Greentown Houston’s 2023 Climatetech Summit Explores Funding, Collaboration Shaping the Energy Transition

Greentown Houston’s 2023 Climatetech Summit put a lens on Houston’s growing and important climatetech landscape, the technologies being developed here, and the role ecosystem connections––including with investors and corporate partners, who can help drive this change equitably and sustainably––play to elevate the city’s status as the energy capital of the world. 

The event had a lineup of incredible speakers from different facets of the climatetech landscape to talk about both the challenges and the opportunities in Houston’s climatetech startup ecosystem, with an eye on what Houston’s selection as a hydrogen hub means for workforce development and the future of the regional energy transition. 

We heard from some of the top voices in climatetech finance, policy, and justice, and the entrepreneurs in the audience were offered plenty of tips on how to position themselves to scale their solutions, apply for grants, and connect with corporate partners in the Houston region. Our startup pitches and member showcase capped off an event that was a deep dive into the latest technologies being incubated at Greentown Houston!

Greentown Houston’s Climatetech Summit kicked off with the Ion Houston’s Senior Director of Ecosystems Joey Sanchez, the emcee for the day; he invited audience members to introduce themselves to each other before starting the program. After that warm opening, Greentown Labs’ CEO Kevin Knobloch shared his thoughts on why Houston makes so much sense as the second home for Greentown and the city’s role in the climatetech revolution. Kevin spoke about how Houston’s access to capital, technology expertise, and civic engagement makes it a prime location for climatetech champions; he also mentioned the growth of Greentown Houston and its member community, which added more than 30 startups in the last year.

Following Kevin’s remarks, Sanchez introduced the first panel of the day: “State of the Field 2023: Houston’s Climatetech Ecosystem.” The authors of a first-of-a-kind analysis of the Houston climatetech startup community were brought together to unpack “Houston’s Climate Tech Ecosystem” report, which looks at the ecosystem’s challenges, the importance of using the word “climate” when talking about climatetech solutions and startups, raising capital for early-stage companies, and the need for climate champions to chip in and promote Houston’s accomplishments.

Speakers included: 

Next up we had a keynote fireside chat featuring HARC President and CEO John L. Hall and Intention Founder and CEO Nisha Desai, a Greentown member and Greentown Labs Community Board Member. They talked about climate resilience in Houston, the hydrogen hub investment from the Department of Energy (DOE), and funding opportunities for startups in the climatetech sector, as well as ways Houston can help lead the energy transition.

The fireside chat was followed by our first set of startup pitches, featuring the following companies:

  • Mars Materials, which develops alternative materials that can act as carbon sinks within the supply chain of certain products and be used across multiple industries. 
  • Micronic Technologies, which is commercializing an advanced, state-of-the-art water-treatment system that removes virtually all contaminants from any source water.
  • EarthEn, which has developed a groundbreaking energy storage solution that relies on CO2 to enable resilient electricity 24/7.
  • Varea Energy, which is a consumer-oriented hydrogen-tech company working to produce zero-emission hydrogen fuel for the transportation industry.
  • CLS Wind, which is developing a solution that allows for multiple turbine installations, reducing the time and cost to install them and allowing wind companies to produce energy in a shorter span.
  • Helix Earth Technologies, which is revolutionizing the way we do carbon capture and sequestration by leveraging cutting-edge technology originally developed at NASA.

Sanchez introduced the second panel, which highlighted perspectives on funding sources for startups with a focus on corporate partnerships, and investments; leveraging the Houston ecosystem to scale up; and more.

Speakers included:

Following the panel, the second set of startup pitches kicked off and featured:

  • 21Senses, which combats climate change through cutting-edge gas-sensing technology.
  • Dsider, which uses operational, financial, and carbon-abatement data and metrics for analysis from planning to operations of net zero emissions.
  • Capwell, whose technology eliminates methane emissions by offering an inexpensive solution that sits on a well until it can be properly plugged.
  • Alma Energy, which covers the complete exploration cycle of geothermal energy production from capturing opportunities to technical sub-surface validation and market analysis. 
  • SUPERGirls SHINE Foundation, whose mission involves helping develop a national STEM workforce and entrepreneurial pipeline with diverse talent. 
  • SkyH2O, which is advancing and scaling atmospheric water generation for commercial and government projects.

The next panel featured reflections from Houston ecosystem leaders and Greentown startup founders on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the progress made by the laws, and available opportunities for climatetech startups one year after the enactment of the IRA. The panel also discussed the IRA’s impact on jobs and communities, what it means for Houston’s status as a DOE-funded regional hydrogen hub, and how startups can take advantage of the bountiful opportunities, which include the possibility of more corporate partnerships and more investor interest in hydrogen-related solutions.

Speakers included:

The final round of startup pitches for the day shined a light on the following Greentown members:

  • Corrolytics, which is developing tech that identifies when microbial growth triggers corrosion, distinguishing it from other corrosion types to avoid oil pipeline leaks and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Criterion Energy Partners, which is making geothermal energy projects commercially viable everywhere. 
  • Regenerative Resources, which uses an on-shore aquaculture system to transform degraded land. 
  • Intention, which is developing a digital platform for climate investing.
  • Imperium Technologies, which is working to scale a solution for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from industrial heating by 20 percent. 
  • Bodhi, whose software platform empowers solar companies to deliver high-quality customer experiences with ease.

We were beyond thrilled to have our Houston General Manager and Senior Vice President Timmeko Moore Love wrap up the speaking portion of our Houston Climatetech Summit. She spoke about what drew her to join Greentown; the programming and events that have come out of Greentown Houston in the past year; and a call to action to climate champions in the audience to work with Greentown and its members for a more sustainable future.

After a lunch break was one of the major highlights of Climatetech Summit: the Startup Showcase, which offered an opportunity for attendees to directly engage with our climatetech entrepreneurs and establish valuable connections. They were able to learn from more than a dozen startups presenting their innovative technologies across the key greenhouse-gas-emitting sectors—electricity, agriculture, buildings, manufacturing, and transportation—and for resiliency and adaptation.

Greentown Houston’s Climatetech Summit 2023 ended on a high note with an impactful evening of networking. We were inspired and motivated by the collaborative efforts toward climate action that took place at the summit—and we recognize that this is just the beginning of establishing meaningful connections within the Houston climatetech ecosystem.

We’d like to give a hearty thank you to the speakers, startups, corporate leaders, investors, and other climate champions who took the time to join us!

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