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Picture of a field with solar panels and a lightning bolt. For ClimateTech logo. Administered by NextCorps and SecondMuse. Supported by NYSERDA. Ready to scale your climate tech innovation?

Meet The 2021 Global Innovation Challenge Winners

Mars Materials
Mars Materials - Mars Materials (“Mars”) is commercializing technology that converts CO2 and biomass into low-cost and low-carbon feedstock used

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Clean Ocean Coatings
Clean Ocean Coatings - For shipping companies who need an antifouling solution our product Ecoating is a toxin-free coating which

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Alchemr offers validated, stable and scalable water electrolyzers that generate hydrogen at cost parity with fossil fuel-derived hydrogen. The promise

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Challenge winners receive:

  • $10,000 cash prize per winner
  • Solution recognition and media announcement
  • Office hours and tailored one-on-one feedback with climate tech expert and North America Lead for Accelerators and Incubators at Amazon Web Services, Lisbeth Kaufman.

Read our recap on the 2021 For ClimateTech Innovation Challenge.

The Global Innovation Challenge

In conjunction with the Venture For ClimateTech program sponsored by NYSERDA and powered by NextCorps and SecondMuse, the Challenge aims to rally innovators and partners towards building a global movement to source and develop the most impactful and equitable solutions in climate tech.

With the For ClimateTech Global Innovation Challenge, we’re working to address the urgent need for climate tech solutions, which can be difficult to develop without the right resources, mentorship and market insight. The For ClimateTech Global Innovation Challenge is rallying a global community to source the most impactful and equitable early-stage climate tech solutions across four sectors key to reducing global emissions: Energy, Buildings, Food & Agriculture, and Transportation. 

With a final prize of $10,000 USD for each challenge winner, all applicants will receive resources to better understand and tap into the NY State climate tech ecosystem, while select applicants will be invited to meet with a mix of climate tech, environmental, and industry leaders to receive immediate solution feedback, input, and additional resources. Challenge finalists will have the opportunity to participate in the V4C Bootcamp with a chance to then be selected for the 6-month V4C Venture studio + accelerator program!

The Problem & Opportunity

If our world hopes to achieve the targets of the Paris Accords and reach net-zero global carbon emissions by 2050, the critical innovation and infrastructure must be in place by 2030. Global ambitions towards climate innovation have reached an all-time high as the all-encompassing, exponential nature of the climate crisis has become apparent. Climate breakdown represents an injustice on a scale we have never seen before as the repercussions fall disproportionately on those who have emitted the least.

Parallel to this tremendous growth is the demand for equitable, impactful, and scalable solutions, which will continue to grow across the globe and New York State in the coming years.  Knowing that innovation occurs across sectors and disciplines within an industry, we are seeking the most impactful solutions across the following verticals in climate: 

Energy is one of the most crucial  requirements to both sustain society and imagine a more sustainable future, with electricity generation being imperative to how we live our day-to-day lives. In 2018,  electricity accounted for 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions and 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, energy efficiency.

Buildings and their construction are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and within NY State account for approximately 36 percent of the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.  Additionally, energy consumption from electricity use, heating, and cooling all contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. By focusing on energy efficiency measures, new buildings can often reduce their energy consumption by up to 25 percent and old buildings by up to 16 percent. With coordinated initiatives and policy emerging around the world (with one example being Local Law 97 passed by NY City Council assigning an annual emissions cap for buildings starting in 2024), there is a significant need and opportunity for ideas that can catalyze the transition needed.

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

With global demand for food still on the rise and rising emissions paralleling that increase, we face the challenge of sustaining our current level of production while transitioning to more regenerative and sustainable practices and processes.  Agriculture, another sector at the forefront of global emissions, accounts for 5.3 to 5.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in New York. Consumer demand across the U.S. has dramatically shifted in the past decade, creating a huge opportunity for solutions that can offer sustainable practices at scale.

Examples of possible solutions: soil management, livestock methane reduction, aquaponics, scaling regenerative agriculture, sustainable fertilizers, alternative proteins.

Transportation accounted for 16.2% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally in 2016, with the majority of that coming from road transport. In New York, the transportation sector is the source of approximately 36 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Cities across the globe including New York are tackling emissions by supporting electric vehicles, prioritizing pedestrian and micromobility options, investing in infrastructure, reducing congestion, and upgrading and expanding public transportation systems. All of these focus areas are a great opportunity to explore the best sustainable solutions shaping how people get around.

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

Why Participate?

All participants receive:

  • Opportunity to join For ClimateTech community
  • Visibility into the landscape of climate tech resources in New York State, allowing a more detailed understanding of the resources available in the New York climate tech space

Finalists receive:

  • Access to the Venture for ClimateTech Bootcamp, where participants will receive mentoring with a focus on funding, solution resources, and how to communicate with investors
  • Long-term support as they join the pathway towards becoming a  Venture for ClimateTech cohort member

Challenge winners receive:

  • $10,000 cash prize per winner
  • Solution recognition and media announcement
  • Office hours and tailored one-on-one feedback with climate tech expert and North America Lead for Accelerators and Incubators at Amazon Web Services, Lisbeth Kaufman.

Meet Our Judges

Vishnu Amble
Vishnu Amble is a senior investment professional with Aramco Ventures, focusing on investments across stages in core and critical infrastructure

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Sylvain has spent the last 25 years thinking, writing, building, and investing in emerging technologies. Though he didn’t study computer

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Simran Suri
Simran is an Analyst at Equal Ventures. Prior to joining Equal, Simran was introduced to venture through internships at Greenspring

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Rick Zullo
Rick is Co-Founder and General Partner at Equal Ventures. Prior to co-founding Equal Ventures, Rick was an investor at Lightbank,

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Nneka Uzoh
Nneka Uzoh is Director of Energy Innovation at Elemental Excelerator. She leads Elemental’s energy vertical and supports their energy portfolio

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Nick Lyth
Nick Lyth is CEO of Green Angel Syndicate, which he founded in 2013 as an experiment to fight climate change

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Michael Luciani
My name is Michael and I am an impact-focused startup founder and, having just sold my company, am now doing

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Maya Brooks
Ma is an Award Winning Product Manager, Educator, Speaker, and Entrepreneur. Fueled by her passion to create new ideas (and

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Lisbeth Kaufman
 is the North America Lead for Accelerators and Incubators at Amazon Web Services where she leads a team of superstar former

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Jessica Karr
Jessica is passionate about innovation that drives positive change in human health, equality, and our relationship to the earth. Jessica

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Georgia Yexley
Having worked in micromobility internationally for half a decade, Georgia has worked in partnership with cities across Europe, North America,

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Francoise Lavertu
Francoise Lavertu Before co-founding Utelias, a Think Tank for Private Equity investors, and South View Studio, a strategic and creative

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Edward Greer
Edward Greer Scouting & Exploration Network Ventures & Business Development Edward is member of the Scouting & Exploration Network in

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Crissy Ditmore
Crissy Ditmore is a mobility evangelist, urban farmer, and policy wonk. She is a knowledge builder for Mobility as a

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Christian Okoye
Christian Okoye is a Director of Venture Investments at Emerson Collective. He focuses on managing venture and growth equity investments

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Ben Wolkon
Ben Wolkon is the Manager of Sustainable Investments at MUUS Asset Management Co, the private investment company of serial entrepreneur

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Our Partners


Frequently Asked Questions

While you can definitely apply to both, you don’t necessarily need to apply to Venture For ClimateTech as well (if you haven’t already done so). Applicants to the Challenge also have a pathway into the Venture For ClimateTech 6-month program by being selected as a finalist and joining the Venture For ClimateTech Bootcamp, which also enters them into further stages of the selection process for joining this year’s cohort.

Your solution can relate to more than one area but must relate to at least one of them.

No, all challenge areas will be evaluated the same. These areas are merely to help our evaluators best understand and evaluate your solution and its relevance to the mission of this challenge.

Yes, you can save your work on the application before submitting it. The platform will automatically save your answers as you go as well. However, once the application has been officially submitted, you will not be able to go back and change your responses.

The community sessions will be conducted virtually. Applicants are not required to be based in any particular time zone; however, session invitees are expected to have at least one member of their team attend the session they have been invited to.

Please read our terms and conditions and the challenge rules here.