Category: Partners

LACI Announces First-of-Its-Kind Debt Fund

 

Revolving Debt Fund helps startups scale, with a focus on under-resourced founders

Pilot program results validate need for early-stage cleantech debt solutions

Second funder in fund, Union Bank, marks shift beyond pilot stage

 

LACI’s mission of creating an inclusive green economy involves helping cleantech founders access the right capital to scale their startups, ultimately resulting in revenues, job creation and environmental impact. Over the past decade of incubation, LACI realized that debt needed to play a role in scaling cleantech startups much earlier than conventionally understood

Most early-stage startups rely almost exclusively on equity investment, primarily venture capital (VC). This reliance often leads to:

  • Founder dilution, with the median founder owning 15% of their company at exit. 
  • Recourse to risky and expensive alternatives. No early-stage startup is able to accurately forecast all of its expenses. As a result, many founders avail themselves of credit card debt when unexpected business opportunities arise or provide personal collateral for loans, a practice that prevents under-resourced but talented founders from scaling their ventures.
  • Lack of capital for founders of color. Over the course of five years, Crunchbase found that just 2.4% of total VC funding went to Black and Latino/Hispanic founders, despite the Black and Latino/Hispanic population equalling roughly 31% of the population. LACI founders are even more diverse, with approximately 33% of incubation program founders coming from the Black and Latino/Hispanic community.

Finding a way to prudently and cost-effectively layer in debt earlier in the process would:

  • Allow funders more choice about how much equity investment to take on, and when, plus enable founders to reduce their ownership dilution.
  • Prevent founders from taking on risky alternatives, such as personal credit card debt.
  • Allow founders of color greater access to capital to grow their startups. Although debt funders such as banks need to improve their track record in terms of lending to Black and Latino/Hispanic founders, they often fare better than their VC counterparts.

To address this problem, LACI won a grant from the Department of Energy’s Capital Access Program in 2017 to research and structure a debt fund to support LACI’s early stage cleantech founders. This research was initially shared at a Clinton Foundation economic conference in November of 2019, with private-sector lenders and public-sector officials validating the model to create a revolving debt fund focused on working capital and business expansion, with capital coming from philanthropic or program-related investment capital. LACI’s research revealed that private banks and other financial intermediaries clearly see the need and demand for such lending, but struggled to find their path to cost effectively serve the market, other than by having founders use traditional products, such as second mortgages and credit card debt.

In 2020, Wells Fargo invested the first loan capital into the LACI Debt Fund, an initial $110,000 contribution to pilot the concept of providing loans of $20k-$40k with interest rates at or below market for LACI companies who do not yet qualify for traditional loans. 

Today, LACI is pleased to exit stealth mode operations of the LACI Debt Fund by announcing that it has approved the 10th loan of the LACI Debt Fund. While the Debt Fund is modest in size, initial recipients of loans from the LACI Debt Fund have subsequently raised close to $100M in follow-on funding from both equity and debt sources, validating the crucial role that early stage debt can play as part of a comprehensive incubation experience.

 

With the number of successful loans entering the double digits, LACI has opened up the Debt Fund to other funders. Last week, Union Bank cemented its participation in the LACI Debt Fund, increasing the fund loan capital by almost 50% to $160k. The increased capital marks the end of the pilot phase and commencement of expanded operations, including being able to regularly support more LACI founders with additional loans.

Prospective startups interested in learning about the Debt Fund as part of LACI’s overall incubation services should reach out to pipeline@laci.org. Funders interested in supporting the LACI Debt Fund via philanthropic or program-related investment capital should reach out development@laci.org.

U.S. Department of Energy awards $9.5 Million to Support Clean Energy Innovation and Commercialization across America

Energy Program for Innovation Clusters Strengthens Innovation Ecosystem Development in Ten Regions Around the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) funding to ten incubators and accelerators that will harness regional ingenuity and resources, develop pipelines for energy technology to reach the market, and stimulate the formation of new businesses to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

“The clean energy market is growing at a breakneck pace, and America’s innovators need the tools to keep up on a competitive global stage,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This funding fills a critical need for targeted financial support to incubators and accelerators that provide opportunity for aspiring energy entrepreneurs looking to fight climate change, create jobs, and empower underserved communities.”

This funding announcement is the second of a two-part program created by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT)—in collaboration with DOE’s Building Technologies Office, the Arctic Energy Office, and the Office of Electricity—to support robust energy innovation ecosystems and stimulate energy hardware development in regions across the United States. Previously, DOE awarded $1 million to 20 incubators and accelerators across the nation.

“I was proud to support the Midwest Regional Innovation Partnership and its partners’ request for this Department of Energy grant, which has the potential to grow the innovation ecosystem in the Midwest,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “This federal funding will increase the rate of technology commercialization in the region and help companies create more high-tech domestic jobs.”

“I’m thrilled to see the Department of Energy announce $9.5 million to support clean energy innovation and commercialization. This funding will bring together researchers, innovators, investors, and adopters from across the energy innovation ecosystem to act as a catalyst for the development, commercialization, and transfer of energy technologies. I fully support strengthening the portfolio of technologies we are researching, enhancing their commercialization, and pursuing every opportunity to advance the United States’ competitive advantages, and I will continue to push for investments in these much-needed technologies of the future,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Los Angeles has long been known as America’s innovation hub and an emerging leader in technology and clean energy. Today’s announcement is both welcome news for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and the City of Los Angeles as this $1 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy will help encourage the growth of new clean-tech jobs in California’s 34th Congressional District and beyond,” said U.S. Representative Jimmy Gomez. [Read the full press release.]

Today’s funding awards allocate approximately $9.5 million across ten organizations:

  • Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) (Los Angeles, CA) – Leveraging a Southern California Energy Innovation Cluster to Pilot & Validate Emerging Energy Technologies (Award Amount: $1,000,000). LACI aims to scale the impact of its incubation program and accelerate the momentum of early-stage companies toward investment and customer-paid commercial deployments of their emerging clean energy technologies through startup pilots designed with input from stakeholders across the clean energy ecosystem within the Los Angeles County/greater Southern California region.
  • New Energy Nexus (New York City, NY) – The Clean Fight: Bringing NY’s Best (Award Amount: $992,970). New Energy Nexus NY’s project will create a statewide energy storage hardware innovation cluster to accelerate New York’s energy storage manufacturing industry, positioning it as a U.S. hub for energy storage innovation, research, development, and manufacturing.
  • Clean Energy Trust (Chicago, IL) – Midwest Regional Innovation Partnership (MRIP) (Award Amount: $909,411). MRIP will enable Midwest energy hardware and related technology startups to scale, attract capital, create jobs, and drive economic development in the Midwest. MRIP will launch three new accelerator programs, which will benefit from MRIP partners’ collective expertise, resources, and reach.
  • Regents of New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM) – New Mexico Clean Energy Resilience and Growth (NM CERG) Cluster (Award Amount: $1,000,000). NM CERG will work with regional stakeholders to pivot current and create new programming for an idea-to-business pipeline for startups commercializing clean energy technologies.
  • Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY) – Energy Program Innovation Cluster for Equity and Health in Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (EPIC GEB) (Award Amount: $750,000). Syracuse’s project will fertilize the regional ecosystem of companies making energy hardware and related products required to achieve next-generation Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings. The project will emphasize products for the building sector of the economy, which takes advantage of the region’s long history of successful businesses in this sector. Following DOE’s Equity in Energy Initiative, ventures and companies will learn about the positive outcomes that can be achieved through development, design, and construction of hardware through an equity lens.
  • United States Research Impact Alliance (USRIA) (Morgantown, WV) – IMPACT Accelerator (Award Amount: $1,000,000). USRIA’s IMPACT Accelerator will identify and mature federally funded technologies that have the potential to solve a targeted set of challenges for the energy and manufacturing industries. The IMPACT acceleration process operates with a “market-pull” orientation and more deeply engages with industry stakeholders on the targeted issues.
  • Launch Alaska (Anchorage, AK) – Launch Alaska Transportation and Energy Accelerator (LATEA) (Award Amount: $882,999). Launch Alaska will stimulate energy and related hardware technology development and rapidly expand the growing cluster of innovative companies developing and deploying energy solutions in Alaska. The project will enhance Launch Alaska’s resilience and operational sustainability, leading to greater development of transportation and energy-related hardware technologies in Alaska.
  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) – Colorado Energy Innovation Collaborative (CEIC) (Award Amount: $1,000,000). Colorado State University’s project will create an energy hardtech accelerator that will support two cohorts of up to 20 founders. The proposed Rockies/Plains Energy Accelerator for Commercializing Hardtech (REACH) is tailored to the specific needs of the Rocky Mountains Great Plains region – an area spanning over 40% of the Lower Continental United States that produces 25% of the nation’s energy.
  • E4 Carolinas, Inc. (Charlotte, NC) – Regional Energy Hardware Innovation Accelerator (Award Amount: $999,704). E4 Carolina’s project will identify and define the region’s energy hardware clusters and engage cluster members to support the accelerator in selectively identifying U.S. hardware-focused ventures each year, connecting ventures with advisors and resources, and building regional capacity for innovation though proof-of-concept demonstrations with prospective customers.
  • VertueLab (Portland, OR) – Northwest Cleantech Innovation Network (NWCIN) (Award Amount: $999,613). VertueLab’s project will add new programs to specifically address the challenges facing new energy hardware technology start-ups. NWCIN will establish a regional entrepreneurial support system and network of resources for integrated outreach, education, and company screening, and will provide support to Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska entrepreneurs and cleantech startups through four assistance programs.

Established in 2015, OTT advances the economic, energy, and national security interests of the United States by expanding the commercial impact of DOE’s research and development portfolio. OTT spearheads programs that support commercialization and fosters DOE’s strong internal and external partnerships that guide innovations from the lab to the marketplace.

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CA State Budget Support for Zero-Emission Vehicles and Infrastructure

The Honorable Gavin Newsom, Governor
State of California
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Toni Atkins, President Pro Tempore
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Anthony Rendon, Speaker
California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 219
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Nancy Skinner, Chair
Senate Budget Committee
State Capitol, Room 5019
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Phil Ting, Chair
Assembly Budget Committee
State Capitol, Room 6026
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: State Budget Support for Zero-Emission Vehicles and Infrastructure

Dear Governor Newsom, President Pro Tempore Atkins, Speaker Rendon, Chair Skinner, and Chair Ting:

We applaud the emphasis that each of your offices has placed on taking concrete steps and making bold investments to address dirty air and climate change. The need for state investment to accelerate zero-emission (ZE) vehicle adoption has never been more urgent, nor has the state ever had the means, as it does today, to enact change. The state surplus presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to lay the strong foundation for an accelerated and equitable transition to a zero-emission freight transportation system.

The entities listed below represent a broad coalition of stakeholders that firmly believe a major investment in zero-emission goods movement vehicles and supporting infrastructure must be made in the 2021-22 budget. We urge you to dedicate an additional $2.25 Billion towards the state’s transition to zero- emissions for drayage trucks and cargo handling equipment. This aligns with Executive Order N-79-20, our urgent need for clean air, the Transportation Electrification Partnership’s target for 40% ZE drayage trucks by 2028, and our ambitious yet achievable shared goals of achieving 100% ZE cargo handling equipment and drayage trucks. State investment, coupled with supporting regulation and policies can ensure establishment of a strong market for ZE freight vehicles. Investments are needed in vehicles, supporting infrastructure, workforce training to operate and maintain zero-emission equipment and infrastructure, and a means to offset the insurance costs for these new vehicles. Specifically, we are asking for the 2021-22

California budget to include:

  • $1 Billion for the California Air Resources Board’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), Zero and Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF), and Clean Off-Road Equipment (CORE) programs to fund human operated zero-emission drayage and cargo handling equipment;
  • $1 Billion for the California Energy Commission to fund charging infrastructure that supports EO N-79-20 implementation at California’s container ports;
  • $100 Million for expanding the availability and affordability of zero-emission drayage truck insurance for truck owners/drivers; and
  • $150 Million for workforce training to maintain and operate zero-emission goods movement vehicles and supporting equipment.

In addition to investment in equipment and infrastructure, we believe complementary investment to ensure that the jobs associated with our transition are captured here in California, especially in underserved and frontline communities. Creation of green jobs must be supported by this level of investment; so too should the transition of incumbent workers into the new, greener goods movement system. The existing supply chain workforce is comprised of millions of middle-class Californians. The state must play a stronger role in funding the transition to zero emission heavy duty trucks and equipment and building the supporting infrastructure to build strong local economies while fighting climate change and cutting air pollution.

We share your goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and public health, and transitioning to zero-emission vehicles and cargo handling equipment. Our commitment to this goal is evident in our collective global leadership to innovate and implement cutting-edge emission reduction practices. To continue this trajectory, it is imperative that the state’s policy leadership be accompanied by major fiscal investments to achieve these goals. We look forward to continuing to work with your offices and stakeholders on additional policy issues accompanying fleet transition; however, we believe the time is now for the State of California to embrace its unique role in making bold “market maker” investments. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the essential steps towards stemming climate change with new, clean technologies.

 

Thank you for your consideration,
A3PCON (Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council) Environmental Justice Committee
Bay Area Council
BYD
California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA)
California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy
Communities for a Better Environment
EarthJustice
East Bay Community Energy
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
Harbor Trucking Association
International Longshore and Warehouse Union – Locals 13, 63 and 94
Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma (LBACA)
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn
Los Angeles County Truck and Bus Coalition
Los Angeles IBEW/NECA Labor Management Cooperation Committee (or LMCC)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino
Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator (LACI)
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)
PCS Energy
People’s Collective for Environmental Justice
Port of Hueneme
Port of Oakland
Port of Long Beach
Port of Los Angeles
Port of Richmond
Port of San Francisco
San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners Coalition
Sierra Club
Southern California Edison
Union of Concerned Scientists
Urban Movement Labs
Warehouse Worker Resource Center
XOS Trucks

View The Official Letter Here: 

Electrify America Invests Over $1.6 Million in STEM Programs and Workforce Development to Drive Brand-Neutral Zero Emission Vehicle Education

Ultra-fast charging network funds Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) initiatives, workforce training with four grassroots organizations to support electric vehicle education in California, U.S.

Reston, VA (March 1, 2021) – Electrify America is investing over $1.6 million in funding to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and workforce development programs, projects, ideas, concepts and related sponsorships to help promote zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), ZEV technology and ZEV infrastructure. The investment will award four organizations funds to develop and launch educational and training programs to support K-12 and community college students as well as workers through vocational training in California and across the country.

This initiative builds on the company’s ongoing support for brand-neutral electric vehicle (EV) education and awareness across the U.S. These STEM and worker training programs will specifically address the need to educate students on EVs through new curriculum, as well as provide on-the-job vocational training that will be critical to developing a workforce of future engineers, software developers, battery technicians, energy management specialists, construction managers and a wide variety of additional jobs that the industry will have a strong need for as it continues to grow.

“Investing in science, technology, engineering and math programs will not only educate students and workers about electric vehicles, but it will help prepare them for the countless career opportunities that exist in the vast EV ecosystem,” said Will Berry, corporate social responsibility manager, Electrify America. “The electric vehicle and charging infrastructure industries need a workforce rooted in a strong STEM foundation, and we’re helping support future career development by teaching and training students about these types of jobs.”

Through an open and rigorous request for proposal process of more than a dozen applicants, Electrify America has awarded funding to four organizations who specialize in STEM and EV education:

• Ecology Action
• Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
• The National Energy Foundation
• Valley Clean Air Now

These STEM programs will build on Electrify America’s previous multi-million dollar investments with numerous California-based community and diversity-focused organizations, as well as growing education and infrastructure investments in low income, disadvantaged communities, and rural areas. Investment in community-based organizations remains a strong component of the company’s broader commitment to educating all Americans on the benefits of driving electric.

“Challenging students to learn about the benefits of emissions-free technology with curriculum and vocational training will help drive the transition to an electric transportation future,” said Berry. “Electrify America’s investment in STEM complements our ongoing support for communities across California and the nation.”

A focus on equity remains a cornerstone in all decision-making processes at Electrify America, with emphasis on investing in programs that reach diverse, low-income and disadvantaged communities. In 2019 Electrify America invested a total of $82.4 million in these California communities by providing education, access, charging infrastructure and services to promote ZEV driving, including $10 million in education and marketing.

The four organizations that will be supporting STEM and workforce development activities through Electrify America’s investment will develop programs that target students nationally or in California. Additional information on the selected organizations and the campaigns that Electrify America will support, including quotes from each program leader, includes:

Ecology Action: Ecology Action, a California-based environmental non-profit, is partnering with Fused Learning, LLC, a California leader in STEM education, to promote awareness of and deliver STEM education about the long-term adoption of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), ZEV technology, and ZEV infrastructure. Their initiative will focus on reaching students in grades 4 – 8 through their ZEV Future for All program. https://ecoact.org/about-us/community-engagement/electricvehicles

“STEM learning focused on zero emission vehicles is an ideal combination for giving the next generation the knowledge and skills to build a more sustainable and resilient future,” said Kirsten Liske, Vice President of Community Programs, Ecology Action. “We are excited to partner with Electrify America to bring this subject to a diversity of children across northern California to spark their interest and imagination.”

The National Energy Foundation (NEF): NEF will develop a national STEM program (excluding California) promoting EV adoption that focuses on grades K – 12, community college and vocational training through virtual or live presentations, student challenges, curriculum development, postsecondary webinars and expansion of its “rEV’ program around EV education. NEF is a unique 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to increasing energy literacy through the development, distribution and implementation of educational materials and programs related to energy, natural resources, energy efficiency, energy safety and the environment. https://nef1.org

“NEF’s ‘rEV’ program is an extraordinary opportunity to present today’s technology-driven students with the benefits of EVs through a STEM-based multimedia curriculum. The program provides the launch for all STEM-loving students to be introduced to ZEV (zero-emission vehicle) technologies and the possibilities of future careers,” said Elissa Richards, President, National Energy Foundation.

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI): LACI will focus on STEM education in California through workforce development, vocational training, and Zero-Emissions Mobility and Community Pilot Project programs, with specific emphasis on training and certifying workers for electric vehicle (EV) charging station repair and additional EV industry jobs. LACI’s approach to transportation electrification workforce development is unique because it offers participants hands-on access to LACI’s state-of-the-art Advanced Prototyping Center (APC) facilities with expertise in Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) and Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), and convenes their portfolio company employers to provide a seamless employment transition for graduates of their workforce development programs. https://laincubator.org

“Through our STEM curriculum and ZEV-focused technical training, LACI’s APC Fellowship Program not only prepares our graduates for ZEV-related workforce opportunities, but also shifts their perspectives around the importance of transportation electrification in our communities,” said Estelle Reyes Madrid, Senior Vice President, Enhancing Communities, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

Valley Clean Air Now (VCAN): VCAN will reach community college automotive students through curriculum and vocational training, partnering with the California New Car Dealers Association and Bakersfield College to help set up a future of new “green collar” careers in the EV industry, specifically for low-income and disadvantaged communities. VCAN is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to quantifiably reducing air emissions in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the region with the worst air quality in the United States. https://valleycan.org

“The adoption of electric vehicles presents the opportunity to train the next generation of vehicle technicians for well-paying careers,” said Rocky Carlisle, Valley Clean Air Now. “Trained and certified electric vehicle technicians are in short supply, so these graduates will be in high demand.”

# # #

About Electrify America
Electrify America LLC, the largest open DC fast charging network in the U.S., is investing $2 billion over 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education and access. The investment will enable millions of Americans to discover the benefits of electric driving and support the build-out of a nationwide network of workplace, community and highway chargers that are convenient and reliable. Electrify America expects to install or have under development approximately 800 total charging stations with about 3,500 DC fast chargers by December 2021. During this period, the company will be expanding to 29 metros and 45 states, including two cross-country routes, delivering on its commitment to support increased ZEV adoption with a network that is comprehensive, technologically advanced and customer friendly. Electrify America earned the “2020 EV Charging Infrastructure Best-in-Test” award from umlaut, an independent testing & validation company, as published in Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine noting the brand’s accessibility and seamless customer experience. Electrify America’s Electrify Home® offers home charging solutions for consumers with flexible installation options. Electrify Commercial® provides expert solutions for businesses looking to develop electric vehicle charging programs. For more information, visit www.electrifyamerica.com and media.electrifyamerica.com.

Media Contact
Mike Moran, Electrify America
Mike.Moran@ElectrifyAmerica.com
(703) 872-7936

 

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

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 http://4c.laci.org

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 www.prospectsv.org.

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 www.newlaci.staging.wpengine.com.

 

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.

 

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.