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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still and Video Photography Services

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.

Announcing LACI @ ProspectSV

LACI@ProspectSV offers early stage support for promising clean technology companies designed to prime pilots and increase market adoption throughout California.

February 19, 2015 (Silicon Valley, CA) – Prospect Silicon Valley (ProspectSV) and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) are excited to announce the launch of LACI@ProspectSV, results-oriented help for promising early stage companies that augment ProspectSV’s state-of-the-art Technology Demonstration Center and commercialization programs with LACI’s world-class incubation platform.  The LACI@ProspectSV initiative is part of the broader US Department of Energy (DOE) funded California Cleantech Commercialization Coalition (4C), the first statewide partnership to provide comprehensive support to clean energy startups.

ProspectSV is leading the way as a California commercialization catalyst for emerging clean technology companies that are ready to bring their product to market.  Their 23,000 sf facility supports leading technology pilots and demonstration projects, and has become a headquarters for product refinement, testing, and commercialization.  In addition, ProspectSV builds partnerships to leverage infrastructure as “living laboratories” for next-generation technology, providing a world-leading stage for investors, potential customers, global corporate leaders, and government policymakers to see innovation in traffic, vehicle, building and energy technology in action.

To help further meet the demands of many emerging companies, and to prepare them to leverage the substantial assets of ProspectSV, LACI will offer its incubation support to emerging companies at ProspectSV facilities.  In turn, ProspectSV will offer its facilities and expertise to help the companies that LACI currently serves in southern California.

“We are thrilled with this important partnership, and to be part of the 4C team representing California,” said Doug Davenport, Executive Director of ProspectSV, “Working together, our programs will make a great impact on emerging technology coming out of this part of the country and will create a model that can be used globally.”

“Connecting the best organizations across California, which serves as the global model for cleantech innovation, is the logical evolution of our cluster,” said Fred Walti, Executive Director of LACI.  “Together, we can better support the best young companies and see greater adoption in global markets.”

LACI is designed to help early-stage cleantech companies to deftly navigate the difficult startup years through its formalized support system, deep bench of expert mentors, strong network of investment capital and market resources, and pragmatic education and training, Named a UBI Global Top 10 Incubator in 2014 in just its 3rd year operating, LACI has formally incubated 30 companies that have secured over $50 million in funding and have created over 450 jobs.  LACI@ProspectSV is its second satellite, following the successful launch of LACI@CSUN in 2014.

This partnership between LACI and Prospect SV is a vital bridge between innovation and commercialization partners across California as part of the broader US Department of Energy (DOE) funded California Cleantech Commercialization Coalition (4C).  The 4C is the first statewide partnership to provide comprehensive support to clean energy startups, offering clean energy innovators a unique suite of full-spectrum, long-term support services to help them bring promising clean technologies to market, including best-in-class:

By unifying industry-leading incubation, prototype manufacturing, commercial-scale pilots, and market-entry programs, the 4C substantially de-risks an inherently risky sector, facilitating investment from a wide array of capital sources in California, the top clean technology market in the nation.  For information on the 4C, please visit

About Prospect Silicon Valley (ProspectSV)

Prospect Silicon Valley (ProspectSV) is the first nonprofit, Silicon Valley-based technology commercialization catalyst for smarter, cleaner cities globally. ProspectSV supports emerging technology companies with access to facilities, platforms, partners, and market connections, including its Demonstration Center, a $12 million, 23,000 sq. ft. facility with industrial and lab space, office and meeting rooms, promotional space and commercialization support staff. ProspectSV includes market connections and early adoption in the municipal sector through the Bay Area Climate Collaborative, a unique public-private partnership assisting communities across the Bay Area in taking on their biggest challenges in reducing carbon emissions.  Learn more at

About the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

LACI is a non-profit, public-private partnership that helps promising companies deliver market-ready cleantech solutions and the jobs that come with them. LACI combines capital, universities, research, government support, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and business leaders in order to drive innovation throughout the regional, state, and global economy.  Recognized as a Top 10 Global Incubator in 2014 by UBI, in its first three years LACI has helped 30+ companies who have raised $50+ million and have created 450+ jobs.  Learn more at


The Advanced Transportation Center of Southern California is open for business at LACI


Center established through California Energy Commission funding to drive regional clean vehicle innovation

The Los Angeles branch of The Advanced Transportation Center (ATC) of Southern California is open for business, housed at LACI. The ATC, along with LACI, will move its operations into the 60,000 square foot La Kretz Innovation Campus later this year. The center is being funded by the California Energy Commission in order to advance the adoption of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technology on both a producer and consumer basis.

Southern California already boasts tremendous assets in driving the consumer side of the advanced transportation market. 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-emissions technologies to add the high-value jobs and wages as well as the tax revenues that will result from a thriving advanced transportation cluster”, said Bill Allen, President and CEO of the Los Angeles County Development Corporation, which is leading the LA initiative.

The Advanced Transportation Center of Southern California consists of a virtual hub and two physical locations. The Los Angeles branch serves Santa Barbara, Ventura, and LA counties. Imperial, Orange, and San Diego counties are served by the San Diego branch, operated by the Southern California Center for Sustainable Energy. Other partners receiving ATC-related funding include the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center, UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, the Advanced Sustainability Institute, California State University, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

For questions or services related to the advanced transportation industry, contact:

The Los Angeles Center 411 S. Hewitt Street, Los Angeles, CA • • 213.444.0153

The San Diego Center 9325 Sky Park Court #100, San Diego, CA 92123 • • 858.244.1177

For updates on ATC programs and initiatives, subscribe here

LACI awarded Wells Fargo Clean Technology and Innovation grant


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.


A Brief Look Backward, and a Million Thanks

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

LACI 3 Year Anniversary

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

Below are some highlights from last year.  Awesome stuff.

Now, back to work!

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

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

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

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

Below are a select few quotes about this critical initiative:

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

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

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

It takes a cluster to raise a startup

The people and partners in LA’s cleantech cluster are awesome.  Combine creativity with methodology… mix deep resources with nimble innovation… add smart policy… season with expertise… and finish with a dash of fun.  Its a recipe for breakthroughs.  Here’s a snapshot of some recent collaborations with partners that are simply stellar to work with.

SoCalGas Expands LACI Wishlist Engagement

The Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) piloted LACI’s Market WishList program over the past 12 months, a program designed to find the best technical solutions to well-defined challenges that large customers face. LACI focused on sourcing Fuel Cell, Solar Thermal, and Renewable Natural Gas technologies, and SoCalGas established a $1 million Innovation Fund to invest in promising solutions.

After a successful pilot, SoCalGas has expanded their engagement with LACI. The continued pursuit of innovation will center on Gas Compression and Natural Gas Separation Processes.

We’re proud to continue to work with the nation’s largest gas distribution utility.



Tom Steyer Roundtable

Tom Steyer, a key advocate in the charge towards sustainability, held a roundtable discussion with a vibrant group of cleantech leaders at LACI with NextGen Climate. Mr. Steyer sought the diverse perspectives and opinions of business and policy leaders in LACI’s network to help guide action plans for cleantech opportunities and jobs.


Pull Creative wrote a recap of the series to inform entrepreneurs of the importance of Design Thinking

Pull Creative’s recap of the series intended to inform entrepreneurs of the importance of Design Thinking


Design Thinking Workshop Series

LACI’s VP Programs, Erik Steeb, put on a four-part series to inform LACI’s entrepreneurs about Design Thinking methodology and how to incorporate it into their businesses. LACI collaborated with Pull Creative, Motivo Engineering, and Echo-Factory to shed light on an undervalued topic in the cleantech startup world. After receiving positive feedback from participants, Mr. Steeb said, “To get the best result, we partnered with the best. The combination of Pull Creative, Echo-Factory and Motivo Engineering has been a great asset to our companies.” The Design Thinking series was discussed and summarized in Forbes:


The illuminating event was featured in China Daily

The event was featured in China Daily

Doing Business In China

LACI partnered up with Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP (CBM LLP) and Beijing 1421 Consulting Co. LTD to put together a series of thorough presentations to convey vital information about how to do business in China. The seminar was led by seasoned executives who know how to help foreign companies get established in China. The topic was on point for the eclectic attendees, ranging from entrepreneurs to the Mayor’s Director of International Trade, who are increasingly creating relations with Chinese investors, companies, and government institutions.

LACI and Partners Win US Department of Energy Support

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

California State Flag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the 4C Program Partners

logo_laci_200x100 LACI is a non-profit, public-private partnership that helps promising companies deliver market-ready cleantech solutions, and the jobs that come with them. In a very short time, LACI has proven a successful incubation and commercialization model and established itself as a global leader among cleantech incubators. LACI combines universities, research, government support, capital, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and business association leaders in order to drive innovation throughout the regional economy. In its first 30 months, LACI incubated 30 companies that received over $30M in funding and created over 300 jobs. By 2016, LACI projects its companies will have created over 1,600 jobs and have generated over $80M in sales. A broad, regional approach allows LACI to serve over ten million people and act as the State of California’s largest regional Innovation Hub (iHub).
logo_psv_200x100 ProspectSV is the first nonprofit, Silicon Valley-based commercialization catalyst for the next generation of technology for cities everywhere. ProspectSV provides a full spectrum of support to emerging technology companies, including access to the $12 million, 23,000 sq. ft. Technology Demonstration Center with working space and resources (lab facilities, specialized equipment), meeting rooms, and a suite of commercialization support services. ProspectSV provides unrivaled access to public infrastructure to develop and prove new efficient and effective technologies. ProspectSV partners with the entire ecosystem (from domain leaders and researchers to emerging technology companies to investors and municipalities), ultimately helping cities and companies alike save energy costs, reduce energy use and cut emissions.
logo_cto_200x100 The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual accelerator and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has enabled 865 cleantech startups to bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helped its alumni companies raise more than $950M in external capital, and created thousands of green-collar jobs. Fueled by a global network of more than 1,500 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s and the world’s cleantech sectors a thriving economic engine.
logo_bcd_200x100 BCD is a recognized leader in the creation of sector-focused business incubation, acceleration and technology commercialization programs for universities, corporations, and communities. BCD’s core services include business incubation/acceleration planning and development, incubator/accelerator operations and sustainability, innovation ecosystem strategies, cluster-based economic development approaches, and technology demonstration and commercialization programs.