March 14th, 2019 by Andrea Bertoli
Five Pacific Northwest cleantech startups receive $220,000 in proof-of-concept grants, applications open for the 2019 cohort.
SEATTLE and PORTLAND, Ore. — The Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator, powered by VertueLab and CleanTech Alliance, today announced that five cleantech startups affiliated with the accelerator have been awarded proof-of-concept grants totaling $220,000.
The accelerator also announced that the application period to be considered for the 2019 cohort is now open, with a submission deadline of April 17, 2019.
The Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator is a 15-week program that delivers cleantech-specific training in business modeling, customer discovery, manufacturing and sustainability planning, prototyping, financing, customer delivery, branding and more to entrepreneurs and early-stage startups located in the Pacific Northwest.
Alumni of the accelerator are eligible to apply for proof-of-concept grants made possible through funding awarded to the accelerator by the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s i6 Challenge program. This funding helps fill the critical capital gap that clean technology startups face and is helping to expand the technology development grants available from VertueLab to companies in Washington. The 2018 grants were awarded to the following five alumni teams from across the region:
- Wheyward Spirit, of Eugene, Ore., for collaboration with Oregon State University to advance its technology that utilizes excess whey from cheesemaking to make vodka with a smaller carbon footprint.
- Bladerunner Energy, of Bend, Ore., for collaboration with Oregon State University for validation of their scalable micro-hydro solution that utilizes biomimicry to harness the power found in the natural flow of water without the need for dams.
- ZILA Works, of Renton, Wash., for collaboration with Washington State University on a novel hempseed oil-based bioexpoxy for the manufacturing of floor coatings.
- BiMBy Power, of Viola, Idaho., for collaboration with University of Idaho on prototype fabrication of a manufactured heat vessel to improve delivery of daylight to, and diffusion of solar heat energy from, mines.
- easyXAFS, of Seattle, for collaboration with University of Washington on a new x-ray product for performing advanced x-ray spectroscopy methods with conventional x-ray tubes, as opposed to synchrotron light sources.
“The Cascadia Cleantech Accelerator was an invaluable opportunity for our company to refine our strategy, overhaul our pitch and network with mentors in the regional cleantech community,” said Christof Krumm, CEO & Cofounder of Sironix Renewables and one of the 2018 Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator Cohort. “Despite having participated in other accelerators, this program guided us through important fundamentals with a focus on sustainability, while maintaining flexibility for us to tailor the lessons to our company needs.”
Participating cleantech startups are given company and brand visibility at the VertueLab Impact Summit and CleanTech Alliance events, as well as access to prize money and in-kind services.
“The women and men launching cleantech startups face daunting challenges, including a disproportionate capital gap to navigate in order to move their technologies to market,” said David Kenney, President and Executive Director of VertueLab. “We’re very proud to play a role in helping support these young companies via the Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator so their innovations can more quickly address global climate and environmental challenges.”
Over the course of a decade, VertueLab has funded and supported more than 50 cleantech startups, with guidance alongside grants and investments for technology development. CleanTech Alliance represents 300 member organizations, offering a variety of educational programs, research, products and services.
“The Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator provides expert mentoring from our region’s cleantech community and curriculum that prepares technical founders for the next steps of business development,” said Tom Ranken, President and CEO of CleanTech Alliance. “It is inspiring to see how alumni of the program have continued to grow and develop their companies in this important sector.”
The 2019 Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator program runs from May through September, with applications accepted through April 17, 2019. Potential applicants are encouraged to view selection criteria and program details at cascadiacleantech.org, and then contact accelerator staff with questions (Rachelle Ames of the CleanTech Alliance in Washington (firstname.lastname@example.org, 206.389.6390) and Vanessa Margolis of VertueLab in Oregon (email@example.com, 503.740.4513).
For 10 years, VertueLab (formerly Oregon BEST), a climate impact accelerator, has supported and made direct program-related investments in innovative cleantech startups, connecting promising companies with state and federal resources, while preparing them for follow-on investment through a series of focused programs. VertueLab is a partner to impact investors, helping ensure their investment dollars are aligned with their values and are having a measurable impact on the planet. VertueLab is an independent nonprofit supported in part by a grant from Business Oregon.
About CleanTech Alliance
CleanTech Alliance represents more than 300 member companies and organizations across the greater Northwest region. Founded in 2007 by business leaders, the organization facilitates the generation and growth of cleantech companies, jobs, products and services to advance the cleantech economy. CleanTech Alliance offers a range of business services and benefits uniquely designed to help businesses gain visibility, access services at a lower cost and benefit from public policy.