Category: News Featured

Statement By Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

Statement By Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI):

The Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator thanks Rep. Nanette Barragán for successfully advocating for the inclusion of language directing the US DOE to fund an innovative electric-vehicle-sharing program for public housing residents in the 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill. The language directs the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to prioritize providing grants and technical assistance to public housing agencies to establish EV car-sharing programs for their residents. The goal is to ensure equity in the rollout of clean electric transportation by creating opportunities for disadvantaged residents and people of color to participate in the transformation now, and reap the benefits of cleaner air and advanced technology.

This language was based on the bill Rep. Barragán introduced in 2022: H.R. 6662, the EVs for All Act, which provides $50 million each year for 10 years to expand access to EVs for public housing residents. The bill idea was based on LACI’s successful pilot EV car-sharing program at HACLA’s Rancho San Pedro public housing project in Barragán’s San Pedro district. Residents paid $3/hour to use two dedicated EVs located at the project. The San Pedro pilot program is continuing alongside LACI’s recently launched e-Bike loan program, Good2Go.

Matt Petersen,
President and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

Reflecting on a powerful 2022 and sharing excitement for what lies ahead in 2023

I hope this note finds you enjoying time with loved ones, having returned to celebrating in person with friends, family, and colleagues once again.

As we approach years end and reflect on 2022, I am inspired by what the LACI team as well as all our entrepreneurs, workforce training graduates, and partners have accomplished and made possible in the last year. As we work to create an inclusive green economy here in Los Angeles—including moving at speed and scale to meet the climate crisis—through advancing equitable solutions, there are a few highlights from the last year that stand out:

  • 58 new companies joined our cleantech incubation and small business impact acceleration programs – read about them and their incredible climate solutions here. One of our startups focused on EV charging recently closed a $40M series A, which demonstrates that cleantech remains strong during these more uncertain times.
  • The nation’s first cleantech debt fund was created by LACI to deploy $6M to cleantech startups needing affordable working capital. The fund does not require personal collateral or credit scores which is both unique and key to remove barriers for female, Black, and Brown founders in accessing capital to scale their business.
  • 122 individuals graduated from our workforce training program, including our first ever all female EV charger maintenance course—that’s almost TWICE the number of participants we served in 2021. Our workforce training program was also highlighted by Mayor Karen Bass in her Affordability policy agenda.
  • We came closer to achieving the Transportation Electrification Partnerships’ targets for 2028 and reaching our equity goals thanks to $100M in new funding secured in the California state budget for zero emissions drayage charging infrastructure thanks to an effort LACI organized with the mayors and ports of LA and Long Beach, labor and community groups.
  • The nation’s first statewide Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Equity Advocate was created in the Governor’s office through SB1251 legislation that was sponsored by LACI and carried by Senator Lena Gonzalez.
  • The Omnibus spending bill passed last week by the U.S. Congress includes two items that LACI worked with Rep. Nanette Barragan to make possible, directing the US Dept of Energy to “prioritize funding for EV car share programs at public housing facilities” (modeled on our San Pedro startup and community innovation pilot) and $1.5M for a heavy duty drayage truck charging pilot near the ports.
  • The La Kretz Innovation Campus returned to its vital role for the cleantech community, and we were fortunate to host several high-ranking visitors who came to learn about our work, tour the campus, and meet our entrepreneurs and workforce trainees. Guests included Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, California Governor Gavin Newsom, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
  • We were also honored to have hosted newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass with whom we look forward to working with to deepen our efforts building an equitable and inclusive green economy for ALL Angelenos.

These victories and milestones translate to impact. And we look forward to doing more together in 2023.

On behalf of everyone at LACI, I thank you for your support. We wish you and yours a very happy, healthy, green holiday and a prosperous, equitable year ahead!

Matt Petersen
LACI CEO

New e-Bike Pilot Program “Good2GoBikes Powered by LACI” Launches to Serve Low-Income Residents of Rancho San Pedro

First-of-its-kind initiative, funded by the California Air Resources Board and developed in partnership with HACLA, provides a new, accessible and affordable transportation solution

SAN PEDRO, November 3, 2022 — The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), in partnership with Pedal Movement, officially launched a new, first-of-its-kind zero-emission, micro-mobility pilot, making e-bikes and e-cargo bikes available for affordable rental to Rancho San Pedro residents. LACI and HACLA also announced their commitment to extend the successful EV Car Share pilot program at Rancho San Pedro for another year.

“E-bikes are going to play a prominent role in the transformation of how we move people and goods emission-free through the greater Los Angeles region, especially in dense urban areas,” said Matt Petersen, LACI’s President and CEO. “We’re glad to bring this exciting new transportation technology to residents who suffer from exposure to the Los Angeles region’s worst air pollution and lack access to transportation. It’s time we brought clean transportation technology to the communities bearing the burden of fossil fuel emissions.”

“Residents of the Rancho San Pedro community rely heavily on mass transportation, but most of their essential destinations are within 2-3 miles of home. E-bikes and e-cargo bikes will fill a neglected  transportation need that is critically important to underserved residents,” said HACLA Chief Strategic Development Officer Jenny Scanlin. “We are proud to host the first e-bike fleet pilot for affordable housing residents, and are excited to collaborate once again with LACI on this exciting innovation in urban transportation.”

“Good2Go Bikes” is funded by the California’ Air Resources Board’s Clean Mobility Options (CMO) Voucher program. It is a statewide public program that empowers under-resourced communities to better understand and overcome mobility obstacles, through vouchers that fund community needs assessments and clean, shared, zero-emission transportation projects.

“Providing zero-emission transportation solutions for historically underserved communities like Rancho San Pedro is a top priority for California,” said Sydney Vergis, chief of the California Air Resources Board’s Mobile Source Control Division. “It’s great to see projects like this one that are designed to truly meet a community’s transportation needs. That’s the idea behind CARB’s statewide Clean Mobility Options program — to meet transportation needs as identified by the people who live there. Congratulations to a great partnership that includes local residents, local and state government, the cleantech incubator and a mobility startup that made it all possible.”

“We believe that when more people use bicycles for transportation, streets are safer and communities prosper,” said Pedal Movement Co-Founder and CEO John Tully. “Good2Go Bikes is a celebration of collaboration to empower communities with transportation solutions that offer residents greater accessibility to economical transportation, and healthier, more prosperous cities.”

“Good2Go Bikes” is a four year LACI pilot that will equip the city’s 21-acre housing project with a fleet of sixteen e-bikes and four e-cargo bikes, along with a portable off grid charging hub, provided by partner Pedal Movement, who will also maintain the fleet and offer technical support to resident riders. Participants become members of the program by registering online to confirm they are RSP residents and obtain access codes to use with the custom app developed to support the program. Riders can choose between a “pay as you go” plan for $2 for the first hour and 50 cents for each subsequent hour; or a monthly plan for up to 20 hours per month for $20, plus 50 cents for each additional hour. Once residents have created an account they can use the app to check for availability and reserve an e-bike in advance, or use the app on-site to simply swipe, unlock and ride an e-Bike.

“Good 2 Go Bikes” is LACI’s fifth community-based pilot and was deployed upon the conclusion of LACI and HACLA’s first community mobility pilot at Rancho San Pedro – a one year EV Car Share program that inspired the EVs for All Act, SB 6662, authorized by Rep. Nannette Barragan. This bill would authorize up to $50 million in annual appropriations from 2022-2031 for a new grant program with the Department of Energy in coordination with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). The bill would help public housing authorities and local governments invest in electric vehicles (EV), EV charging stations, community education and outreach, and other services and incentives to provide access to EVs in underserved communities.

The community commemorated the launch of the “Good2Go Bikes” program with ride demonstrations and a community celebration.

The Rancho San Pedro community is adjacent to the Port of Long Beach and is burdened with some of the dirtiest air in Southern California. A recent Los Angeles Times story reported that just last year, diesel particulate increased 42%, nitrogen oxides grew 35% and sulfur oxides rose 38% at the Port

E-bikes provide many unique benefits to users while advancing the goal of making transportation cleaner, safer and more accessible. E-bikes, powered by rechargeable batteries, allow faster travel than conventional bicycles but with less stress and physical impact on riders, especially on hills and inclines. As the name suggests, E-Cargo bikes are designed to enable riders to transport groceries, packages and supplies. The New York Times has dubbed e-bikes “one of the fastest-growing forms of urban transportation.”

ABOUT

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is creating an inclusive green economy for the people of Los Angeles by unlocking innovation by working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies, transforming markets through partnerships with policymakers, innovators, and market leaders in transportation, energy, and sustainable cities, and enhancing communities through workforce development, pilots, and other programs. Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI Global. In the past ten years, LACI has helped 375 portfolio companies raise $697 million in funding, generated $323 million in revenue, and created 2,565 jobs throughout the Los Angeles region, with a projected 5-year economic impact of more than $573 million. Learn more at www.laci.org.

CMO is a statewide initiative that provides funding for zero-emission shared mobility options to under-resourced communities in California. CMO is available throughout California to eligible disadvantaged communities, as well as eligible low-income tribal and affordable-housing communities, to increase access to safe, reliable, convenient and affordable transportation options. For eligibility requirements, application information and to contact the technical assistance team, please visit: www.cleanmobilityoptions.org. CMO is part of California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

HACLA
The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) was established in 1938 by City of Los Angeles Resolution No. 1241. HACLA is one of the nation’s largest and leading public housing authorities, providing the largest supply of quality affordable housing to residents of the City of Los Angeles. HACLA provides affordable housing to over 83,000 households in its Public Housing and Section 8 departments, and offers a range of permanent supportive housing programs for homeless households, including: Project-Based, HUD – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, Homeless, Tenant Based Supportive Housing, Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA), Continuum of Care and Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program. For more information, visit www.hacla.org.

Pedal Movement
Pedal Movement believes that when more people use active transportation, communities prosper. It is our mission to make micromobility and emissions-free transportation options accessible to everyone. Pedal Movement exists to create, enrich, and employ local communities with the transformative power of bicycle transportation. In addition to building operational infrastructure for universal bicycle access, promoting cycling events, and hosting group rides and safety clinics, we also support the professionals who keep it all moving. Pedal Movement equips bicycle mechanics with industry-leading job training, great benefits, and a livable wage. We’re in the business of changing the way cities move — one revolution at a time. For more information, visit www.pedalmovement.com

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LACI Welcomes 34 Startups & Businesses to their Founder Programs

LACI PROUDLY WELCOMES 34 STARTUPS & SMALL BUSINESSES TO THEIR SUITE OF INCUBATION & FOUNDER PROGRAMS

Throughout the Summer and Fall of 2022, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) welcomed 9 startups innovating clean technologies to our light-touch Innovators Program,  9 startups to our 2-year intensive Incubation Program, and 1 company deploying a larger scale impact-focused pilot to our Market Access Program. Beyond the lens of cleantech we also opened our doors to a Cohort of 15 entrepreneurs joining our Founders Business Accelerator Program. These small business founders  have cared for our local communities through their offerings in dining, entertainment, health and wellness services, and so much more.

LACI’s annual Market Landscape Report, analyzes the market and various sectors to identify top priorities in accelerating the commercialization of cleantech and reductions in real and perceived barriers to adoption. Guided by this intelligence, LACI’s recruitment efforts are focused on Zero Emissions Transportation, Clean Energy, and Sustainable Cities. As a result,  we are better able to identify and support startup businesses incubating these technologies and help them develop, test, pilot and bring these key offerings to market and thereby promote environmental, health, and economic opportunities and benefits for communities throughout our market and across the nation.

LACI’s Market Access report identifies three core areas of cleantech from which we recruit and develop founders innovating solutions in these sectors.

We’re eager to advance incoming startups like Veloce Energy that are providing modular energy storage, installation systems, and integration software to electrify everything from vehicles, commercial buildings, and homes. And others like LACI’s Market Access portfolio company Microgrid Labs that makes it easier for medium and heavy duty electric vehicle fleet operators to perform assessments and aggregate electrification plans with their creative platform management solution. We’re also excited for Coralite to demonstrate their waste reduction solution for recycling foam into various applications throughout the automotive & construction industries.

We encourage circularity and help our startup and small business participants focus on impactful outcomes through a progression of programs that help founders scale their businesses and develop proprietary technologies as they advance through these programs. We also provide guidance to help our portfolio companies pivot when new opportunities arise. Take Shred Cycle for example, who participated in our 6-month Founders Business Accelerator Program (FBA). When Shred Cycle’s founder realized her original passion project of recycling skateboard wheels could better serve her mission and the community with an entirely new business model of upcycling polyurethane waste, thereby reducing the impact that industry has on the City of Los Angeles, aided by her Executive In Residence, she made the shift with great success. Companies like those in our FBA Cohort 7, some of who have been in business for 2 years while others are regarded as community legends with operating history of some 20 years, will re-imagine and re-invigorate their businesses and the communities they serve by focusing on sustainable and environmentally conscious business practices that create new jobs, reduce waste, and stimulate economic wealth across our region – especially among historically under-resourced communities.

LACI is proud to amplify these stories, lift-up and empower 34 women founders and 36 founders from traditionally underrepresented groups who are joining the LACI Family this year!

We’re happy to introduce the full roster of 19 startups companies entering LACI’s founder programs across our three sector areas of focus:


APPLY FOR LACI’S INCUBATION PROGRAM TODAY!

CLEAN ENERGY

Global Energy Credit

Hardware solution to unlock the great potential of residential buildings in providing affordable, clean, and equitable energy for residents by making the electric meters intelligent, without costly upgrades.

Mack Designs

Developing a  vertical wall concept device which is comprised of a series of wind  induced oscillating geometries. As the devices flutter in the wind, they produce electricity on a micro scale on the interior encasement of the system.

Wayside Energy

Wayside Energy is creating a recyclable, modular, and rigid single piece injection molded battery pack system with a unique geothermal cooling system that is industry leading in price, reliability, safety, and performance while being cheap and simple to manufacture.

Compo Energy

A new source of renewable energy from a combination of compost and solar heat. The project provides an alternative solution to current waste landfill operation which is not environmentally safe, and does not benefit the surrounding communities.

ZERO EMISSIONS MOBILITY

Veloce Energy

Veloce is creating a platform of technologies to make it easier, faster and cheaper to electrify everything: vehicles, commercial buildings, homes.

Microgrid Labs

Microgrid Labs is launching a pilot with LACI to provide their EVopt planning Software as a Service solution to a network of medium and heavy duty electric vehicle (EV) fleet operators. This pilot will demonstrate  the advantage of our self-service platform for performing EV fleet assessments and the ability to aggregate electrification plans.

BASEstud.io

BASEstud.io is designing Beyond Smart Lighting Infrastructure to provide communities with access, equality, safety and sustainability – core needs for a well-balanced city.

Emissionless Technologies

Emissionless Technologies is an all-electric freight carrier, operating a fleet of electric semi-trucks through a network of supercharging hubs. The X Logistics solution overcomes range limitations  using the Transfer Hub model and connected fleets to keep freight moving, reducing inefficiencies endemic to conventional distribution networks.

Wild Technologies Inc.

Wild Technologies has designed the easiest to manufacture and customize battery pack for the marine industry.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Kit Switch

Kit Switch is a  modular building interiors startup creating a line of plug-and-play kitchens for multifamily housing developments.

Relyion Energy Inc.

Relyion Energy is enabling longer and sustainable use of Li-ion batteries.

VARIANT3D

VARIANT3D is 3D printing on demand for fully customizable textiles using sustainable or recycled inputs.

Shred Cycle Inc.

Shred Cycle Inc. is making sustainability easy and accessible to action sports enthusiasts by upcycling polyurethane waste, from skateboarding wheels and manufacturing  waste, back into useful outdoor products.

Coralite

Coralite is an innovative performance material company –  the Coralite material is made from 100% recycled foam, is fully circular, and has little to no waste in its production.

Galora, Inc.

Galora is the Airbnb of homegrown food. Neighbors can buy, sell or trade what they grow, bake, or make. Every year, 11.5 billion pounds of U.S. homegrown food is  wasted.

ThermoShade

ThermoShade is a “passive cooling” panel that can be retrofitted onto outdoor structures, creating a space that feels up to 20°F cooler than the outside air temperature with zero electricity and zero water.

LACI’s network of cleantech companies continues to grow in membership and as individual startups advance their solutions and demonstrate tremendous success in-market after completing LACI’s founder programs. To date, LACI has helped 340 portfolio companies raise $697M in funding, generated $323M in revenue, and created 2,565 jobs throughout the Los Angeles region, with a long-term economic impact of more than $573M.  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 $1M from SharkTank’s Mark Cuban. And, Maxwell Vehicles is working with a group of partners and startups to deploy the nation’s first-ever Zero Emission Delivery Zone with the goal of lowering emissions and decreasing traffic.

DIVERSITY METRICS
LACI’s mission of building an inclusive green economy is powered by a diverse range of staff, partners, program participants, and cleantech innovators, many of which are from historically underrepresented populations. As highlighted in a recent Yahoo! Finance story, LACI is leading efforts to create an inclusive green economy in Los Angeles. With a focus on supporting underrepresented founders. Our commitment to recruiting and supporting women, BIPOC, LGTBQ+ founders and other historically underrepresented groups is demonstrated by the diversity of founders represented in our recent cohorts as indicated below:

 

FBA COHORT 7
Founders Business Accelerator welcomed 15 small businesses into the program this fall.

  • Sectors: Founders in this cohort include those in entertainment, retail, wellness, circular economy and food services.
  • Location: City of Los Angeles
  • Diversity: Among 26 founders – 81% women, 96% BIPOC, 15% LGBTQ+
  • This is our most diverse cohort yet with founders who identify as Latinx (30%), Black (32%), Middle Eastern (3%), Indigenous (9%), East Asian (3%), South Asian (6%), South East Asian (3%).


INNOVATORS COHORT 7
We welcomed 9 new startups to this cohort in September. To learn more about these inventive founders and their offerings, please view this Startups Overview Deck.

  • Tech Sector: 44% Clean Energy focused, 33% Zero Emissions Transportation focused, and 22% Circular Economy focused.
  • Location: 3 based in the City of Los Angeles (Global Energy Credit, Emissionless Technologies, Galora)
  • Diversity: Among 15 founders – 6 women (40%), 3 BIPOC (20%)

 

INCUBATION COHORT 5
We welcomed 9 new startups to this cohort in October. To learn more about these dynamic founders and their cleantech solutions, please view this Startups Overview Deck.

  • Tech Sector: 33% Clean Energy focused, 11% Zero Emissions Transportation focused, and 55% Circular Economy focused
  • Location: 3 based in the City of Los Angeles, 2 based in Southern California, and 4 based in Northern California
  • Diversity:  Among 22 founders – 4 women (18%), 5 BIPOC (23%), 2 LGBTQ+ (9%)


MARKET ACCESS COHORT 4

Welcome Microgrid Labs!

The Market Access Program welcomes its newest founders, Narayanan Sankar and Namit Singh, of Microgrid Labs. Microgrid Labs offers Software as a Service for optimal planning, design and operation of electric fleets that provide a low-cost, accurate and scalable solution that can evolve with fleet demands and ease the transition to electric fleets. They have demonstrated cost and time savings with their EVopt SaaS platform across 10 projects throughout the country,  including planning for a fleet of 800 EV school buses.

 

Microgrid Labs’ EVopt planning SaaS Solution Model

 

Microgrid Labs’ Market Access Pilot
During their time in the Market Access Program, Microgrid Labs will deploy a pilot that provides their EVopt planning SaaS solution to a network of fleet operators, demonstrating the advantage of a self-service platform for performing fleet assessments and the ability to aggregate fleet electrification plans. This will generate valuable insights on the shifting of demand on grid load access for multiple fleets.

 

Now Accepting Pilot Partners
Microgrid Labs is now accepting pilot partners in Los Angeles to serve multiple EV fleets including modes of last-mile delivery, light and medium duty, school bus and drayage fleets.

To learn more about how to be a pilot partner for this innovative solution in LA please contact pipeline@laci.org.

LACI is currently recruiting for our Incubation Cohort 6 and we will open the application process for our Market Access Cohort 5 on November 27. For more information, and to join our family of successful startups and small business founders


APPLY FOR LACI’S INCUBATION PROGRAM TODAY!

TEP Partner Spotlight: Pasadena Water & Power

Pasadena Water & Power (PWP) has been a member of the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) since 2020. As a utility for a smaller city, PWP’s partnership has been vital to understanding how we can move the needle towards an electrified future at the local level. The city’s climate action plan encourages EV transportation in order to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gasses, nitrogen oxide and harmful particulate matter emanating from a typical internal combustion engine. As such, PWP has made bold moves to electrify their city, and has demonstrated the importance of local leadership in achieving the Partnership’s Zero Emission Roadmap 2.0 goals through their Power Up Pasadena initiative.

PWP kicked-off the Power Up campaign in 2018, when it introduced new rebates for electric vehicles and EV chargers. They provide incentives for residential and commercial electric customers, which encourages adoption of EVs and EV infrastructure. 

Public Charging Opportunities

PWP is also expanding  charging infrastructure by installing chargers at public parking structures throughout the city, the largest of which is Marengo Charging Plaza. With a total of 44 chargers, 24 superchargers installed by Tesla and 20 fast chargers installed by the city of Pasadena, the Marengo Charging Plaza is one of the largest public EV fast-charging plazas, not only in the city, but in the nation. Within its first months of operation the Plaza captured more than 7,000 charging sessions per month. 

The support of public-private partnerships has proven an effective way to advance EV infrastructure and provide the technology needed to benefit the community. With the help of grants from the California Energy Commission (CEC) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), and revenues from the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program, the city was able to construct the entire project without the use of rate payer dollars.

The Arroyo EV Charging Depot is another recent example of PWP’s commitment to the Power Up initiative. With a total of 26 chargers—20 of which are Tesla V3 Superchargers—the Depot helps support the city’s growing demand for EVs. Since the launch of the Power Up campaign, PWP has installed over 100 public EV chargers in the city and plans to continue building more. Pasadena City Council recently approved bringing three additional large charging facilities to Pasadena, including two community centers and a large expansion at the Del Mar Metro Station facility. 

Paving the Way Forward

Pasadena has the distinction of having the highest percentage of EV drivers among all Southern California electric utilities, and plans to continue supporting these drivers through expanded charging infrastructure and generous incentives. The city is focused on placing EV chargers at central locations throughout the city’s 23 square mile boundaries that will help drivers support their daily commute and extend their electric range to reach further destinations. 

This type of bold leadership at the local level is critical to transforming the Greater Los Angeles region in time for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As we near our target date, local leadership will become increasingly important to achieving our ambitious goals. 

Shevonne Sua, LACI Transportation Program Coordinator

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.

 

Pasadena Water & Power and Tesla electric vehicle charging stations on the roof of the Marengo parking garage at 155 E Green St., Jan. 24, 2020. (Photo by: Eric Reed/Pasadena Water & Power)

Pasadena’s Marengo Parking Structure’s top level is a joint electric vehicle charging station provided by Pasadena Water & Power with Tesla, March, 2020. (Eric Reed/Pasadena Water & Power)

Statement from LACI

As we strive to create an inclusive green economy here in Los Angeles, it is clearer than ever we need to collectively deepen our work in addressing the underlying causes of racial, economic, and environmental inequality and injustice–and we need elected leaders who will do the same. The horrific racist, anti-Black, homophobic, anti-indigenous statements by LA City Councilmembers goes against the grain of our mission, values, and work. Healing requires accountability for all the elected officials involved, including resignation. Only by doing so can Los Angeles return to the work of economic, climate, and racial justice across our region, and in frontline, disadvantaged communities in particular where Black and Brown communities are most vulnerable as well as face the greatest barriers in accessing capital for their startups and businesses, cleantech solutions that lower emissions in their communities, and opportunities to join the green workforce.

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

LACI’s Incubation Cohort 3 Pilots Announced

In October 2021, LACI welcomed eight promising cleantech startups to its first Incubation Cohort Pilots program funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) EPIC Program. EPIC Program. Each of the participating startups received $20,000 to design and deploy small-scale pilots to demonstrate their technologies and hone their business models. Startups pitched their business models to LACI and LACI’s EPIC Pilot Partners. As a result of that pitch session, each was paired with one EPIC Pilot Partner who provided pilot design and site guidance, technical advice, and financial assistance as needed. 

Through the collaborative effort of LACI’s Incubation Pilots program, most of these startups have already experienced their first taste of success. Following is information on each startup and its respective achievements to date, within the program.

EPIC Pilot Partners who have agreed to be a site host and/or mentor for the 2022-2023 Pilot Phase of the Incubation Program include California Energy Commission (CEC), LA Metro, Pando Populus, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), Edison International, LA County, Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP). 

Pilot

Pilot Description

What they do: Delphire helps prevent or contain wildfires by providing actionable real-time information from remote locations.

Their successes from the program: Delphire was accepted into the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center’s Summer 2022 Milestone Makers cohort

Delphire was asked to speak at an On Demand webinar titled A Fire Safe Culture Continuum: Blending investment, technology and expertise to transition from reactiveness to a culture of wildfire safety.

Delphire secured grant funding for SBIR grant Phase 1, and applied for funding under Phase 2.

What they do: Testing demand forecasting software with or on the La Kretz Innovation Campus’ mobility microgrid

Their successes from the program: Energos was named on the 2022 Diamond List of impactful climate companies.

Energos is currently raising a $2-3M Seed Round. 

What they do: Evolectric is a technology company that converts commercial gas-powered vehicles into electric ones — and gets them back on the street. Their approach reduces emissions and waste and accelerates deployment of zero emission vehicles.

Their successes from the program: Evolectric was accepted into the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center’s Summer 2022 Milestone Makers cohort.

Evolectric won the Circular World Challenge by AB InBev. They received the  golden ticket to this year’s 100+ Accelerator cohort which guarantees a pilot with at least one of the Accelerator partners (AB InBev, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Colgate).

The Evolectric team was featured during the Schwarzenegger Institute’s 20th Anniversary celebration of AB1493, California’s Clean Car Standards, showcasing their mission and core technology. 

The Evolectric team and truck was featured during the visit that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S Congressman Jimmy Gomez made to LACI to celebrate the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Evolectric was featured in the Climate Council article The North American clean tech companies driving the energy transition.

What they do: Deploy smart light switches, which encourage residents in affordable housing to reduce energy use at key times. 

Their successes from the program: Flick developed a second generation wireless prototype device for trial and reached agreement with Southern CA Edison to support an expanded trial of their technology. They presented this to the Consulate General of Lithuania and Vice Minister of Energy during a visit to La Kretz Innovation Campus in late May.

What they do: Demonstrating scaled-down version of tech in a pool

Their successes from the program: Joule has made significant progress on the development of its proof of concept prototype and expects to be in pilot metrics mode by August.

What they do: MeterLeader gamifies saving energy in homes by using real-time utility data and behavior science principles. They help companies engage their employees in reducing carbon emissions at home and we help them report those reductions for ESG purposes. MeterLeader is like a Fitbit Corporate Wellness Program, but instead of steps we measure kWh, therms, and carbon emission reductions. 

Their successes from the program: MeterLeader participated in the Stanley-Techstars Accelerator based in Baltimore, MD. They are currently working to execute 3 new Corporate Energy Challenge Pilots. MeterLeader also increased the number of utility data streams with which it can integrate, advancing from integrating with 3 electric and gas utilities to 12.

 

What they do: Validating business case by analyzing samples from CA desalination plants for saleable minerals

Their successes from the program: Olokun Minerals was named on the 2022 Diamond List of impactful climate companies.

Olukun Minerals finished its first round of lab samples for the EPIC pilot.

What they do: Zero waste design and manufacturing company focused on upcycling and repurposing cross-industry materials destined for landfill.

Their successes from the program: Rewilder produced 1,200 backpacks for the Summit of the Americas 2022.

Rewilder received media recognition in Shoutout LA and Association Now and was featured in a news segment on Spectrum TV.

Launched TEE2.0! in collaboration with UPRISERS, a new kind of t-shirt that creatively reuses existing tees. Currently testing a new upcycling process to generate material as an alternative to virgin fabric during  LACI’s Pilot. 

 

LACI looks forward to seeing startups in the DOE-funded EPIC Program Cohort 1 (LACI’s Incubation Cohort 3) grow and scale their companies with the goal of helping them secure their first customer and celebrate successful follow-on funding equity rounds. We also look forward to hosting the pilots and EPIC Pilot Partners at LACI’s Power Day event on October 6, 2022.

TEP Partner Spotlight: Electrify America

With over 30 partners in the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP), we are fortunate to
have a partner that is investing deeply in the LA region, focusing on direct-current fast charging, and is approaching
the work holistically with a virtual power plant. Electrify America LLC has been a member of
the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) since 2020. As the largest open DC fast
charging network in the U.S., Electrify America is working to enable millions of Americans to
discover the benefits of electric driving and support the build-out of a nationwide network of
ultra-fast community and highway corridor chargers that are convenient and reliable. Through
an investment of more than $2 billion over 10 years in zero emission vehicle infrastructure,
education and access, Electrify America is making bold moves to ensure a zero emissions
future. As we push forward with our TEP goals set forth in the Roadmap 2.0, Electrify America’s
work to expand the charging network is critical.

Collaboration is Key
One of the ways Electrify America is able to expand its reach is through collaborations with
industry leaders. For example, Bank of America and Electrify America recently announced plans
to more than double the number of financial centers equipped with EV charging stations by the
end of 2023. As of the beginning of this year, 172 Electrify America individual EV chargers have
been installed at 46 financial centers – totals the companies intend to grow to more than 350
chargers at over 90 financial centers by the end of 2023.

Additionally, BMW of North America and Electrify America publicized an agreement this year to
provide 2022 BMW EV customers with two years of 30-minute complimentary charging sessions
at all Electrify America public charging stations, from the date of vehicle purchase. With no
additional cost to the vehicle’s purchase price, customers can receive immediate access to
complimentary charging at more than 3,500 Electrify America chargers across the U.S. Electrify
America has announced other customer charging agreements with companies such as Audi,
Ford, Kia America, Volvo, and more. By providing this resource to new EV owners, Electrify America is incentivizing potential customers and helping to make EVs a more attractive option.

Through bold initiatives like this, Electrify America has helped move the needle and encourage
the adoption of EVs. In 2021, they provided 1.45 million customer EV charging sessions, which
highlights the rapid deployment of its charging stations across the United States. By
comparison, the company recorded 268,000 customer EV charging sessions in 2020. This
impressive change shows the increasing popularity of their services, making it imperative that
the country is able to keep up with demand.

Going Bigger
Building on Electrify America’s first successful Green City program in Sacramento, the company
is now also working with Long Beach and Los Angeles city officials as well as private fleet
operators, owners and collaborators to implement projects focused on charging electrification
for public transit and heavy-duty electric vehicles, showcasing ultra-fast charging technology,
and energy management for these two emerging use cases. Efforts are focused on tackling
medium and heavy-duty emissions in the Long Beach and the Wilmington neighborhoods of Los
Angeles.

Additionally, Electrify America and NFI Industries revealed plans for the nation’s single largest
charging infrastructure project to support heavy-duty electric trucks, with 38 ultra-fast DC
chargers slated for completion by December 2023 to support 60+ battery-electric drayage
trucks.

Powered Up
As Electrify America continues to grow its network, providing electricity to increasing numbers of
chargers will require massive amounts of energy. To address this, Electrify America has entered
into a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with developer Terra-Gen to build a
solar photovoltaic renewable energy generation project in San Bernardino County, California
called Electrify America Solar Glow™. The new solar project is expected to generate 75
Megawatts of 100% renewable energy annually at peak production, the equivalent power usage
of more than 20,000 average American homes, or an estimated annual production of 225,000
Megawatt hours. It is projected to produce enough 100% renewable energy annually to more
than offset the energy currently delivered on an annualized basis to Electrify America’s
customers charging on its extensive network and is targeted to be operational by mid-2023. This
groundbreaking project will ensure that Electrify America’s extensive charging network will be
supported by renewable energy and has helped the company become North America’s largest
open DC fast charging network to enter into a virtual power purchase agreement for new
renewable energy generation.

As we draw closer to the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is vital for us to make bold
moves and lead the way towards a cohesive, accessible zero emissions transportation system.
Through close collaboration and strong leadership, we will shape the future of transportation to
become a more accessible, zero emissions system that will serve as a model to the rest of the
world.

– Shevonne Sua, LACI Transportation Program Coordinator

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.

 

 

Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Jimmy Gomez Celebrate Historic Climate & Clean Energy Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

LOS ANGELES, CA – Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) in the Arts District to highlight the Inflation Reduction Act’s impact on clean energy production and transportation electrification to fight the climate crisis.

The Inflation Reduction Act represents the single largest investment in climate action in American history. Analysis from organizations such as Energy Innovation and the Rhodium Group find that the climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, including the used clean vehicle and home energy savings tax credits championed by Rep. Gomez, would put the United States on a path to meeting its climate commitments by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

“It’s impossible to overstate how transformative the Inflation Reduction Act is, particularly on climate action,” said Congressman Gomez (CA-34). “I am especially proud to see one of my bills that became law, the Affordable EVs for Working Families Act, encourage local organizations such as LACI to work with clean energy partners to bring our nation closer toward a greener and more prosperous future. This law would single-handedly create 9 million good-paying jobs over the next decade and put our country on track to meet our nation’s climate goals. I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for her leadership in getting this life-changing legislation across the finish line for America’s families and for the next generation.”

“It was a privilege to join Congressman Jimmy Gomez at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, seeing firsthand how clean industries are powering prosperity in our communities,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.  “Thanks to President Biden and Democrats in Congress, the Inflation Reduction Act is turbocharging clean energy innovation here in California and across the country – putting America on a path to saving the planet while creating millions of good-paying jobs.  House Democrats are grateful for the persistent leadership of Congressman Gomez, who helped lead the charge to secure historic investments in energy efficient homes and vehicles.  Working together, we will not relent until we achieve a safer, greener, healthier future for generations to come.”

“We are grateful to Speaker Pelosi and for Congressman Gomez’ leadership in ensuring the IRA not only is the largest climate bill in history, but is a targeted investment in ensuring every American can access clean energy, retrofit their homes, and drive an EV,” said Matt Petersen, CEO of LACI. “In April 2020, LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership proposed a federal $150 billion stimulus to boost electric vehicle manufacturing, expand zero emission infrastructure, provide low income families access to mobility, and promote EV-related workforce development. Thanks to the President, the Speaker and bills like Rep. Gomez’ Affordable EVs for Working Families Act, it is gratifying to see so many of the proposals become law including the used EV tax credit and investing in producing critical minerals from places like Lithium Valley.”

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.