Top 25 Cleantech Startup Accelerator Programs for Climate Tech Founders

• 13 min read
Top 25 Cleantech Startup Accelerator Programs for Climate Tech Founders

It’s a well-known fact that our planet is undergoing a global climate crisis. Because of this, it has now become more important than ever to have businesses that focus on cleantech. That way, we’ll have more products and services that will reduce the negative impact on our environment.

Luckily, there are many hopeful entrepreneurs out there who want to break into the cleantech industry. The only problem is that starting a business is already challenging in and of itself, and managing it is even more so.

So, in this scenario, what do cleantech startups have to do? Simple answer: they apply for an accelerator program.

Why Should Cleantech Startups Apply for an Accelerator Program?

If you’ve never heard about accelerators before, accelerator programs are essentially cohort-based programs that aim to help startups accelerate and grow their businesses. In order to achieve this, accelerators provide a mix of education on business topics, mentoring on how to strategize their businesses’ trajectory, and networking with potential investors. They also offer investment sometimes.

For this reason, cleantech startups will significantly benefit if they enter an accelerator program. They will receive assistance from successful cleantech professionals, and they will also get funding for their businesses. All this will help launch cleantech startups from the ground up.

Top Cleantech Startup Accelerators

Now that you’re aware of what accelerator programs are, the next thing you have to do is look for a cleantech startup accelerator program for your business. Luckily for you, there are countless highly esteemed cleantech startup accelerators all over the world.

To help you get started on your search, here are 25 accelerator programs that you can choose from.

Energia Ventures

Based in New Brunswick, Canada, Energia Ventures is a three-month intensive accelerator for entrepreneurs with an innovative business in the energy, smart grid, artificial intelligence, cleantech, and cybersecurity sectors. This accelerator provides chosen startups with funding, mentoring, and programming to take their businesses to the next level.

In addition to funding and mentoring, Energia Ventures offers other benefits, such as workspaces, peer support, and networking opportunities with their global partners and alumni.

Startup Boot Camp

Startup Boot Camp is the world’s largest industry-focused accelerator program. Located in Victoria, Australia, this accelerator specializes in four key industries: energy, fintech, sports and event tech, and food tech. They also offer programs that focus on the internet of things and data tech, health, smart city and living, and transportation.

For each program, Startup Boot Camp selects ten startups that are looking to expand into the Asia Pacific Region, and currently, they offer six programs. These programs are:

  • EnergyTech Hub: this is designed to help the energy industry collaborate on the most challenging and pressing issues that the sector faces.
  • Energy Trade Missions: this is a virtual trade mission to connect the Victorian and Indian Smart Energy ecosystems.
  • Shell StartUp Engine: this is a global innovation program for early- to mid-stage energy startups that are looking to develop their capabilities and power business growth within the smart energy landscape.
  • SBC EnergyAustralia: this is the leading global accelerator for innovative startups that aim to solve problems in energy efficiency, energy independence, digitization, and analytics.
  • SBC EnergyNext: this program aims to accelerate clean energy transition and sustainability through a structured startup engagement process.
  • Energy Scale: this program is dedicated to later-stage startups and scaleups that aim to enter the Australian market via pilot and POC opportunities with EnergyAustralia.

If chosen, startups will receive extensive mentorship from over 100 entrepreneurs, investors, and partners, US$16,500 in cash, US$250,000 in partner services, and exposure to over 200 angel investors and venture capitalists.

Third Derivative

Third Derivative is a vertically integrated engine designed to accelerate the rate of climate innovation. This accelerator is founded by Rocky Mountain Institute, which is one of the world’s leading clean energy institutions, and New Energy Nexus, which is a globally respected entrepreneur support organization that is capable of attracting, cultivating, and connecting with high-potential startups.

In order to increase the success and speed to market for climate innovation, Third Derivative finds, funds, hones, and scales the most promising startups that specialize in advanced energy technologies.

Berkeley SkyDeck

Berkeley SkyDeck is a startup accelerator at the University of California, Berkeley, in partnership with the Haas School of Business and Berkeley Engineering. This accelerator was founded in 2012 with the primary mission of promoting student entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.

Selected startups will be in the program for six months, and during this period, they will receive mentorship and funding. In exchange, SkyDeck takes a 5% equity stake in each startup.

Some of the alumni of this program are Lime, a transportation company with motorized scooters and electric bikes, and Kiwi Campus, a food delivery service that uses autonomous robots.

Venture for ClimateTech

Venture for ClimateTech is a nonprofit global venture studio and accelerator program. This organization looks for the most promising ClimateTech innovators worldwide and offers them hands-on support until they are ready for their first customers, pilot runs, and investment.

Venture for ClimateTech is a six-month accelerator program, and throughout that period, startups will have support to build strong teams and tackle commercialization challenges.

EnergyLab Climate Solutions

The Climate Solutions is EnergyLab’s flagship program, and it provides the best cleantech startups with all the support they need to reach their goals. This program is open to startups at all stages, and it is perfectly suited for entrepreneurs who are looking to deploy solutions that will mitigate climate change.

Chosen startups will receive $100,000 and will be introduced to Australia’s most active cleantech investors. Some of the program’s alumni include Amber, MGA Thermal, Shifted Energy, and Zenogen.

Halliburton Labs

Halliburton Labs is an accelerator program that is dedicated to advancing clean energy technology. They accelerate the growth of early-stage cleantech companies by providing them with access to their facilities, technical expertise, and business network.

This accelerator program lasts for 12 months, and the accepted startups should be early-stage companies that deal in either of the following fields:

  • Clean energy generation
  • Transmission/distribution
  • Energy storage
  • Energy conversation
  • Circular economy

For chosen startups, they will receive $100,000 in exchange for an equity ownership interest of 5% (modified SAFE). Even though the program lasts for 12 months, time-based extensions may be considered, depending on the participant’s needs, commercial progress, and availability.

Katapult Accelerator

Katapult Accelerator is an Oslo-based accelerator program that supports impact startups with a tech foundation.

This program lasts for three months, and during this period, chosen startups will work closely with the program’s core team of ex-consultants, investment bankers, marketing experts, and entrepreneurs. Additionally, they will also receive an investment amount ranging from $150,000 to $400,000, and they will have access to a global network of leading thematic mentors.

After this program, the startups will be able to develop a more disciplined, productive, and professional approach to every aspect of their company.

Cascadia Cleantech Accelerator

Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator is a program that is specifically designed to accelerate early-stage cleantech startups. Powered by the CleanTech Alliance and VertueLab, this program is a mostly virtual 15-week program that delivers mentorship, curriculum, connections, and funding opportunities for early-stage cleantech startups.

Some of the topics that Cascadia discusses include business model canvas, sustainability, intellectual property and incorporation, introduction to manufacturing, HR legal compliance, and many more.

Greentown Labs

Greentown Labs is the largest climate tech startup incubator in North America. The company’s primary mission is to solve the climate crisis through entrepreneurship and collaboration.

Greentown Labs is dedicated to being a supportive, collaborative, and inspiring community for early-stage entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Because of that, they have decided not to take any equity in the chosen startup companies. Instead, the selected startups will pay monthly fees based on their lab and office space.

As of right now, Greentown Labs has incubated over 280 companies, with a startup survival rate of 88%.

Urban Future Lab

Urban Future Lab is the center of cleantech innovation in New York. The company is dedicated to leading the way to a more sustainable world by connecting people, capital, and purpose to advance market-ready solutions to address climate change.

Urban Future Lab has several programs. Their most popular program is ACRE, which is also NYC’s premier cleantech incubator. ACRE provides unmatched access to strategic advisement, introductions to industry stakeholders, marketing and branding support, investor networks, and access to a community of like-minded founders. This program also offers perks over $150,000 and access to up to $300,000 in non-dilutive grants, and it takes 0% equity from the chosen companies.

Another program is the H2 Refuel Accelerator. This program offers unparalleled collaboration opportunities for startups that want to bring their hydrogen innovation from concept to market. Chosen startups will also receive up to $50,000 in startup technology validation, demonstration, and piloting services from the Fraunhofer R&D network.

Conservation X Labs

Conservation X Labs is a technology and innovation company that creates solutions to stop the extinction crisis. In order to achieve their goal, the company applies technology, entrepreneurship, and open innovation to source, develop, and scale critical solutions to the underlying drivers of extinction.

Conservation X Labs has several programs, including:

  • The Garage: this is Conservation X Labs’ prototyping facility to generate technologies with high capacity or IP potential.
  • Grand Challenges for Conservation: these are global competitions that reward monetary prizes for the best solutions for specific conservation problems.
  • Con X Tech Prize: this is a global competition that provides seed funding to selected innovators to develop their first prototype. Twenty teams are selected for every competition, and they will receive $3,500 each. One grand prize winner will receive $20,000.
  • The Digital Makerspace (DMS): an open online project platform where entrepreneurship, conservation, and technology communities collaborate on solutions to end human-induced extinction
  • Make for the Planet: this is an intensive engineering competition to create solutions to global conservation challenges.
  • Transforming Education: this program aims to support the university education and innovation ecosystem.

Joules Accelerator

Joules Accelerator is a program that aims to connect cleantech startups to commercialization opportunities. Some of the sectors that this program focuses on include EV infrastructure, energy storage, energy management, advanced grid, solar, robotics, smart cities, and many more.

This program lasts for 90 days. Some of their key partners include Duke Energy, Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and its members, the cities of Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Asheville, the University of North Carolina system, Duke University, and many more.

Interested startups can apply without worrying about paying an application fee, and the chosen ones will get a chance to have immediate connections to key network stakeholders and one-on-one meetings with potential customers. Joules Accelerator also won’t take any equity from the chosen startups.

Currently, Joules Accelerator Cohort companies have raised more than $200 million, and the program has worked with over 35 companies.

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a private non-profit organization aiming to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies and ensure an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation, transforming markets, and enhancing community.

LACI is founded as a cluster-driven economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and their home campus is the La Kretz Innovation Campus. This campus has an electronics lab, biochemistry lab, cell lab, CNC center, water jet center, welding shop, 3D printing shop, and many more.

LACI currently has helped 72 companies raise $159 million in funding, $220 million in revenue, and $379 million in long-term economic value.

VertueLab

VertueLab is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to fighting climate change by providing funding and holistic entrepreneurial support to cleantech startups. This organization was initially named Oregon BEST in 2007, and their goal was to make direct, program-related investments in cleantech startups.

In 2018, the organization expanded, and they decided to get a name, which is “VertueLab.” As VertueLab, they have several key initiatives, namely the Climate Impact Fund, Cleantech Accelerator, Community Building Events, and SBIR Support.

As of right now, VertueLab has helped over 60 companies in creating more than 459 jobs and raising more than $230 million in funding.

Austin Technology Incubator

Founded in 1989, the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) is the deep technology incubator of the University of Texas at Austin, working with university and community entrepreneurs to commercialize their breakthrough innovations. This program focuses on several sectors, including circular economy, energy, food and AgTech, healthcare/biotech, mobility, and water.

Although this incubator program is part of UT Austin, any company can still apply. All the selected startups will get access to co-working space, professional expertise, and relationships that they need to succeed in the marketplace. Additionally, companies can stay between 1–3 years on ATI, depending on the technology and progress.

BCI Technology Investments

BCI Technology Investments is a premier commercialization accelerator that provides strategic working capital, value-added engineering, and supply-chain resources. In particular, this accelerator program focuses on startups in the renewable energy, cleantech, and agricultural technology sectors.

BCI uses a proprietary and best-in-class due diligence process that saves early-stage companies valuable time while preparing them for future funding applications. The program typically lasts for around 12 months, but it can be longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the lessons and activities.

Clean Energy Trust

Clean Energy Trust is an organization that aims to bring cleantech innovation to market by finding, funding, and growing high-impact cleantech startups from the Midwest. This organization is structured as a nonprofit, and they make seed investments and provide patient, hands-on support to help entrepreneurs scale and succeed.

Currently, Clean Energy Trust has helped about 35 companies across the Mid-Continent region of the United States, and these companies have over 650 people employed.

Cleantech Open

Cleantech Open is one of the world’s largest clean technology accelerator programs. Each year, over 150 startups participate in the program, and since the program’s founding in 2006, Cleantech Open has helped over 1,500 early-stage cleantech innovators.

Cleantech Open is a 12-week-long program, and during this period, chosen startups will receive hands-on training, world-class mentoring, networking opportunities, and visibility to potential investors and strategic partners. Additionally, up to $75,000 in cash investment will be handed to winners of the program’s regional and national showcasing competitions.

Braemar Energy Ventures

Braemar Energy Ventures was founded in 2003, and since then, the company has strived to transform the world of energy technology. They do this by leading their investments and using their sector expertise and experience to be an engaged partner.

To date, products and services that are funded by Braemar Energy Ventures have been used in all 50 states and 47 countries all over the world.

Clean Energy Resource Teams

The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) is an organization that aims to connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects.

In order to do this, CERTs provides practical steps to clean energy, learning opportunities (i.e., events, resources, etc.), and hands-on assistance for cities, counties, utilities, farmers, businesses, and organizations that are looking to make a change. Additionally, the organization also offers limited financial assistance like grants and financing to interested parties.

Center for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology

The Center for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology (CECET) is an Intertek company specializing in the advancement of clean energy technology.

This company was launched in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). They provide cleantech companies with access to expert guidance, technical due diligence, and state-of-the-art laboratory testing facilities to speed up the commercialization of their businesses.

In particular, CECET supports companies that produce products like solar panels, energy storage technology, biomass fuel testing, and many more. The company also offers funding support and networking opportunities with technology incubators to the chosen startups.

Elemental Excelerator

Elemental Excelerator is a nonprofit organization with a mission to redesign the systems at the root of climate change. Ever since the organization’s founding in 2009, they have broken down barriers to innovation alongside entrepreneurs. This allows them to have unique insight into the policy, market, and technology innovation needed to build systems that uplift people all over the world.

As of right now, Elemental Excelerator has invested in over 100 growth-stage companies and celebrated more than a dozen exits, funded more than 70 technology projects, and built a platform for scaling equitable, market-driven solutions to climate change.

Innosphere Ventures

Innosphere Ventures is a science and technology incubator that accelerates startups’ and emerging growth companies’ success with an exclusive commercialization program, specialized office and laboratory facilities, and a seed-stage venture capital fund. This company supports entrepreneurs in several B2B industries, such as bioscience, medical device, MedTech, energy, advanced materials, cleantech, and many more.

Innosphere Ventures’ program connects founders with experienced advisors and introduces them to corporate partners so as to ensure that the startups will soon be ready for investors. To date, Innosphere has helped 52 companies in accelerating their businesses.

NextEnergy

NextEnergy is an organization that aims to work with innovators to accelerate smarter, cleaner, and more accessible solutions for communities and cities. To address the challenges of city living, the organization supports startups that create innovative technologies that will solve the problems, thus creating a better quality of life for all.

NextEnergy is based in the center of Detroit’s growing innovation district, and they primarily focus on startups in the smart mobility and smart grid sectors.

Conclusion

Dreaming of having a successful business is all fun and good, but the reality of it is actually far from being a dream.

Because of this, if you’re planning to create a startup that focuses on cleantech products and services, then you need to consider applying to a cleantech startup accelerator program. This is because an accelerator educates you on managing a business and connects you with potential investors and other industry professionals. Aside from that, an accelerator program will also give you funding.

The 25 companies mentioned above are some of the most well-known accelerators out there. Look through the list and take your pick. You’ll definitely benefit from it.

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