The latest installment of our #Greentown10 campaign celebrates our dynamic partner program and the critical role Greentown Labs’ partners have played in our community’s first decade.
In Greentown Labs’ earliest days, when a ragtag group of startups had banded together to split the costs of rent and resources, the entrepreneurs faced a roadblock: they really, really needed Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS software to design and build their climate technologies, and this critical tool was outside of their financial reach.
So, in a true entrepreneur’s hustle and spirit, one of the founders decided that they might as well track down someone at Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS and ask for it. Jason Hanna, the co-founder of Coincident (now Embue), cold emailed Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS to see if the corporate would provide free software licenses to Greentown startups—and much to the budding community’s delight, Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS said yes.
That first bridge between Greentown startups and corporates launched Greentown’s partnerships program. The program fosters the magic that happens when these two groups work together successfully. Many partners provide crucial support for Greentown’s startups by becoming strategic partners, investors, customers, and pilot sites, and others provide valuable resources, services, connections, expertise and mentorship.
Before long, Foley Hoag and Wolf Greenfield began providing our members pro bono legal services, and Shell helped Greentown build up the earliest versions of our safety program. When Greentown moved out of our original warehouse in 2011, Silverman Trykowski Associates designed our building in Boston partly pro-bono, and they’ve designed all of our locations since—including Greentown Houston!—all the while prioritizing the space and community needs of climatetech startups.
Partners have played a key role in our members’ fundraising efforts over the years: Schneider Electric led an $18M Series B round for Sense and a $10 Series A round for Titan Advanced Energy Solutions; BASF led an $8M Series B for NBD Nano; and DSM led Voxel8’s Series B round, to name just a few. Member-partner collaborations run the gamut, from a global commercial agreement between Salient Predictions and BASF, to a pilot project between Raptor Maps and Enel, to a customer deal between SteamIQ and Toray Plastics that also involved National Grid.
Saint-Gobain became a partner in 2014, and has been integral to Greentown and our members ever since. Saint-Gobain has made meaningful contributions to our prototyping lab, installing a materials library and an on-site environmental testing chamber, which led to a project collaboration with Greentown member Building Envelope Materials. Saint-Gobain donated over $1 million worth of products to enable our headquarters and became the presenting partner of the building’s Town Green event space. Now, Saint-Gobain is doing the same for our new Greentown Houston incubator.
In 2015, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center donated the equipment—selected by our members—for our machine shop, and Keysight Technologies created our electronics lab. In 2021, we announced that Stanley Black & Decker is founding a new tool shop at Greentown.
All Greentown partners bring value to our community, in a variety of ways—that’s been the ethos of our partnership program throughout Greentown’s first 10 years, from Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS all the way to our 70 partners today. We partner with multinational corporates that have made science-based climate commitments and are dedicated to bolstering innovation. These partners help our climatetech startups, which are largely B2B, navigate the commercial valley of death and bring their much-needed solutions to market.
Want to learn more about how our partnerships program has evolved over the years? Check out a timeline of some key milestones below!