Category: Home Featured

LACI Welcomes 10 Promising Cleantech Startups for its Fall 2021 Incubation Cohort

Today, 10 clean energy, cleantech and sustainability startups joined the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s (LACI) Fall 2021 cohort of its flagship Incubation program, which helps founders scale their company and impact in Greater Los Angeles and beyond. 

From helping prevent wildfires by collecting data over utility poles in remote locations (Delphire Inc.), to diverting post-industrial, non-recyclable materials from landfills and upcycling them to create beautiful, zero-waste fashion products (Rewilder), these startups and their founders are showing up with innovation, grit, and inspiring leadership to enhance LACI’s commitment to building an inclusive green economy.

“Given the growing climate crisis – including extreme heat, drought, and fires – in California, we must accelerate an equitable transition to clean energy, zero emissions mobility, and a circular economy in Los Angeles and beyond,” said Matt Petersen, President and CEO at LACI. “That’s why we are so excited to welcome 10 new startups to LACI’s incubation program and we look forward to helping our newest cohort of founders to scale their solutions for an inclusive green economy.”

As highlighted in an October 10th Yahoo! Finance story, LACI is leading efforts to create an inclusive green economy in Los Angeles. With a focus on supporting underrepresented founders, LACI’s Fall 2021 incubation cohort includes 30 percent female founders, 60 percent underrepresented founders, and 10 percent LGBTQ+ founders. In line with LACI’s specific technical priorities for the year, 70 percent of our new startups are focused on Clean Energy, 20 percent on Circular Economy, and 10 percent on Zero Emissions Mobility.

 The companies joining the Incubation program this year are also showing great adaptability and are stepping up to the new challenges we now face. SolarFi, for instance, provides solar-powered, weather-resistant temporary private spaces, or “pods,” which have become popular among restaurants, hotels, events, and municipalities to facilitate social distancing. Led by Antonio Dixon, who is a member of the Forbes Next 1000 class of 2021, SolarFi is now exploring more opportunities to bring clean energy to urban areas.

During LACI’s two-year Incubation program, startups engage in an intensive six-month curriculum to prepare founders and teams for successful market penetration, team development, increased impact with respect to the environment and communities, financial stability with a strategy for growth, access to LACI internal funds and a strategy to access external capital. Additionally, each startup team is matched with an Executive-in-Residence (EIR) who provides support in setting a roadmap and partners with the company to track, measure, and execute on key milestones. Startups in the Fall 2021 cohort will build a network with their fellow cohort members and with the greater LACI community to enable a collaborative and supportive environment for achieving growth and contributing to the global transition to zero carbon. 

LACI’s community includes a strong network of cleantech companies that completed the Incubation program and are continuing to grow and which have collectively raised $636M. Of the Incubation startups from LACI’s rebooted cohort model, EV charging station services provider ChargerHelp! currently employs 32 people and services 20,000 charging stations across 11 states. EV charging as a service provider SparkCharge recently raised $1 million from SharkTank’s Mark Cuban. Maxwell Vehicles is working with a group of partners and startups to deploy the nation’s first-ever Zero Emission Delivery Zone with a goal of lowering emissions and decreasing traffic.

We’re thrilled to support these 10 innovative startups for the next two years:

  • Delphire: Delphire is dedicated to preventing and containing wildfires by providing actionable real-time information from remote and dangerous locations. Their sentinel system monitors power lines for maintenance issues with the goal of preventing wildfires.
  • Energos: Energos develops an end-to-end platform based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge AI analytics to automate the energy flow between distributed energy loads and distributed energy resources.
  • Evolectric: Evolectric’s offerings encompass vehicle and battery solutions that advance e-mobility through rapid prototyping, electrified mobility solutions, battery technologies  and standardized products.
  • Flick: Flick provides rate education signals to help reduce energy use and carbon-intensive on-peak usage during costly times of the day.
  • Humble: Humble makes and rents user-friendly electric carts, specifically designed for entertainment production sets, that can carry heavy equipment while providing clean energy unlike the usual dirty and loud diesel-fueled vehicles.
  • Joule: Joule is engaged in the creation of a new energy paradigm to create inexpensive energy while cleaning and aerating our oceans, and other suitable bodies of water by mimicking a process already occurring in nature.
  • Meterleader: MeterLeader makes saving energy in homes and buildings fun, easy, collaborative, and measurable through the development of energy-saving challenges using real-time energy data from PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. Meterleader successfully completed LACI’s Innovators program for early-stage startups.
  • Olokun Minerals: Olokun Minerals aims to solve global clean water security by sustainably harvesting ocean minerals from desalination brine to create a renewable source of power and provide key compounds for the supply chains of the future.
  • Rewilder: Rewilder targets manufacturing industrial processes to divert ‘waste’ materials from landfill, and transform them into usable materials for consumer goods. Rewilder successfully completed LACI’s Innovators program for early-stage startups.
  • SolarFi: SolarFi promotes sustainable living by combining nature and technology to bring customers solar-powered, fully transparent enclosures equipped with all the essentials, including climate-controlled heating and cooling, charging stations, and free public WiFi. 

### 

TEP Partner Spotlight: SCE (Southern California Edison)

Taking bold steps to prioritize electrification for the future of its communities

Covering approximately 50,000 square miles in Southern California and providing more than 15 million people with electricity, Southern California Edison (SCE) is one of the largest regional organizations in the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) and one of the founding partners that helped create the Partnership in 2018. “When we started TEP, we knew that the electric industry had to keep pushing for more renewables and bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But we also knew that to address climate change we had to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from other parts of the economy, especially the transportation sector – which in California accounts for almost 50% of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Drew Murphy, senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development at Edison International, the parent company of SCE.

The California Clean Fuel Reward Program is an endeavor that SCE cites as an important example of their dedication to transportation electrification. This program, which was originated by SCE and then adopted statewide, provides an additional incentive for the purchase of electric vehicles across the state at the point of sale. “Having the ability to remove some of the cost pressure of EVs at the point of sale is an important incentive for customers, so we’re proud to join the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the other utilities participating in the program,” said Michael Backstrom, vice president of Regulatory Policy for SCE. The company has also recently introduced a rebate program for those who buy and lease pre-owned EVs.

The Charge Ready Program is another example of the bold action SCE has taken to encourage transportation electrification in the region. As the largest utility-run electric passenger vehicle charging infrastructure program in the nation, Charge Ready will add about 38,000 new electric car chargers throughout SCE’s service area over the next few years. Through Charge Ready, SCE installs and maintains the supporting EV charging infrastructure while site hosts, who are nonresidential SCE customers, own, operate and maintain qualified charging stations. Charge Ready also includes options for SCE to own, operate and maintain charging stations for specific segments, as well as provides rebates for charging stations installed during the construction of new multi-family property sites.

Beyond passenger vehicles, SCE is also taking ambitious steps in goods movement. The Charge Ready Transport program will support EV charging for at least 8,490 industrial EVs across the company’s service area. For example, the program will play a vital role in supporting EV charging for 100 electric trucks via the CARB- and California Energy Commission-funded Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative. The pilot will eliminate 8,200 metric tons of harmful emissions annually through a collaboration with transportation and logistics companies NFI Industries Inc. and Schneider National, Inc. These companies recently announced that they will each put 50 heavy-duty, plug-in, battery-electric trucks into operation at their Los Angeles area locations.

In addition to programs designed to help others reach transportation electrification goals, SCE has made strides in leading by example. By 2030, every passenger car and small-to-midsize SUV in SCE’s fleet will be electric, the company announced. The electric company will also convert 30% of its medium-duty vehicles and pickup trucks, 8% of heavy-duty trucks and 60% of forklifts to electric power by that same year. “As we encourage our customers to consider fleet electrification, it is critical for our company and our industry to show leadership,” said Backstrom. “Setting goals to electrify our own fleet is one more way to show that we remain committed to making the changes necessary to clean our air and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”

As we advance the goals we set in our Zero Emission Roadmap 2.0, TEP is determined to create an equitable and sustainable transportation ecosystem in time for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. “We want to show everyone that electrification of mobility at scale is not only doable, but doable in a way that makes things better,” Murphy added. “Being part of the TEP Leadership Group is important to us because it helps advance what the region and the state must do to be successful in reaching California’s climate action goals. As a partnership, we can leverage our thinking throughout California, nationally, and internationally, to make a difference and start accelerating innovation across the industry and region.”

– Shevonne Sua, LACI Transportation Program Assistant

The Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) is an unprecedented regional public-private collaboration to accelerate deep reductions in climate and air pollution by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. All of our partners have committed to work individually and collectively to pursue policies, pilot projects, and other actions that are equity-driven, create quality jobs, grow the economy, and help the region reach the bold targets in the TEP’s Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap 2.0.

From policy to action: EV car share success in two Los Angeles under-resourced communities

Pilot frameworks for sustainable EV car sharing solutions in disadvantaged communities

Summary
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), Pacoima Beautiful, and Envoy Technologies Inc. (“Envoy”) recently completed two pilots of electric vehicle (EV) car share services in Pacoima and San Pedro. The lessons we learned from these EV car share pilots can be used to design future community EV car sharing investments that increase transportation options, reduce local air pollution, provide alternatives to internal combustion engine vehicles, and improve access to jobs and services in frontline communities.

Background
Following the policy momentum of S.B. 1275 (De Leon) and subsequent funding authorized by the state legislature, LACI launched the Zero Emission Mobility and Community pilot program in 2019 with funding from the California Workforce Development Board. We kicked off the program with a two-sided Request for Information (RFI) – one for Zero Emission Mobility Technology Providers and one for Disadvantaged Communities, as defined by the State, with identified Transportation needs. Residents, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), City Departments, and Cities applied to host a pilot, with a diverse array of technology partners applying to provide solutions. The breadth and number of applications showed a true need and enthusiasm for innovative zero emission mobility solutions.

The electric vehicle was “comfortable, quiet, easy to handle, and helps the environment.”

– Rancho San Pedro community member

Program design and goals
A rigorous selection process based on criteria such as community partner capacity, available real estate for infrastructure, and robust needs assessment, produced four matches between technologies and communities that were transformed into the Zero Emission Mobility and Community pilots in Long Beach, Pacoima, San Pedro, and Leimert Park.

Two communities, Pacoima and San Pedro, were selected to host EV car shares provided by Envoy, a LACI company, in partnership with Pacoima Beautiful and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), respectively. Nissan North America, a TEP founding partner, provided a long range Nissan LEAF SV+ for each pilot. The EV car share pilots focused on providing easily-accessible, healthy, environmentally friendly, safe, reliable, and affordable transportation to accelerate the adoption of light duty electric vehicles while also developing a replicable, sustainable program model that tested for market transformation opportunities.

The pilots launched during the global Coronavirus pandemic, and the EV car share was approved by the City of Los Angeles as an essential service – offering alternatives to mass transit which was perceived as a health risk and became less reliable due to reduced service and shutdowns. Despite launching in the middle of the pandemic, both pilots exhibited unique successes.

“I had no car and worked full time and Envoy was more affordable than ubers/lyfts everyday.”

– Pacoima community member

As a focal point of both pilots, the project team worked collaboratively to test pricing scenarios specific to community needs. Pricing for vehicle use was set by the community partners. A portion of the rates were subsidized by the grant using a “Transportation Wallet” model – direct community incentives aimed at making the program more accessible to low-and-moderate income individuals. The Transportation Wallet was flexibly deployed to cover rate subsidies and promotional campaigns as directed by the pilot partners.

Program revenue garnered during the pilot period was another critical pilot component. Envoy established 50/50 revenue share agreements with community partners based on the full hourly market rate. As long as the Transportation Wallet could support the subsidized rate, Envoy and the community partner earned revenue at the market rate, and shared the benefits from the revenue split. This tested methods to reinvest dollars back into programs post-pilot period.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Compare and contrast
The Pacoima Electro-share pilot launched as a community-facing EV car share with two Nissan Leaf EVs, dedicated EV chargers, and dedicated parking spaces. Uniquely, this pilot tested the use of innovative off grid EV chargers. The EVs were parked a mile from Pacoima City Hall and a short two block walk from the nearest bus stop. Pacoima Beautiful, a local environmental justice organization, led the community outreach, education, and enrollment via flyer door drops, email newsletters, and social media posts. Envoy reinforced these activities through supportive marketing, education, and outreach (ME&O) activities. Due to the pandemic, the partners avoided in person events.

The HACLA Rancho San Pedro Electric Share pilot was specifically for the ~1400 residents of the Rancho San Pedro property. The EVs, also two Nissan Leafs, were parked adjacent to the Resident Advisory Council office with dedicated EV chargers and parking spaces constructed on the property. HACLA’s existing Community Coaches served as the program ambassadors, performing all outreach, education, and enrollment duties which included flyer door drops and phone calls. Envoy also fortified these efforts with dedicated ME&O.

Results
During the 12-month pilot term, we tracked quantitative membership growth and utilization (distance, time) while gathering qualitative data on users’ habits and motivations.

Some learnings of interest included:

    • Powerful leadership by the non-profit partners. Both Pacoima and San Pedro community partner teams took ownership of the pilots, which helped bolster a “train the trainer” approach specific to each community’s needs. This included direct support in native languages of the community.
    • Different usage patterns over the pilot period: Usage was impacted during peak COVID transmission periods. Rancho San Pedro bounced back quickly and hit higher overall membership numbers and utilization rates, but Pacoima’s growth was slower and directly tied to COVID restrictions – when restrictions were lifted, usage went up. This result aligns with the contrast between a public vs private program, where visibility, easy access to the EVs and program point of contact helps overcome barriers to adoption, as well as with Pacoima’s high COVID rates. Generally, the program team observed that vehicles were often used to support essential service activities (such as travel to and from grocery stores and the hospital).
    • Unexpected trip lengths: Members of both programs did not hesitate to take longer trips, despite range anxiety often being cited as another EV adoption barrier, because the new EVs were seen as more reliable than older personally owned vehicles.
    • Key value adds: In addition to the expected EV car share benefits, designated parking was a motivating factor for using the program due to local parking constraints.
    • Pricing impacts: The subsidized rate and price changing during the pilot period were a success. The Pacoima pilot tested price elasticity by raising the hourly rate incrementally by $1/hour at a time, from $2/hour up to $5/hour, over a three-month period. This represented a discount of roughly 50% from the hourly market rate. Despite price changes during this period, utilization did not decrease and membership continued to grow. This demonstrated the need for, and interest in, the EV car share even if the cost was not as deeply discounted, and the willingness by the community members to have some “skin in the game” to pay out of pocket a certain subsidized price. The Rancho San Pedro hourly rate, by contrast, remained constant throughout the pilot period.

“I use [the EV car share] because my personal car is not great for long distances or freeway. I also use it because it is convenient sometimes to not lose my parking spot at [Rancho San Pedro].”

– Rancho San Pedro community member

Post-pilot
In order to continue the EV car shares beyond the 12-month pilot term, the CBOs wanted to see their monthly revenue share exceed operating expenses. This threshold represents the point at which the program would be sustained by its utilization. The EV car share at Rancho San Pedro hit this target, but the EV car share in Pacoima did not.

Nevertheless, both EV car shares are continuing as independent programs post-pilot term. Rancho San Pedro’s operating expenses are fully covered by the monthly revenue share. Pacoima Beautiful will use the accrued pilot term revenue share to pay for the program until an additional grant can be secured. We expect that the Pacoima program will hit the break-even target within the next 6 months as steady growth continues.

Finally, the program operators will need to establish a self-sustaining Transportation Wallet to make sure that these programs can succeed in the years to come. Currently, the Transportation Wallet is filled by grant funding, but since the programs are continuing, the operators can test alternative sources of funding for the Wallet like monthly membership fees, small amenity fees charged to multi-family housing residents, tiered membership pricing based on income level, or even utility credits like those available from the Low Carbon Fuels Standard Program, which may provide additional revenue sources to help bolster program.

The lessons we have learned from the EV car share pilots can be used by community members, local governments, community-based organizations, service providers, and housing operators to inform community EV car shares that benefit the community environmentally and economically by cleaning the air and providing access to jobs. We are also encouraged by the ability of these pilots to have successfully explored potential pathways to market sustainability. We encourage more partners to explore EV car shares as part of their clean transportation and equity efforts.

This is a hidden gem solution for cleaning the air that can reduce the number of personally owned vehicles, reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, decrease the need for parking spaces and can allow for increased green space for community socializing. It has been a successful effort to take policy to action, and provided deeper insight for all stakeholders on the path to expanding market-driven EV sharing ecosystems.

Contact
If you have further questions about the Zero Emission Mobility and Community Pilots in Pacoima and San Pedro please reach out to pilots@laci.org.

TEP Partner Spotlight: Culver City

A small city growing a big plan for zero emission mobility.

Covering roughly five square miles in west Los Angeles County, with a population of nearly 40,000, Culver City was the first small city to join the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) two years ago, with then Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells stating, “Together, we can lead the way in championing climate action through zero emissions mobility.” Since then, the City has been making steady progress on multiple fronts to support the goals of TEP. 

Culver City has become one of the fastest-growing digital media hubs in Southern California as Amazon, Apple, HBO, TikTok and other firms have expanded into the area, drawn to its location and movie history. The influx has brought thousands of new jobs to the city along with the associated transit challenges. As a small city, Culver City is readily able to address all mobility functions from electric buses to dedicated bus lanes to new first/last mile connections. 

Transforming the City Fleet
“We have adopted a vehicle policy to buy electric as long as it can meet our needs and is sustainable,” says Culver City Chief Transportation Officer Rolando Cruz. “With that in mind, the Transportation Department has committed to being 100 percent electric by 2028 for all of our CityBus and CityRide vehicles, which is in alignment with our TEP goals.” This fiscal year, the City will receive its first four 40-foot battery-electric buses from New Flyer.

But it’s more than the electric buses themselves that cities must take into consideration; transit agencies are learning that planning for the infrastructure to support the buses is critical. “What we are doing differently than others is creating a Battery Electric Bus Transition Plan for our infrastructure that aligns with our transportation vehicle replacements,” says Cruz. This plan includes a service, fleet, fuel, maintenance, and facilities assessment so that the City can fully understand the total cost of ownership. 

In the coming weeks, Culver City will take final recommendations and bring the full plan to the City Council for adoption. Culver City is also making progress in securing funding for its electrification efforts, having recently been awarded a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission for the buildout of infrastructure enhancements required for full fleet electrification by 2028.

Reimagining Streets
Culver City’s leadership in transportation electrification extends to other innovative programs as well. In particular, MOVE Culver City evaluates streets in conjunction with the community to provide mobility alternatives. More specifically, the program envisions a reimagining of streets as public spaces and prioritizes moving people over cars in the design. As part of the program, the City has partnered with a local company, Sunset Vans, to create the first electric mini-bus in the country.

Beginning August 19, 2021, Culver CityBus is providing safe and reliable transportation to students in the Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) for free with a special TAP (Transit Access Pass) card, as part of a new pilot program. Culver City students receive unlimited rides at no cost on Culver CityBus, LA Metro bus and rail, and LADOT Dash. “This exciting program is several years in the making. Free bus fares provide increased accessibility to transit for the youth of our community and will create future generations of public transportation users,” said Culver City Mayor Alex Fisch.

Whether they’re setting ambitious fleet electrification goals or creating innovative mobility alternatives, Culver City has been making impressive progress on their transportation goals in conjunction with the greater ecosystem. “Being a part of TEP has helped us look at the big picture and to take aholistic approach to tackling the mobility challenges of the City, including transportation electrification. One thing that we learned early on is that this requires interdepartmental collaboration,” says Cruz. “We have created a mobility working group that includes staff from the  Public Works and Community Development Departments. We are working together to solve mobility challenges and support each others’ efforts to help enhance quality of life within our community. We are working hard on a short-range mobility plan that will outline our plans over the next 2-3 two to three years. But ultimately our group is more able to collaborate and solve these bigger picture problems through our partnership with TEP.”

– Shevonne Sua, LACI Transportation Program Assistant

The Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) ​​is an unprecedented regional public-private collaboration to accelerate deep reductions in climate and air pollution by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. All of our partners have commited to work individually and collectively to pursue  policies, pilots, and other actions that are equity-driven, create quality jobs, grow the economy, and help the region reach the bold targets in the TEP’s Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap 2.0.

Public-Private Partnership & Environmental Justice Groups Call for Governor & Legislature to Create Authority & Statewide ZEV Leadership to Accelerate Reduction of Harmful Air & Climate Pollution

BILL WOULD HELP CALIFORNIA LEAD THE WAY IN MEETING PRESIDENT BIDEN’S GOAL OF 50% EVS SOLD NATIONWIDE BY 2030

Proposed ZEV “Czar” and ZEV Authority will use whole of government approach to forge accountability & financing tools, ensure California prioritizes investments in underserved communities of color, & create high quality jobs while meeting Governor Newsom’s goal to end the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035

LOS ANGELES — Today the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP), a public-private partnership led by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), were joined by State Senator Henry Stern and environmental justice advocates to call for the approval of legislation to accelerate transportation electrification to dramatically reduce harmful air and climate pollutants, prioritize investments and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) deployments in communities disproportionately burdened by air pollution, create good paying jobs, and grow the related ZEV innovation manufacturing economy. 

Los Angeles and California are leading the transition to zero-emission vehicles, yet experience the worst air quality in the nation. To meet TEP’s ambitious climate and air pollution targets set for Greater Los Angeles to achieve by the time of the Olympics in 2028 as well as Governor Newsom’s Executive Order to electrify transportation, it was identified that California needs an Authority & leader singularly focused on working across State government to help accelerate progress.

Senate Bill 551, introduced by Senator Stern (D-Los Angeles) at the request of the Transportation Electrification Partnership & LACI, would create the California Zero-Emission Vehicle Authority to hold accountable the dozens of state agencies involved, while working with communities, labor, and the private sector, providing strategic direction, creating new funding and financing tools to support the transition, and ensuring that equity is a top priority in all funding and programs for zero-emission transportation. The Authority would also help bring focus to needed job training and support for manufacturing, while ensuring California leads the way to meet President Biden’s 2030 goal of 50 percent of all cars sold to be electric vehicles.

“Transportation is the greatest source of harmful air and climate pollution in LA and across California, and frontline communities of color suffer a disproportionate impact,” said Matt Petersen, President & CEO of LACI. “We need a senior leader and ZEV Authority laser-focused on working across all state agencies, local communities, labor, and industry to prioritize equity, create new financing tools and high road jobs, unlock startup innovation, & accelerate progress in getting 100% zero-emissions cars, buses and trucks on the road. We thank Senator Stern for his leadership.”

“California must exercise its market-making power as a global electric vehicle goliath in both purchasing and jobs and investment in manufacturing batteries, cars, buses and trucks, and installing fast-charging infrastructure.  The clean vehicle economy and related manufacturing and infrastructure upgrades will not only restore clean air for all, it will be the biggest job creator in California for the coming decade,” said Senator Stern. “The President gets this, and Congress and the private sector are poised to invest big. The question is who will win the global race?”

“Just this week leading world scientists warned us about the need to take immediate action to reduce global warming and climate change impacts,” said Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), co-author of SB 551. “California has already led the way by adopting aggressive goals and timelines. SB 551 is another important step. It directs the state to work more efficiently by creating a platform that will encourage collaboration and more strategic planning across our state to help expedite much needed transportation infrastructure and strengthen the workforce.”

“Communities like mine in Watts suffer disproportionate and unfair impacts from California’s addiction to gas-powered cars, buses and trucks, which makes the passage of SB551 an environmental justice issue,” said Watts Clean Air & Energy Committee co-chair Jacquelyn Badejo. “All of California’s children deserve to live in healthy communities and to have a spot in the jobs of the future. A Zero-Emissions Vehicle Authority makes it clear that leadership at the highest levels of government are planning for a better future that is committed to equitable outcomes.”

“California needs clean air and good jobs,” said Vanessa Morelan, Western States Program Manager, EVNoire. “We can address both of these challenges by passing SB 551, which creates senior-level leadership to make sure that our transition to zero-emissions occurs with a comprehensive focus on spurring our local cleantech industry; provides jobs for low-income and underserved Californians; and, prepares the state for the climate challenges that lie ahead. Senate Bill 551 specifically calls for prioritizing equity in all funding and programs, economic development and enhanced workforce training, which is a pinnacle of the EVNoire vision and why we fully support this mission.”

More than 100 organizations have endorsed the bill, including local government, industry leaders, startups, environmental organizations, environmental justice groups, public health advocates, labor organizations, and academia. The bill has earned bipartisan support throughout its legislative journey to date, but it has yet to be voted upon by the full Assembly. The bill will be up for consideration by the Assembly Appropriations Committee when the Legislature reconvenes mid-month.

###

Approved Statements

Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles

“Zero-emissions transportation isn’t just one of our greatest opportunities to turn the tide on the climate crisis — it’s a chance to jumpstart our economy, create good-paying jobs, and reverse inequities that have harmed our communities for generations. SB551 will ensure that the transition to zero-emissions transportation is a force for good in people’s lives, and give us the tools to continue to accelerate our path toward a more sustainable and just future.” 

City of Los Angeles – Councilmember Kevin De León, Council District 14

“My district is crisscrossed with freeways that are choking the air from our children’s lungs. California needs to be doing more to clean our air which is why I strongly support SB 551 by Senator Henry Stern to ensure the State accelerates efforts in eliminating tailpipe emissions, getting zero-emission trucks hauling in and out of the Port of LA, and making electric vehicles accessible to everyone.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn

“California is known for its car culture and for leading the world with aggressive climate policies. With SB 551, we have a chance to be known for truly implementing a climate-friendly zero-emission transportation future. The communities that I represent near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach need California to create a future that includes a focus on electrifying the freight industry. Making a clean future an executive priority is exactly the kind of bold action we need.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell

“Our children deserve to breathe clean, healthy air and SB551 is a commitment to making that future a reality. It is abundantly clear that we have no time to waste in reducing our carbon emissions and greening our transportation sector. By passing SB551, our state leaders will make it clear they understand the urgency of now and that they are ready to lead with action and equity.”

Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), SB 551 Joint Author

“California may have 50% of the nation’s zero-emissions vehicles on our roads, but the air quality in our communities makes it clear that we need to get every gas-powered car, bus and truck off the road now. California can create the nation’s first Zero-Emissions Vehicle Authority to lead the nation in building the infrastructure, jobs and innovation needed so that our families can breathe cleaner air.” 

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), SB 551 Co-author

“California has a bold vision for a zero-emissions future, and SB551 has the teeth needed to make it a reality. By establishing a senior leadership position, the creation of a Zero-Emissions Vehicle Authority gives Californians someone to hold accountable for making clean air a reality.”

Veronica Padilla, Executive Director, Pacoima Beautiful

“We know that communities like the ones I represent in northeast San Fernando Valley are hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change and pollution. That is why we are proud to stand with a coalition of clean tech, environmental justice and community leaders to say that it is time for bold leadership at the highest levels of government to make a transition to a zero-emissions future possible. By passing SB551, California will make it clear that it is ready to tackle head-on the looming challenges of climate change with a focus and investment in communities that need it the most.”

Bahram Fazeli, Director of Research & Policy, Communities for a Better Environment

“For communities who have long suffered disproportionately from the impacts of pollution from the freight industry and from being adjacent to freeways, we need a whole of government approach to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles. Making that transition will require focused leadership and collaboration from our state officials and agencies. We stand behind SB551 because we know that environmental justice and equity in the green future requires an all-hands-on-deck approach that makes sure no community is left behind.”

State Budget Brings $10 Million to LACI to Support Clean Mobility, Cleantech Workforce Development, BIPOC and Women Entrepreneurs

California Senator Maria Elena Durazo and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago secured the funding for LACI and announced the investments which will benefit communities across LA County

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) announced today that $10 million has been allocated in the state budget to advance innovative zero emission transportation initiatives, clean-energy pilot programs, workforce development, and assistance for underserved communities and entrepreneurs in Los Angeles County.

California Senator Maria Elena Durazo and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago joined LACI CEO Matt Petersen to announce the new funding at a July 23 press conference at the La Kretz Innovation Campus. The funding, which was finalized when Governor Gavin Newsom signed the budget on July 12, was sponsored by LACI and championed by Durazo and Santiago.

“The future is green and the investments we make now to propel Los Angeles’ cleantech industry will pay dividends in clear air and good-paying jobs that will lift underserved communities out of poverty and make our neighborhoods healthier,” said Durazo. “As we move toward a post-pandemic recovery, we need to build a strong and resilient future that gives everyone the healthy and economically vibrant communities they want and deserve.”

The funding will support local investments in electric-vehicle and clean- energy pilot projects, green workforce training for residents in underserved communities and support for underrepresented cleantech startup founders.

“Our communities deserve to breathe clean air, work good paying jobs, and thrive in tomorrow’s economy,” said Santiago. “It took a pandemic for my neighbors to breathe clean air. $10 million represents an investment in our children’s future, in our communities’ prosperity, and in the health of our neighbors and friends. I’m so proud to have the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator in my district, as they are making leaps and bounds to ensure our communities are included in the green economy and that we move away from fossil fuels.”

A LACI report released in January projected that more than 600,000 jobs could be created in Los Angeles County in the clean energy, transportation electrification, and other cleantech sectors.

“Los Angeles is increasingly becoming the epicenter of the nation’s green transition, and the state’s investment in a more sustainable and equitable future gives us the boost to ensure that the full potential of the sector’s environmental and economic benefits happen here in LA for the communities that need it the most,” Petersen said.

The state budget allocations for Los Angeles include:

  • Clean energy and transportation pilot expansion in underserved and disproportionately burdened communities: This new state funding will leverage existing resources to reduce air pollution and enhance communities by deploying emerging innovations for mobility, goods movement, and clean energy. The funds will also support smaller technology pilots for LACI startups.
  • Green economic recovery through job training: Funding will also target green job training focused on underserved communities by providing classroom education, hands-on training in the field, and paid internships performing EV charging maintenance, electric vehicle repair, and software development.
  • Support for BIPOC and women-owned startups: Funds will also support underrepresented founders and their emerging startups which are focused on advancing and bringing to market solutions for zero-emissions transportation, clean energy, and the circular economy.

 ABOUT LACI

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

###

Addressing Cleantech Gaps & Opportunities in Los Angeles

Last month, LACI shared findings and insights from its Cleantech Gaps & Opportunities Report with 37 investor partners interested in learning about LACI’s technology priorities and its portfolio companies with clean technology solutions. The Gaps & Opportunities Report builds off of LACI’s Market Landscape Report by further examining barriers associated with its technology priorities and identifying strategic opportunities to transform markets and support the commercialization of clean technologies.

The nature and landscape of cleantech and early-stage startup companies is constantly evolving. As new investment strategies are implemented, market needs change and new environmental challenges emerge, industry leaders in the energy innovation ecosystem often rely on market reports and insights from the world’s leading analyst companies. These insights paint a broad illustration of the global or national market; however, they do not always provide in-depth detail about early stage cleantech investment opportunities at the local level.

 To address the need for insights at the local level and to better assess how to accelerate early stage cleantech companies and transform markets to catalyze commercial adoption, LACI started producing its own market research reports in 2019. These reports leverage market insights related to its recruitment efforts for early stage cleantech companies. 

During this year’s briefing, LACI held three simultaneous briefing sessions on energy, transportation, and the circular economy industry solutions allowing investors to attend sessions based on their investment vertical interest. In those sessions, LACI’s Market Transformation Directors presented on the industry specific key findings from each report, the emerging technology opportunity areas, and barriers for market adoption. 

Energy
As California prepares for summer and its fire season, energy resilience and the health of the grid’s infrastructure is on everyone’s minds. To prevent the blackouts and grid strain witnessed in 2020, State energy regulators have acquired approximately an additional 3,500 megawatts of capacity. As a part of LACI’s work to support the state’s energy goals in the transition to a reliable, zero-carbon grid, LACI continues to prioritize startup companies that provide technological solutions to manage load flexibility and provide diverse battery storage systems.Companies like ElectricFish (Incubation Cohort 2) are working to integrate distributed energy resources (DERs) with EV chargers to provide clean, robust sources of power to communities. Their technology helps further validate vehicle grid integration technology as well as support opportunities to leverage similar technologies for seamless demand response dispatch with an offering that reduces grid connection costs and peak power requirements at charging sites.

Building decarbonization will play a critical role in helping the city of Los Angeles meet its 100% zero-carbon grid by 2035 and Clean and Healthy Buildings Targets: 100% of buildings becoming net zero carbon by 2050 and reducing building energy use by 44% per sq ft. by 2050. In support of this effort, LACI is working to identify companies with technology solutions that can catalyze necessary building upgrades and retrofits to achieve the net zero carbon goals. 

Transportation
With California and the Biden administration making significant commitments to zero emissions transportation in line with the bold targets the LACI-convened Transportation Electrification Partnership’s (TEP) has set for the Los Angeles region, LACI highlighted a number of relevant opportunity areas, including charging infrastructure for multi-unit dwellings and infrastructure for heavy-duty battery-electric trucks.

One LACI startup, SparkCharge (Incubation Cohort 1), is advancing the adoption of electric vehicles in Southern California with its innovative EV charging technology. SparkCharge is a scalable EV charging solution that ends range anxiety by providing charging infrastructure solutions at a fraction of the cost and rapid deployment to consumers. Its Roadie is the world’s first and only ultrafast, portable EV charging system helping EV owners charge up wherever they need. SparkCharge is helping to provide temporary solutions to multi-unit dwellers in urban areas without onsite charging capabilities.

 

LACI startup and TEP partner, AMPLY Power is addressing electric heavy-dutytruck and bus infrastructure by managing charging services for electric vehicle fleets, optimizing time-of-use and demand-charge pricing. AMPLY technology supports opportunities for improving microgrid management for electric fleet charging and better assisting fleet managers in balancing local power demands.Additionally, LACI has conducted site assessments of nearly a dozen properties along the heavily trafficked I-710 corridor to identify prime investment opportunities for charging infrastructure to support heavy-duty battery-electric drayage trucks serving the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

 

Sustainable Cities
The global textile industry misses out on $500B per year due to underutilized materials, poor recycling practice and nonexistent circular infrastructure generating tons of post industrial pre-consumer textile waste. To reduce its waste generation, the city of Los Angeles has set ambitious goals to send zero waste to landfill by 2050. LACI’s Sustainable Cities work, with a focus on circular economy, supports this regional initiative by recruiting diverse startups with technologies that advance material diversion and  generate new materials or products using circular practice. LACI Startup The Hurd Co. (Innovators Cohort 5) works to reduce agricultural waste by turning it into fabric. The technology integrates into existing manufacturing supply chains and provides proof of concept for the scalability of circular and next generation materials in traditional markets.

Insights like these and many more found in the reports inform LACI’s partners of the local cleantech market landscape, the barriers and solutions needed to transition to a clean energy future and highlight LACI’s recruitment priorities. 

 

Incubation Cohort 3 & Innovators Cohort 6 Recruitment
LACI is currently seeking startup companies with clean technology solutions for both its Innovators and Incubation Programs. Technology priorities for both programs include Zero Emissions Mobility, Clean Energy, and Sustainable Cities/Circular Economy. We are also actively recruiting for mobility companies in our late stage (Series A and beyond) pilots-focused program. For more information about LACI Incubation Services and which program you should apply for contact pipeline@laci.org. Incubation applications close June 28th, Market Access applications close June 30th, and Innovators Applications close July 6th, so apply today!

To learn more about how you can partner with LACI contact development@laci.org.

 

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Launches First In Nation Cleantech Loan Fund To Accelerate Equitable Climate Action

New LACI Fund to Provide an Affordable Alternative to Venture Capital For Startups; By Not Requiring Personal Collateral or Credit Scores, LACI Aims to Help Underrepresented Founders in Particular Overcome Historical, Institutional Barriers to Access to Capital

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) announced the launch of their nationwide LACI Cleantech Debt Fund, a first-of-its-kind green loan program to scale early stage cleantech startups and accelerate equitable climate action. 

The $6 million fund will provide loans of $25,000 to $250,000 to an estimated 100 early-stage startups over five years, providing a non-dilutive alternative to venture capital for companies that need financing to support their first customer orders or working capital to scale their businesses. LACI endeavors to help underrepresented founders–in particular female, Black, and Brown founders–overcome some of the institutional and historical barriers they face in accessing capital to grow their business. Unlike most traditional bank loans, the LACI Cleantech Debt Fund will not require founders’ personal collateral or their personal credit scores in underwriting.

LACI created the Cleantech Debt Fund in partnership with anchor investors Sobrato Philanthropies and Homecoming Capital, who are aligned in their missions to support more entrepreneurial innovation to address climate challenges. Additionally, the Wells Fargo Foundation is providing a grant to cover initial operating costs and loan loss reserves.

“To help cleantech startups move at the speed and scale needed to meet the climate crisis, we created the LACI Cleantech Debt Fund as a new tool to give early stage cleantech founders a timely, affordable alternative to expensive venture capital and slow moving bank debt,” said LACI CEO Matt Petersen. “The LACI Cleantech Debt Fund will also help reduce barriers to capital for underserved founders from historically underrepresented communities–too many founders cannot access traditional bank financing as they lack adequate personal assets, or the personal networks needed to secure early stage investment.”

“We need lots of approaches to innovation to address our current climate challenges, and we’re excited to partner with LACI to fill a capital gap that will enable more companies, from more regions and founder backgrounds, to access investment for their growing businesses.” said Victoria Fram of Sobrato Philanthropies and Pat Arnold of Homecoming Capital. “LACI along with Greentown Labs, Evergreen Climate Innovations, and New Energy Nexus are well-positioned to source a diversified pipeline of entrepreneurial solutions, and we’re glad to partner with them as co-investors.”

“To scale a company like ours and keep creating jobs, you need funding that isn’t easily acquired by minority owned businesses,” said Josh Aviv, CEO and Co-Founder of SparkCharge, a portfolio company of both LACI and Greentown Labs, which received an initial loan from the LACI pilot debt fund. “LACI’s Cleantech Debt Fund helps level the playing field, reducing the financial risks and truly enabling businesses to thrive. They are incredible partners who understand the challenges startups face.”

“We are excited to have the Wells Fargo grant play a catalytic role in attracting other sources of capital to the new LACI Cleantech Debt Fund,” said Ramsay Huntley, Climate and Innovation Strategy Lead at Wells Fargo. “So many businesses will benefit from LACI’s commitment to climate equity and their ability to identify companies ready for greater investment. This fund represents a shared belief that entrepreneurs motivated by climate action have the power to make an impact even early in their business journey.”

“The scaled-up LACI Cleantech Debt Fund is paramount to giving our founders choices across the full capital stack, with debt on the one hand via this innovative fund and equity via the LACI Impact Fund on the other,” said LACI SVP Alex Mitchell.

LACI is also partnering with a limited network of leading incubation organizations whose portfolio companies will be eligible to qualify for loans from the Cleantech Debt Fund, including Greentown Labs (Boston, MA & Houston, TX), Evergreen Climate Innovations (Chicago, IL), and New Energy Nexus (Oakland, CA & New York, NY). LACI selected Impact investment firm Mission Driven Finance of San Diego, California to assist with loan origination and servicing, as well as supporting underwriting. Mastercard’s Racial Justice Pro Bono Program–which is a part of Mastercard’s In Solidarity initiative to drive racial equity and create equal opportunities for all–consulted on the Fund model.

After LACI conducted US DOE-funded research validating the need for early stage lending for cleantech startups, the organization piloted the debt fund concept–capitalized by a Wells Fargo Foundation grant–by underwriting loans totalling more than $300,000 to nine startups. The pilot debt fund has had zero defaults and no late payments, and included loans to SparkCharge, Envoy, and others (see below for examples). LACI first shared their DOE-funded research and commitment to creating a national cleantech debt fund at the Clinton Foundation economic conference in November 2019.

The LACI Cleantech Debt Fund joins the LACI Impact Fund I and non-dilutive pilot funds as capital for which LACI incubated startups are eligible to apply. After nine quarters of investing, the $5 million LACI Impact Fund I is nearly 100% deployed and has made equity investments in 15 LACI startups. The LACI Impact Fund empowers LACI founders to grow their early-stage cleantech companies, including ChargerHelp! CEO Kameale Terry which has gone on to build a nationwide network responsible for maintaining 30,000 EV charging stations while ensuring their technicians earn a minimum of $30 per hour with a guaranteed 40-hour work week. LACI is now out to market in raising LACI Impact Fund II.

Sample LACI Pilot Cleantech Debt Fund Recipients

Initial LACI’s pilot debt fund loans to startups include:

SparkCharge:  SparkCharge received a $40,000 low-interest loan for their on-demand mobile electric vehicle charging solutions. The company leveraged the funds to help scale operations, hire 40 employees, including a graduate of LACI’s Green Jobs Workforce Training Program, and develop the Roadie Portable EV Charging System. The loan from LACI’s Debt Fund also enabled SparkCharge to raise nearly $24 million in additional capital through equity and debt funding. On March 1, 2022, after the recent launch of SparkCharge’s Currently app, Kia America and Currently announced a partnership that provides EV owners with on-demand concierge service, allowing them to charge their EVs when and where they want.

Envoy: Envoy, a provider of shared, on-demand, community-based EV’s, also leveraged the LACI Debt Fund to grow their business. LACI selected Envoy to operate a pilot community car-share program for residents of the Housing Authority of City of Los Angeles’ (HACLA) Rancho San Pedro public housing complex. The program not only delivered the benefits of electric vehicles and mobility to this historically underserved community, LACI used the pilot as a model for the EVs For All Act introduced by Congresswoman Nanette Díaz Barragán (CA-44). Barragán worked closely with LACI to develop the Act. If passed, the bill will establish a $50 million annual grant program at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support EV car sharing and charging stations, community education and outreach, and other services for public housing residents to increase access to mobility solutions in transportation deserts.

About LACI

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation through helping scale cleantech startups, transforming markets through catalytic partnerships like the Transportation Electrification Partnership, and enhancing communities through green workforce training and pilots. 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. To date, LACI has supported 315 startup companies that have secured more than $695 million in funding, generated more than $308 million in revenue, and helped to create an estimated 2,480 jobs with a long-term projected economic impact of more than $555 million.

About Sobrato Philanthropies

Sobrato Philanthropies’ investment in LACI’s Cleantech Debt Fund was committed by John A. Sobrato. Sobrato Philanthropies’ mission is to partner with communities to meet immediate needs, address systemic barriers, and pursue social justice to build a more equitable and sustainable world. Guided by the business philosophy and personal values of the Sobrato family, three generations engage in grantmaking, advocacy, impact investing, and collaborative efforts to create impact locally and around the world.

About Homecoming Capital

Homecoming Capital is a climate-focused investment firm that invests in businesses that decarbonize the economy as they grow. Homecoming’s investments span North America and Europe and support businesses driving decarbonization of the energy, transportation, industrial, and agricultural sectors. For more information, please visit www.homecomingcapital.com.

LACI Market Access Cohort 3 Recruitment is Live

Over the past nine years LACI has worked with hundreds of startup companies to help them raise outside funding and gain traction in the market – empowering startups to increase their social, economic and environmental impact in their community. 

One year ago, we launched our Market Access program – a holistic, pilots-focused program for later-stage startups deploying leading cleantech solutions in Southern California. Today, we are excited to open recruitment for our Market Access Cohort 3, launching autumn 2021.

Our Market Access program includes Envoy, Urb-E, Circuit, Automotus and Zoomo, who are partnering with us in deployments covering EV car share for low-income communities in San Pedro and Pacoima, neighborhood EV shuttles in Leimert Park, and helping us launch the nation’s first zero emissions delivery zone in Santa Monica.

To date, Market Access companies have raised an average of $16M across investors such as Maniv Mobility, Baron Davis, UBS, Building Ventures, Denso, Contrarian Ventures, and more for their Series A and B raises. 

LACI’s pilots have a proven track record in creating transformative outcomes, demonstrating (for example) the importance of curb management in shifting mobility patterns or the potential for mobility-as-an-amenity to drive community adoption of EVs. Results of LACI pilots reach far beyond the Los Angeles region, as national and global organizations look to LACI for scalable cleantech solutions. 

Cohort 3 represents a unique opportunity for a funded deployment in partnership with LACI alongside pilot partners including LA DOT and LA Metro, in collaboration with underserved, overburdened communities in the Los Angeles area in 2021 and 2022.  In particular, we are aiming to deploy leading edge micro-mobility solutions (two-, three- and four-wheeled zero emissions vehicles and solutions) across the following categories: 

  • Micromobility – small, lightweight vehicles operating at speeds typically below 25 km/h and driven by users personally, including providers of e-bike adaptive micromobility, adaptive scooters, three- and four-wheeled devices for adaptive mobility, and more.
  • e-bikes – providers of e-bike fleets and can include one, some or all of the following: commuter, cargo, youth, adaptive micromobility or transportation solutions for all people, especially those with disabilities, and more. 
  • e-bike rental operations & maintenance – operators of e-bike hubs and libraries to provide management and maintenance of bike fleets; e-bike maintenance trainers also sought.
  • e-bike infrastructure – solutions that provide supportive infrastructure for e-bikes; features sought include storage, security, charging capacity (on or off-grid), marketing, education, etc. Solutions can provide all, one or some of these options. 

For more details, please reach out to Molly Crete (molly@laci.org) and attend the information session on June 16, 10:00-11:00am. RSVP here

Apply here. Applications for Market Access Cohort 3 are due June 30, 2021.

U.S. Department of Energy awards $9.5 Million to Support Clean Energy Innovation and Commercialization across America

Energy Program for Innovation Clusters Strengthens Innovation Ecosystem Development in Ten Regions Around the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) funding to ten incubators and accelerators that will harness regional ingenuity and resources, develop pipelines for energy technology to reach the market, and stimulate the formation of new businesses to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

“The clean energy market is growing at a breakneck pace, and America’s innovators need the tools to keep up on a competitive global stage,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This funding fills a critical need for targeted financial support to incubators and accelerators that provide opportunity for aspiring energy entrepreneurs looking to fight climate change, create jobs, and empower underserved communities.”

This funding announcement is the second of a two-part program created by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT)—in collaboration with DOE’s Building Technologies Office, the Arctic Energy Office, and the Office of Electricity—to support robust energy innovation ecosystems and stimulate energy hardware development in regions across the United States. Previously, DOE awarded $1 million to 20 incubators and accelerators across the nation.

“I was proud to support the Midwest Regional Innovation Partnership and its partners’ request for this Department of Energy grant, which has the potential to grow the innovation ecosystem in the Midwest,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “This federal funding will increase the rate of technology commercialization in the region and help companies create more high-tech domestic jobs.”

“I’m thrilled to see the Department of Energy announce $9.5 million to support clean energy innovation and commercialization. This funding will bring together researchers, innovators, investors, and adopters from across the energy innovation ecosystem to act as a catalyst for the development, commercialization, and transfer of energy technologies. I fully support strengthening the portfolio of technologies we are researching, enhancing their commercialization, and pursuing every opportunity to advance the United States’ competitive advantages, and I will continue to push for investments in these much-needed technologies of the future,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Los Angeles has long been known as America’s innovation hub and an emerging leader in technology and clean energy. Today’s announcement is both welcome news for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and the City of Los Angeles as this $1 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy will help encourage the growth of new clean-tech jobs in California’s 34th Congressional District and beyond,” said U.S. Representative Jimmy Gomez. [Read the full press release.]

Today’s funding awards allocate approximately $9.5 million across ten organizations:

  • Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) (Los Angeles, CA) – Leveraging a Southern California Energy Innovation Cluster to Pilot & Validate Emerging Energy Technologies (Award Amount: $1,000,000). LACI aims to scale the impact of its incubation program and accelerate the momentum of early-stage companies toward investment and customer-paid commercial deployments of their emerging clean energy technologies through startup pilots designed with input from stakeholders across the clean energy ecosystem within the Los Angeles County/greater Southern California region.
  • New Energy Nexus (New York City, NY) – The Clean Fight: Bringing NY’s Best (Award Amount: $992,970). New Energy Nexus NY’s project will create a statewide energy storage hardware innovation cluster to accelerate New York’s energy storage manufacturing industry, positioning it as a U.S. hub for energy storage innovation, research, development, and manufacturing.
  • Clean Energy Trust (Chicago, IL) – Midwest Regional Innovation Partnership (MRIP) (Award Amount: $909,411). MRIP will enable Midwest energy hardware and related technology startups to scale, attract capital, create jobs, and drive economic development in the Midwest. MRIP will launch three new accelerator programs, which will benefit from MRIP partners’ collective expertise, resources, and reach.
  • Regents of New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM) – New Mexico Clean Energy Resilience and Growth (NM CERG) Cluster (Award Amount: $1,000,000). NM CERG will work with regional stakeholders to pivot current and create new programming for an idea-to-business pipeline for startups commercializing clean energy technologies.
  • Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY) – Energy Program Innovation Cluster for Equity and Health in Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (EPIC GEB) (Award Amount: $750,000). Syracuse’s project will fertilize the regional ecosystem of companies making energy hardware and related products required to achieve next-generation Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings. The project will emphasize products for the building sector of the economy, which takes advantage of the region’s long history of successful businesses in this sector. Following DOE’s Equity in Energy Initiative, ventures and companies will learn about the positive outcomes that can be achieved through development, design, and construction of hardware through an equity lens.
  • United States Research Impact Alliance (USRIA) (Morgantown, WV) – IMPACT Accelerator (Award Amount: $1,000,000). USRIA’s IMPACT Accelerator will identify and mature federally funded technologies that have the potential to solve a targeted set of challenges for the energy and manufacturing industries. The IMPACT acceleration process operates with a “market-pull” orientation and more deeply engages with industry stakeholders on the targeted issues.
  • Launch Alaska (Anchorage, AK) – Launch Alaska Transportation and Energy Accelerator (LATEA) (Award Amount: $882,999). Launch Alaska will stimulate energy and related hardware technology development and rapidly expand the growing cluster of innovative companies developing and deploying energy solutions in Alaska. The project will enhance Launch Alaska’s resilience and operational sustainability, leading to greater development of transportation and energy-related hardware technologies in Alaska.
  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) – Colorado Energy Innovation Collaborative (CEIC) (Award Amount: $1,000,000). Colorado State University’s project will create an energy hardtech accelerator that will support two cohorts of up to 20 founders. The proposed Rockies/Plains Energy Accelerator for Commercializing Hardtech (REACH) is tailored to the specific needs of the Rocky Mountains Great Plains region – an area spanning over 40% of the Lower Continental United States that produces 25% of the nation’s energy.
  • E4 Carolinas, Inc. (Charlotte, NC) – Regional Energy Hardware Innovation Accelerator (Award Amount: $999,704). E4 Carolina’s project will identify and define the region’s energy hardware clusters and engage cluster members to support the accelerator in selectively identifying U.S. hardware-focused ventures each year, connecting ventures with advisors and resources, and building regional capacity for innovation though proof-of-concept demonstrations with prospective customers.
  • VertueLab (Portland, OR) – Northwest Cleantech Innovation Network (NWCIN) (Award Amount: $999,613). VertueLab’s project will add new programs to specifically address the challenges facing new energy hardware technology start-ups. NWCIN will establish a regional entrepreneurial support system and network of resources for integrated outreach, education, and company screening, and will provide support to Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska entrepreneurs and cleantech startups through four assistance programs.

Established in 2015, OTT advances the economic, energy, and national security interests of the United States by expanding the commercial impact of DOE’s research and development portfolio. OTT spearheads programs that support commercialization and fosters DOE’s strong internal and external partnerships that guide innovations from the lab to the marketplace.

###