Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator announces Partner Awards to support network of cleantech startup champions

Thursday April 2, 2020 0 comments Tags: Denver, Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, NREL, Trish Cozart, Ramsey Huntley

DENVER -- The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), announced eight new Channel Partner Award winners.wells-fargo-incubator-logo 

In Colorado, awards went to the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University.

The award program strengthens sustainable technology initiatives and fosters a creative and collaborative network of cross-industry stakeholders in order to address barriers that startups face on the path to commercialization.

Each winner will receive between $75,000-$150,000 and projects will fulfill a wide range of goals -- serving emerging Midwest and Mid-Atlantic cleantech markets; supporting educational programs for student entrepreneurs; providing pathways, networks and guidance for high-wealth individuals considering cleantech investing; and more.

This year’s submissions were selected on a competitive basis by evaluating their potential for STEM job creation, impact on cleantech and agtech sectors, ability to leverage the IN2 network, and funding sustainability.

“The Channel Partner Awards establish a continuum of innovation within the IN2 program -- from early-stage concept to commercialization,” said Trish Cozart, IN2 program manager at NREL.

“By allocating resources to Channel Partner initiatives, in addition to selecting companies for our tech incubator, we’re reaching startups at multiple points along their journey and will get more transformative resources to market.”

Award winners include:

  • AgLaunch (Memphis, Tenn.) -- Aggregate agricultural data from members of the AgLaunch Farmer Network (AFM) for startups and to establish and report on long-term sustainability metrics.
  • BRITE (Warren, Ohio) -- Strengthen the Energy Storage Cluster -- a coalition of energy storage and cleantech startups in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia -- by increasing awareness through outreach and events, and by leveraging investor relationships.
  • Clean Energy Trust (Chicago, Ill.) -- Develop entrepreneurial tools, resources and training for students focused on sustainability to improve collaboration across top tier universities.
  • Cleantech Group (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Host a series of events focused on value chains, business activities and trends in commercial buildings, residential technologies and sustainable agriculture for program stakeholders and portfolio companies.
  • Powerhouse (Oakland, Calif.) -- Launch Powerhouse Angels -- a vetted group of accredited investors -- to provide a reputable and well-orchestrated investor network of high net worth individuals, family offices and philanthropic organizations interested in backing early stage cleantech entrepreneurs.
  • Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas) -- Support entrepreneurial education and product commercialization for minority undergraduate students focused on agricultural research.
  • The Yield Lab Institute(St. Louis, Mo.) -- Mentor 2-4 selected agtech startups to support their journey to investment and accelerate their paths to market.
  • The University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University (Boulder, Fort Collins) -- Strengthen strategic programs and develop new resources to address cleantech and agtech opportunities in the Front Range through joint workshops.

“The Channel Partner Awards help IN2’s cross-country ecosystem of supporters connect and thrive,” said Ramsey Huntley, Wells Fargo’s Clean Technology and Innovation Philanthropy program officer.

“The awards and the initiatives they fund help foster meaningful partnerships, create jobs and improve capital flow for our partner network and beyond.”

The nationwide network of IN2 Channel Partners includes 63 cleantech and agtech business incubators, accelerators, universities and industry experts.

The IN2 Channel Partner Awards program was established in 2017 with $5 million of committed funding from Wells Fargo to be distributed over four years. Since inception, the program has supported more than 115 events, strategic meetings and trainings, and 29 larger strategic initiatives between 31 organizations.

Funded projects have engaged more than 2,369 participants (entrepreneurs, industry and academic representatives and others), created nearly 200 jobs, led to more than $18.2 million in follow-on funding for startups involved and earned $1.8 million in matching funds from outside organizations.