Spotlight July 2020

Spotlight July 2020

CleanStart, in collaboration with BlueTechValley, is launching a new investor pitch event for clean tech startups. Our goal is to increase awareness of these promising startups by hosting networking events to hear what these companies are doing and introducing them to a broad range of potential investors, supporters, and peers. July’s Spotlight Pitch featureed four companies who presented to a five-person panel who will provide each presenter feedback and then questions will be taken from the attendees.

The Companies

Check Out More:

Growth Factory Filling Gaps in Regional Ecosystem

Growth Factory Filling Gaps in Regional Ecosystem

Based on the idea that the Sacramento region is “primed for success” in launching new businesses, but that entrepreneurs needed help in getting started, Mark Haney and Monique Brown founded a new business accelerator based in Rocklin—the Growth Factory.  On March 10,...

Venture Catalyst Expanding at UC Davis

Venture Catalyst Expanding at UC Davis

Janine Elliott was our guest on October 12 for a Perspectives podcast, explaining her new role.  She comes to us from 6 years at VentureWell in Amherst, MA, one of the best- funded and most complete tech incubators, and from the Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator, which...

The Other Path to Decarbonizing Transportation

The Other Path to Decarbonizing Transportation

Both California and New York have declared they want people to buy only EVs starting in 2035 and more states are considering joining the push.  But that leaves the existing 276 million gasoline and diesel vehicles still on the road in the US (31 million in California)...

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, EY, Stoel Rives,

Greenberg Traurig LLP, BlueTech Valley,

Buchalter, Moss Adams, PowerSoft.biz

College of Engineering & Computer Science

at Sacramento State

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Visions of the Mobility System of the Future

Visions of the Mobility System of the Future

Our January 30th MeetUp explored all the innovations being tried in the region to improve our mobility options. We where hosted by Frontier Energy at the California Fuel Cell Partnership.  Every one of the 67 chairs was full and a standing crowd spilled out into the lobby of the Fuel Cell Partnership building on Industrial Boulevard in West Sacramento.  Little wonder. We had an all-star set of presenters for the night—West Sac Mayor Chris Cabaldon, SMUD CEO Arlen Orchard, Sacramento’s Chief Innovation Officer Louis Stewart, and Sac State Transportation Engineering Professor Ghazan Khan.  We started with Prof. Khan describing his autonomous vehicle project on campus, using the “Olli” shuttles from Local Motors in Arizona. It was a limited test, with the self-driving shuttles only used on-campus, off city streets. The real gain would come if the shuttles could be used to gather up students from remote parking lots or from light rail.  Then congestion on campus would be potentially significantly reduced. But one step at a time. Interestingly, one of the common comments of riders during the test was a desire for the shuttles to go faster. They were limited to 5-10 mph. Nothing changed human nature to get to class at the last minute—and look for shortcuts.

Next we turned to a panel discussion to explore what the mobility system in our region might look like in ten years—and most importantly what opportunities it may create for creative entrepreneurs.  The Mayor made a strong point about the shared-ride pilot project West Sac has had with VIA and RT since November 2017. He said the most intriguing result is how it improved mobility for residents who were off the regular RT routes and for whom Uber/Lyft were too expensive.  Riders are charged $2.50 each way in West Sac ($1.25 for seniors and disabled). Users can schedule a ride, get to a nearby pickup point and be dropped off near their destination. Users were able to cut the time to get to and from a grocery from an hour to minutes. One user said for the first time in years she was able to buy ice cream.  Before VIA it melted before she could get it home. She could exercise at a pool facility she otherwise could not enjoy. In that way, this modest addition to the mobility system has had a truly transformative effect on people’s lives. The VIA system was adopted in January 2020 by Sacramento in large parts of the city growing the service dramatically.

Does anyone have an idea how to do this better?  Anyone have an idea for an app that would make the dispatch of vehicles more efficient?

Arlen and Chris commented on challenges with how the charger network will evolve in the next decade.  Just doing “more of the same”—growing the public charger system from 1000 to 10,000 units is probably not practical logistically or economically.  Will there be more ultrafast DC chargers? Where will be the least problematic place to put them on the grid? What would the addition of on-site battery storage as a buffer to do increase the number of good sites?  How can data be analyzed to tell where on the grid will be the best place to have storage? How can ultra-fast chargers be installed without having a lot of negative consequences? Arlen also mentioned the push behind a new Mobility Center in the area, supported by SMUD, Sac State, GSAC and the city.  Good news for innovators—the plan is to have a $100 million mobility innovation fund to underwrite new companies here.

Louis talked about efforts to make Sacramento a city that would welcome a lot experimentation in mobility innovation.  Already RT is talking about electrifying its bus fleet and even managing electric vehicle fleets for others. Maybe we would have a “zone” where autonomous vehicles would be allowed.  He was also concerned about making the jump to new solutions too quickly, without looking at the consequences. He wanted innovation to be part of the city’s identity, emphasizing connectivity, shared data, more choices, and a focus not on technology itself but on how people’s needs are better met through innovation.  

We recorded the entire sessions and it is worth the time to view it all.  When it is available, we will send out a link.  

Our next MeetUp is February 27 and will have a focus on storage.  Be looking for our announcement.

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStarts Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, EY, Stoel Rives 

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz

College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State

ReCap of 2019

ReCap of 2019

With 2019 over I wanted to highlight some of what CleanStart did to further Sacramento as a clean tech hub. This past year was exciting for the clean tech community in the greater Sacramento area.  At CleanStart we were excited because we have been able to provide much need support to the community, helping grow our region with networking and education for clean tech entrepreneurs. We did our best to capture this excitement so you can share it.  

There is really too much to cover, but I compiled this shortlist about why 2019 was exciting:

We worked to connect with more of the community in the greater area by partnering with more groups, participating in more events, holding more classes, more networking events, connecting more people. We did all this while moving to our new home at Hacker Lab.

The year ended with big excitement for 2020 with CleanStart Partnering with New Energy Nexus to bring the CONNEX Investor Night to Sacramento.  Check out what the excitement is about:

In 2019 we counted 85 companies in the cluster representing 5,050 jobs and $3.1 billion in revenue. This is a big gain over 2015, which showed 4,150 jobs and $1.54 billion in revenue. We moved forward as a region towards CleanStart’s goal of $5 Billion in revenue and 10,000 careers. From the SMUD Mobility Center to GreyRock Energy, to Sierra Energy we saw investment in clean tech. Startups started to make moves around storage with RePurpose and Spin.  Several local companies won CalSEED funding, including ZYD Energy, RAF Electronics, and  RePurpose. 

With all of this, we are excited for 2020 and want to make sure you connect with us.  If you want to learn more, contact us, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on social media.

Follow us on Social Media to keep upto date!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, Moss Adams GreenbergTraurig

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz, Revrnt, Synbyo, Califronia Mobility Center

CVIE Forum Showcases New Companies

CVIE Forum Showcases New Companies

I recently had the pleasure to go to an event hosted by our partners at Fresno State’s Wet Center and BlueTech Valley.  The Central Valley Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum an event that people need to check out.  In its fourth year, this was a hidden gem, featuring over 30 startups with some really cool ideas and speakers sharing their experience and knowledge around entrepreneurship.

Tabling there were familiar faces from the past year, such as Scarlet Solar and Waterhound Futures who were in our Crash Course, along with RAF Electronics, California Sunlight, and ECO2MIX who attended out Central Valley Clean Tech Showcase. 

I also got to check out coll new companies from the valley like Precision XYZ who use drones to troubleshoot solar and HyperBorean who used waste heat to cool just like Professor Ramoni described at the recent Cleantech Meetup.

It was a great event that featured break-out sessions and a pitch competition with Ecoli Sense winning the main $10,000 prize.  Additionally, Get Served Transportation, an uber like app to support handicap people won the “peoples investment”, a $2,500 prize. Get Served Transportation convinced attendees to invest in them with Fresno State Themed Bulldon Dollars that were handed out upon arrival.  

 Check out the Video and make sure to attend in 2020.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, Moss Adams GreenbergTraurig

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz, Revrnt, Synbyo, Califronia Mobility Center

Sacramento’s Sustainability Beacon

Sacramento’s Sustainability Beacon

        Arch Nexus is a Sacramento architecture design firm, and is California’s only certified Living Building to date. It serves as a beacon of sustainability for other building owners in the community to follow suit and accept the living building challenge. While California may be late to the party with establishing the 19th living building in the world, Arch Nexus made up for it by becoming double LEED platinum and the first reused building in the world to become living building certified. Before Arch Nexus became what it is today it was a print shop.  There is a level of difficulty that goes into designing and establishing a living building, which deters many that consider pursuing certification. One of the extremely difficult standards to which one must adhere to, is that all design materials must be purchased locally and non-red listed items while also maintaining documentation of all used materials on the building. If purchasing sustainable materials and vast documentation isn’t difficult enough, the building must also be capable of producing 105% of the energy necessary to power its entire operation.

        With all the difficult designing and engineering that goes into gaining Living Building Certification,  Arch Nexus chose not to back down from the challenge and in turn created one of the most successful and award-winning living buildings in the United States. The building itself  produces 170% of the necessary energy needed to power the entire complex. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Arch Nexus also houses a rainwater collection system, along with a filtration system to irrigate the outside edible agriculture. With the amount of surplus energy that Arch Nexus produces, a saltwater battery storage system is utilized to retain the energy for later use or to feed the surplus energy back into the grid. A very advanced toilet composting system, an EV charging station, a smart HVAC system, along with a large solar panel array can all be found at Arch Nexus and showcases how much is needed to obtain living building certification. In the country’s most progressive state, Arch Nexus has set a very high standard for others looking to follow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CleanStart has a new face supporting the region’s Entrepreneurs.  Renonedo Williams is a CSU Sacramento Mechanical Engineering Student who is the newest intern at CleanStart.   He is entering his final semester at Sac State and is looking forward to connecting with as many clean tech startups as possible and understanding each of their value propositions, to connect his enthusiasm of building things to his goal of being his own boss. Renonedo has a background in design and material selection


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