Tours, talk, and tech: Three elected officials visit LACI

LACI, hosted three elected officials at its headquarters in the Arts & Innovation District in Downtown LA and at its bimonthly Leadership Council meeting. Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge (CD-4), California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and California State Senate President Pro-Tempore Kevin de Leòn (SD-24) visited LACI

Earth Day 2015: A new partnership for innovation between LACI and Greentown Labs


LACI partnering with Somerville, MA’s Greentown Labs to expand resources and market access for cleantech startups

Earth Day 2015 marks the beginning of a bi-coastal partnership between the two leading cleantech incubators in their respective markets. LACI and Greentown Labs have signed an agreement fostering collaboration between the Los Angeles and Boston area cleantech ecosystems to benefit early stage environmentally focused companies.

Greentown Labs is the first domestic partner to join LACI’s Network for Global Innovation (NGIN), which brings together innovation institutions around the world aimed at accelerating the commercialization of clean technology on a global scale.

“LACI is very excited to welcome Greentown Labs into the Network for Global Innovation family”, said Fred Walti, President and CEO of LACI. “They are an outstanding example of an incubator building significant cleantech companies and getting them successfully into the market. We’re excited and honored to have them join the rest of NGIN partners in Mexico, Finland, Germany, Italy, China, and Japan”.

In addition to exchanging best practices between startup ecosystems, the collaboration will also allow early stage companies to access each organization’s network of potential investors, customers, and partners. As part of the agreement, LACI and Greentown Labs are both hosting “Landing Pad” programs, a component of NGIN designed to help cleantech entrepreneurs enter NGIN members’ markets in a structured, cost-effective, and risk-mitigated way.

 “We see our partnership with LACI as critical to our startup companies, providing connections to new investors in new markets, both nationally and internationally”, said Greentown Labs CEO and Executive Director Emily Reichert.

LACI and Greentown Labs will offer office space, mentor and advisory services, networking, and showcase opportunities to each incubator’s portfolio companies, providing the foundation for successful market expansion for cleantech entrepreneurs. To date, NGIN partners in Beijing, Berlin, Los Angeles, and now the greater Boston area have Landing Pad programs available to cleantech startups in the network.

A Brief Look Backward, and a Million Thanks

At the end of 2014, LACI quietly celebrated its 3-year anniversary. Collectively, we’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time… a testament to the amazing people building companies, providing help, and backing up their commitments to realize a sustainable and efficient world with their actions.

LACI 3 Year Anniversary

Today we take a moment to breathe and acknowledge this great family. Thank you to the young companies that put their trust in us to help them grow. Thank you to our partners, funders, sponsors, mentors, and volunteers. Thank you to the great staff here that puts everything they have into their work. Thank you to this great City of Angels. We’re grateful, and more committed than ever to get better and better at the business of helping promising clean technologies and services reach the market and thrive.

Below are some highlights from last year.  Awesome stuff.

Now, back to work!

JPMorgan Chase features LACI as part of $30M, 5-year international small business initiative

LACI is proud to have the recognition and continued support of JPMorgan Chase & Co (Chase) under their Small Business Forward initiative, a five year, $30 million initiative that supports small businesses by connecting them to critical resources to help them grow faster, create jobs and strengthen local economies.

Initial support focuses on four geographic clusters: Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco. The initiative will expand to 10 cities across the country and then expand to additional markets in the US and abroad.  Read the full story here, and see details on the five-year initiative here.

Chase produced a great video that features LACI and our Portfolio Company Isidore Electronics Recycling.

Below are a select few quotes about this critical initiative:

Beyond their vital role in our economy, small businesses are often the source of innovation and inspiration. Helping local, small business clusters grow faster and create more jobs will take JPMorgan Chase’s involvement in the entrepreneurial community to a new level.
– Scott Geller, CEO of Chase Business Banking

JPMorgan Chase’s support of the clean tech sector in Los Angeles is an innovative investment in our city’s future. Small businesses are a key engine of job creation, and JPMorgan Chase’s initiative helps connect small businesses with the resources they need to grow.
– Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles

The best way to build new companies is by creating tightly focused, all-inclusive, small business clusters that harness a region’s strengths.  With JPMorgan Chase’s support, we’re building a cleantech cluster for Los Angeles that’s the second largest green economy in the nation with the highest number of cleantech start-ups.
– Fred Walti, Executive Director of LACI

LACI and Partners Win US Department of Energy Support

Award validates California’s first statewide coalition that helps startups commercialize clean technologies from idea to market adoption.

California State Flag

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) will receive more than $729,000 from the US Department of Energy to establish the California Cleantech Commercialization Coalition (4C) program, the first statewide partnership to provide comprehensive support to clean energy startups. Led by LACI, with support from key partners Prospect Silicon Valley (ProspectSV), the Cleantech Open (CTO), and Business Cluster Development (BCD), the 4C program is one of just four initiatives selected under the National Incubation Initiative for Clean Energy to commercialize market-ready clean energy technologies.

This powerful group of partners combines to offer clean energy innovators a unique suite of full-spectrum, long-term support services to help them bring promising clean technologies to market. By unifying industry-leading incubation, prototype manufacturing, commercial-scale pilots, and market-entry programs, the 4C program substantially de-risks an inherently risky sector, facilitating investment from a wide array of capital sources in California, the top clean technology market in the nation.

“We believe that the 4C program will revolutionize how the clean energy sector understands and supports commercialization by helping more startup companies navigate the fragile early years,” said Fred Walti, Executive Director of LACI. “This will give investors confidence to engage earlier where capital is most needed, and prove the reward for the market to readily adopt efficient new technologies.”

Combined with the world’s fastest growing sector in clean technology, incubation is widely recognized as being one of the most cost effective economic development strategies for job creation.

“Securing National Incubator Initiative funding is a win for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and for the city as a whole,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This funding will further LA’s leadership in clean energy, and I know LACI will be key in creating jobs and opportunities to train Angelenos for tomorrow’s green careers, today.”

The 4C team leverages two next-generation physical centers designed to build and demonstrate new clean energy solutions, each strategically located in downtown Los Angeles and in Silicon Valley and connected to an extensive network of world-class partners, supporters, and affiliates.

“Teaming Prospect Silicon Valley and the LA Cleantech Incubator is a tremendous asset for San Jose and California,” said Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development and Chief Strategist, City of San Jose. “This partnership will bring critical resources to an under-served community. As the largest city in Northern California and an established center for clean-tech innovation, we look forward to more collaboration with LACI.”

Douglas Davenport, Executive Director of ProspectSV, added, “ProspectSV is really proud to be part of the 4C partnership and to be on California’s only team selected for this investment. Our work in the Bay Area is so complementary to LACI and the LA Basin, this really is an exciting time for us.”

There is no shortage of exciting clean energy technology emerging in California, evidenced in part by the 50 cleantech startups that qualify in the west each year for the nation’s largest clean technology accelerator, the Cleantech Open.

“Through the relationship with LACI, the NIICE grant and the programs it will enable, we now have great partners that can carry on the development and support of these startups after they’ve completed the Cleantech Open accelerator program,” said Erik Steeb, Executive Director of the Cleantech Open western division.

The 4C program will extend and unify help for these promising startups from idea to market adoption.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the LA Cleantech Incubator and Prospect Silicon Valley and help provide badly needed commercialization and incubation services throughout California to entrepreneurs developing clean technology for the largest environmental marketplace in the U.S.,” said Jim Robbins, Partner at BCD.

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the $3.2 million launch of the National Incubator Initiative for Clean Energy (NIICE) last week. Other recipients include regional projects based in Texas and the Midwest as well as a national organization coordinating clean-energy business incubators nationwide.

About the 4C Program Partners

logo_laci_200x100LACI is a non-profit, public-private partnership that helps promising companies deliver market-ready cleantech solutions, and the jobs that come with them. In a very short time, LACI has proven a successful incubation and commercialization model and established itself as a global leader among cleantech incubators. LACI combines universities, research, government support, capital, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and business association leaders in order to drive innovation throughout the regional economy. In its first 30 months, LACI incubated 30 companies that received over $30M in funding and created over 300 jobs. By 2016, LACI projects its companies will have created over 1,600 jobs and have generated over $80M in sales. A broad, regional approach allows LACI to serve over ten million people and act as the State of California’s largest regional Innovation Hub (iHub).
logo_psv_200x100ProspectSV is the first nonprofit, Silicon Valley-based commercialization catalyst for the next generation of technology for cities everywhere. ProspectSV provides a full spectrum of support to emerging technology companies, including access to the $12 million, 23,000 sq. ft. Technology Demonstration Center with working space and resources (lab facilities, specialized equipment), meeting rooms, and a suite of commercialization support services. ProspectSV provides unrivaled access to public infrastructure to develop and prove new efficient and effective technologies. ProspectSV partners with the entire ecosystem (from domain leaders and researchers to emerging technology companies to investors and municipalities), ultimately helping cities and companies alike save energy costs, reduce energy use and cut emissions.
logo_cto_200x100The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual accelerator and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has enabled 865 cleantech startups to bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helped its alumni companies raise more than $950M in external capital, and created thousands of green-collar jobs. Fueled by a global network of more than 1,500 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s and the world’s cleantech sectors a thriving economic engine.
logo_bcd_200x100BCD is a recognized leader in the creation of sector-focused business incubation, acceleration and technology commercialization programs for universities, corporations, and communities. BCD’s core services include business incubation/acceleration planning and development, incubator/accelerator operations and sustainability, innovation ecosystem strategies, cluster-based economic development approaches, and technology demonstration and commercialization programs.


LA Cleantech Incubator is getting room to grow

Work is set to begin on the 3.2-acre La Kretz Innovation Campus in L.A.’s arts district, which will give the nonprofit 10 times more space to nurture start-ups…

Read the full story here.

Article by Catherine Green, Los Angeles Times

“We have access to the resources and the connections and the ability to use local government, yet we’re run by entrepreneurs,” said Fred Walti, executive director of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. (Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles Times / June 18, 2013)

“We have access to the resources and the connections and the ability to use local government, yet we’re run by entrepreneurs,” said Fred Walti, executive director of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. (Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles Times / June 18, 2013)

Region’s Leading Cleantech Initiatives Unite

Clean Tech Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator join forces to increase both efficiency and impact




The region’s leading clean technology initiatives – Clean Tech Los Angeles (CTLA) and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) – are unifying to increase both efficiency and impact toward their complementary charter: champion and continue Los Angeles’ standing as a green economic powerhouse and world-class innovation hub. The CTLA Board of Directors has transitioned into a joint Leadership Council while a formal plan for combining both CTLA and LACI into a single entity is developed. In the interim, a single team with proven success will co-manage both organizations, led by executive director Fred Walti.

This new structure will bring together two organizations that are key to developing a vibrant clean tech economy in Los Angeles. CTLA convenes, markets, connects, and advocates for clean technology initiatives and constituents throughout the region. LACI helps commercialize promising clean technologies throughout Los Angeles by offering flexible office space, executive coaching and education, and access to a robust network of experts and capital to qualified startups. Together, they work to build and sustain a regional ecosystem that supports research, innovation and commercialization of clean and sustainable technologies.

As sister organizations, both CTLA and LACI emerged from the Mayor’s regional vision to build and sustain a world-class green economy in Los Angeles, rooted in the strengths of the region. Los Angeles boasts one of the largest global markets, world-class research and academic institutions, international trade dominance, and a talented workforce, all of which combine to make the region attractive to any business. With substantial policy mandates and practical commitments to sustainable, renewable and clean technologies, Los Angeles is already a dominant cleantech force. Both CTLA and LACI have leveraged these regional assets with strategic initiatives and programs aimed to grow the Los Angeles green economy into an international model for success.

“This integration has very clear benefits for both organizations. CTLA has achieved a great deal over the past five years. Combining staff and resources with LACI will reduce costs and increase output, critically important during these challenging economic times. This new management structure will eliminate staff redundancy and allow for a more efficient approach to operations in the long term. Moreover, functions such as human resources, facility and accounting will be combined, providing additional savings,” said Michael Swords, Board Chairman of CTLA.

Swords added, “Fred Walti and Neal Anderson have done an outstanding job at managing the development of LACI, and we believe that they will be able to leverage the assets of the combined organization in a way that will benefit the entire region.”

“As two organizations that are so highly aligned, formalizing that alignment and becoming more clear and efficient about what we do just makes sense,” said Fred Walti, Executive Director of LACI and CTLA. “Cooperation is key to making LA’s green economic leadership position a long-term one. This cooperative move is symbolic for what’s happening here in Los Angeles. With our market size, talent pool, research institutions, and growing pool of hard and soft incentives, if you’re in cleantech, Los Angeles is the place you want to start, build, grow, and headquarter your company.”

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a private nonprofit founded by the City of Los Angeles to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies in the Los Angeles region. Located in the center of the City’s Cleantech Corridor, LACI offers flexible office space, CEO coaching and mentoring, and access to a robust network of experts and capital. Incubated companies operate in a range of sectors including Smart Grid infrastructure, energy efficiency, energy storage, electric transportation, and materials science. LACI works closely with the region’s universities, business community, government institutions, capital markets and utilities to foster innovation and to grow the region’s green economy.

Clean Tech Los Angeles (CTLA), is a multi-institutional collaboration between UCLA, USC, Caltech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), Central City Association (CCA), Central City East Association and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), to establish Los Angeles as the global leader in the research, commercialization, and deployment of clean technologies.

For press information or images, please contact:
Gypsywing Media
Lolo Siderman

Hive’s plasma lights drive first all-battery-powered commercial for Chevy Volt

Imagine this… a TV commercial where the entire shoot is battery powered – the lights, cameras, and even the car.

LACI’s Hive Lighting has pulled off this first ever electrifying milestone with a beautiful Chevy Volt commercial (see video below – make sure to watch past 30 seconds to see the behind the scenes info).

Hive Lighting presents The Volt Plasma Challenge from Hive Lighting on Vimeo.

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.  There’s a lot to like about this from whatever angle you look.

As you can see, Hive’s lights make for gorgeous film.  The quality that plasma lights offer is unparalleled.

Without all of the cables, wires, distribution boxes, anchored lights, generators, and clutter you’d find on a traditional shoot, the creative team behind this commercial was highly mobile in ways that boosted their creative freedom, resulting in more shots in less time.

On the energy side, Hive’s plasma lights burn up to 90% less energy than conventional lights, and bulbs last 30x longer.  Plugging in lights that would otherwise require diesel generators (noisy, dirty, and expensive) is a big deal for budgets and breathing.

And, did we mention that they produce no heat?  No dripping makeup from sweating actors.  Fewer breaks.

You get it… super-efficient.

Learn more at


Argonne and LACI’s CalBattery strike deal for breakthrough battery technology

Argonne logo


The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and California Lithium Battery Inc. (CalBattery), a Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator portfolio company, announced today that they have signed a licensing agreement for an Argonne-developed, silicon-graphene composite anode material for high-energy lithium batteries.

CalBattery plans to move forward rapidly in the commercial scale-up and production of this breakthrough novel composite anode material, which tests show triples the energy capacity of the state-of-the-art graphite anode.

CalBattery has worked with Argonne for more than a year under a Work for Others agreement to develop the technology under the DOE’s Startup America program, which is part of a White House initiative to inspire and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship.

Startup America pairs innovative individuals, businesses, universities and foundations with a broad range of federal agencies with the goal of significantly increasing the number and success of American entrepreneurs.

“The CalBattery-Argonne collaboration is a shining example of the national public-private partnership enabled by DOE’s America’s Next Top Energy Innovator part of Startup America,” said Dr. Karina Edmonds, Technology Transfer Coordinator for DOE. “This technology was originally developed at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory as a result of Argonne’s ongoing pursuit to produce advanced battery materials that will substantially improve battery performance with products that startup companies can then take to global markets. This is the type of partnership envisioned by Startup America to boost U.S. competitiveness by supporting the high-growth startups across the country.”

“An important part of a national laboratory’s role is to perform research that enables U.S. industry to develop and manufacture advanced technologies to be marketed both domestically and internationally,” said Jeff Chamberlain, who heads Argonne’s Energy Storage Initiative and is Deputy Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research Energy Innovation Hub.

“Argonne’s research efforts support the continued development of the American economy, as well as job creation; so we are extremely pleased that the lab has been able to help CalBattery attain its goals by working with the company to develop an anode technology that it will be able to manufacture and commercialize,” Chamberlain added. “This deal demonstrates the Department of Energy’s enthusiastic and practical support of research that supports entrepreneurship and U.S.-based start-ups. It also reflects the value DOE places on basic science as the basis for innovative advanced technologies like advanced lithium-ion batteries.”

CalBattery is a portfolio start-up company headquartered at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), which was started by The City of LA and the LA Department of Water and Power in 2011.

Read the full announcement here

The Relationship of Art and New Technology in LA’s Cleantech Corridor

Excerpt below from full article by Lynette Woo at Untapped Cities


…Jon Miller, Chief Technical Officer of Hive Lighting, meets me at his office in the temporary LACI building on Hewitt Street in Downtown. Hive is one of the portfolio companies housed at the Incubator, which provides affordable workspace for green startups and connects them with business mentorship and potential investors. We walk less than a block down Hewitt to the ultra urban chic Urth Caffe to grab coffee and discuss the less-than-obvious relationship between the Los Angeles Arts District and the burgeoning Clean Tech Corridor.

The first thing Miller points out is something we rarely think about: that Los Angeles has history. In the epicenter of “the next best thing,” particularly in the warehouse-turned-arts district, lies a rich core knowledge – the necessary know-how and equipment – for technology development based on the aerospace, shipping, automobile, and manufacturing industries that have called the city home over the years…

Read the full article at Untapped Cities