Startup-corporate Partnerships to Commercialize Climatetech
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.
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.
The Healthy Buildings Challenge
The Greentown Launch Healthy Buildings Challenge, a partnerships accelerator with Saint-Gobain and supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, is focused on advancing innovations that improve building sustainability and wellbeing for building occupants.
Buildings account for about 40 percent of the United States’ energy consumption, meaning that innovations in this sector are key to tackling climate change—and represent a major market opportunity. This iteration of Greentown Launch is driving collaboration between Saint-Gobain and startups developing buildings-related technologies that optimize for the health of both people and the climate.
Carbon to Value Initiative
The three-year Carbon to Value (C2V) Initiative—a partnership among Greentown Labs, Urban Future Lab, and the Fraunhofer USA TechBridge Program—is creating a first-of-its-kind collaborative ecosystem for carbontech startups and leading corporations with the end goal of making carbontech cost effective and achieving its deployment at scale.
A select group of corporate, academic, and government thought leaders have come together to form the Carbontech Leadership Council (CLC) to foster commercialization opportunities and to identify avenues for technology validation, testing, and demonstration.
We’re thrilled to have successfully concluded Year 1 of the C2V Initiative in Fall 2021. Stay tuned for information on Year 2!
The Launch Process
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.
“Nothing spurs actual action more quickly than doing a challenge—not just having a framework or a strategy, but putting a problem statement out there. Greentown is a very unique partner, and so we have a lot of great things to say about how much the facilitation provided by Greentown Labs and the program makes it easier for us to plug-and-play into a startup ecosystem, in a way that we might not otherwise have the infrastructure to do. This is a great example of a multi-stakeholder approach.”
Corporate-Startup Collaboration: The Bold Ideas Challenge (2018)
Titan Advanced Energy Solutions borrows principles from astrophysics to create a battery management system that is faster, more accurate, and less expensive than the current standard.
The Bold Ideas Challenge was a platform for the startup and corporate to thoroughly explore both how Titan could position its ground-breaking battery management system to best suit Schneider Electric’s needs and how Schneider Electric could orient itself to take full advantage of Titan’s technology. During this time, the startup and corporate spent significant time learning about each other and setting goals together. Ultimately, they identified energy storage as their value proposition, and Schneider Electric co-led Titan’s $10 million Series A.
Corporate-Startup Collaboration: The InNOVAte 2019 Challenge
Inovues’ non-disruptive window retrofit system improves existing buildings’ energy efficiency. It can increase window insulation by up to tenfold and reduce energy consumption by up to 40 percent.
Inovues installed its window retrofit system at Saint-Gobain’s North America Research Center.