The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN  ), 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), today announced eight new Channel Partner Award winners. The award program strengthens sustainable technology initiatives and fosters a creative and collaborative network of cross-industry stakeholders in order to address barriers that startups face on the path to commercialization. Each winner will receive between $75,000-$150,000 and projects will fulfill a wide range of goals—serving emerging Midwest and Mid-Atlantic cleantech markets; supporting educational programs for student entrepreneurs; providing pathways, networks and guidance for high-wealth individuals considering cleantech investing; and more.
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This year’s submissions were selected on a competitive basis by evaluating their potential for STEM job creation, impact on cleantech and agtech sectors, ability to leverage the IN  network, and funding sustainability.
“The Channel Partner Awards establish a continuum of innovation within the IN  program––from early-stage concept to commercialization,” said Trish Cozart, IN  program manager at NREL. “By allocating resources to Channel Partner initiatives, in addition to selecting companies for our tech incubator, we’re reaching startups at multiple points along their journey and will get more transformative resources to market.”
Award winners include:
AgLaunch (Memphis, Tenn.)--Aggregate agricultural data from members of the AgLaunch Farmer Network (AFM) for startups and to establish and report on long-term sustainability metrics.
BRITE (Warren, Ohio)--Strengthen the Energy Storage Cluster––a coalition of energy storage and cleantech startups in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia––by increasing awareness through outreach and events, and by leveraging investor relationships.
Clean Energy Trust (Chicago, Ill.)--Develop entrepreneurial tools, resources and training for students focused on sustainability to improve collaboration across top tier universities.
Cleantech Group (San Francisco, Calif.)--Host a series of events focused on value chains, business activities and trends in commercial buildings, residential technologies and sustainable agriculture for program stakeholders and portfolio companies.
Powerhouse (Oakland, Calif.)--Launch Powerhouse Angels––a vetted group of accredited investors––to provide a reputable and well-orchestrated investor network of high net worth individuals, family offices and philanthropic organizations interested in backing early stage cleantech entrepreneurs.
Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas)--Support entrepreneurial education and product commercialization for minority undergraduate students focused on agricultural research.
The Yield Lab Institute (Saint Louis, Mo.)--Mentor 2-4 selected agtech startups to support their journey to investment and accelerate their paths to market.
The University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University (Boulder, Fort Collins, Colo.)--Strengthen strategic programs and develop new resources to address cleantech and agtech opportunities in the front range through joint workshops.
“The Channel Partner Awards help IN  ’s cross-country ecosystem of supporters connect and thrive,” said Wells Fargo’s Clean Technology and Innovation Philanthropy Program Officer Ramsay Huntley. “The awards and the initiatives they fund help foster meaningful partnerships, create jobs and improve capital flow for our partner network and beyond.”
The nationwide network of IN  Channel Partners includes 63 cleantech and agtech business incubators, accelerators, universities and industry experts. The IN  Channel Partner Awards program was established in 2017 with $5 million of committed funding from Wells Fargo to be distributed over four years. Since inception, the program has supported more than 115 events, strategic meetings and trainings, and 29 larger strategic initiatives between 31 organizations. Funded projects have engaged more than 2,369 participants (entrepreneurs, industry and academic representatives and others), created nearly 200 jobs, led to more than $18.2 million in follow-on funding for startups involved and earned $1.8 million in matching funds from outside organizations.
About the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2)
The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN  ) is a $30 million technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Co-administered by and housed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, IN  ’s mission is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. Launched in 2014 with an initial focus on supporting scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings, IN  has since expanded its focus to advance technologies that address the sustainable production of agriculture and housing affordability. Companies selected for participation in the program receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding from Wells Fargo, technical support and validation from experts at NREL and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and ongoing connections to organizations across value chains. For more information, visit in2ecosystem.com .
About Wells Fargo
Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo & Company /zigman2/quotes/203790192/composite WFC 0.00% provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,500 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com). With approximately 261,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. With its corporate philanthropy, Wells Fargo aims to pave a path to stability and financial success for underserved communities by focusing on housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health, among other local community needs. In 2018, Wells Fargo donated $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits. For 10 consecutive years, Wells Fargo has held the honor of No. 1 in workplace giving by United Way Worldwide. Wells Fargo team members also actively support communities by donating more than 2 million hours of volunteer time in the last year. News, insights and more information on the company’s overall corporate responsibility are available at Wells Fargo Stories and www.wellsfargo.com/impact .
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