Our story begins with four cleantech startups.
Ten years later, Greentown Labs is the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America—and we’re proudly home to more than 180 startups that are building a sustainable future for all.
In 2011, four startups joined together to split rent on a Cambridge warehouse. They were cleantech companies with a common need for prototyping space, but none of them imagined that what they started would turn into Greentown Labs, the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America.
The startups—Promethean Power Systems, Altaeros, Coincident (now Embue), and OsComp Systems (now Reach Production Solutions)—became a community wherein the spirit of collaboration spread to every facet of entrepreneurship. From sharing equipment to swapping staff to lending emotional support, the founding startups and the others who joined them were benefiting far beyond what they anticipated.
The benefits of that collaboration carried the unforeseen incubator from the Cambridge warehouse to Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood to Somerville’s Union Square. The number of companies jumped from four to 55 in a few short years, and now Greentown is home to more than 180 climatetech startups and has locations in Somerville, MA and Houston, TX.
This year, we’re launching #Greentown10 to celebrate the startups, corporate partners, ecosystem collaborators, and other climate champions who have worked together over Greentown’s first decade. Together, they’ve built a supportive community that is more than the sum of its parts—and is all in the name of climate action.
Greentown at its founding was the perfect storm of things coming together to make something special happen. It was a group of entrepreneurs, all with shared vision and goals and all aligned on the idea that each of us would get far more out of building a community and pooling resources and capabilities than we would put into it.
More Than $1 Billion Raised for Climate Technologies
10 Years of Partnerships for Climate Action
In Greentown Labs’ earliest days, 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.
Greentown Expands Nationally
Our 10-year anniversary isn’t the only big milestone for Greentown in 2021—we also opened our first out-of-state expansion in Houston, TX!
Greentown Houston opened its doors on Earth Day 2021, and we’ve welcomed more than 30 members. We’re thrilled to be supporting climatetech startups in Houston, TX—an energy hub unlike any other that’s capable of leading the way in renewable energy and the decarbonization of our planet.
Community at Our Core
Many of our members say the supportive community is the best part of Greentown, and we couldn’t agree more. Our entrepreneurs share tips, connections, and ideas, united by a common commitment to tackle climate change and an understanding that no one can do this alone. Watch our members share what they’re working on, what the Greentown community means to them, and more!
Celebrating Greentown Alums’ Climate Action
To the Greentown team, there’s nothing better than seeing our members’ technologies deployed out in the world. We’re proud to have incubated more than 400 startups over the past 10 years, and our network of hundreds of alumni are doing meaningful climate work with the technologies that years ago were developed at Greentown.
In honor of #Greentown10, we checked in with several of our alumni to hear their latest news and how the Greentown community and network have shaped their growth. Learn about them here!
We accomplished more prototyping in our first month at Greentown than we had in the previous three months on our own. We were able to do this because of the incredible network of contractors supporting Greentown companies. Through friends at other Greentown companies, we met truly excellent mechanical and electrical engineering contractors, some of whom we’ve continued working with to this day.
Careers in Climatetech
In Greentown’s 10 years of existence, our members have created more than 7,800 jobs—that’s 7,800 climate champions putting to work their unique set of skills and experiences to solve the climate crisis.
These thousands of new jobs illustrate that Greentown startups are not only developing climatetech solutions—they’re building a climate workforce that is ready to harness the massive economic opportunities of the energy transition. And that climate workforce is hiring.
There’s a place for everyone in climatetech, whether they’ve previously worked in traditional energy, have experience tackling climate change, or are new to the climate and energy fields. Just ask Patricia Vega, CEO of Greentown Houston member Quantum New Energy, who worked in traditional energy for 25 years before founding a climatetech startup. And recently, we were encouraged to see 27 labor unions release a report showing that the energy transition could create 1.1 million jobs in Texas alone. The jobs are here. We just need you!