Greentown Boston’s 2023 Climatetech Summit Calls for Swift, Collaborative Deployment 

Next-generation battery recycling. Community-scale wind turbines. Carbon accounting for the trucking industry.

These are just a few of the groundbreaking climate technologies showcased at Greentown Boston’s 2023 Climatetech Summit, a gathering of hundreds of entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, investors, policymakers, and climate champions that took a multifaceted look at how to build a decarbonized, resilient future. 

The event featured a speaking program with exceptional climate leaders—including a keynote from Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey—and a startup showcase that offered attendees the chance to network with our incredible Greentown Boston startups.

We were thrilled to welcome several honorable guests—including Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper; Massachusetts Undersecretary of Economic Foundations in the Executive Office of Economic Development Ashley Stolba; Massachusetts State Representative Christine Barber; and Massachusetts State Representative Erika Uyterhoeven—and we thank these elected officials for their commitment to climate action!

Greentown Boston’s Climatetech Summit kicked off with opening remarks from Tailwind Co-founder Katie MacDonald, the event’s emcee (and a former valued employee of both NYSERDA and Greentown) and Greentown Labs CEO Kevin Knobloch. Kevin spoke about the need for accelerated, collaborative climatetech deployment across all sectors.

Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne came onstage to introduce the summit’s keynote, a fireside chat between Governor Healey and Kevin. The two discussed ways that the governor’s office can drive climatetech deployment—to decarbonize the state economy, create jobs and economic growth, and build climate resilience—and even how a basketball game can serve as a metaphor for collaborative climate action.

Highlights of their conversation included how the Healey administration is working to continue driving Massachusetts’s leadership as the epicenter of incubation and scaling next-generation technology—including ResilientMass, the Commonwealth’s initiative for building statewide capacity for climate change adaptation and resilience; the appointment of Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer and creation of an Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience; and a partnership with Rhode Island and Connecticut for a first-of-its-kind, multi-state agreement for offshore wind procurement.

Governor Healey and Kevin then passed the mic to a panel of startups and corporates that have been part of Greentown Go—Greentown’s accelerator that advances startup-corporate partnerships to drive climatetech deployment and commercialization. 

The panel—entitled “Talking The Talk, Walking The Walk: Accelerating Climate Solutions Through Partnerships”—discussed best practices for startup-corporate partnerships, crafting effective corporate innovation strategies, ways for startups to vet potential partners and leverage accountability mechanisms, and how climatetech entrepreneurs can best seize the opportunities inherent in these collaborations.

Speakers included:

  • Sven Harmsen, Director of External Ventures at Saint-Gobain
  • Tom Holcombe, Head of Collaboration & Scouting at BASF’s NORA
  • Reina Ozaki, Assistant Manager of Research Operations at Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas) 
  • Katherine Mizrahi Rodriguez, VP of Engineering & Co-founder of Osmoses — a Greentown member
  • Marinna Teixeira, Director of Programs, Greentown Go at Greentown Labs (moderator)

Next up was the first set of lightning pitches from Greentown startups:

  • Active Surfaces, an ACCEL participant that re-envisions where solar can be installed with ultra-light panels.
  • GreenLIB, which is transforming battery waste into profitable, closed-loop solutions within the global lithium-ion battery market.
  • rStream, which applies innovations in computer vision and data science to drive an autonomous waste-sorting system.
  • QuantAQ, whose professional-grade air sensors can detect a range of gasses and particulate matter with more convenience and at a fraction of the cost and complexity of traditional monitoring solutions.
  • SeaDeep, a Go Energize 2023 participant that revolutionizes underwater assessments with AI-powered subsea vision in real-time and with high-fidelity using low-cost, off-the-shelf cameras.
  • SpadXTech, an ACCEL participant whose materials platform technology can decarbonize textiles, transportation, filtration, and more.

From there we moved into the summit’s next panel, “The Second Valley Of Death: Tales Of Triumph From Late-Stage Founders.” Featuring several Greentown members and alumni, this session explored the unique obstacles climatetech founders face when scaling their technologies and strategies to overcome them. 

Key topics included the importance of hiring the right people, even if that means spending more time and energy on vetting candidates; the burgeoning climatetech industry’s opportunity to build an intentionally inclusive and diverse workforce; and managing “scope creep” when meeting with potential early customers.

The panel included: 

The second set of startup lightning pitches featured:

  • Eden, a leader in the sustainable recovery of natural resources that uses electricity to break rocks and enhance subsurface permeability. 
  • GreenIRR, a carbon accounting platform for the trucking industry that enables users to measure real-time fleet emissions and generate regulation-compliant reports. 
  • Pecos Wind Power, which builds community-scale wind turbines for on-site, low-cost electricity.
  • Verde Technologies, which develops thin-film, flexible solar panels that can conform to any roof type while performing at a competitive efficiency.
  • Polymer-X, a developer of innovative electrothermal methods for sustainable chemical manufacturing. 
  • Stepwise, which is reducing the infrastructure upgrades costs associated with home-electrification installations and helping homeowners save money on their electricity bills through energy management.

Then Third Sphere Partner Zeev Krieger walked the audience through a case study on how startups can design thoughtful fundraising strategies that support the unique needs of hardware-focused technologies.

The final round of startup pitches highlighted Greentown members:

  • Adept Materials, developer of a responsive, multifunctional material that revolutionizes vapor, humidity, and temperature management.
  • Arco Technologies, which offers green-hydrogen solutions for trains, trucks, boats, and all kinds of heavy-duty use.
  • EarthBond, an ACCEL participant that is bringing solar energy and cost savings to Nigerian business owners.
  • Fleet Robotics, which uses robotics to clean biofouling from ship hulls and reduce the emissions associated with biofouling-induced drag.
  • Reframe Systems, which is scaling offsite construction with advanced robotic microfactories
  • Tender Food, which develops alternative meat whole-cuts using innovations in materials science, synthetic biology, and tissue engineering.

Greentown CEO Kevin Knobloch closed out the speaking portion with an overview of the biggest challenges Greentown entrepreneurs are facing and an urgent call to action to support climatetech deployment. We were also thrilled to have Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey submit a video addressing the Climatetech Summit audience and emphasizing the importance of advancing climate technologies!

After lunch came one of our favorite parts of the Climatetech Summit: the Startup Showcase, an opportunity for attendees to speak directly with our climatetech entrepreneurs, see their technologies in the prototyping lab, and make valuable connections. Learn about our startups innovating across the key greenhouse-gas-emitting sectors—electricity, agriculture, buildings, manufacturing, and transportation—and on resiliency and adaptation.

The Greentown Boston Climatetech Summit 2023 wrapped up with an impactful evening of networking that forged connections to accelerate the deployment of climatetech solutions. We’d like to send a huge thank you to the speakers, startups, corporate leaders, investors, and other climate champions who joined us for this year’s event!

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