Boston – The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced $200,000 in investments for four early-stage clean energy companies in Cambridge and Somerville as part of AccelerateMass, a program designed to provide funding to Massachusetts-based startup companies that recently graduated from business accelerator programs.
“Massachusetts is home to a thriving innovation sector and we are proud to support these hard-working local entrepreneurs as they pursue technology breakthroughs and clean energy solutions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth’s cleantech industry drives economic activity and job creation across the state while helping critical efforts to improve overall climate resiliency.”
“The startup community is a key driver for the Massachusetts economy and these investments will help four young companies grow and create quality jobs right here in the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to supporting creative entrepreneurs as they pursue new technologies that will help the Commonwealth meet its clean energy and climate goals.”
The AccelerateMass program was developed to support early-stage companies that successfully graduate from business accelerator programs, which provide technology development mentorship, business plan development guidance, and may provide funding, cash prizes, and/or other awards to promising startup companies. In prior years, graduates of the following seven approved accelerators were eligible for the program: ASPIRE of VentureWell, Cleantech Open, MassChallenge, TechStars Boston, TiE ScaleUp, Valley Venture Mentors, and Village Capital. This year, the program expanded to include graduates of delta-v of MIT and Greentown Launch of Greentown Labs.
“By supporting local cleantech startups, we can ensure Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in clean energy innovation,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to helping the Commonwealth’s entrepreneurs pursue the creative solutions that will be critical to Massachusetts achieving its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
“The goal of this program is to help these entrepreneurs meet a funding challenge that presents a persistent barrier for early-stage companies,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “By building on the momentum of these young companies pursuing technology breakthroughs, we can reap a host of benefits for the Commonwealth including continued growth of the state’s robust innovation sector.”
MassCEC awarded a convertible note of $50,000 to each of the following companies:
- Alkemy Environmental (Somerville) is developing a patented technology that recycles industrial waste streams into LEED accredited concrete aggregate.
- change:WATER Labs (Cambridge) is developing a portable toilet to evaporate >95% of daily household sewage onsite, extending safe hygienic sanitation into non-sewered homes and “off-line” communities.
- Pecos Wind Power (Cambridge) is developing small wind turbines for distributed generation that use a patent-pending tower and installation system to lower costs.
- Solstice Power Technologies (Cambridge) developed a community solar marketplace and customer management software that harnesses the network effects of local Solstice Ambassadors to spread solar to the mainstream.
MassCEC may award an additional $100,000 to each company that reaches specific business milestones including producing prototypes, securing customer orders, hiring key personnel, and raising additional capital.
According to the 2017 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, the clean energy sector in Massachusetts has grown 81 percent since 2010 and employs 109,226 workers across the state. The Massachusetts clean energy sector is an $11.4 billion industry, representing 2.3 percent of the state’s overall economy. According to the report, Massachusetts is No. 1 in the United States for per capita early-stage clean energy venture investment, beating out California.
This funding builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to support the Commonwealth’s vibrant clean energy innovation sector including recent initiatives announced in clean heating and cooling, energy storage and electric vehicle technologies. In August 2016, Governor Baker signed bipartisan comprehensive energy diversification legislation that promotes the administration’s commitment to reducing energy costs while strengthening the state’s clean energy economy and progressing towards Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas reduction requirements.
“The clean tech industry here in the Commonwealth is both a critical component of our efforts to reach our state’s ambitious greenhouse gas emissions goals, as well as an important driver of economic growth,” said State Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “I’m pleased that this state funding will be going towards these local clean-tech companies to support their innovative and necessary work pursuing critical technological breakthroughs.”
“It’s so exciting to think about the opportunities these new companies are developing to clean our environment in new ways,” said State Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville).
“Innovative clean technologies are not just the future direction for our environment, and the energy to power our world – they also represent the future for employment, and for our economy,” said State Representative Denise Provost (D-Somerville).
“The AccelerateMass program enables promising startups in the clean energy space to further accelerate their innovations and begin to commercialize their technologies,” said Kiki Mills Johnston, Managing Director of MassChallenge Boston. “We’re proud to support MassCEC and their efforts to fuel innovation in the space. Congratulations to this year’s recipients, we look forward to seeing you drive growth, create new jobs, and address some of the most pressing issues in Massachusetts and around the world.”
“Accelerate Mass is essential to the growth of early-stage cleantech entrepreneurs and Massachusetts’ cleantech innovation ecosystem, and a powerful tool to leverage the region’s cleantech business accelerators like Cleantech Open,” said Northeast Clean Energy Council President Peter Rothstein. “As the Northeast regional affiliate of Cleantech Open, we are thrilled to see three alumni selected as grant recipients and look forward to watching them flourish here in Massachusetts.”
“We are extremely pleased that three graduates of Cleantech Open–Solstice, Pecos Wind, and change:Water Labs–have been recognized by MassCEC for AccelerateMass awards,” said Beth Zonis, Northeast Regional Director of Cleantech Open. “These companies excelled during their time with Cleantech Open with recognition at both the national and regional level. We expect that this award will enable all of them to achieve success with their ventures.”
MassCEC is funded by the Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1998. A systems benefits charge paid by customers of investor-owned utilities and five municipal electric departments that have opted into the program funds the trust.