Since the downfall of Solyndra, the future of cleantech investments has seemed a little cloudy at best, though there have been rays of sunlight: last fall, cleantech investments rose 73 percent compared to the same quarter last year and President Obama's just-unveiled new budget allows for ample investments in the sector. But even with those glimmers of hope, startup companies will need more than just a good idea. That's where Greenstart, the first startup accelerator to exclusively work with cleantech companies, comes in.
Greenstart has started its second three-month-long program where it takes companies under its wing and provides seed money -- a cool $25,000 each, mentoring, meetings with investors, legal advice, office space and even brand and product design assistance. The program also includes partnerships with Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, UC Berkeley and the City of San Francisco as resources for the companies.
This year, Greenstart narrowed its focus to cleantech startup companies that are using IT solutions to help manage energy distribution and boost energy efficiency. The categories being addressed are the smart grid, the built environment, transportation and consumer services.
In the fall, the group picked five companies from 152 applicants to get their special attention:
Scoot Networks is transforming local transportation
Growing Energy Labs enables advanced communications between energy storage, generation and loads via their "micro-utility in a box"
RidePal makes it affordable and simple for any size company to offer employee shuttles
SmartGridBilling intelligently shifts small business and residential energy consumption off peak, selling the shifted watts as a power producer to ISOs
kWhOURS develops a mobile data collection and management software platform for building energy auditors, reducing the time and cost of performing energy audits.
If you'd like to see more of what these companies have in store, check out the video recap of last year's program.