Accelerator Impact Defies Climate Tech Investment Slump

January 3, 2024 – Rochester, NY – Venture For ClimateTech announced today that it has opened applications for companies or entrepreneurs to be considered for its fourth cohort. Venture For ClimateTech provides cohort teams with up to $50,000 in non-dilutive funding, along with one-on-one mentoring, access to investors, and educational programming to prepare early-stage companies for first customers, pilot runs, and investment. The high-touch accelerator, split into three phases, takes place over six months, culminating in an in-person pitch during Climate Week NYC. 

The program provides critical support, especially in light of current investment trends. According to the PWC State of Climate Tech Report 2023, total venture and private equity investment was down 50.2% year-over-year in 2023. In addition, private market equity and grant funding in climate tech start-ups fell 40.5%. Despite the decline, cumulatively, previous companies that participated in Venture For ClimateTech have raised more than $44 million in follow-on funding since the beginning of the program, averaging $1.1 million per company. In the most recent cohort, nine founders have raised more than $7 million in private venture capital and seven companies have conducted pilots with potential long-term customers.

“Not only were we able to double the potential impact this year by increasing our cohort size from 10 to 20 teams, we were able to demonstrate how the program is helping to de-risk investments in early companies,” said Jack Baron, Managing Director of Venture For ClimateTech. “In 2023, our teams managed to secure more private investment, and do so faster than previous cohorts. Their ability to close rounds directly contradicts the VC investment trends for Q1 and Q2.”

Since the program’s start, five founders have gone on to receive Breakthrough Energy Fellowships, and one has received a Breakthrough Explorer’s grant. In addition, three founders have been awarded Fellowships with the Department of Energy Lab-Embedded Entrepreneur Program (LEEP).

Innovators and founders who have an idea or technology that has the potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions are encouraged to apply by March 3, 2024. 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. The fourth cohort will focus on decarbonizing four key industry sectors: Buildings, Transportation, Grid, and Industry. Companies with solutions that positively help communities impacted by climate change also are encouraged to apply to the competitive program. 

Venture For ClimateTech launched in 2021 to accelerate New York State’s equitable energy transition by advancing climate tech solutions on their path to commercialization. The program provides founders with the hands-on support needed to approach first customers, launch pilots, and secure investment. It is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and administered by NextCorps and SecondMuse

Richard Bourgeois, Program Manager for Innovation, NYSERDA said, “The continued success of the Venture For ClimateTech program is fostering the growth of innovative companies and providing the necessary support to bring new climate solutions to market. Public and private investment in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy is critical to addressing the impacts of climate change and ensuring a cleaner future for all New Yorkers.”

“Venture for ClimateTech has been hugely beneficial to Cascade Biocatalysts. We’re in our first year as a company, so there’s much we’re still figuring out,” said Alex Rosay, CEO and Co-Founder of Cascade Biocatalysts. “What I loved about the program is we received great mentorship, connections to thought leaders in the industry, experts across functional areas that are needed to run a business, and to other startups going through similar challenges. This access, as well as the resources that New York State offers and the caliber of experts was game changing. Venture For ClimateTech was really a constructive way to spend my own limited time, and to build a strong foundation, that Cascade can ultimately grow on.”

Those interested in applying are encouraged to attend informational webinars to find out more about the program to assess if it is right for them. For more information and to register for the sessions, visit our website here.

Information sessions will be hosted virtually on the following dates.

  • Intro & Overview to Venture For ClimateTech
    January 9, 2024 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST

  • How to Start a Climate Tech Startup
    January 17, 2024 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM EST

  • Open Q&A with Venture For ClimateTech Alumni
    February 8, 2024 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM EST

  • Industry Alumni AMA: Transportation
    February 13, 2024 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST

  • Open Q&A Venture For ClimateTech
    February 28, 2024 from 10:00 to 11:00 AM EST

Selected applicants will be invited to participate in a bootcamp that will result in the final selection of 20 companies for Cohort 4, which will be announced in May.

Apply to Cohort 4 of Venture For ClimateTech here.

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