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Want to join a community committed to building climate solutions for people and the planet? Take the first step by participating in the 2024 Global Innovation Challenge. Venture For ClimateTech is kicking off the year with a call for applications from around the world. We want to find the most impactful and equitable early-stage climate tech solutions that will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and help jumpstart their development trajectory.

Venture For ClimateTech (V4C) is an accelerator program of For ClimateTech (FCT), which is powered by NextCorps and SecondMuse and supported by NYSERDA. V4C is focused on helping to advance the climate tech landscape by helping founders bring more sustainable solutions and products to market that can benefit everyone equally. We’re especially interested in applications in the energy, transportation, and building sectors, and climate tech innovations and companies created by women.

About the Global Innovation Challenge

The Prizes

We aim to provide strong and inclusive incentives that can benefit all applicants while ensuring that our finalists and challenge winners are well-supported in their entrepreneurial journey. See our full rules and terms here:

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All applicants will receive:

  • Access to New York climate tech resource map: our comprehensive & curated guide organized for ClimateTech entrepreneurs which includes resources available within New York State
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Semi-finalists will also receive:

  • An invitation to our virtual Global Innovation Challenge 2024 Event, where you’ll have the opportunity to engage with and get feedback from our expert judges and speakers
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Finalists will also receive:

  • Access to the V4C 2024 Bootcamp, a week-long, deep dive into the next steps on your innovation’s climate tech journey
  • Official news announcement of finalist standing
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Challenge Winners will also receive:

  • $10,000 in cash prizes
  • Office hours and tailored one-on-one feedback with our climate tech experts, including our partners, sponsors, and judges
  • Solution recognition and news announcement

Our Prize Challenge Areas

Women are woefully underrepresented and under supported in the climate tech field. According to a 2020 PWC report, of the nearly 28,000 climate tech startup founders whose gender was identified in a dataset, only 10% identified as female. In 2019, only  2.8% of VC funding for tech was for women-led ventures, and a mere 12% of decision-makers across 351 VC firms were female in 2020.  

When you factor in the reality that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women who disproportionately feel the impacts of prolonged droughts, reduced food production and severe weather events, it becomes clear that we need to solve these discrepancies

The Women in ClimateTech Prize aims to highlight the women at the forefront of creating solutions that will lead to a more sustainable, regenerative future for everyone.

Categories can include, but are not limited to: food, agriculture, land use, buildings, energy, and carbon. 

Energy is central to how we live. In 2018, electricity accounted for 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions. While 90% of new energy coming onto the grid in the US this past year was renewable, fossil fuels still account for nearly 60% of all energy generated. The time is now for our energy infrastructure, utilities, and usage to be disrupted and evolved.

Examples of possible solutions: Active energy systems: building-integrated photovoltaics, solar thermal, smart grid integration, transmission and markets, energy storage, alternative fuels, carbon capture and sequestration/storage (CCS), energy efficiency.

Transportation accounted for 16.2% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally in 2016, with the majority of that contribution coming from road transport. Cities in all parts of the world are tackling emissions by supporting electric vehicles, prioritizing pedestrian and micro mobility options, investing in infrastructure, reducing congestion, and upgrading and expanding public transportation systems. All of these areas provide opportunities to explore more sustainable solutions for how people get around.

Examples of possible solutions: Catalyzing EV charging, efficiency in urban planning/traffic, optimizing public transportation.

Buildings and their construction are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions globally.  Additionally, energy consumption from electricity use, heating, and cooling within the building further contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The Future of Buildings Prize aims to explore how buildings across cities can be more energy efficient and have a more positive impact on those who live and work in them.

Examples of possible solutions: HVAC, integrated energy management, electric furnaces, maintenance methods, tech-connected incentive models, thermal management, novel methods/materials of construction.

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Eligibility

We work with innovators who are at the early-stages of setting up their businesses and developing their climate tech solutions and products. To be eligible to to participate in this year’s challenge, applicants must

  • Have raised less than $1M in private money to support their solution or product. Grant and non-dilutive funding does not count towards this limit.
  • Have a solution or product that has a clear, articulable impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Have a solution or product whose application is not limited to coastal environments.
  • Have a solution or product that is tech-enabled.
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Core values

The following beliefs underpin the Venture For ClimateTech Global Innovation Challenge. Our participants and their corresponding solutions should:

#1 Prioritize Communities
Include and prioritize communities that have historically been left out of the conversation around climate tech, innovation, and early-stage startups.

#2 Innovate & Have an Impact
Acknowledge that both innovation and impact are critical to solving the climate crisis. 

#3 Collaborate
Seek to highlight and collaborate with efforts and initiatives seeking to advance climate justice that are already in place. 

#4 Build Opportunities
Work across sectors to  create opportunities to build more holistic solutions for solving the climate crisis (both tech-enabled and other strategies/methods).

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The process

  • February 1 – March 5: Receiving applications for climate tech solutions & products
  • March 6 – April 3: Preliminary evaluation of applications; selection of semi-finalists; invitations to our Global Innovation Challenge Community Event
  • April 4: 2024 Global Innovation Challenge Community Event; Semi-finalist direct feedback sessions
  • April 16: Public announcement of Challenge Winners
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About us

Venture For ClimateTech is a high-touch accelerator that provides early-stage companies with up to $50,000 in non-dilutive funding, along with one-on-one mentoring, access to investors, and educational sessions to prepare them for first customers, pilot runs, and investment. The program has two components: The formal six-month accelerator that culminates with an in-person pitch during Climate Week NYC, and the annual Global Innovation Challenge.

Meet Our Judges

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Arpan
Arpan Soparkar has long operational experience and strong technical background. Passionate about climate technologies, he most recently led the practice

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Jane
Jane Schachtel (she/her)  has spent 20+ years as a marketing executive building and scaling technology businesses at companies like Intuit,

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J-stokes
Jonathan is a multifaceted executive MBA with over fifteen years of experience guiding companies through massive problems to profitable solutions

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Katie Kross
Katie Kross is a sustainability educator, thought leader, and speaker.  For 15 years, she has developed and directed educational and

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Murali Gunta
Murali serves as the Senior Vice President of Climate Tech at VolteoEdge. He is also a member of Volteo Group's

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Natalie
Nathalie is a marketing leader with over 15 years of experience in go-to-market strategy development, marketing operations management, content &

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Rachael
Rachael Aptowitz is a Clean Mobility Program Strategist at GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest nonprofit clean energy installer. With a

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Sonam Velani
Sonam Velani has worked across the world and across the public and private sectors, connecting the dots between cities, climate,

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Taylor Moot
Taylor Moot is an Innovation Advisor focused on Climate Tech at RTI Innovation Advisors, a business unit of RTI International.

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