Houston’s first-ever climatetech incubator hosts its outdoor, hybrid Grand Opening event and ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Houston Mayor Turner and other regional energy leaders
Somerville, Mass., and Houston, Texas, April 22, 2021 — Exactly one year after releasing its first-ever Climate Action Plan, today the City of Houston is ushering in a new chapter for the energy transition with the official opening of Greentown Labs Houston, the city’s first-ever climatetech startup incubator. At a celebratory event alongside Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Greater Houston Partnership, and energy leaders from around the region, Greentown Houston today will open its incubator facility, introduce its 30 inaugural startup member companies, and announce the newest additions to its growing network of partners, including bp, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), Intel Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, White Deer Energy, Ara Partners, and Bechtel Corporation.
In light of COVID-19, Greentown Houston is restricting in-person attendance at the Grand Opening but interested parties can view the livestream of the event here.
Located at 4200 San Jacinto St. in the innovation district being developed by Rice Management Company, Greentown Houston provides more than 40,000 sq. ft. of prototyping lab, office, and event space for its growing community of startup companies with room for about 300 employees.
This is Greentown Labs’ second location and first expansion outside of Massachusetts, and will serve as an on-the-ground catalyst for the energy transition in Houston. Greentown Houston will bring together civic and business leaders, entrepreneurs, students, and other stakeholders who have already begun the transition and raise awareness of the opportunity for those who have yet to engage.
“This is a tremendous, tangible milestone not only for Greentown Labs but also for the City of Houston and the energy transition,” said Dr. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. “Five years ago, climate change wasn’t a topic among many conversations in Houston. Things have changed. Today, we are so proud to open our second-ever location in the energy capital of the world and we’re eager to accelerate the energy transition over the next 10 years. Houston is buzzing with incredible climatetech startups, world-leading energy organizations, and a thriving investment community. At Greentown Houston, we aim to bring the ecosystem together and collaborate toward our decarbonized future.”
Greentown Houston has received an incredibly warm welcome from the Houston energy innovation community since it announced its expansion plans in June 2020. Thanks to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s leadership, Houston has doubled down on its efforts to lead the global energy transition and Greentown Houston is eager to partner with the city on these activities. Mayor Turner chairs Climate Mayors, a bipartisan network of almost 450 U.S. mayors demonstrating leadership on climate action.
“There’s no better way to celebrate the first anniversary of the Houston Climate Action Plan than to open Greentown Labs Houston,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Attracting and nurturing the next generation of energy companies is a critical piece of our city’s ambition to lead the global energy transition. The Climate Action Plan calls for creating 50 Energy 2.0 companies, and thanks to Greentown Labs, we are already halfway there. We are grateful for Greentown Labs and their partners for helping Houston meet our climate goals and become the energy capital of the future.”
Greentown Houston is a proud member of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) and is actively involved in the organization’s economic development efforts to help Houston lead the global energy transition. GHP was an early champion and advocate for Greentown Houston and has played a critical role in helping bring it to fruition.
“We are thrilled Greentown Labs Houston has officially opened its doors in the Energy Capital of the World, further positioning Houston as the leader of the global energy transition,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “Today is a major milestone in Houston’s broader efforts to build a more efficient and more sustainable low-carbon future. Greentown Labs and its members are a critical part of that effort, and I look forward to the collaborations and partnerships they’ll form with other key players in Houston’s energy community in the years to come.”
Rice Management Company (RMC) is responsible for stewardship of Rice University’s endowment, and has been a supportive partner of Greentown Houston since its team first began searching for the right location for the incubator. Rice University serves its mission by cultivating a diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders across the spectrum of human endeavor.
“Rice University enthusiastically welcomes Greentown Labs to Houston and the Ion District,” said David Leebron, President of Rice University. “Rice University is committed to helping empower the city’s innovation and entrepreneurial efforts, and we’re eager to foster a strong partnership between our recently launched Clean Energy Accelerator and Greentown Houston. We’re confident Houston’s growing climatetech innovation ecosystem will help accelerate the city’s leading role in the energy transition.”
Accelerating the energy transition with partnership and collaboration
Greentown Houston is made possible by a network of civic and business leaders that represent a broad community of energy organizations, renewable energy experts, and organizations committed to supporting and growing the ecosystem of early-stage climate and climatetech startups.
Chevron, a longtime partner of Greentown Labs, has made public commitments to help enable the energy transition and was an early advocate of Greentown Labs’ expansion to Houston.
“Houston is home to Chevron’s largest employee base in the world, and we are committed to sustaining the region as the energy capital of the world and establishing Houston as the energy transition capital of the world,” said Barbara Burger, Vice President of Innovation and President of Technology Ventures at Chevron. “As a longtime partner of Greentown Labs in Boston, we were excited to be the first Founding Partner of Greentown Labs Houston and to work with the Greentown community as we support the development of innovation solutions to enable more affordable, reliable, and ever-cleaner energy for all.”
Shell, a Greentown Labs partner since 2013, is an active participant and thought leader in the energy transition and has announced its intentions to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.
“At Shell, we see the energy transition as a collaborative effort that requires innovation, investment, and partnership across sectors, industries, and society. Shell is proud to be a Founding Partner of Greentown Labs Houston,” said Gretchen Watkins, President of Shell Oil Company. “We are excited to support Greentown’s entrepreneurs and startup companies and to work together to foster a sustainable, progressive ecosystem in the energy capital of the world.”
NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, brings the power of energy to millions of customers across the U.S. and Canada, including 100 percent renewable power to the City of Houston, and has supported Greentown Labs’ expansion to Houston from the beginning. Reliant, an NRG company, is one of the largest electricity providers in Texas and is trusted to deliver innovative and reliable energy solutions to residents and businesses across the state.
“As we collectively work to create a more sustainable future and ensure Houston remains the Energy Capital of the World while becoming the Energy Transition Capital of the World, NRG and Reliant are thrilled to officially welcome Greentown Labs to Houston,” said Elizabeth Killinger, Executive Vice President, NRG Home; President, Reliant; and Chair, Greater Houston Partnership Energy 2.0 Committee. “As a Founding Partner of Greentown Labs Houston, we’re eager to support and encourage the innovations that will launch through this thriving startup community.”
Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. A Greentown Labs partner since 2020, Microsoft has put a powerful set of climate commitments into motion, including making its energy supply 100 percent renewable for all its operations by 2025, becoming carbon negative by 2030, removing its historical carbon emissions by 2050, and establishing a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund.
“The innovation to come from Greentown Labs Houston will be pivotal in creating new ways to advance our clean energy goals,” said Darry Willis, Corporate Vice President, Energy Industry, Microsoft. “At Microsoft, accelerating the transition to a global, net-zero future is a top priority and I’m very encouraged by the work we, our partners, and participating energy organizations are driving.”
BHP, a Founding Partner of Greentown Labs, is a leading global resources organization with operations in mining and oil and gas. BHP has been active in addressing climate risks for more than two decades and is committed to continuing to reduce emissions in their operations and to their goal of achieving net-zero operational emissions by 2050. BHP’s climate action plan also includes a $400 million Climate Investment Program to develop technologies to reduce emissions from its own operations and those from the use of its resources.
“We have long recognized the importance of taking action to reduce emissions across our full value chain, which requires collaboration with others and innovative partnerships to meet our goals,” said Tim Ong, Head of Innovation at BHP Petroleum. “We’re proud to partner with Greentown Labs and to be a part of this cleantech community as we collectively explore inventive solutions for the energy transition.”
Saint-Gobain, which operates in 70 countries, is one of the world’s largest building materials companies focused on design, manufacturing, and distribution of materials and solutions that are key ingredients in the wellbeing and future of all. A committed Greentown Labs partner since 2014, Saint-Gobain was integral to the opening of Greentown Labs’ headquarters, donating over $1 million worth of products and becoming the presenting partner of the building’s event space.
“As a Founding Partner for Greentown Houston, Saint-Gobain congratulates Greentown Labs on their grand opening in Houston,” said Minas Apelian, Vice President, Internal and External Venturing, Saint-Gobain. “We are excited to engage with entrepreneurs in Houston who are developing climate innovations and technology to make our world a better home. It’s also wonderful to see how our donated, sustainable building materials helped transform Greentown Houston by providing better indoor air quality, thermal efficiency, and improved acoustical experiences.”
This Earth Day, Greentown Houston is proud to announce its seven newest partners that are actively participating in and supporting the energy transition.
bp’s purpose is to reimagine energy for people and the planet. bp has set an ambition to be a net-zero company by 2050 or sooner, and help the world get to net-zero, and last year bp announced its strategy for delivering on that ambition. Partnering with countries, cities, and corporations to provide innovative energy, mobility, and decarbonization solutions as they shape their paths to net-zero is a core part of bp’s long-term strategy. bp serves as the City of Houston’s strategic and technical planning advisor on the Climate Action Plan, bringing expertise across the energy spectrum to help the city build a more sustainable and resilient future.
“bp is thrilled to partner with Greentown Labs,” said Al Vickers, CEO of bp Wind Energy. “This is an important step in making Houston not only a hub for new cleantech innovation, but a leader in the global energy transition. Projects like Greentown Labs underscore our commitment to helping the City of Houston advance its Climate Action Plan and get to net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. As an incoming member of the Advisory Board, I welcome Greentown Labs to the Energy Capital of the World—and look forward to getting to work.”
Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas) (“MCA”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), is a global integrated business enterprise with 10 business groups that operate across virtually every industry. These include natural gas, industrial materials, petroleum & chemicals, mineral resources, industrial infrastructure, automotive & mobility, food industry, consumer industry, power solution, and urban development. MC’s business strategy involves leveraging its knowledge of industries and markets around the world to create new, sustainable businesses.
“We see Greentown Labs Houston playing a major role in accelerating our efforts to advance technologies that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive the transition to a low-carbon society,” said Minoru Aizawa, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MCA’s Houston Branch. “Our company recognizes the importance of staying attuned to changes within the global environment and society, and we aim to generate societal and environmental value by addressing key sustainability issues through our business activities.”
Intel Corporation is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. As the largest U.S.-owned semiconductor manufacturer, Intel aims to achieve 100 percent renewable energy use across its global manufacturing operations by 2030.
“Intel is proud to support Greentown Houston and we are looking forward to all that the startup member companies will accomplish,” said Werner Schaefer, Intel Vice President, General Manager of Network & Communications Sales, Intel Houston Site Leader. “Shared corporate responsibility is key for us—our world is facing challenges that are too big to be tackled alone. As we develop world-changing technology that enriches the lives of every person on Earth, we will offer our technical expertise to help the passionate and innovative startups build a healthier planet by leveraging the power of data.”
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is one of the world’s leading industrial groups, spanning energy, logistics & infrastructure, industrial machinery, aerospace, and defense. MHI combines cutting-edge technology with deep experience to deliver innovative, integrated solutions that help to realize a carbon-neutral world, improve the quality of life, and ensure a safer world.
“Identifying the most promising technologies and bringing them to scale is critical as we look down the path to decarbonization,” said Ricky Sakai, Vice President of New Business Development for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America. “We are excited to partner with Greentown Labs and look forward to the collaboration between various stakeholders to advance climatetech innovations.”
White Deer Energy invests in energy and industrial service and equipment companies and midstream infrastructure, and targets businesses that are embracing the rapidly evolving energy transition landscape. The firm targets equity investments of $25 to $100 million, principally in North America with control or co-control. White Deer seeks to provide capital to companies with strong management teams and significant growth potential. The firm works closely with management to pursue continual operational improvement and drive organic growth as well as growth through acquisitions. Since its founding in 2008, White Deer has raised capital in excess of $2.7 billion.
“Houston has long been the oil and gas capital of the world, but it is important to transition that title to the energy capital of the world,” said Joe Bob Edwards, a Managing Partner of White Deer Energy. “With the opening of Greentown Labs in our great city, we are well on our way to effecting that transition. One of White Deer’s visions is to encourage the collaboration between oil and gas companies and new energy companies to create a more sustainable world that has access to reliable and clean energy. That vision becomes infinitely more attainable with the right partnerships. We are excited and honored to support Greentown Labs and look forward to working with them and their other partners.”
Ara Partners is a global private equity firm building companies that are decarbonizing the economy in immediate and tangible ways. Ara Partners invests in the industrial & manufacturing, chemicals & materials, energy efficiency & green fuels, and food & agriculture sectors, seeking to build businesses that are focused on sustainability and ESG principles.
“We are excited to welcome Greentown Labs to Houston,” said Troy Thacker, Managing Partner of Ara Partners. “The journey to net-zero emissions requires the best and brightest entrepreneurs, engineers, and business builders. We are working hard to be part of the solution, alongside Greentown Labs, that will harness the talent, enthusiasm, and spirit of Houston to make progress for our city and the world.”
Bechtel Corporation is a trusted engineering, construction, and project management partner to industry and government. Since 1898, Bechtel has helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs; grown economies; improved the resiliency of the world’s infrastructure; increased access to energy, resources, and vital services; and made the world a safer, cleaner place.
“Our customers in the energy sector are key to the successful transition to a lower-carbon future and we have a fundamentally important role in supporting them to reach their global emission-reduction targets,” said Paul Marsden, President of Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals. “It’s through collaboration with our customers and partnerships with next-generation innovators like Greentown Labs that we are able to find solutions to the environmental challenges that we’re facing so that we can shape the future of energy.”
These seven new partners join an impressive group of corporates that are committed to climate action. Since announcing its expansion to Houston in 2020, Greentown Labs has welcomed 17 Houston Founding Partners: Chevron, NRG Energy and Reliant Energy, Shell, BHP, Vinson & Elkins, Microsoft, ENGIE North America Inc., Rice Management Company, Saint-Gobain, Sunnova Energy International Inc., The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, SCF Partners, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., Direct Energy, CenterPoint Energy, Gexa Energy, and Wells Fargo. Greentown Labs also announced its four Grand Opening Partners, including Naturgy, FCC Environmental Services (FCC), EIV Capital, and Williams.
Greentown Houston is actively welcoming new startup members to its incubator. To learn more about Greentown Houston, visit www.greentownlabs.com or attend the virtual Grand Opening celebration with Mayor Turner on April 22 at 2:00 p.m. CT / 3:00 p.m. ET. Tune in here to view the livestream.
About Greentown Labs
Greentown Labs is a community of climate action pioneers working to design a more sustainable world. As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, and a large network of corporate customers, investors, and more. With its headquarters in Somerville, Mass. and a recently opened incubator in Houston, Texas, Greentown Labs is home to more than 140 startups and has supported more than 330 startups since the incubator’s founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 6,500 direct jobs and have raised more than $1.2 billion in funding. For more information, please visit www.greentownlabs.com or Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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