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The goal of Venture For ClimateTech is to accelerate innovations likely to have substantial climate impacts for all, and which have potential for adoption in NYS. In particular, we want to offer a path to help entrepreneurs whose highly impactful innovations face unique barriers to commercialization through normal processes due to long paths to market and high capital intensity, along with other more traditional startups.

Venture For ClimateTech is designed to help you quickly and effectively address the biggest risks in launching your venture. It’s a three-phase, six-month program that seeks to help you build the team, knowledge, and personal network you need to succeed, while providing the capital, community, access to talent, and connections to make the journey faster and smoother.

We broadly are interested in companies developing technologies which have the potential to substantially reduce GHG emissions globally, and in the state of New York in particular. The fourth cohort will focus on decarbonizing four key sectors: Buildings, Transportation, Grid, and Industry. Companies with solutions that positively help communities impacted by climate change are strongly encouraged to apply.

We work with early-stage entrepreneurs and solo founders, some of whom will not yet have formed a legal entity. We are looking for pre-seed, meaning you may have raised money through grants but no significant amount from institutional investors. We are happy to have a conversation about other resources in our ecosystem which might be appropriate, or whether you might be a fit for our Scale For ClimateTech program! So don’t be shy, we are here to help!

Applicants can be located anywhere in the world but must have plans for how their solution can help New York State reach its climate goals as stated in the Climate Leadership and Protection Act.

This is a part-time program spread over several months. It’s meant to help you launch, but not to take away your ability to make ends meet. Some weeks will be more intense than others, particularly at the beginning of the program, but you can expect to spend about 10-15 hours a week on your company through the program.

Applications for Cohort 4 of Venture For ClimateTech are open from January 3, 2024 to March 1, 2024 and can apply through the links above.

Startups will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • The potential carbon equivalent reduction impact of the technology or service.
  • The business opportunity makes sense, is substantial, and there is evidence of market interest.
  • The founder or founding team is sharp, motivated, self-aware, and coachable
  • The company is of an appropriate stage, and is positioned to benefit substantially from participation in the program.
  • The startup product or service has a clear fit with the NYS ecosystem, in terms of having the opportunity for a presence, partnerships, or a market within the stage.
  • The solution addresses and/or involves underserved communities in development or application.

Participation in Venture For ClimateTech will require 10-15 hours a week, which includes instructional and mentoring time, and time working on your company. You can participate concurrently in other accelerator or incubation programming outside of Venture For ClimateTech; however, we ask that you dedicate the necessary time to fulfill the requirements of this opportunity.

Scale For ClimateTech (S4C) provides immersive training on manufacturing for climate tech hardware innovators, along with a team dedicated to making manufacturing easier — from mentors and experts in the field and product and packaging designers, to manufacturers, suppliers, and investors. S4C aims to scale-up the manufacturing and delivery of innovative climatetech hardware products and solutions to the New York State market in support of New York’s Climate Act goals and to foster and promote climatetech hardware design, engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain development in New York State. 

Since 2018, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has supported the Scale for ClimateTech program. This program has supported more than 69 companies that have raised $431M in capital and earned $40M in revenue over the last 4 years. Scalable hardware companies are the engines of technology commercialization, job creation, and economic growth. In many cases, these promising companies struggle to traverse the many challenges of manufacturing to bring physical products to market. This NYSERDA program focuses on overcoming the challenges of product manufacturing for climate technology (climatetech) companies so as to advance the State’s climate goals, bring jobs to the State, and bolster New York’s manufacturing industry. Evolving the nature of cleantech companies’ engagements with manufacturers and other supply chain partners increases the likelihood that the companies will successfully scale. This program offers services to climatetech companies and supply chain partners to enable them to achieve key manufacturing milestones, accelerate the time it takes to move from prototype to commercial product, and facilitate connections and agreements between manufacturers and innovative climatetech companies. 

Scale for ClimateTech is one of NYSERDA’s Technology to Market programs, which aim to support companies – and through them, their technologies and solutions – that will help New York State reach the targets laid out in the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA, or Climate Act). These targets include a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2050 and 100% zero-emissions electricity by 2040, among others, and a commitment to climate justice and a just transition to a clean energy economy.

Scale For ClimateTech is funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and administered by two organizations — SecondMuse in NYC and NextCorps in Rochester, New York.

NYSERDA
NYSERDA, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and support to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. A public benefit corporation, NYSERDA has been advancing energy solutions and working to protect the environment since 1975.

SecondMuse
SecondMuse is an impact and innovation company that builds resilient economies by supporting entrepreneurs and the ecosystems around them. They do this by designing, developing, and implementing a mix of innovation programming and investing capital. Over the last decade, they’ve designed and implemented programs on seven continents with 600+ organizations such as NASA, The World Bank, and Nike.

NextCorps
NextCorps provides a suite of services, including technology commercialization support for very early-stage opportunities, business incubation for high-growth potential startups, and growth services for manufacturing companies seeking to improve their top- and bottom-line performance.

Climate Tech is an innovation that supports decarbonization of the economy through hardware, software, technology-enabled services, data analytics, or processes that broadly reduce energy consumption, increase resource efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or enable the transition to a sustainable and decarbonized economy. 

Innovator Services (for Cohort Members):

Scale For ClimateTech helps growth-stage ClimateTech innovators develop a faster and less expensive path to market than they will experience on their own. As a Cohort Member, you will receive assistance to help you navigate and make critical decisions throughout the manufacturing process, including:

Technical support from the prototype phase throughout manufacturing development to enable rapid advancement of your Manufacturing Readiness Level  

  • One-on-one office hours with Subject Matter Experts
  • Connections to market intelligence experts
  • Customized accountability board to help scope and execute a manufacturing roadmap project
  • Third-party MRL assessments 

 

Education to help you navigate through time-sensitive, critical decisions related to the development of your manufacturing capabilities and your manufacturing processes 

  • Immersive workshops and trainings on MRL sub-threads, including: Technology & the Industrial Base, Design, Materials, Cost & Funding, Process Capability & Control, Quality Management, Manufacturing Personnel, Facilities, and Manufacturing Planning.
  • Peer to peer group sessions
  • Access to manufacturing tools and materials

Access to a supplier network within the State to drive collaboration and business agreements

  • Tours of ecosystem partners and NY supply chain and manufacturing facilities
  • Access to vetted suppliers and manufacturers

Facilitated partnerships between your company and potential investors, corporate partners, and customers to increase the number of new innovative solutions being manufactured in New York State. 

  • Invitation to participate in an Innovation Showcase (Demo Day) where your climate tech hardware will be exhibited to the larger Climate Tech ecosystem, including SCPs and investors
  • Strategic partnership opportunities for pilot testing, engineering and design services 

 

Innovator Services (open to all Innovators):

In this newest iteration, Scale for ClimateTech offers additional assistance to all Climate Tech Innovators at large to receive match-making services to our vetted supplier and manufacturer network.  

Innovators interested in being matched with our network can fill out this form here. 

  • Free consultations to identify manufacturing needs
  • Facilitated introductions to explore potential manufacturing agreements, partnerships, and business opportunities with suppliers

 

Supply Chain Services (for Manufacturers and Suppliers):

In this newest iteration, Scale For ClimateTech offers services to Manufacturers and Suppliers that opt-in to our manufacturing directory. 

Manufacturers and Suppliers interested in opting in to our directory can fill out this form here.  

  • Free consultations to identify target customers
  • Free marketing to the climate tech community
    • Promotion of services within our Newsletter, Social Media and partnership channels
    • Sharing relevant opportunities for potential customers to attend events such as trade shows, open houses, and conferences
    • Featured success stories of partnerships between Innovators and Suppliers  
  • Reimbursement to attend climate tech events to connect with potential customers and partners 

While any innovation that meets the definition of “Climate Tech” is of interest to Scale for ClimateTech, a few sectors that contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions in New York State which Scale for ClimateTech are particularly interested in, are:

Buildings – The buildings sector was the largest source of emissions in 2019, responsible for 32% of emissions statewide, which includes the combustion of fossil fuels in residential (34%) and commercial buildings (19%), emissions from imported fuels (33%), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) released from building equipment and foam insulation (14%). This sector could include key subsectors such as large commercial, small commercial, multifamily residential, and single-family residential, among others.

Transportation – The transportation sector was responsible for approximately 28% of New York’s GHG emissions in 2019, which includes road transportation (59%), non- road such as aviation (12%), emissions from imported fuels (26%), and HFCs used in vehicle air-conditioning and refrigeration (3%). This sector could include key subsectors such as public transportation, vehicle fleets (trucks, buses, ride hailing, etc.), personal transportation, and last-mile logistics, among others.

Grid – The grid and electricity sector comprised 13% of statewide emissions in 2019, including electricity generation within the State (44%), imported electricity (15%), emissions from imported fuels (41%), and the sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas used in electricity distribution and transmission (<1%). This sector could include key subsectors such as smart infrastructure and operations, large-scale renewables, distributed energy resources, and energy storage, among others.

Industry – Industrial emissions made up 9% of statewide emissions in 2019, including emissions from methane leaks and combustion from the oil and gas system in New York (45%), the direct combustion of on-site fuel (27%), emissions from imported fuels (20%), and non-combustion industrial processes (6%). This sector could include key subsectors such as carbontech, chemicals, food and beverage, machinery, paper and pulp, electronics, metals, plastics, and construction, among others.

Scale For ClimateTech is a competitive, cohort-based program that involves a mix of virtual and in-person learning and self-paced instruction. 18-23 teams are selected for each annual cohort. 

Innovators selected for this cohort must have: 

  • A Climate Tech product or innovation that supports decarbonization of the economy through hardware, software, technology-enabled services, data analytics, or processes that broadly reduce energy consumption, increase resource efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or enable the transition to a sustainable and decarbonized economy.
    • While any Innovator that meets the definition of “climate tech” is of interest to Scale for ClimateTech, a few sectors contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. Scale for ClimateTech is particularly interested in the following key sectors: Buildings, Transportation, Grid, and Industry.
  • A minimum of a works-like/ looks-like climate tech prototype that has a hardware component.
  • A Letter of Intent (LOI)/ Letter of Support (LOS), joint development agreement, contingent purchase order, or non-recurring engineering (NRE) commitment that indicates pilot testing, pre-sales, or other customer commitment to manufacture climate tech solutions.    
  • Operations or operational plan that will contribute to demonstrating benefit to New York State. Examples of activities that represent a “Demonstrated Benefit to New York State” include:
    • Having some portion of a member company’s or organization’s workforce (beyond at least one employee), such as headquarters, research and development, or manufacturing, based in New York State.
    • Benefiting manufacturers, supply chain partners, vendors, and/or service providers in New York State.
    • Serving an addressable market of customers within New York State with climate tech solutions.
    • Significantly reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in New York State. 
  • Financial resources sufficient to sustain your company and begin the process of product commercialization. This must be greater than $100,000 in accessible funds to use toward product manufacturing.
  • A Self-Reported Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 4 or higher to participate in Bootcamp. We expect to select companies for the cohort that will have an average TRL of 7. To assess the TRL level of your offering, take a TRL self-assessment here.
  • A team in place with a dedicated technical lead to commit to regular programming. CEOs must attend meetings as needed. 
  • A willingness to learn and share, honor time commitments, and be a part of the cohort.

There is no cost to participate or stake in equity involved.

During the program, participants will receive immersive training on manufacturing and business planning to gain an understanding of the overall manufacturing process, and the stages that will lead to manufacturing maturity for your ClimateTech solution.

You’ll follow a process for creating a manufacturing capability for your hardware, using a Manufacturing Management Standard called Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs). Developed by the Department of Defense, MRLs are patterned after Technology Readiness Levels, a methodology for estimating the maturity of technology elements. You’ll use this approach to thoroughly assess, manage, and mitigate risks in nine levels to anticipate and resolve issues. These areas include: Technology & the Industrial Base, Design, Materials, Cost & Funding, Process Capability & Control, Quality Management, Manufacturing Personnel, Facilities, and Manufacturing Planning.

In moving through these topics, our mentors will work with you to ensure you’ve answered critical questions to achieve a higher MRL. These include:

MRL LevelDescription
1Basic research expands scientific principles that may have manufacturing implications. The focus is on a high-level assessment of manufacturing opportunities. The research is unfettered.

 

2Invention begins. Manufacturing science and/or concept described in application context. Identification of material and process approaches are limited to paper studies and analysis. Initial manufacturing feasibility and issues are emerging.

 

3Conduct analytical or laboratory experiments to validate paper studies. Experimental hardware or processes have been created but are not yet integrated or representative. Materials and/or processes have been characterized for manufacturability and availability, but further evaluation and demonstration is required.

 

4Required investments, such as manufacturing technology development identified. Processes to ensure manufacturability, producibility and quality are in place and are sufficient to produce technology demonstrators. Manufacturing risks identified for prototype build. Manufacturing cost drivers identified. Producibility assessments of design concepts have been completed. Key design performance parameters identified. Special needs identified for tooling, facilities, material handling and skills.

 

5Manufacturing strategy refined and integrated with a risk management plan. Identification of enabling/critical technologies and components is complete. Prototype materials, tooling, and test equipment, as well as personnel skills, have been demonstrated on components in a production relevant environment, but many manufacturing processes and procedures are still in development. Manufacturing technology development efforts initiated or ongoing. Producibility assessments of key technologies and components ongoing. Cost model based upon detailed end-to-end value stream map.

 

6Initial manufacturing approach developed. Majority of manufacturing processes have been defined and characterized, but there are still significant engineering/design changes. Preliminary design of critical components completed. Producibility assessments of key technologies complete. Prototype materials, tooling, and test equipment, as well as personnel skills have been demonstrated on subsystems/ systems in a production relevant environment. Detailed cost analysis includes design trades. Cost targets allocated. Producibility considerations shape system development plans. Long lead and key supply chain elements identified.

 

7Detailed design is underway. Material specifications are approved. Materials available to meet planned pilot line build schedule. Manufacturing processes and procedures demonstrated in a production representative environment. Detailed producibility trade studies and risk assessments underway. Cost models updated with detailed designs, rolled up to system level and tracked against targets. Unit cost reduction efforts underway. Supply chain and supplier Quality Assurance assessed. Long lead procurement plans in place. Production tooling and test equipment design and development initiated.

 

8Detailed system design is essentially complete and sufficiently stable to enter low-rate production. All materials are available to meet the planned low-rate production schedule. Manufacturing and quality processes and procedures proven in a pilot line environment, under control and ready for low-rate production. Known producibility risks pose no significant risk for low-rate production. Engineering cost model driven by detailed design and validated. Supply chain established and stable.

 

9Major system design features are stable and proven in test and evaluation.Materials are available to meet planned rate production schedules. Manufacturing processes and procedures are established and controlled to three-sigma or some other appropriate quality level to meet design key characteristic tolerances in a low-rate production environment. Production risk monitoring is ongoing. Initial production cost goals met, learning curve validated. Actual cost model developed for full scale production environment, with projected impact of continuous improvement.

 

10Engineering/design changes are few and generally limited to quality and cost improvements. System, components, or items are in rate production and meet all engineering, performance, quality, and reliability requirements. All materials,manufacturing processes and procedures, inspection and test equipment are in production and controlled to six-sigma or some other appropriate quality level. Full rate production unit cost meets goal, and funding is sufficient for production at required rates. Lean practices well established and continuous process improvements ongoing.

 

 

Here is a self-assessment exercise to get familiar with understanding your MRL level:

Is the design ready?Is it stable? Reproducible? Have key design characteristics been identified?
Are materials ready?Are materials available? Have they been characterized? Are there any special handling issues?
Are resources ready?Are production costs understood? Have design-to-cost goals been established? Is funding in place to cover production maturation?
Are processes ready?Are production costs understood? Have design-to-cost goals been established? Is funding in place to cover production maturation?
Are processes ready?Have critical processes been identified and demonstrated? Are those processes stable and in control?
Are manufacturing personnel ready?Are there any special skills required? Are personnel trained and/or certified? Is the workforce stable?
Are manufacturing facilities ready?Are the facilities in place? Can they support the production rate? Will the facilities layout support lean production?
Is the Manufacturing Plan ready?Has a Manufacturing Plan been completed? Is the supply chain integrated into the plan? Have long-lead items been identified?

Hardware or Hard-tech - A physical product that needs to be manufactured or a physical innovation related to improving an existing manufacturing process.

Stock-Keeping Unit (SKU) - A unique code that a seller uses to differentiate among products. For the purposes of this PON, a SKU applies to both final assembled climatetech products ready for sale and essential finished components that are incorporated into final assembled climatetech products.

Innovators - Climatetech hardware companies eligible for the program.

Manufacturer - An entity with the track record and capacity to physically manufacture
new and existing hardware products and solutions.

Supplier - An entity that serves as a vendor or a seller providing goods or services to
manufacturers and hardware companies, including but not limited to component parts,
industrial design services, engineering services, and process control.

Supply Chain Partners - Suppliers or manufacturers that may directly contract with or otherwise aid program innovators in the scale-up and manufacturing of their products.

Member - An Innovator who is accepted by Scale for ClimateTech program into a cohort.

In-Market Events - Company accomplishments within New York State that demonstrate significant traction within the market and/or a path toward it.

  • Sales and/or Revenue – Productor service sales or licenses to customers in New York State
  • Paid Customer Projects – Ongoing customer projects paid for with customer funds and/or documented customer intent to purchase.

Emission Reduction Potential - A company’s potential to mitigate GHG emissions in the future.

Disadvantaged Communities - Communities located within census block groups that meet the HUD 50% Area Median Income threshold that are also located within the Department of Environmental Conservation Potential Environmental Justice Areas or located within New York State Opportunity Zones. See https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/ny/disadvantaged-communities for more information.

Many climate tech innovators commercializing hardware products face a difficult path to market because of the capital intensity and long lead times associated with the initial manufacturing of products. There is often a lack of understanding of how or where their products can be made or if their products can be made profitably at scale. Furthermore, when startup companies lack strong manufacturing strategies, they often struggle to secure private investment or strategic corporate partnerships. Hardware startup companies typically experience cash flow squeezes when undertaking manufacturing. At the same time, manufacturers can be hesitant to work with startup companies because startups are often not prepared with critical deliverables like technical drawings designed for manufacturing at scale or the appropriate cash flow to fund production. This represents a significant risk for manufacturers and supply chain partners. In addition, manufacturers often do not understand the specific needs of startups and are underprepared to identify and leverage best practices for working with them. These challenges converge to create circumstances that are difficult for startup companies to overcome. Knowledge and resource gaps can result in startup companies stalling or outright failing. Our program team, advisory board, partners, mentors, and supply chain partners are all a part of this effort to bridge these gaps and support climate tech companies in reaching commercialization.