In an effort to keep us all productive during this isolation period, we have launched a Tuesday and Thursday video discussion with people in our cleantech ecosystem.  You can register for them from our eventbrite page.  These short (30-40 minute) sessions feature someone presenting some interesting information we all can use.   From each, we are collecting their suggested “To-Do” Videos and Actions to add to the one we started on our Covid-19 page and our Video Page.  Here’s where we began:

  1. Keep your investors and lenders informed of what you are doing to cope in this period of low activity.  Don’t leave them in the dark.
  2. Get out of the house and take a walk—now with a covering for your face.  
  3. Take the opportunity to do some tasks you otherwise have put off—like getting your financial accounts in good shape.  
  4. Take advantage of learning opportunities—
  5. Sign up for the CleanStart newsletter and the StartUp Sac newsletter to be sure you are aware of the resources available to you.

On Tuesday, March 30, Gina Lujan, founder of Hacker Lab, joined us and told us the story of how she got the Lab started.  I didn’t know she moved here from Berkeley specifically for this purpose, but glad she did. Hacker Lab has had quite an impact, and now its share of imitators.  Her principal for the Lab is to provide “organized anarchy”, giving people tools and as little structure as necessary to let them explore and learn. We are glad to be part of this anarchy, being housed at the Lab since [when?].  She added an interesting item to the To-Do list:  


  1. Keep up with your Contacts.  Both professional and personal, reach out to them and see what they are doing.
  2. Do something to help.  Turns out a group at the Lab are making face masks and shields for health care workers and others.  What else could you do? Reach out to friends (safely) that might not be getting much contact? Donate blood because people have ceased coming to collection centers?  (Contact Vitalant for an appointment—and get started building credits for some free gifts.)
  3. Create a Space.  While you are at home, make sure you set up a productive workspace.

Then on Thursday, April 2, Ben Finkelor, Executive Director of the Energy and Efficiency Institute at UC Davis, reviewed the programs he has that might help cleantech startups.  There are several research centers within the Institute that deal with HVAC technologies, lighting technologies and water use efficiency technologies. On top of those, UC Davis is one of 9 campuses that are offering vouchers to innovators to have their technologies tested and validated.  This is the CalTestBed program funded through New Energy Nexus from the CEC’s EPIC budget. You can find out more from their website [LINK] especially what technologies are eligible. Over 100 applications may come in for these vouchers and the deadline for this round is soon. Move quickly if you want to get in line.

So, his additions to the list were:

  1. Look into CalTestBed for current and future rounds of test vouchers
  2. Find the silver lining in this suspension period—use it to explore other sources on the web that might help, take time to do some customer research, attend as many online sessions as you can


We will have our next session at 9 am on Tuesday, April 7 with Chris White of Frontier Energy to tell us of all the things Frontier is doing.  They run the Fuel Cell Partnership as well as Davis Energy Group and others, so have a big presence in our area.

Then on Thursday, we will have Mark Humbert of Moss Adams.

Future sessions will involve Julia Burrows from the Mayor’s Office in Sacramento, Brian Gladden of the Carlsen Center talking about the Toolkit classes, and Karen Harding of UC Davis Mike and Rene Child Insitute.


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CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, EY, Stoel Rives,

Greenberg Traurig LLP, BlueTech Valley,

Buchalter, Moss Adams,

College of Engineering & Computer Science

at Sacramento State

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