Scaling Up the Urgent, Unsung Heroes of A Climate-Friendly Future - SecondMuse

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    In its inaugural year, For ClimateTech has supported a range of innovations that are key to addressing the climate crisis in the next 10 years.

    To meaningfully address the climate crisis, the world will need new approaches to everything from building design and energy generation to agriculture and transportation. It will require visible changes, like a fleet of new vehicles on our roads, but many behind-the-scenes changes, too — the adoption of greener types of plastics used in manufacturing, more efficient energy storage technology, and the digitisation of electricity networks.

    The hardware and software innovations that will enable these changes are perhaps the unsung heroes of our ongoing shift to a more climate-friendly future. They may not get as much attention as the products consumers directly interact with (like electric cars and solar panels) but they are the crucial building blocks of the smarter and more energy-efficient infrastructure we so desperately need. Unfortunately, innovators pioneering these urgent solutions face a range of roadblocks that make it difficult for them to raise capital, launch companies, manufacture their products and scale up production to meet demand. 

    To address these challenges, SecondMuse—in partnership with the non-profit entrepreneurship catalyst NextCorps and with funding from the New York State Research and Development Authoritylaunched an initiative last December to help global climate tech innovators quickly get their products into the world. For ClimateTech builds on the work SecondMuse and NextCorps have been doing for years to support climate tech innovators. Its Scale For Climate Tech program helps growth-stage innovators with production, while its new Venture For ClimateTech program helps earlier-stage innovators get their companies off the ground.

    A Year of Accolades, Funding and Success Stories

    Since launching, Scale For ClimateTech has welcomed its third cohort of global innovators and is seeking applications for its fourth. Innovators in the ongoing and past accelerators have made impressive strides in recent months. Urban Energy, which provides solar solutions for urban buildings, was recently selected as a finalist for the American Made Solar Prize. Accelerate Wind, which enables affordable rooftop wind energy to be generated alongside rooftop solar, was awarded $1M through the National Science Foundation’s Phase II SBIR funding. Unique Electric Solutions (UES), which manufactures electric and fuel cell electric vehicle propulsion systems for commercial fleets, joined forces with AMPLY Power to deploy a fleet electrification solution for the Logan bus company, the largest school bus provider for the New York City Department of Education. And Wex Energy, maker of custom-fit window insulation systems, WindowSkin®, was one of five companies selected by The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to be evaluated in GSA facilities.

    Meanwhile, the newer Venture For ClimateTech kicked off its inaugural year with a Global Innovation Challenge that received 137 applications from 29 different countries. Its first accelerator program also generated widespread interest with 590 teams from 64 countries applying to participate. Eleven teams were eventually chosen and are continuing to receive tools, training, mentorship and the non-dilutive funding necessary to begin building a company around their climate solution.

    Supportive Programming Key to Developing Creative Climate Solutions

    “We knew our program was helping fill a gap in the ecosystem but we have been blown away by the caliber of the candidates and their impactful solutions,” said Jacqueline Ros Amable, Managing Director of Venture for Climate Tech. “That puts our acceptance rate at 1.5%”

    The teams selected for the inaugural accelerator include Clean Ocean Coatings, which is working to improve ship fuel consumption and reduce the leaching of toxins, heavy metals and microplastic into the ocean and waterways; Dynamic Air Cooling, which has developed an emission- and synthetic coolant-free technology for air conditioners and refrigeration systems; and Flow Labs, which improves traffic with AI Software that automates the traffic signal timing process. 

    The innovation supported under the broader For ClimateTech banner is key to addressing the climate crisis in the next 10 years. The carbon capture technology, energy storage and generation solutions, and other innovations scaling up in the For ClimateTech accelerator and studio programs will ideally become ubiquitous features in the products we use and the places in which we work and live. 

    “It’s clear that there isn’t a lack of creative solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, only a shortage of supportive programming that can help tap this potential,” said Jacqueline.

    That is precisely what Scale and Venture For ClimateTech are designed to do by helping founders launch and scale companies to bring urgent innovations to a wide variety of industries and ultimately improve the world.