LACI’s First Fund Invested in 17 Early-Stage Cleantech Startups with 29% of Investments in Women Founders and 12% in Black or Brown Founders–In 2022, Less than 2% of All U.S. Venture Capital Was in Invested in Women Founders, 1% in Black Founders, and 2% in Latinx Founders
Los Angeles, CA – March 14, 2023 – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) today announced initial investments from the newly launched LACI Impact Fund II (LIF II) in two women founded start-ups: Repurpose, whose mission is to eliminate plastic pollution with its sustainable tableware; and ChargerHelp!, the nation’s only on-demand repair service for electric vehicle charging stations. LIF II has set out to raise $30 million in total capital to invest in startups active across all of LACI’s programs–initial investors, or limited partners (LPs), include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Melony and Adam Lewis, and others.
The announcement also follows the successful deployment of LACI’s first fund, or LACI Impact Fund I (LIF I), which invested in 17 cleantech startups. Of the 17 investments, 29% percent of startups are led by a woman founder, and 12% by a Black or Brown founder. In 2022, less than 2% of all U.S. venture capital was invested in female founders, 1% in Black founders, and less than 2% for all Latinx founders.. .
“Given the urgency of the climate crisis as well as the institutional and historical barriers to accessing capital for underrepresented founders, LACI is leaning in to scale our startups’ solutions here in Los Angeles and beyond,” said Matt Petersen, LACI’s CEO. “Our mission is clear, and to create an inclusive green economy we need to invest in underrepresented women, Black, and brown startup founders to overcome the huge barriers to equitable access to capital.”
“One of the keys to tackling climate change is empowering and supporting underrepresented cleantech founders through the lens of gender and racial equity,” said Melony and Adam Lewis. “Given the organization is addressing the climate crisis and equity—two of the fundamental challenges facing our society today—together, we are thrilled to be investors in LACI’s second fund.”
“We’re very excited to partner with LACI to drive business expansion and create green jobs, ” said Lauren Gropper, CEO and co-Founder of Repurpose. “Our company believes climate justice is social justice, and being aligned with an organization like LACI, one that believes in the same mission, is very rewarding. As we expand rapidly, having access to capital and other programs to support bringing our idea to life is paramount.”
“We are excited about the continued partnership with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator,” said Kameale C. Terry, CEO and co-founder of ChargerHelp. “Their investment will help us further expand our technology offering for EVSE reliability and uptime, as well as continue to create new green jobs.”
LIF I–whose investment advisory committee included a representative of Emerson Collective as well as a representative of the Annenberg Foundation–co-invested alongside venture firms such as ArcTern, Aligned Climate Capital, Energy Impact Partners, Trucks VC, Kapor Capital & Mark Cuban Companies. After the investment from LIF I, many of the 17 startups have gone on to raise significant subsequent rounds totalling over $300 million including Repurpose, ChargerHelp!, and:
- SparkCharge–their $30M Series A is bringing mobile EV charging to cities across America.
- Xeal–their $40M Series A is helping bring charging to multifamily tenants across the U.S.
- FreeWire–their $125M Series D helping the company scale their charging solutions globally.
In June of last year, LACI launched a national Cleantech Debt Fund, a $6M first-of-its-kind green loan program. The fund addresses institutional barriers that prohibit underrepresented founders from accessing debt capital and maintaining company ownership. Of the 13 companies receiving initial loans, 33 percent of companies have a woman founder or co-founder, and 83 percent of the companies have a founder or co-founder who identifies as Black or Latinx/ The LACI Cleantech Debt Fund deploys loans across the portfolios of LACI as well as partner incubators Greentown Labs, New Energy Nexus, and Evergreen Climate Innovations.
LACI’s other notable programs include the Transportation Electrification Partnership which is working to achieve bold targets by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles, green jobs training programs which places graduates in LACI startups and partner organizations, and the Women in Cleantech initiative, which has collectively supported 120 women founders growing their businesses.
About Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is creating an inclusive green economy for the people of Los Angeles by unlocking innovation by; working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies; transforming markets through catalytic partnerships with policymakers, innovators, and private sector leaders in transportation, energy, and sustainable cities; and enhancing communities through workforce development, pilots, and other programs. Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI has been recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI Global. LACI has helped 375 portfolio companies raise over $1 billion in funding, generated $323 million in revenue, and created 2,565 jobs throughout the Los Angeles region, with a long term economic impact of more than $733 million. Learn more at www.laci.org.