to escalate, the work of our Incubator startups is more important than ever. Our current startups offer a beacon of hope for a sustainable future by addressing pressing environmental challenges such as depleted resources, pollution, climate changes, and waste management. LACI startups in this cohort focus on new recycling methods, food waste management and compliance, EV charging, cooling systems, and new forms of electric vehicles to combat fossil fuel pollution. 

Cleantech startups like these not only mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions but are partners in building the green economy by fostering economic growth, creating green jobs, and cultivating a global ecosystem of sustainability. 

This year LACI received 66 applications in total for Cohort 6 of LACI’s Incubation program – a record breaking turnout. As we continue to look to the future, applications for Incubation Cohort 7 and Innovators Cohort 8 are now open – more info can be found on the Incubation and Innovators page.

Please join us in welcoming LACI’s Incubation Program Cohort 6!

The full cohort is listed below:

Zero Emissions Transportation

Batteryze

Website: www.batteryze.com/

Batteryze is a predictive maintenance and revenue optimization platform for distributed battery storage systems with a focus on the $30 billion second-life EV batteries. By leveraging their proprietary digital twin and active testing models, they focus on the bankability of second-life batteries by monitoring state of health and accelerating battery asset monetization.

EV Safe Charge Inc.

Website: www.evsafecharge.com/

EV Safe Charge is a leading provider of flexible electric vehicle (EV) charging technology, providing end-to-end charging solutions to support the demands of the rapidly growing EV market. Their newest technology, ZiGGY, is a mobile EV-charging robot that features interactive, digital advertising screens. This is a major breakthrough in EV charging as it allows facilities, shopping and entertainment centers, hotels, fleet operators, airports and property owners to overcome the limitations of stationary EV chargers. They can provide cost-effective on demand charging without the need for costly electrical infrastructure. ZiGGY’s digital ad server can generate advertising revenue for the facility and display customized information.

Kerb-e Inc.

Website: kerb-e.com/

At Kerb-e, the goal is to make EV charging equitable and ubiquitous within cities by developing scalable products that fit on any street.

Popion Mobility

Website: www.popionmobility.com/

Popion solves the range anxiety and infrastructure challenge for electric trucks. Popion solves the range and uptime dilemma for EV truck and bus fleets with battery swapping stations that are customized and optimized to each fleet. The outcome is a solution with radically improved utilization and total cost of operation (TCO) with limitless scalability.

Stak Mobility

Website: www.stakmobility.com/

Stak Mobility is scaling EV charging in cities to catalyze the transition to EV fleets and individual EV ownership. They combine vertical automation, mobile self-service, and EV charging to increase charging infrastructure while reducing the vehicle footprint and CO2 emissions.

XOTO

Website: xotoinc.com/

XOTO is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of self-stabilizing electric vehicles for urban use. They have developed a new category of Light Urban Vehicle (LUV) that removes many of the barriers to entry for new riders. Their vehicles offer all the benefits of an electric motorcycle in a safer, more affordable, and easier to use format, and they do not require an M1 license to operate on public roads or specialized charging infrastructure. XOTO’s goal is to democratize the use of EVs by providing lighter, environmentally friendly, and sustainable alternatives to traditional, energy-demanding vehicles with 5 or more seats, which can be cumbersome and inconvenient to use in urban environments. They aim to make getting around in the city a more enjoyable and efficient experience for everyone.

Clean Energy

Molecule Systems

Website: www.moleculesystems.com/

Molecule Systems is an Energy Automation Platform that utilizes a revolutionary edge framework that combines No-Code and AI to eliminate the time, cost and risk associated with traditional software development – delivering project tailored software at scale. The platform is flexible and scalable, catering to both project-level and enterprise-scale requirements. Molecule Systems is committed to accelerating the energy transition through automation and providing an intuitive and powerful platform to drive innovation, efficiency, and cost savings

Wayside, Inc.

Website: waysideenergy.com/

Wayside, having graduated from a previous cohort of Innovators into this round of those accepted into Incubation, is giving communities the tools they need to build a future they’re proud of. We are doing this through our immersion cooling based energy storage systems that are safer, more reliable, recyclable, and highly manufacturable to meet the scale needed to reach a fully renewable energy sector. 

ThermoShade

Website: www.getthermoshade.com/

ThermoShade, also having moved from the Innovators program into Incubation, is an outdoor cooling company. They aim to make our public spaces more comfortable for people to work, learn, and play—and to make our cities more resilient to climate change. ThermoShade is developing a passive cooling panel that can be retrofitted to outdoor spaces, creating a shady environment that feels up to 20°F cooler than a basic awning, without using any electricity or water.

Sustainable Cities

Dyrt Labs, Inc.

Website: www.dyrt.co/

Dyrt is a food waste management platform that provides visibility and simplicity for large-scale producers of food waste while simultaneously bringing compliance to an evolving regulatory environment.

Encora

Website: www.encora.co/

Encora is a reusable container and inventory management technology for closed loop scenarios.  Our patent pending technology utilizes SaaS, smart collection bins and has advanced data reporting capabilities for reuse, environmental impact and customer ROI.

Lasso Loop

Website: www.lassoloop.com/

Lasso is a recycling system centered around a compact ‘recycling robot’ that recognizes, accepts or declines, cleans, and processes used recyclable materials into high-purity manufacture-ready products. This decentralized system substantially reduces emissions, increases efficiency, can financially benefit stakeholders (citizens and cities), and most importantly, ensures that 100% of materials are recycled.

LACI’S NEWLY LAUNCHED SECOND IMPACT FUND MAKES INITIAL INVESTMENTS IN WOMEN-FOUNDED CLEANTECH STARTUPS CHARGERHELP! AND REPURPOSE; ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, MELONY AND ADAM LEWIS, OTHERS ARE INITIAL FUND II LPS

Melba, EV Charger, Electric Vehicle Charging Station, Woman, Flex, Muscle

LACI’s First Fund Invested in 17 Early-Stage Cleantech Startups with 29% of Investments in Women Founders and 12% in Black or Brown Founders–In 2022, Less than 2% of All U.S. Venture Capital Was in Invested in Women Founders, 1% in Black Founders, and 2% in Latinx Founders

Los Angeles, CA – March 14, 2023 – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) today announced initial investments from the newly launched LACI Impact Fund II (LIF II) in two women founded start-ups: Repurpose, whose mission is to eliminate plastic pollution with its sustainable tableware; and ChargerHelp!, the nation’s only on-demand repair service for electric vehicle charging stations. LIF II has set out to raise $30 million in total capital to invest in startups active across all of LACI’s programs–initial investors, or limited partners (LPs), include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Melony and Adam Lewis, and others. 

The announcement also follows the successful deployment of LACI’s first fund, or LACI Impact Fund I (LIF I), which invested in 17 cleantech startups.  Of the 17 investments, 29% percent of startups are led by a woman founder, and 12% by a Black or Brown founder. In 2022, less than 2% of all U.S. venture capital was invested in female founders, 1% in Black founders, and less than 2% for all Latinx founders.. .

“Given the urgency of the climate crisis as well as the institutional and historical barriers to accessing capital for underrepresented founders, LACI is leaning in to scale our startups’ solutions here in Los Angeles and beyond,” said Matt Petersen, LACI’s CEO. “Our mission is clear, and to create an inclusive green economy we need to invest in underrepresented women, Black, and brown startup founders to overcome the huge barriers to equitable access to capital.”

“One of the keys to tackling climate change is empowering and supporting underrepresented cleantech founders through the lens of gender and racial equity,” said Melony and Adam Lewis. “Given the organization is addressing the climate crisis and equity—two of the fundamental challenges facing our society today—together, we are thrilled to be investors in LACI’s second fund.”

“We’re very excited to partner with LACI to drive business expansion and create green jobs, ” said Lauren Gropper, CEO and co-Founder of Repurpose. “Our company believes climate justice is social justice, and being aligned with an organization like LACI, one that believes in the same mission, is very rewarding. As we expand rapidly, having access to capital and other programs to support bringing our idea to life is paramount.” 

We are excited about the continued partnership with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator,” said Kameale C. Terry, CEO and co-founder of ChargerHelp. “Their investment will help us further expand our technology offering for EVSE reliability and uptime, as well as continue to create new green jobs.”

LIF I–whose investment advisory committee included a representative of Emerson Collective as well as a representative of the Annenberg Foundation–co-invested alongside venture firms such as ArcTern, Aligned Climate Capital, Energy Impact Partners, Trucks VC, Kapor Capital & Mark Cuban Companies. After the investment from LIF I,  many of the 17 startups  have gone on to raise significant subsequent rounds totalling over $300 million including Repurpose, ChargerHelp!, and:

  • SparkCharge–their $30M Series A is bringing mobile EV charging to cities across America.
  • Xeal–their $40M Series A is helping  bring charging to multifamily tenants across the U.S.
  • FreeWire–their $125M Series D helping the company scale their charging solutions globally.

In June of last year, LACI launched a national Cleantech Debt Fund, a $6M first-of-its-kind green loan program. The fund addresses institutional barriers that prohibit underrepresented founders from accessing debt capital and maintaining company ownership. Of the 13 companies receiving initial loans, 33 percent of companies have a woman founder or co-founder, and 83 percent of the companies have a founder or co-founder who identifies as Black or Latinx/ The LACI Cleantech Debt Fund deploys loans across the portfolios of LACI as well as partner incubators Greentown Labs, New Energy Nexus, and Evergreen Climate Innovations.

LACI’s other notable programs include the Transportation Electrification Partnership which is working to achieve bold targets by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles, green jobs training programs which places graduates in LACI startups and partner organizations, and the Women in Cleantech initiative, which has collectively supported 120 women founders growing their businesses

 

About Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator 

The 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 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 $323 million in revenue, and created 2,565 jobs throughout the Los Angeles region, with a long term economic impact of more than $733 million. Learn more at www.laci.org.

LACI AWARDED U.S. DOE PLANNING GRANT FOR ZERO EMISSIONS GOODS MOVEMENT CORRIDOR & TRUCK CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE NEAR PORTS & I-710; GRANT ADVANCES PROGRESS TOWARD THE TRANSPORTATION ELECTRIFICATION PARTNERSHIP’S 2028 TARGETS FOR MEDIUM- AND HEAVY-DUTY TRUCKS

Blueprint Will Identify Where EV Charging Network is Needed to Support Battery Electric Trucks
to Decarbonize Goods Movement and Reduce Disproportionate Pollution in Frontline Communities

(LOS ANGELES) – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is one of seven recipients nationwide of
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding to accelerate the creation of zero emission vehicle corridors by
expanding critical charging infrastructure to support the growing fleet of medium- and heavy-duty electric
vehicles and reduce the disproportionate air pollution burdening frontline communities from goods
movement.

Given that goods movement is the single largest source of air pollution in Greater LA, LACI’s
Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) set a target of 40% of all short haul drayage trucks to be
zero emissions and 60% of all medium-duty delivery trucks to be electric by the time of the 2028 Olympic
and Paralympic Games. The grant DOE awarded LACI will fund work that lays the groundwork for
achievement of that goal.

In a DOE news release announcing the $688,850 award to LACI, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said, “A clean transportation sector requires vast investments across the entire industry, including to decarbonize the trucks that move our goods and building more charging ports to get those trucks from coast to coast. President Biden’s historic clean energy laws are making it possible for us to get more EVs on the road by expanding charging infrastructure into underserved communities, while reducing range and cost anxiety among drivers who want to go electric.”

“As we pointed out in our clean trucks for clean air campaign last year, goods movement is critical to California’s prosperity, and yet in aggregate is also the single largest source of air pollution in Greater LA, disproportionately impacting frontline communities near ports, freeways, and warehouses,” said LACI’s President and CEO Matt Petersen. “With this DOE grant, LACI and our TEP members will create a strategy for the deployment of infrastructure to ensure the charging network addresses the diverse needs of medium- and heavy-duty truck drivers and operators while meeting critical equity and environmental justice priorities.”

LACI’s successful DOE application is entitled First to Last Mile: Creating an Integrated Goods Movement Charging Network around the I-710 Corridor. To support the electrification of drayage and delivery trucks, LACI will create a detailed regional investment plan for innovative infrastructure solutions at industrial facilities and commercial zones along critical freight arteries feeding into I-710 freeway. This regional plan will leverage existing goods movement real estate assets (e.g. ports, warehouses, distribution centers, retail locations) to provide charging for different supply chain fleets that can expand the proportion of duty cycles completed by a battery-electric truck, and prepare local city governments to most effectively and efficiently site and permit the needed charging infrastructure.

LACI’s investment blueprint, including specific infrastructure deployments accompanied by vetted business models, will be shared with energy service providers and investors looking to lay the foundation for battery powered electric trucks in Southern California.

“We are grateful that the DOE recognized LACI and TEP’s leadership to accelerate the move toward zero emissions goods movement,” continued Petersen. “This transition is vital to the future to the economy of Southern California as well as the health of communities of color along the I-710 and other goods movement corridors by reducing the burden of toxic and cancer-causing emissions from diesel trucks.”

LACI’s application to DOE was based on the work of TEP and its members over the last 5 years, including a 2018 RFI released by LACI in partnership with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the California Air Resources Board, and California Energy Commission. Based on the responses to the RFI from private sector leaders, LACI and TEP have focused on bringing charging for zero emissions to the ports and along the ‘I-710 corridor. Last year, LACI along with the Mayors of LA and Long Beach successfully advocated for an additional $100 million for zero emissions drayage truck fueling infrastructure to be included in the California state budget.

LACI’s partners in the DOE-funded work are University of California Riverside College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology (UC-Riverside CE-CERT), East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, and Gateway Cities Council of Governments (COG), with support from the City of Los Angeles and the LA Clean Cities Coalition (LACCC), and aided by Partner Fleets and Energy Service Provider and Community Advisory Groups. LACI will also collaborate with TEP members such as Southern California Edison (SCE), Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), and others in this award.

The news of LACI’s grant was part of a larger DOE announcement of $7.4 million to fund seven projects that will accelerate creation of zero emissions vehicle corridors that expand the nation’s zero emissions truck charging infrastructure in 23 states.

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ABOUT
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 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 $323 million in revenue, and created 2,565 jobs throughout the Los Angeles region, with a long term economic impact of more than $733 million. Learn more at www.laci.org.