Tag: news

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.

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.

 

Pick My Solar wins US DOE grant for app development

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App will be the first to deliver real-time solar data to consumers

LACI Portfolio Company Pick My Solar was awarded federal funding to develop PVimpact, a tool that aims to make it easy for all solar homes to connect to the information grid. The app is being designed to benefit homeowners, solar installers, manufacturers, and utilities by analyzing homeowners’ energy use in real time.

Keep an eye out for it this summer (free to all Pick My Solar customers), then available to the rest of the U.S. residential solar market in early fall.

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.

Hyperlight Energy Cuts Ribbons and Breaks New Ground

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SoCalGas, the California Energy Commission, and San Diego State University have combined forces to bring LACI Portfolio Company Hyperlight Energy’s cutting-edge technology to life. The Hyperlight demonstration project produces hot water and steam using an innovative solar thermal design that is much cheaper than the current model.
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Research began seven years ago and installation of the equipment took place in the first quarter of 2014.

Located at SDSU’s Center for Energy Sustainability on the Imperial Valley Campus

Hyperlight’s innovation will help commercial, industrial and agricultural facilities throughout California to lower both emissions and energy bills. This new technology will make existing facilities more efficient by harnessing the energy from the sun, and coupled with natural gas, can help California achieve its renewable energy goals.

Hyperlight Energy CEO, John King, noted that this project shines light on the uniqueness of Southern California as one of the few places in the world where a Fortune 500 energy utility, a world-class energy agency, a university, and a small new technology innovator can come together to create a powerful combination. The CEC and SoCalGas deployed $2M into Hyperlight technology through their respective programs and SDSU provided the site for the project.

The pioneers behind the Hyperlight Energy installation.

The full press release can be read here: http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140508-911939.html
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Safeway Endorses Repurpose

Congrats to Repurpose Compostables, who will roll out their products in 500 Safeway stores this summer, just in time for 4th of July BBQs and parties.  We’d love to see more folks use Repurpose to avoid those petroleum-based red cups that always pile up, and never break down.

Repurpose has been a catalyst for change in the consumer products industry by educating people about the necessity to shift current consumption habits away from plastics. Now, retailers are assuaging the demand of their customers and adding plant-based disposables to their inventory.

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.

Zen and the art of e-motorbicycle maintenance: creativity, meditation and innovation

I’d like you to meet the latest addition to the LACI family, Juicer Fine Electric Motorbicycles a talented designer tapping into the growing global electric chopper trend. Certainly all the Silver Lake hipsters hanging at Handsome Coffee Roasters down the road will now have something new to lust after, but beyond it’s obvious Made-in-LA street cred and how incredibly cool we think it is, this is an opportune moment to segue to the topic of creativity and innovation in technology.

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The essence of successful entrepreneurship is defined by creativity (and hard work). Coming up with new ways to solve problems is often the initial impulse to found a startup, and then once underway finding creative ways to marshal the required resources and overcome the obstacles encountered at every turn is what differentiates the winners from the unemployed. However, surviving the Valley of Death and then excelling beyond requires more than just solid intellectual horsepower and analytics, it requires true creativity. Which brings us to the $10,000 question: what is creativity and how do we cultivate it, especially under the high stress conditions a startup entails?

Creativity is the production of something new and original. In general, creativity comes through when we’re relaxed, when the active, analytical part of the brain is superficially focused elsewhere, or obscured/numbed/diverted as so often happens with consciousness altering drugs (alcohol, marijuana, etc), during exercise, when driving or listening to music.  But hard as you may try, you can’t think your way into creative inspiration, it just happens in a flash, a torrential downpour of pure original thought, sometimes as a coherent whole and other times as the seed of an idea that must be nurtured and cultivated and perfected. Lest you think it stops there, though, just having a creative idea isn’t enough, it’s a two part process. After the initial burst of inspiration, there is the hard work, the blocking and tackling, the nuts and bolts labor of fleshing out the idea, fully realizing it, improving and perfecting it, and bringing it to fruition (well articulated by Steve Jobs).

However if creativity doesn’t come from the mind, where does it come from? Where is that “other” part of consciousness within which it resides? And how does it get there? The short answer is that it comes from other parts of ourselves, from our subconscious, or depending on your philosophical bent, from other planes of reality – what quantum physics might term, the Unified Field. But regardless of your belief in its origins, one indisputable fact is that training your active mind to relax and get out of the way enables you to access the intuitive, creative part more easily. And meditation is a healthy tool (with lots of other benefits) that can be used to enable high levels of creative flow. David Lynch is a big believer, and Norman Seeff has documented it amongst hundreds of world renowned artists, engineers, businesspeople and others.

What does this mean for you as an entrepreneur? How can you learn these techniques and put them to use in your own life to make your own dent in the universe? Well, let me tell you. LACI is launching a new program called Zen Bootcamp: Meditation for Entrepreneurs. Is it just about Zen? No. It’s a survey of a wide variety of different meditation techniques, their physiological impacts (think brain wave patterns) and an overview of some of the most powerful creative processes out there to help you get your bearings and navigate the landscape. What will it do for you? Hopefully make you the next Apple, but if not, at least catapult you forward Chuck Norris style into the sustainability beyond and help you conquer our planet’s most challenging and vexing problems.

We’re certain this is a global first for incubator programs, and think it’s apropros that LA is where it’s all beginning. So watch for the details on our website soon, till then, order your own Juicer motorbicycle (or come see it at LACI) and make all the snarky coffee chugging plaid shirt wearing mustachioed hipsters falter in their relaxed cool affectation as they furiously fume with jealously while you’re whistling by on battery power…

– Ian