Category: N-PortfolioCompanies

Portfolio Companies

Dave Twomey and Juicer

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juicer.pc-fIn the search for authenticity in today’s consumer culture, words like “artisanal”, “one-of-a-kind”, and “custom” get thrown around rather casually, in a longing for a time when mass production and homogeny didn’t define American transportation options.

In a remote garage workshop in the hills of Echo Park overlooking Los Angeles, Dave Twomey combines cultural and artistic inspiration from Southern California’s past with the electric vehicle industry and green movement that are shaping the region’s future to create Juicer Electric Motorbicycles. Hand-built by Dave himself, each bike is a product that combines components of lifestyle, culture, and art in ways that set it far apart from other e-bikes on the market.

Originally from Oakland, California, Dave moved south as a young man to study design at UCLA. Having a deep appreciation for SoCal-born art, Dave cites Robert Williams, George Barris, Big Daddy Roth and Von Dutch as some of his influences. LA being the home of lowbrow art, kustom kulture, and hot-rod culture, these were the forces that shaped the inspiration for what would eventually become Juicer. Looking closer, it’s clear how Juicer pays homage to these artists and movements. “Kids back in the ‘50s would buy the cheapest cars around, leftovers from the ‘20s and ‘30s, and turn them into hot rods, making them special and personal. That’s been going on ever since – Long Beach, East LA, San Diego, and now Hollywood all have this strong car culture. Crazy, imaginative machines come out of Southern California, and I think it’s only appropriate that Juicer be thrown into the mix”. Accordingly, Dave runs Juicer as a custom shop and builds each bike to the buyer’s specifications. For people who share Dave’s love for working with their hands, he builds the Juicer anticipating the prospect of customers “tricking out” the bike with simple hand tools themselves – encouraging a 21st century incarnation of hot rod culture by way of an electric vehicle.

In addition to the cultural influences of Southern California, the Juicer was also inspired by the first motorcycles of the early 20th century. Specifically, Dave references loop frame bikes of the board track era in the 1910s. He points out that for the first time since that day and age, the components of an electric bike are equivalent in power and weight as they were in traditional motorcycles 100 years ago. To him, it’s natural for the Juicer to resemble bikes of that era. While most electric motor vehicles hide their components behind plastic fairings, Dave makes it a point to be honest with the materials, showing them for what they are and arranging them in a visually harmonious way. “Part of the appeal and sexiness of a cruiser bike is that you can see the motor, see the belts and chain spinning, and so far that’s been an unfulfilled niche in two wheeled electric vehicles”. Where motors served as the central focal point of early motorcycles, Juicer applies the principle of form following function to Juicer’s electric battery pack.

Post-JuicerIMG_4986_Photo2The craftsmanship, design, and philosophy behind the Juicer certainly differentiate it from other e-bikes out there. While most of these products are aimed at avid cyclists, Dave’s work aims to appeal to motorheads. “I see the electric bike not as a bicycle-plus, but as its own type of vehicle, one that’s underexplored. Rather than looking for customers who want to pedal around or want a longer range, I’m looking for people who want to ride”. This includes young people in the beach communities who can commute in comfort, ease, and style, and older customers who are moving off their motorcycles but don’t want to totally give up the cruising lifestyle.

Through targeting the latter, Dave feels he can make a larger impact as a green company by widening the net of potential EV customers. Instead of competing with other e-bike companies for the same group of clean-minded consumers, Juicer is a product that “reaches across the aisle”, bringing some of the worst eco-offenders into the clean energy fold, without having to compromise a powerful machine and some of the physical and aesthetic characteristics they’re accustomed to.

Dave is an artist whose work juxtaposes the past with the future, while filling an underrepresented niche in the electric vehicle market. His long-term goal is for Juicer to survive as an idea, and he is looking for partners in the industry to further evolve this new way of thinking about electric cruisers.

“When the EV museum is 50 years old, what will be in the collection of today’s era? I don’t think it’s going to be the plastic scooters or bikes that have disposable battery packs. I’m trying to make something that is repairable, customizable, and serviced by the end user. This seems like an old fashioned idea today, where we throw away our devices as soon as they stop working or the next new thing comes out.”

To that end, Juicer combines a classic aesthetic in form and craftsmanship with modern technology to create something truly authentic, bringing the vitality of Southern California’s cultural and artistic past into the 21st century.

For now, Dave’s days are spent building in his garage, doing what he loves, building on a little-known idea that has the potential to make a big impact – environmentally, culturally, and artistically.

By: Kara Mazareas
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Q & A with Freewire’s Co-Founder and CEO Arcady Sosinov

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In your words, what is FreeWire?

FreeWire is innovative, agile, and fast. In just over a year we went from an idea about mobile electric vehicle (EV) charging to production-ready units called Mobis. We talked to our customers, identified their pain points, and created a solution designed specifically to address them. Mobis allow us to perform Charging as a Service, where chargers are brought to the vehicles instead vehicles being brought to the chargers. Blocked stations, range anxiety, and charge rage are all things of the past with FreeWire. Mobis also eliminate the need for expensive, time-consuming infrastructure projects that ultimately result in underutilized assets. FreeWire is the future of EV charging: easy, scalable, and upgradeable.

What was your inspiration for starting FreeWire?

I’ve had a passion for all things automotive since I was a kid, doing my first brake job at 7 and engine swap at 11. I developed a passion for entrepreneurship about the same time. When I entered Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad class at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, in an age defined by powerhouse software companies, I knew I wanted to start a company that made a physical product. California was in the throes of a burgeoning EV market and issues with insufficient charging infrastructure were starting to crop up. Leveraging my experience with the automotive industry and my co-founder’s engineering expertise seemed like a perfect combination to address these issues.

What did you do before FreeWire?

I spent the last five years in finance doing emerging market analysis and modeling for a large hedge fund based out of Boston. Before that I was a SQL developer for an accounting software company. I’ve consulted, worked on requirements-gathering, and even started a company selling modified exhausts for BMW M3s. I like to cast a wide net.

What are the best and most difficult parts of running a startup company?

The best parts are the good days. When you get great feedback from investors, strong pull from customers, and good publicity. The worst parts are the bad days, when you question whether there’s anyone who actually wants what you’re selling.

What motivates you to keep at it?

FreeWire is my baby. I dedicate more time, money, and effort than I should, it sometimes kicks me in the shins, and yet I love it unconditionally. Even after a streak of bad days, the rush you get after nailing a pitch and making someone else get as excited as you are makes it all worthwhile.

Where are you from originally? What brought you to LA/ California?

I was born in Russia, but I spent most of my life in Boston. After graduating from Boston University and working in the area for a few years I decided to go back to school for my MBA. I was ready for a break from the Boston winters and had a love for California from the first time I visited. Being accepted to Berkeley’s Haas School of Business sealed the deal, and I headed for the west coast.

The company being founded out of Berkeley’s Haas school, could you tell the readers a little about that process?

One of the classes I took at Haas was Lean Launchpad taught by Steve Blank, who is the father of the lean startup methodology. His philosophy is all about customer discovery, that you shouldn’t spend a dollar on product until you’ve talked to your customers. So that’s exactly what we did. We spent three months traveling all around the Bay Area talking to stakeholders, from EV drivers and facilities managers to politicians and utilities. This was crucial to FreeWire’s pivot from wireless charging to mobile charging. We hypothesized that plugging in was a major pain point which needed to be addressed, but our customers helped us realize that it doesn’t help with the real problems: boring into concrete, laying conduit, permitting, and all the other hassles associated with major construction projects.

Why did you apply to be a portfolio company at LACI?

For the network and support. LACI is the premier cleantech incubator in the United States and is an organization that we absolutely wanted to be aligned with.

How has LACI helped your company?

LACI has made introductions to dozens of potential investors and has provided great advice on a number of our key business decisions. They’ve also generated several leads on the business development side to help us penetrate the LA market. We’ve even entered into a business relationship with another LACI portfolio company, Hive Lighting, to distribute our products for the entertainment industry.

What are the best parts of your relationship with LACI?

I have a fantastic relationship with our Executive in Residence; we’ve kept up with our weekly calls since joining LACI, and amazingly each one is still valuable. Another member of LACI invested in our company personally, so there’s never been a moment to question LACI’s commitment to our success.

Tell us about some of the milestones you’ve reached as a company so far

A lot in short amount of time:

• Idea

• Customer Discovery

• Refined Idea

• Prototype

• Angel Round

• Pre-Production Units

• Production Units

What are some of your short and long-term goals for FreeWire?

Short-term: promote EV adoption using our Mobi Charger and reduce reliance on diesel generators using our Mobi Gen. We have commercial-ready products that earn revenue today and be used to fund our long-term goals.

Long-term: create an ecosystem for second-life EV batteries and be the preferred partner for OEMs. We have the creativity to find innovative solutions to the problems people are currently facing plus the business and engineering skills to execute our ideas. The OEMs are sitting on a valuable asset and we can be the ones to help them unlock it.

How do you see your company having an impact on society at large- environmentally, economically, socially or in other ways?

FreeWire’s contributions to the environment are obvious:

• Reducing reliance on fossil fuels through increased EV adoption, facilitated by increased charging capacity.

• Reducing reliance on fossil fuels by replacing diesel generators with battery-based alternatives.

• Stabilizing the grid by pulling energy at off-peak times and delivering it at peak times.

But there are several social components as well:

• Reduce range anxiety (people being worried about driving an EV because they don’t know if it will have enough range to get home) by providing more charging in more locations, including EV rescue charging.

• Reduce charge rage (people unplugging each other, sitting in EV charging spots all day even if they only need to charge for an hour) that stem from limited charging capacity.

We’re working to make EV charging as much of an afterthought as filling a car with gas.

Learn more about FreeWire
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A Future So Bright: 10 questions with Pick My Solar Co-founders Max Aram and Chris Blevins

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Since Max and Chris started Pick My Solar in 2013, they’ve taken the company from a two-person operation out of a studio apartment in Northridge to being named 2015’s Small Business of the Year by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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Read on to learn more about Max, Chris, and Pick My Solar’s story – and the bright future ahead for these LA-based entrepreneurs.

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In your words, what is Pick My Solar?

Max: Pick My Solar is an online marketplace that connects homeowners to solar installers through our online bidding platform. We create competition between installers to get the best deals for our customers. As you might know, the solar industry is suffering from a lot of noise that is preventing people from getting the best information. We want to disrupt this market and help homeowners go solar with confidence. The best part is that we don’t charge our customers anything– our service is completely free.

What inspired you to start the company?

Chris: Directly before starting Pick My Solar, I was working in the solar industry in sales, and I found that solar was getting sold for double, sometimes triple what it should be sold for. Salesmen are trained to manipulate and outright lie to homeowners, resulting in a lot of people getting ripped off. At that point, I realized that something needed to be done.

Max: When I started my Master’s degree in Germany, I was exposed to renewable energy and sustainability in general. I came to the US and I realized that the solar market here was very fragmented and totally different from Germany. I knew there was great potential for solar technology to shape the future of our energy model. When I met Chris, we hit it off from the first moment and I realized that he was the partner I needed to start the company I was envisioning.

Where are you from originally? What brought you to LA?

Chris: I’m from Long Island, New York. I went to school in upstate New York, got a mechanical engineering degree, and after that I moved to New Zealand. That’s where I first started to become more of an environmentalist, getting in touch with taking care of the planet because that’s so ingrained in New Zealand’s culture. When I came back, I got a civil engineering job and started a few businesses that were online customer connection services. I flew out to California in 2013 with the hopes of eventually starting a business, but didn’t have a set plan. I crashed on my buddy’s couch for a week, got a job working in solar, and met Max not too far after that.

Max: I left Iran in 2009, 10 days after the fraudulent presidential election. There was chaos and I got into some problems being a student activist. I went to Germany to get my Master’s in global production engineering with a focus on solar. After a few semesters, I had the opportunity to come to the US and I think I made a really great choice. I don’t think an immigrant has the opportunities available here in the states anywhere else in the world. I came here August 2010, landed in Burbank, took a bus to Northridge, and continued my Master’s at CSUN.

How did the two of you meet?

Chris: We met at a solar training course – where solar companies train salesmen, teaching them different tactics before they’re sent into the field. I was there as part of my job, Max was there researching how solar is marketed and sold. Three months later he invites me over to his apartment, tells me the idea he had for a business and we stay up all night talking about it. I didn’t sleep at my house for a week, I kept crashing at his place so eventually I just moved into his apartment.

Max: At the time, we both had full time jobs and said, “ok, this idea is going to be the solution this industry needs. We’re going to disrupt the solar market”. We quit our jobs to dedicate our lives to building Pick My Solar. I had a 600 square foot studio apartment in Northridge, we used boards from IKEA to divide work space from living space. We worked out of there for about 10 months until we joined LACI.

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Why did you apply to be a portfolio company at LACI?

Max: Before joining LACI, there were two of us. We were two young kids with a great idea. When we joined LACI we started gaining more attention and respect from the industry and partners. The introductions that LACI has made for us have directly contributed to many of our achievements as a company.

How has LACI helped your company?

Chris: The mentorship is fantastic. We don’t have the experience of growing a company, but our mentors at LACI have been there and done that. Every single question we had – from how to write a proper business email to which strategic direction was best for the company – they had a meaningful answer.

Running a startup company can be a challenging experience. What motivates you to keep at it?

Chris: Our concern for the environment definitely plays a key role. Additionally, I was disgusted with the way the solar industry was bullying homeowners and trying to rip them off. Time and again I saw well-intentioned homeowners throw up their hands in frustration and give up on going solar. It was messed up that salespeople were destroying this new technology’s image by selling it the wrong way. We wanted to change that.

Max: Personally, since my childhood, I’ve loved to build things. My brain works in a way that when I face a problem, I can’t get over it. Either there’s a solution out there that I have to find, or else I have to create one. The solar industry had a problem. Making the impact on the environment and on people’s finances is something that motivates me every day. Every time we receive an email or on a phone call from a happy customer that appreciates our service, that keeps us going.

How do you like doing business in the Los Angeles area?

Max: As an immigrant, the reason I chose LA is because of the diversity – people are very open-minded. That doesn’t just apply to how people interact with each other, but also to their willingness to accept new ideas. It was easier for us to offer such a different solution and have people embrace it. That’s a great part of this culture in LA – we are blessed to start a company here.

Chris: I think it’s great that a lot of people aren’t from here. Everybody has the same attitude – we all came to LA for a reason, to experience something new – and that really builds off of what we’re trying to create. Our solution resonates well with Angelenos. Of course, the weather is great and electricity rates are extremely high – which makes even more sense for solar.

Tell us about some of the milestones you’ve reached as a company so far

Max: At the end of Q4 2014, we closed over a million dollars in generated sales. We’ve also provided over 15,000 Californians with solar pricing data from our no-obligation online solar price calculator. These were major milestones because they validated our concept and proved that the price of solar on our platform is lower than the market leaders. We were also named 2015 Outstanding Small Business by Mayor Garcetti, which was a big deal for us, showing that the City of LA values our contribution in helping to make it a world leader in the Green movement.

Chris: We recently won a grant from the Department of Energy to develop a first-of- its-kind app called PVimpact. PVimpact will be a universal tool for all solar homes to connect to the information grid. The technology aggregates three pieces of data: the homeowner’s electricity use, solar system production, and contractual details of the solar system. PVimpact will provide homeowners with their system’s true savings in a completely software solution, while providing utility companies assistance in demand side management. The app will be rolled out to all Pick My Solar customers this summer, then expanding to the rest of the U.S. residential solar market in the fall.

What are some of your goals for the company?

Chris: Solar is such a cutting edge technology, but it is predominantly sold the way aluminum siding was sold in the 1960’s – door to door. We are firmly convinced that solar deserves to be sold with the leading technological resource of our era – the internet. We really want to change the way that solar is sold, and the way homeowners think about going solar.

Max: Our long-term goal is to become one of the biggest solar companies in the nation without a single boot on the ground. We don’t need installation crews like these vertically integrated companies. What we’re doing is creating an online market place – a bidding platform that brings homeowners together with the best local installers. We have all seen this model work across numerous business segments, and we know it will become the norm for the solar market.

Learn more at www.pickmysolar.com
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Second Chances, A Third Way

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When Kabira Stokes drove cross-country from Philadelphia at age 22, like many East Coast transplants she was fascinated by the idea of Los Angeles. In contrast to New York, LA – in Kabira’s mind – was “a story still being written.” Fast-forward to 2015 and a career in public service, a master’s degree, and a successful startup business later, Kabira and her company Isidore Electronics Recycling are contributing to the LA story – for the better.

Isidore logo

A full service electronics recycling and repair company in addition to being a vintage electronics supplier, Isidore  recycles electronics in an environmentally responsible way while providing training and jobs for Angelenos facing  barriers to employment. Formerly incarcerated and homeless job seekers can find a place there. While many organizations that serve these segments of the population are non-profit, Isidore is a for-profit company, which, as Kabira explained, demonstrates a “third way” of doing business:

 

We’re here to make money, but equally, we’re here to make a social and environmental impact.

Kabira’s inspiration for the company came during her days working as a field deputy for then-Los Angeles City Councilmember Eric Garcetti. Dealing directly with constituents facing issues with gangs and crime in their neighborhoods, Kabira saw what she called “the demonization” of people who have been to prison and the difficulties they faced trying to build a new life after serving their time. “These people paid their debt to society and were ready to work again, but because of a lack of opportunity they’d often end up committing crimes again, perpetuating an all-too-common cycle,” explained Kabira.

Witnessing firsthand one of the root causes of the prison recidivism rate, Kabira was determined to get a Masters in Public Policy to equip herself with the knowledge to begin to provide a solution. While studying the California penal system and workforce development, her mentor Van Jones posed a pivotal question: “Do you want to create the policy to create jobs? Or just create jobs?” That was when the idea for Isidore Electronics Recycling was born.

Since Isidore’s establishment, Kabira co-founded “Impact Recyclers”, a national network of 7 socially responsible e-waste companies built on the triple bottom line model. Kabira had a larger goal in co-creating the network: to redefine the recycling of e-waste as an American industry. Hundreds of thousands of tons of e-waste are shipped overseas and often times aren’t processed in environmentally responsible ways. Impact Recyclers works to keep those jobs in the U.S., providing employment for the segments of our population that have the most difficulty finding work, and minimizing the impact of e-waste on the global environment.

Kabira applied to be a portfolio company at LACI at her company’s most difficult time. The warehouse that she was operating out of burned down, as did most of her business. Two months later, her co-founder quit. After losing almost everything, “I needed a team, and LACI became my team. We met weekly to get the business back up and running. I wouldn’t be here without them.” In addition to helping the company in the aftermath of the warehouse fire, Kabira credits LACI with providing instrumental help with Isidore’s financial modeling, projections, finding resources for the company, and providing ongoing mentorship and guidance.

Starting and running a successful company, especially as a woman in a male dominated industry, isn’t the easiest endeavor. When Kabira was asked what keeps her going during difficult times her answer was simple and immediate: her workers. “It means a lot to have created an environment where people aren’t judged by the worst thing they ever did, they’re judged by how they did at work that day. The power of giving people a second chance, the way they respond to being giving that chance is just amazing. For a lot of my workers, this is the first real job they’ve ever had.”

Kabira’s short-term goals for Isidore Electronics Recycling are focused on raising capital so she can to hire more workers and provide her current ones with better wages. Long term, she hopes that her model can be replicated and expanded beyond Los Angeles. Kabira and her company demonstrate the positive impact that entrepreneurship can have on the environment, an industry, and in the lives of the people employed through her mission. The triple bottom line of “people, profit, and planet” continues to motivate Kabira as her business grows – and inspire those who are a part of it.

www.isidorerecycling.com

Pick My Solar wins US DOE grant for app development

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App will be the first to deliver real-time solar data to consumers

LACI Portfolio Company Pick My Solar was awarded federal funding to develop PVimpact, a tool that aims to make it easy for all solar homes to connect to the information grid. The app is being designed to benefit homeowners, solar installers, manufacturers, and utilities by analyzing homeowners’ energy use in real time.

Keep an eye out for it this summer (free to all Pick My Solar customers), then available to the rest of the U.S. residential solar market in early fall.

Shark Wheel Gains Traction

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“Like most great inventions, you fall into it. It’s an accident,” says the man behind the wheel, Zack Fleishman. It started out as a quirky rendition of a long-board wheel but has been validated as a real innovation that outperforms a normal wheel and has set the skateboarding community abuzz. The company has now sold and delivered over 10,000 wheels.

The Discovery Channel sought out the guys who reinvented the wheel to understand the dynamics of their novelty invention and to test out the Shark Wheel. Positive feedback from happy customers continues to roll in and numerous people have given Shark Wheel their seal of approval – including skateboarding godfather, Tony Hawk…

Since the company’ Kickstarter campaign received over one million views and raised nearly 800% of their goal, Shark Wheel has been engaged by over 200 international distributors and signed up 27 countries for exclusive distribution. Fleishman endeavors to keep the success rolling by seeking out strategic investors to help the company reach its potential and to raise enough funding to stock a sufficient inventory and expand into other markets; these markets may include military vehicles, strollers, roller skating, friction drive wind turbines, wheelchairs, luggage, and almost any market with a wheel.

Here’s a 1st-person perspective of bombing a hill with Shark Wheels…

Get your own set of of Shark Wheels here.

Revoterial and PickMySolar Win $125,000 from Innovation Fund SoCal

Congrats to Revoterial and PickMySolar for winning a combined $125,000 from the Kauffman Foundation backed Innovation Fund SoCal.  The LACI Portfolio Companies nabbed 2 of the 3 funding opportunities available in the initial award today, announced by the fund managers Long Beach City College (LBCC).

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Awardees were selected through a competitive review process that included an initial application and two rounds of pitches before selection panels comprised of a cross-section of professionals with technical, industry, financial, business, commercialization and start-up experience and expertise.

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Yotam Solomon Revoterial

It is a privilege and an honor to work with Innovation Fund SoCal at Long Beach City College and gain valuable financial support and coaching to take our innovative materials to market.

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Max Aram PickMySolar

Innovation Fund SoCal’s support will allow us to expand and scale our business with key hires and perform market validation to change the way solar is bought and sold today. Being selected for the award is an honor and also furthers our goal to provide transparent solar education to homeowners, and maximize the quality and simplicity of our service to push solar towards a tipping point.

Click here for the full story.

Hyperlight Energy Cuts Ribbons and Breaks New Ground

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SoCalGas, the California Energy Commission, and San Diego State University have combined forces to bring LACI Portfolio Company Hyperlight Energy’s cutting-edge technology to life. The Hyperlight demonstration project produces hot water and steam using an innovative solar thermal design that is much cheaper than the current model.
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Research began seven years ago and installation of the equipment took place in the first quarter of 2014.

Located at SDSU’s Center for Energy Sustainability on the Imperial Valley Campus

Hyperlight’s innovation will help commercial, industrial and agricultural facilities throughout California to lower both emissions and energy bills. This new technology will make existing facilities more efficient by harnessing the energy from the sun, and coupled with natural gas, can help California achieve its renewable energy goals.

Hyperlight Energy CEO, John King, noted that this project shines light on the uniqueness of Southern California as one of the few places in the world where a Fortune 500 energy utility, a world-class energy agency, a university, and a small new technology innovator can come together to create a powerful combination. The CEC and SoCalGas deployed $2M into Hyperlight technology through their respective programs and SDSU provided the site for the project.

The pioneers behind the Hyperlight Energy installation.

The full press release can be read here: http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140508-911939.html
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Safeway Endorses Repurpose

Congrats to Repurpose Compostables, who will roll out their products in 500 Safeway stores this summer, just in time for 4th of July BBQs and parties.  We’d love to see more folks use Repurpose to avoid those petroleum-based red cups that always pile up, and never break down.

Repurpose has been a catalyst for change in the consumer products industry by educating people about the necessity to shift current consumption habits away from plastics. Now, retailers are assuaging the demand of their customers and adding plant-based disposables to their inventory.

LACI welcomes Ecoponex, Isidore, Revoterial, and Sun-Engine to the family

Please welcome four exciting additions to the LACI family: Ecoponex, Isidore, Revoterial, and Sun-Engine.

Reviewing and vetting the folks that apply to LACI is a labor of love, and we see a lot of great people, ideas and companies. Only the best get in. Please join us in welcoming four of the newest companies in the LACI portfolio.
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Ecoponex Systems International

World-class, closed-loop system to produce healthy food, pure water, and renewable energy at 50x the per acre output of land today.

Benjamin Brant invites us to imagine an urban farm… a “living machine” that converts solar energy and natural ingredients into food. It creates fresh, pure water (even from wastewater) as an afterthought. And its done in a system that actually produces more energy than it needs. Now, imagine it in the middle of LA, as a vertical farm that diverts waste, delivers healthy / organic food, and creates good jobs and a learning environment for the community. Oh, and it can be more profitable than most commercial buildings.

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Isidore Electronics Recycling

Woman-owned, triple bottom line social enterprise that combines best practices in e-waste management with training and jobs for previously incarcerated Angelenos who face barriers to employment.

Kabira Stokes isn’t in the commodity business… she’s using it as a metaphor for social and environmental transformation. By re-imagining what “recycling” means, Isidore combines what we all know we should do (re- and up-cycle yesterday’s electronics), with what we all deep down want to do (help people that deserve a second chance). Hardworking people coming out of our prison systems get good jobs with a purpose at Isidore, taking the 75% of electronics that end up in the dump and transforming them back into useful stuff in Los Angeles. What’s not to like?

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Revoterial

Materials that are 100% natural and renewable, incredibly durable, and designed to simplify and clean up the highly toxic fashion industry efficiently and cost effectively.

Yotam Solomon is good at breaking boundaries. As a highly-accomplished fashion designer, he quickly disarms the most skeptical technologists with his knowledge of material science and the nuts and bolts of how the fashion industry works. Good thing too, as he’s bringing to market materials that are tested and safe enough to put into our bodies through surgery, yet promise to deliver clothing and accessories that are 100% natural and recyclable, more durable, cheaper and simpler than anything available today.

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Sun-Engine

Combines breakthrough heat engine with industry-leading solar thermal technology to produce clean electrical energy 24/7, generating 5 to 10 times more kWh per square foot than conventional PV systems.

Tim Biehler and Benjamin Brant (yes, of Ecoponex as well) have learned a few things over their decades of experience in renewable energy, like how to integrate best-of-breed systems. Today, everybody understands solar, as well as its limitations (like, complete reliance on that largest of bodies, the Sun). Well, cloudy days may well be behind us, as these fine folks have figured out how to combine patented systems to deliver 100% renewable energy 24 hours a day, at a greatly reduced cost to today’s solar arrays.


About LACI

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 infrastructure, energy efficiency, energy storage, transportation, water, agriculture, 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.

Once the permanent La Kretz Innovation Campus opens in 2015, LACI is expected to sustainably accelerate the growth of dozens more promising companies and entrepreneurs in world-class facilities that include wet labs, dry labs, prototype manufacturing space, conference space, and strategically aligned partners all in one convenient location.  It is anticipated that, over its first five years, LACI can help create over 1,600 direct and indirect jobs.