Mobility Moves Forward

 Our Executive Director Thomas Hall loves his Nissan EV and how envriomentaly friendly it is. But with development of the shared economy in Sacramento he thinks he can do better. Read the blog and attend the cleantech meetup on May 30th.

What are Business Opportunities around the Future of Utilites

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

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.

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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! 

Latest News & Blogs

Companies Get Excellent Advice from Top Start-Up Lawyer

Last Tuesday CleanStart held its second legal roundtable with Michelle Hallsten at GT law to support early stage startups in the Sacramento region.  Companies who just started a few weeks ago, like EV Life, to ones growing in popularity like RePurpose Energy came to...

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Profile: Vortex Green Energy

Did you know that 20-40% of the energy produced by utilities is wasted? A Sacramento based company called Vortex Green Energy has a solution to this problem by using TriPac Systems’ phase angle synchronization (PAS) technology using machine learning to combat energy...

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Mobility Moves Forward…

I Love My Leaf, But... Stopping emissions is important to me.  I spent years in China watching emissions grow.. 40% of CO2 emissions  in California come from transportations and this is why I advocate that for everyone to turn to public transportation or drive a ZEV....

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Upcoming Roundtable: Being a Small Fish, But Looking Bigger

It is never to early to start engaging with quality legal counsel when building your business. Like a monetary investment, small things early pay off greatly over time.  If you are have a startup and think a session with an experienced lawyer may help, sign up to join...

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CleanStart 2014 Prize Winner Sunfolding Making Huge Strides

Recently we had a chance to catch up with Leila Madrone, founder and now CTO of Sunfolding, the winner of the CleanStart Prize at the Big Bang in 2014.  Leila and her colleagues had come up with a very clever way to move solar panels so they were pointed as directly...

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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 several Sacramento 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.

Christian Maldonado, Associate 

Christian is in his senior year at California State University, Sacramento where he is studying electrical and mechanical engineering. His love for technology, the great outdoors, personal growth and giving back have driven him to become involved in clean tech where he hopes to learn about and contribute to the local clean technology sector.

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 Restart, our successful crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its goal, brought stakeholders back and promoted several regional companies.
  • 2017 CleanStart Networking Kickoff at The Urban Hive in Midtown Sacramento. With over 60 people from regional companies, Tenkiv live blogging their Kickstarter from it, and California Sunlight showing their solar power solutions.
  • Our Legal Essentials Class nearly sold out and was highly recommended by attendees. Douglas Bosley of BTNT Law presented to a full room at Impact Venture Capital.
  • The 2017 Progress Report was completed and released on April 26th.
  • The 2017 Progress Report shows the 93 companies in the core clean tech sector is generating $3.2 billion in revenue and 5,300 jobs, up 26% from $2.54 billion and 4,150 jobs from the last survey released in 2015–five times faster than the overall economy grew.
  • CleanStart will be hosting a class for companies interested in Crowdfunding. Leveraging CleanStart’s own experience and connections into the local crowdfunding community, CleanStart is proud to present “Is Crowdfunding Right for Your Tech Startup?” on June 20th.

CleanStart Companies

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