Tuesday November 12, 2019 0 comments
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 it is expanding its focus to include clean technologies for residential buildings.
The goal is to help ratepayers use energy more efficiently and lower monthly utility bills.
IN2 selected 10 new early-stage technology companies to join the program, harnessing the world-class expertise and facilities at NREL to validate promising, early-stage, clean technologies and speed their respective paths to the commercial marketplace.
According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, no state or metropolitan area in the U.S. has enough affordable rental inventory to meet the existing housing demand for its lowest-income residents. To help address the housing crisis, the Wells Fargo Foundation recently announced a commitment of $1 billion in philanthropic funding for housing affordability through 2025.
The IN2 platform will support this broader Wells Fargo initiative by identifying and advancing promising early-stage clean technologies that will make housing more affordable and decrease energy costs.
“Wells Fargo’s affordable housing initiative aligns nicely with the IN2 mission and NREL’s expertise in construction innovation and energy efficiency,” said Trish Cozart, IN2 program manager at NREL.
“With this cohort, we are taking IN2’s five-year legacy of fostering cleantech innovations that improve commercial building energy efficiency and translating that to the residential space.”
All of the new companies in the cohort are based outside Colorado.
“Renewables and energy efficiency solutions for renters and low-income homeowners are important considerations in the housing affordability dialogue, and an area where we believe IN2 can help deliver both financial and environmental benefits for households and communities,” said Mary Wenzel, Wells Fargo head of sustainability and corporate responsibility.
Eight of the companies selected for this invitation-only program will focus on technologies aimed at housing affordability solutions, and two will develop technologies that improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.
Participants will receive $250,000 in non-dilutive funding and hands-on technical assistance to further develop and validate their technologies.
This sixth IN2 cohort includes companies with expertise in advanced manufacturing and construction, materials, community and district-level technologies and design tools, and energy efficiency technologies.
Since 2014, IN2 has helped 30 startups develop and prove the viability of early-stage energy efficiency technologies by leveraging the unique capabilities, expertise and facilities of Wells Fargo, NREL and other IN2 partners.
In 2018, the incubator expanded into the food-energy-water nexus by selecting a cohort of agtech companies and is now extending its scope further in order to advance cleantech innovations that will make residential housing more affordable.