What is the purpose of Venture For ClimateTech?
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.
How does the program work?
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.
What types of innovations are eligible?
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 third 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.
What stage of company is the right fit?
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!
Where can participants be based?
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.
How much time will I need to dedicate to the effort?
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.
How and when do I apply?
Applications for Cohort 3 of Venture For ClimateTech are open from January 24, 2023 to March 10, 2023.
What are the selection criteria?
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.
Can I participate in other programs simultaneously?
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.
What is Scale For ClimateTech?
Scale For ClimateTech provides immersive training on manufacturing and business planning, 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. Companies are coached by their peers, a community of technical experts, customized accountability teams, and a network of partners. There is no cost to participate or stake in equity involved.
Who’s behind Scale For ClimateTech?
Scale For ClimateTech is funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and administered by two organizations — NextCorps in Rochester, New York, and SecondMuse in NYC.
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 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 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.
What is ClimateTech?
ClimateTech is a rapidly emerging industry in which data-driven products are developed to enable communities, companies, and governments to understand their risk and exposure to the effects of climate change and take action to adapt and become resilient.
What types of innovations are eligible for Scale For ClimateTech?
The Scale For ClimateTech program makes it easier for innovators to bring ClimateTech products to market. ClimateTech describes any process, product, or service that reduces harmful environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy, energy storage, transportation, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities including integrating smart technology into homes, buildings, cities, and grids.
Examples of ClimateTech include (but are not limited to) sustainable energy sources, such as renewable, solar, geothermal, and biomass energy; battery fuel cells; wind and hydro power. It also includes technologies that improve conventional energy production processes to reduce or optimize the use of natural resources, such as greenhouse gas emission control, and innovations in financing, insurance, the use of natural systems to sequester carbon, or other related technologies and business models that reduce carbon and other pollutants.
Who should apply?
Scale For ClimateTech is a competitive, cohort-based program that involves a mix of virtual learning and self-paced instruction. Up to 10 teams are selected for each cohort.
To qualify, you must have:
- A willingness to learn and share, honor time commitments, and be a part of the cohort
- A team in place with a dedicated member to commit to regular programming, with your technical lead involved with CEO buy-in
- A works-like and/or looks-like ClimateTech* prototype that has a hardware component (see next question for information on viable prototypes)
- Operations based in New York State or, if not based in NY, the ability to help achieve the State’s clean energy and emissions-reduction goals
- Meaningful impact on reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions in New York State
- Funding in place to contribute to manufacturing your product
Applications for 2021 are currently closed. Please sign up for our mailing list for program notifications and opportunities.
*Climate technology is defined as innovation that supports decarbonization of the economy through hardware, hardware-enabled software, technology-enabled services, hardware-enabled 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.
What defines a viable prototype?
The prototype for your ClimateTech hardware must be based on customer discovery, meaning that there’s evidence that there is market need/opportunity, and the offering can be profitable. The prototype needs to “work-like/look-like” the envisioned product, and be at Technology Readiness Level 3 or above.
To assess the TRL level of your offering, use NYSERDA’s TRL Calculator.
How much funding do I need to have allocated to manufacturing in order to be eligible?
You must have financial resources sufficient to sustain your company and begin the process for manufacturing readiness. For many ClimateTech companies, this may be $100,000 or more in accessible funds.
Do companies have to manufacture in New York?
No. While Scale For ClimateTech hopes to increase local manufacturing, we know that supply chains are spread across the country and beyond. There are no production requirements to join the program. However, participating companies must demonstrate a benefit to New York State. Examples of what this could include are listed below; however, NYSERDA will make the final determination on whether or not a non-New York company meets this “demonstrated benefit in New York State” requirement:
- Working with NYSERDA-supported Technology to Market assets and resources, such as Clean Energy Incubators, Proof-of-Concept Centers, Cleantech Accelerators, Manufacturing Corps, Entrepreneurs-In-Residence Program, 76West, Co-Investment Fund, etc.
- Contributing to some aspect of clean energy projects in New York State, such as financing, installation, monitoring, servicing, etc.
- Having some portion of a company’s workforce, such as research and development, manufacturing, and/or sales, based in New York State
- Sourcing supply chain partners, vendors, investors, and/or service providers in New York State
- Demonstrating clear alignment with the State’s nation-leading climate policy roadmap and technology deployment priorities
Why should I apply to Scale For ClimateTech?
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 selected business, you will receive one-on-one attention to help you navigate and make critical decisions throughout the manufacturing process.
Scale For ClimateTech’s support includes but is not limited to:
- Access to a robust team of technical experts, tools, and materials to guide you
- Access to vetted suppliers and manufacturers
- Coaching to make meaningful connections with potential partners
- Access to the NYSERDA network of programs and resources, along with other available programming
- Opportunities to showcase what you are doing to interested investors and potential corporate partners
- Subsidies to support development of your product and contributions toward manufacturing runs on an as-needed basis
Applications are currently closed. Please sign up for our mailing list for program notifications and opportunities.
How do I apply to participate in Scale For ClimateTech?
Interested ClimateTech innovators must complete a program application. The Scale For ClimateTech program team will review applications and schedule a brief call to learn more about your team and the technology to assess if there is an optimal fit for participation.
Applications are currently closed. Please sign up for our mailing list for program notifications and opportunities.
What types of topics does the Scale For ClimateTech program cover?
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:
|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?|
What inspired Scale For ClimateTech?
After years of working with hardware innovators and hundreds upon hundreds of conversations with founders, it’s clear: manufacturing is confusing, difficult, expensive, time consuming, painful, and sometimes even a fatal endeavor for businesses. Miscalculations, faulty designs, and bad decisions can put a company under and prevent innovation from getting to market. Our program is designed to provide the founder-centered programming and support needed to accelerate market breakthrough technologies. Companies discover what they don’t know in order to prepare and navigate manufacturing to speed the commercialization of products, and their impact on solving climate issues.