Wells Fargo Adds Six Clean Technology Startups to Innovation Incubator

Innovation Incubator

Wells Fargo  selected six new clean technology startup companies to join their  Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a five-year, $10 million program designed to help accelerate innovative environmental technologies. The early stage companies will each receive up to $250,000 in cash and in-kind technical consultation to foster solutions focused on reducing energy and creating innovative clean technologies for commercial buildings. Launched in 2014, IN2 is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The six new early stage companies – two in California and one each in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York – are joining the Innovation Incubator to refine their potentially game-changing technologies for the commercial buildings marketplace. This is the second of three selection rounds. In April, Wells Fargo selected four clean technology startups as the first participants in IN2.

In addition to receiving funding for business development, IN2 participants receive financial and technical consultation from a network of experts, as well as research and testing support at NRELs world-class facility in Golden, Colo. Clean technology startups participating in the Innovation Incubator will have their technologies validated in the lab, followed by piloting in select Wells Fargo locations.

“The power of IN2 is that it’s built on collaboration with leaders at Wells Fargo, universities, regional accelerators, and the experts, researchers, and scientists at NREL,” said Mary Wenzel, Wells Fargo head of Environmental Affairs. “We’re all rolling up our sleeves and working together to offer support to these entrepreneurs so that they will have the best chance for success in getting their technology to the marketplace and in addressing the increasing constraints on natural resources.”

The six clean technology startups joining IN2 are:

  • 7AC Technologies in Beverly, Mass. Their Liquid Desiccant Air Conditioning technology reduces electricity and potable water consumption for cooling and heating by 40% compared to existing best-in-class solutions.
  • Go Electric Inc. in Anderson, Ind. Their meter energy solutions and services for facilities and utilities integrate renewable energy, advanced batteries, and generators to reduce energy costs, assure energy security, and enhance grid stability.
  • Heliotrope Technologies in Alameda, Calif. The early stage company is utilizing unique, solution-based manufacturing processes for electrochromic devices, with an emphasis on developing low-cost, energy-saving smart windows.
  • NETenergy in Chicago. This thermal energy storage (TES) company’s module integrates with small commercial building air conditioning systems to shift energy demand and consumption to off-peak hours.
  • Polyceed, Inc in Encinitas, Calif. The startup is focused on developing novel low-cost, high-tech smart materials whose optical properties can be changed in a predictable and controllable manner. The technology has broad applications from dynamic smart windows to displays and wearable consumer devices.
  • ThermoLift, Inc. in Stony Brook, N.Y. The early stage company is developing a natural gas-driven heat pump and air conditioner to replace building heating, cooling, and hot water systems with a single appliance. The company anticipates the technology can provide a 30-50% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

“This program is proving to be highly valuable to both the IN2 awardees and NREL, and we look forward to engaging with the next round of building technology companies entering the program,” said Richard Adams, Director of NREL’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. “IN2 is proving out the model that we had envisioned, and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to advance these early stage technologies as well as to offer real-world test conditions in order to optimize their potential for success in the market.”

The Innovation Incubator sources potential program participants from nearly 30 universities and regional accelerator programs that serve as channel partners. A call for applications for the third and final round of awardees will take place in the summer of 2016.

The IN2 program is part of Wells Fargo’s 2020 Environmental Commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities.

Innovation Incubator Channel Partners:

  • Cal-Tech, Flow Program | Los Angeles
  • Clean Energy Trust | Chicago
  • Cleantech Group | San Francisco
  • Cleantech Open | Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Coachella Valley Economic Partnership | Palm Springs, Calif.
  • Green Town Labs | Boston
  • Hawaii Energy Excelerator | Honolulu
  • Imagine H20, Inc. | San Francisco
  • Innosphere | Denver
  • Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator | Los Angeles
  • Mass Challenge | Boston
  • MIT Energy Club | Cambridge, Mass.
  • New England Clean Energy Council | Boston
  • NextEnergy Center | Detroit
  • Northwestern University | Evanston, Ill.
  • Portland State University | Portland, Ore.
  • Prospect SV | San Jose, Calif.
  • Rice University | Houston
  • Stanford, TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy | Stanford, Calif.
  • Sustainable Startups | Salt Lake City
  • Telluride Venture Accelerator | Telluride, Colo.
  • Texas A&M, Research Valley Partnership | College Station, Texas
  • Texas State University | San Marcos, Texas
  • UC Berkeley | Berkeley, Calif.
  • UC Davis EEC | Davis, Calif.
  • UC Irvine | Irvine, Calif.
  • UNC Charlotte | Charlotte, N.C.
  • UT – McCombs Business School | Austin, Texas
  • University of Washington | Seattle

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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