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#Greentown10: Greentown Launch Propels Startup-corporate Partnerships to Commercialize Climatetech

#Greentown10 is a celebration of the startups, partners, ecosystem collaborators, and other climate champions who have worked together over Greentown’s first decade. This month, we’re spotlighting our Greentown Launch startup-corporate partnerships accelerator, which fosters the collaborations necessary to deploy and scale climatetech solutions.

Partnerships for Climate Action 

Both startups and corporates have enormous roles to play in tackling the climate crisis, and their impact is most significant when they work together. Corporates unlock key opportunities for climatetech deployment at scale, due to their capital, purchasing power, and market access—especially given that climatetech is a largely B2B industry with high capital requirements. Meanwhile, climatetech startups can nimbly innovate on the cutting edge of solutions to decarbonize the global economy and build resilient communities. Startup-corporate partnerships are a critically effective, efficient, and reliable way to power climatetech solutions into the marketplace.

That’s where Greentown Launch, Greentown Labs’ flagship startup-corporate partnerships accelerator, comes in. Working across the largest greenhouse-gas emitting sectors—agriculture, buildings, electricity, manufacturing, and transportation—Greentown Launch’s mission is to forge partnerships between climatetech startups that are developing crucial climate solutions and the corporates that can get those technologies to market—all in the name of accelerating climate action. 

There’s something both startups and corporates know all too well: these types of partnerships are challenging to form. It can sometimes feel like the two groups speak different languages due to their disparate timelines, communication styles, and work cultures. But startups, corporates, and the planet have so much to gain from these collaborations. Startups benefit from a corporate’s customer base, industry knowledge, and resources, while corporates can leverage startups to remain on the cutting edge of their industries’ innovation.

Greentown Launch draws on a proven roadmap rooted in coaching startups and corporates toward mutually beneficial partnerships. During months of frequent touch points, program participants work toward mutually agreed upon goals in collaboration with the corporate, with the end goal of validating the potential for a long-term partnership. This activity creates urgency and accountability while allowing each party a unique window into the inner workings of the other. The process is punctuated by a series of program workshops and access to industry mentorship opportunities, which help cohort startups learn from the entrepreneurial experiences of other founders and increase their industry savvy. 

Greentown Launch has a demonstrated track record: the accelerator’s nine completed programs have led to 24 signed contracts. These collaborations have taken the form of pilots, licensing agreements, investments, joint development agreements, and more. As a globally recognized leader in startup support and community-building, Greentown Labs attracts world-class startups to its Launch programs, and while Greentown does not negotiate partnership outcomes directly, it acts as a trusted intermediary between both parties.

Check out case studies of an investment from the Bold Ideas Challenge and a pilot project from the InNOVAte 2019 Challenge and end-of-program reflections from startups in the Offshore Wind Challenge and Bold Ideas 2020!

How can you get involved?

2015

PROPEL (2015)

PROPEL (2015)
  • Sector: Manufacturing
  • Topic: Industrial IoT + sensors
  • Partners: Shell; supported by Analog Devices, Clean Energy Venture Group, EnerNOC, GE Ventures, Freescale Semiconductor, and Saint-Gobain
  • Collaborator: Fraunhofer TechBridge, an expert in technical validation, was a key collaborator on the first three Launch programs.
  • Participating startups: Tagup, MultiSensor Scientific (now Kuva Systems), Gridorder, Gusali Labs
2016

SunRISE I (2016)

SunRISE I (2016)
  • Sector: Electricity
  • Partner: During the SunRISE programs, we worked closely with program partner DSM to build up the Greentown Launch programming and curriculum, which to this day serve as the foundation of Launch programs. 
  • Collaborator: Fraunhofer TechBridge
  • Participating startups: WattGlass, QD Solar, ARL-D, HEE Solar, Tessolar
2017

SunRISE II (2017)

SunRISE II (2017)
2018

The Bold Ideas Challenge (2018)

The Bold Ideas Challenge (2018)
2019

InNOVAte 2019 Challenge (2019)

InNOVAte 2019 Challenge (2019)

H2 Refuel Accelerator (2019)

H2 Refuel Accelerator (2019)
  • Sector: Transportation
  • Topic: Hydrogen infrastructure and supply chain innovations
  • Partners: Shell, Toyota, NYSERDA
  • Collaborators: The NYU Urban Future Lab and Fraunhofer TechBridge partnered with Greentown in startup recruitment, selection, accelerator programming, and events. Fraunhofer also provided technical validation for one startup participant.
  • Participating startups: Celadyne, Ecolectro, Electro-Active Technologies, HYGEN, pH Matter, Protium Innovations, Skyre

Circularity Challenge (2019)

Circularity Challenge (2019)
2020

Offshore Wind Challenge (2020)

Offshore Wind Challenge (2020)

Bold Ideas 2020 (2020)

Bold Ideas 2020 (2020)
2021

KAITEKI Challenge (2021)

KAITEKI Challenge (2021)

Healthy Buildings Challenge (2021)

Healthy Buildings Challenge (2021)
  • Sector: Buildings
  • Topic: Building sustainability and wellbeing for building occupants
  • Partners: Saint-Gobain; supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
  • Participating startups: Will be announced in fall 2021!

Carbon to Value Initiative (2020-2023)

Carbon to Value Initiative (2020-2023)