Category: N-News

Pick My Solar wins SBA’s “Outstanding Small Business” award for 2015

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LACI Portfolio Company Pick My Solar was named this year’s “Outstanding Small Business” on May 4th at Los Angeles City Hall. Presented by Mayor Garcetti as part of LA Small Business Week, the recognition comes from the U.S. Small Business Administration‘s Small Business Development Center.

Pick My Solar was founded in 2013 and joined LACI that same year. With backgrounds in engineering, Co-Founders Max Aram and Chris Blevins have always felt passionate about solar power, both from scientific and environmental perspectives. When they entered the solar industry after college, they realized that a major obstacle to broad-based industry growth was confusion on the part of consumers over the purchasing, bidding, and financing of solar power. Max and Chris then created Pick My Solar, which serves as an online marketplace, to simplify the process, drive down costs, and provide transparency for homeowners.

Since it’s founding just two years ago, Pick My Solar has assisted over 10,000 homeowners with solar pricing, data, and installation.

This award from Mayor Garcetti and the Small Business Administration adds to an exciting list of recognitions the company has received this year, including winning a U.S. Department of Energy grant for app development and being highlighted on KTLA’s “Money Smart” segment.

LACI’s President & CEO Fred Walti commented on the award, saying

Pick My Solar is a great example of a company harnessing the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit here in the LA region. Not only are they making a positive environmental impact through the services they offer, they’re saving homeowners money and contributing to the increase in home solar installations, which helps created jobs in LA’s green economy. Here at LACI, we’re proud to have Pick My Solar as one of our Portfolio Companies and know they will continue to succeed as they expand throughout the Southern California market.

To learn more about Pick My Solar and how they can help you go solar in a simple, affordable way, visit their website.

If you’re interested in putting LACI’s tools and networks to work for you and your business, apply to be a Portfolio Company here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LACI’s mandate in “the pLAn” – Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainability Roadmap

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LACI’s Fred Walti with Mayor Garcetti

On April 8th, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a landmark Sustainable City Plan outlining a set of wide-ranging goals and directives to improve Angelenos’ environmental and economic quality of life. The plan outlines 13 specific areas for improvement, ranging from local water and energy efficient buildings, to mobility & transit and livable neighborhoods.

“We expect at least 500,000 more people to call Los Angeles home by 2035. So the question before us… is how can we improve our city today, and ensure future generations enjoy a place that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable in opportunity for all?”, asked the Mayor in his opening letter, reflecting the plan’s overarching framework of “environment, economy, and equity”.

In the Prosperity and Green Jobs section, the $50 million dollars of private investment raised by LACI portfolio companies  is cited as an example of “LA’s Leadership To Date”. The plan calls for $100 million in green investment by 2017 through LACI specifically – and $2 billion by 2035 for the city of Los Angeles generally – towards the goal of creating more green jobs in LA than anywhere else in the country.

In an interview cited in the Los Angeles Times, LA’s Chief Sustainability Officer Matt Petersen emphasized the need for multiple sectors to work together in order to reach the plan’s objectives, “If we don’t take the step to set targets, and measure progress to achieve those targets, how will we send the signals to the private sector, to the universities, that this is important as a community to come together? There are things we can do, but we can’t do it alone”.

LACI’s President and CEO Fred Walti commended the Mayor’s initiative, and is confident that LACI will rise to the occasion:

The Mayor’s Plan is a breakthrough document that shows what a major city can do when it makes up its mind to do something about our environment. It’s both comprehensive and remarkably detailed. LACI’s role is to develop the companies that will help make the plan’s implementation feasible and cost effective. Innovation is the key ingredient that will make LA a huge green economy. LACI finds, trains, and assists cleantech start-ups in achieving market success, thus providing the technologies that are so essential to a sustainable city. 

As a public-private partnership between the private sector, government and academia, LACI works with the various stakeholders mentioned by Matt Petersen to strengthen LA’s cleantech and economic ecosystems for a sustainable and prosperous future. We look forward to continuing towards these goals, and doing our part to make the Mayor’s Sustainability Plan a reality.

LACI awarded Wells Fargo Clean Technology and Innovation grant

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Part of $4.5 million grant program to foster economic development and accelerate the global green economy 

LACI was recently selected as part of Wells Fargo’s Clean Technology and Innovation (CTI) program, designed to “inspire innovation from entrepreneurs and fund those working on critical environmental issues”.  Application to the CTI program is through invitation only, and LACI is honored to receive this recognition by the Wells Fargo team and the community and industry stakeholders who referred us.

“We’re pleased to announce LACI as a recipient of Wells Fargo’s environmental grant program to help provide long-term solutions to the world’s environmental challenges”, said Ashley Grosh, head of Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs Clean Technology program. “Wells Fargo recognizes that the health of our environment is critical to fostering more sustainable communities today and for years to come”.

Grants were awarded based on the economic, social, and environmental impact of applicants’ proposals and work. The Clean Technology and Innovation grant funds projects specifically related to renewable energy and energy efficiency, greener buildings, alternative transportation, water quality and resources, and sustainable agriculture. LACI competed in the “Accelerator/ Incubator/ Business Plan” subset of the CTI program. Specific guidelines and criteria can be found here.

Other grant recipients included LACI Leadership Council member California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Duke University, the Urban Land Institute, and LACI 4C partners Prospect Silicon Valley and Cleantech Open. Check out the Wells Fargo Environmental Forum blog for the full list of recipients.

Thanks again to Wells Fargo and congratulations to the other organizations chosen to be a part of the Clean Technology and Innovation program. We’re excited about this recognition and look forward to working towards the common goals of  economically thriving communities and a more sustainable future.

 

LACI Ranked as Top 10 Global Incubator

The UBI Index has ranked the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) in its world-renowned list of top 10 university associated business incubators for 2014 from among over 800 candidates in 67 countries.

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“The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator is one of the top business incubators in the world,” said Dhruv Bhatli, Co-Founder of UBI Index based in Sweden. “It provides exceptional value to its clients who have a higher survival and growth rate than the global average and become very attractive for buyers.”

Based on the one of the most comprehensive frameworks to measure incubator performance, UBI Index examines over 66 distinct criteria to determine each incubator’s economy enhancement performance, such as job creation and talent retention, value for their client base, such as access to funds and competence development, and the client’s post-incubation performance (see www.ubiindex.com for details).

City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “We’re pleased to see this global recognition for the LA Cleantech Incubator, one of the many reasons our city is attracting new innovative and sustainable businesses that grow our local economy.”

“It’s an honor to be selected as a global top 10 incubator, which validates how much we have achieved in less than three years,” said LACI Executive Director Fred Walti. “I’ve had the opportunity to visit many fine innovation institutions around the world as part of our Global Innovation Network initiative and we’re proud to be among this high-performance peer group.”

Combined with the world’s fastest growing sector in clean technology, incubation is widely recognized as being one of the most effective tools for economic development. As incubation and acceleration options grow, it is important for companies to understand what value they get from incubators.

The UBI Index ranking reinforces other significant milestones in Los Angeles this year for LACI: it was selected by the US Department of Energy as one of three incubators nationally to receive funding, it was highlighted by JPMorgan Chase as one of the leading small business clusters in the US, it has publicly launching its first satellite incubator, LACI@CSUN, and the 30 companies that have joined LACI have now raised over $50 million dollars.

The Goods, the BEEs, and the Ease

The Downtown Los Angeles skyline isn’t the only thing scaling up these days. The cleantech startup community here at LACI is doing really exciting stuff. Recent highlights include:
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A New BEE in the Hive

Hive Lighting’s high-performance, super-efficient breakthroughs for the lighting market continue with their new BEE Plasma Flood. The light delivers high-quality output comparable to (if not immensely better) than any conventional fixture… which you’d expect, until you learn it uses half the energy, weighs a mere 10 pounds, produces virtually no heat, is priced at or below competition. Jon Miller showcased the BEE to a receptive market at the NAB show:

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A Movement for Better Goods Movement

Current port and freight infrastructure feels a lot like AOL and the dial-up modem when you see the vision of GRID Logistics. SuperDocks, Freightways, and Terminals… smart and connected, and off the freeways. It’s easy to buy into their vision, and it isn’t as far away as you might think. GRID is working with CSUN on a $1.7M, 20-month feasibility study of the project, backed by an historic resolution of support from the Sierra Club advocating a multi-billion dollar transportation project. Add support from the Laborers, Teamsters, and Equipment operators unions, and this movement is gaining serious momentum. David Alba tells the story with RedB.

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Solar Made Simple – The Time Has Come

What if you could go solar, knowing that a trusted friend would not only help you understand what’s right for you, but also get you the best bids from the best installers, and make it easy? Oh, and they’d do it for free… you wouldn’t even need to buy them a drink. That friend is Pick My Solar, and we’re not the only ones that believe they’re awesome. They’re off to a running start, with happy customers and happy installers singing their praises.

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About LACI

Through its formalized support system, deep bench of expert mentors, strong network of investment capital and market sources, and pragmatic education and training, LACI assists nascent cleantech companies to navigate the difficult startup years. The results are new cleantech jobs among its portfolio companies, new environmentally responsible and efficient products and services on the market, and renewed interest among regional business and academic partners to continue supporting cleantech technologies.

LACI combines universities, research, government support, capital, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and business association leaders in order to drive innovation throughout the regional economy. By summer 2015, LACI will move in to the state-of-the-art La Kretz facility, which will host a wide range of spaces that include offices, benches, wet labs, meeting rooms, event spaces, and an adjacent prototype manufacturing workshop.

In just over 2 years, LACI has incubated 30 companies that have received over $30 million in funding and have created over 300 jobs.

New SoCal Tech Center to Promote Alternative Fuel & Advanced Vehicles

Fresh off the wire, and a great win for SoCal…

The California Energy Commission has awarded funds to a consortium of Southern California-based organizations led by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) to establish a Southern California Center for Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicle Technology. The Center will consist of one virtual hub and two physical locations—one in San Diego, which will be managed by the California Center for Sustainable Energy, and one in Los Angeles, which will be managed by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. The Center will serve the counties of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

“Southern California already boasts tremendous assets in driving the consumer-side of the advanced transportation market,” said Bill Allen, President and CEO, LAEDC. “Our goal with this critically important Center is to also leverage these assets to ensure that we’re a leading developer, designer and producer of these lower-emission technologies to add the high-value jobs and wages as well as the tax revenues that will result from a thriving advanced transportation cluster.”

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), a nonprofit organization that administers the statewide Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for the California Air Resources Board, will operate the San Diego Center.  “Southern California already leads the state in the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, but we are a long way from where we need to be to reach the state’s ambitious goals for reducing petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions,” said CCSE Executive Director Len Hering, RADM, USN (ret.). “These two new centers and the online component will help municipalities, government agencies and industry partners better focus and direct their efforts to grow the market for cleaner transportation throughout the region.”

The Los Angeles Center will be managed by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) at the La Kretz Innovation Campus in downtown Los Angeles. “LACI is thrilled to leverage its incubation programs and state-of-the-art campus to further advance the commercialization of alternative fuels and vehicle technologies in Southern California,” said Fred Walti, Executive Director of LACI. “The deeply committed and capable partners cooperating in this initiative represent an economic development powerhouse.”

“This project will be a great asset for our region,” said Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “Not only will they be developing alternative fuels and clean technology, they’ll be creating jobs that will drive economic growth for years to come.”

Additional partners receiving funding include the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center and the Luskin Center for Innovation, Advanced Sustainability Institute, California State University-Los Angeles and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

The California Energy Commission contract is scheduled to begin in June 2014. The project will also use $1.6 million in matching funds from advanced transportation industry leaders. For more information about the Center, visit www.AdvancedTransportationCenter.org.

About the LAEDC

The LAEDC, the region’s premier economic development leadership organization, is a private, non-profit organization established in 1981 under section 501(c)(3). Its mission is to attract, retain, and grow business and jobs for the regions of Los Angeles County. Since 1996, the LAEDC has helped to retain or attract over 190,000 annual jobs in Los Angeles County with an estimated labor income, including wages and benefits, of approximately $12 billion. Learn more at www.laedc.org.

About the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

LACI is a private nonprofit that accelerates the commercialization of clean technologies in the Los Angeles region. Located in the center of the City’s Cleantech Corridor, LACI offers flexible office space, CEO coaching and mentoring, and access to a robust network of experts and capital. Incubated companies operate in a range of sectors including Smart Grid infrastructure, energy efficiency, energy storage, transportation, and materials science. LACI works closely with the region’s utilities, universities, business community, government institutions and capital markets to foster innovation and to grow the region’s green economy. Learn more at www.newlaci.staging.wpengine.com.

About the California Center for Sustainable Energy

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) is an independent, nonprofit organization that accelerates the transition to a sustainable world powered by clean energy. CCSE helps consumers, businesses, governments and others adopt energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation technologies. Learn more at www.energycenter.org.

Financial Times highlights benefits, challenges of cleantech incubation

Ross Tieman of the Financial Times highlights the challenges cleantech startups face, and the important role incubators can play.  Here’s a short excerpt:

Fred Walti, executive director of LACI, says one of the key lessons since the incubator was set up in 2011 is that “clean tech isn’t media, the Internet or software. This is ‘deep tech’, with serious science and difficult problems. It is difficult to demonstrate market traction in a short period of time.”

For the full article, please visit FT at  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2c3b17b8-2c26-11e3-acf4-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2iaTO8Cyd

Slash your utility bill with Chai Energy’s new “Summer Saver” iPhone app

LACI Portfolio Company Chai Energy launched a free new iPhone app – Summer Saver – that helps you easily cut your utility bill.

Chai Energy Summer Saver app

Chai smartly tied the app to So Cal Edison’s “Save Power Days” which encourages customers to use less electricity when there’s high demand on the grid.  With Chai’s Summer Saver app, you earn credits directly on your utility bill, saving up to $20 in a single day.

With reminders, predictions and savings tracking, what’s not to like?  If you’re a So Cal Edison customer, try it out today for free.