Sierra Energy's fundraising brings Big Name Recognition to Region

The biggest catch in the syndicate of investors is Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures. It is the cornerstone of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition which brings together some of the biggest names in technology.

The 2019 Progress Report

The 2019 Progress Report is out! 

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

Sign Up to Stay Connected!

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! 

What are Business Opportunities around the Future of Utilites

Big changes are underway for utilities. We talked about it for a solid 4 hours.

Latest News & Blogs

Sierra Energy Moves Up to the Big Leagues

Sierra Energy Moves Up to the Big Leagues

By now the news has spread that FastOx waste gasification system innovator Sierra Energy in Davis has scored a new $33 million investment (see the press release).  That in itself is a big deal.  Sierra has made great strides in generating interest and enthusiasm in...

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Sierra Energy Raises $33 Million!

Sierra Energy Raises $33 Million!

A constant feature of CleanStart's reporting has been Sierra Energy.  At our Cleantech Meetups and in our Progress Reports!  Congratulations to Mike Hart and the entire Sierra Energy team! They also have a desire to build more community in the region by encouraging...

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Top Global Cleantech Companies Booming

Top Global Cleantech Companies Booming

Every so often it’s nice to get a little perspective on the cleantech industry.  The Cleantech Group just published a review of the top 100 cleantech venture-backed companies in the world and it has some interesting insights.  Over 13,900 companies from 37 countries...

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About CleanStart

CleanStart was founded in 2005 as a 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 CleanStart PowerUP! networking events.

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 and the Entrepreneurs Showcase sponsored by Velocity Venture Capital.

Our Team

Gary Simon, Chairman

Gary Simon, Chairman

A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

Mark Henwood

Mark Henwood, Board Member

CEO of Henwood Associates, Inc., an owner and operator of hydroelectric facilities in California.  Mark also leads Powersoft, LLC, a SaaS provider and was a co-founder of CleanStart with Gary Simon.

Benjamin Finkelor, MBA

Benjamin Finkelor, Board Member

Benjamin Finkelor is Executive Director of the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute. Prior to joining the EEI, he served in a variety of roles within the clean technology sector, including inaugural executive director for CleanStart and cleantech analyst for the private equity arm of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). 

Thomas Hall

 Kiara Reed, Board MEMBER

Kiara Reed is Media Maven at Uptown Studios and a community advocate based in Sacramento. A Nehemiah Emerging Leader Alum, Kiara has a strong leadership background and get-things-done attitude. Her commitment to community is clearly visible through her work with Sacramento’s historic Oak Park Neighborhood. She also serves on the board of Green Tech Education and Employment 


Gary Simon, Chairman

Brian Hoblit, Board Member

Brian is a Business Development Officer for U.S. Banks’ commercial lending division and is passionate about helping companies in Sacramento and the broader Central Valley region grow through debt and other financial services. Brian’s educational background includes advanced degrees in environmental engineering and business he has held a variety of roles in banking, finance, clean technology and water resources.

Mark Henwood

Dan Koellen, Board Member

Dan Koellen is a veteran of more than 25 years in the high technology and semiconductor industries.  Dan has mentored and invested in several Sacramento area startup companies including two companies that have gone public.  He is a board member of non-profits in technology, community support, economic development and world class botanical gardens.  Recognizing his commitment to excellence in STEM; Dan is the development chair for the Astronomy Department Board of Visitors and adviser to the Applied Math, Engineering and Physics program, both at the University of Wisconsin.

Thomas Hall

Thomas Hall, Executive Director

Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. Thomas holds a BS in Finance and BA in Economics and has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

Ingrid Rosten, Consultant

Former Executive Director of CleanStart between 2006 and 2014, Ingrid has returned to support the regional clean tech economy. Known as a powerful creator of strategic relationships with business, academic and government entities locally, nationally and internationally, she has focused supporting innovation and entrepreneurship through the development of busines incubators and development programs in tech. 

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.
  • Monthly Cleantech Meetups with an average of 50 attendees
  • Businesses Skills roundtables, where startups get one on one time with business professionals and clean tech consultants.
  • 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
  • Future of the Utility Roundtables
  • Upcoming Central Valley Clean Tech Showcase

CleanStart Companies

Upcoming Events

  1. Cleantech Meetup

    September 26 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
  2. Central Valley Clean Tech Showcase

    October 9 @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm

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Sacramento, CA 95814

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