CleanStart Perspectives: Cherly Beninga of FourthWave

Cheryl Beninga is the cofounder of FourthWave, an accelerator for women-led technology companies primarily located in Northern California. Additionally, Cheryl is a venture capital investor and has been a board member and advisor for technology companies in strategy, financing and M&A for over twenty years. She has experience building high growth and adaptive learning organizations in clean technology, mobile software, MedTech and enterprise software and services companies

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Each month CleanStart releases new information on clean tech companies, entrepreneur activities, and happenings in sustainability tech advancement.  Make sure you don't miss out! 

Empowering entrepreneurs with the knowledge, capital, and connections critical to creating successful new clean tech companies.

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Mariah Lichtenstern – Tech Funding Equity

Mariah Lichtenstern – Tech Funding Equity

At the intersection of technology, entertainment, and venture capital, our guest Mariah Lichtenstern accelerates positive social, economic, and environmental impact through entrepreneurship. Mariah is the Founding Partner of DiverseCity Ventures and Managing Director...

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CleanStart was founded in 2005 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization designed to accelerate the development of clean technology ventures within the Northern California region. Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs with the knowledge, capital, and connections that are critical to creating a successful new business. We do this by:

CONNECTING the Northern California region’s clean tech community through CleanTech Meetups.

PROMOTING the region’s clean tech economy in the annual CleanStart Progress Report, on social media & news outlets and at statewide and national events.

EDUCATING Clean tech business leaders through classes, professional rescources, expert pannels and the CEO Crash Course.

Our Team

Gary Simon, Chairman

Gary Simon, Chairman


Mark Henwood

Mark Henwood, Board Member

Benjamin Finkelor, MBA

Benjamin Finkelor, Board Member

Thomas Hall

Kiara Reed, Board Member


Mark Henwood

Dan Koellen, Board Member

Gary Simon, Chairman

Brian Hoblit, Board Member

Mark Humbert, Board Member

Thomas Hall

Thomas Hall, Executive Director

Osato  Evbuomwan, Associate 

Giovannie Smith

Saraia Jackson,   Associate

Ingrid Rosten, Consultant

Nitza Jamias,  Associate

Srinjay Verma,  Associate 

Joseph Chung,   Associate 

Giovannie Smith

Giovanni Smith,  Associate

CleanStart Accomplishments & Updates 

CleanStart has been busy working to build the clean tech hub in the Sacramento region.  We have been supporting local growth through education, networking, and promotion.  Some of our recent successes include:

  • CleanStart has continued to grow since restarting in 2016. From holding seven educational and networking events in 2017 , fifteen in 2018, to over twenty in 2019. Connecting with over 1000 stakeholders face to face.
  • Monthly Cleantech Meetups with an average of 60 attendees
  • Regular Virtual Web Meetings attracting 30 or more attendees to discuss the advancement of clean tech and opportunities in the region.
  • Businesses Skills roundtables and Expert Panels, where startups get one on one time with business professionals and clean tech consultants, like the Future of the Utility
  • The 2019 Progress Report was completed, showing 85 companies in the core clean tech sector is generating $3.1 billion in revenue and 5,065 jobs
  • Regular Investor Spotlight events where investors attend companies’ pitches
  • Regional Accelerator the CEO Crash Course with 5 Alumni who have reviewed funding
  • Central Valley Clean Tech Showcase 2019
  • Sponsoring Prizes in Regional Events such as the Big Bang at UC Davis and the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences Pitch Event

CleanStart Companies

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