This Accelerator Helps Global Startups Fighting Climate Change

Social enterprise accelerator GoodCompany Ventures recently announced the official launch of a new program for startups trying to address climate change. Called Climate Ventures 2.0, it’s part of the White House Climate Data Initiative, which seeks to involve scientists, technologists and businesspeople  in the effort to fight global warming. Entrepreneurs will be able to tap scientific and government data in their efforts.

The first cohort of 10 startups will focus on addressing threats to food and water security, but later ones should work on a variety of problematic areas, such as public health, transportation and urban resilience. Also, other cohorts may emphasize issues that are of a particular threat to specific cities and regions.

Catherine Griffin and Garret Melby

GoodCompany Ventures also is working with the Rockefeller Foundation–or, specifically, a new Rockefeller initiative called 100 Resilient Cities-Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. That’s going to help 100 cities around the world  fund chief resilience officers, who will spearhead efforts to address social, economic and physical challenges they’re likely to face in the 21rst century.  Climate Ventures 2.0 will work with Rockefeller not only to inform programming, but also to help entrepreneurs in the accelerator get funding and set up local pilots. Initially, that will involve 10 cities.

Like other GoodCompany Ventures accelerator programs, entrepreneurs will spend three months in the usual boot camp-like environment, which will end with a pitch to investors. But that will be followed by an effort to present their ventures to chief resilience officers, who, in turn, will help get pilots off the ground. That will take three months, more or less. “We’ll work with entrepreneurs to help them get placed in strong go-to-market opportunities– for however long it takes,” says Executive Director Garrett Melby.

For the first cycle, the accelerator will be based out of GoodCompany Ventures’ Philadelphia facilities. But there also will be a lot of travel to New York City and Washington, DC. After that, startups can stick around or go back home. “They may work in Oakland, Sao Paolo, or another place,” says Melby. “This phase will be geographically agnostic.”

The program is similar to FastFWD, a GoodCompany Ventures consortium which includes the Wharton School Impact Initiative and the City of Philadelphia in a public-private partnership. It focuses on social enterprises addressing public safety issues, with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, and also connects startups to  government agencies interested in running  pilot programs.

GoodCompany Ventures is a nonprofit and doesn’t generally invest in startups. But for Climate Ventures 2.0, it’s committing a $1 million equity-based facility to provide entrepreneurs with $25,000, as well as further support when they graduate.

According to GoodCompany Ventures’ Managing Director Catherine Griffin,the first cohort should be “in their seats” by the end of January.