Funding Opportunities

Elemental Excelerator is on a mission to redesign the systems at the root of climate change. In 2009, we launched a new non-profit model for funding climate-tech deployment. Stay in touch to be notified of future funding opportunities.

Applications for Cohort 11 closed on April 8th, 2022

Why Elemental

At Elemental, we fund climate tech companies at the intersection of climate change and social equity. We support entrepreneurs as they tackle system-wide challenges and, as our portfolio has grown, so has the scale of their impact. We fill two key gaps for companies: capital for first-of-their-kind projects with the potential to change the world and investment into companies growth strategies as they’re about to hit key inflection points.

119 projects
150+ portfolio companies
26 exits

Strategy Track

$300,000

of funding and coaching help companies strengthen their core growth strategies: market intelligence, sales & growth, operational scale-up, equity & access, messaging, fundraising, and policy

Project Track

$600,000

of funding to help buy down the risk of deploying a commercial project alongside customers and community partners

We invest across 6 interconnected systems

Program Fit

At a minimum, we require your company to:

  • Be a startup addressing climate change and related issues
  • Be a for-profit stand-alone venture
  • Have at least 2 full-time employees
  • Have an operating prototype

Companies get the most out of Elemental if they are:

  • Seed – Series C+ stage and have demonstrated product-market fit and customer traction
  • Looking to do something transformational for their business, such as expand their product, customer base, equity outcomes, and/or geographic reach
  • Building solutions that create good quality, local jobs for people who live in frontline communities and are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  • Engaged CEOs and executive teams who want to be an active part of a global ecosystem of change-makers

Who we do not fund

  • Project developers (solar, wind, storage, etc.) selling third party products
  • Consulting firms
  • Marketing or PR agencies
  • Nonprofits
  • Acquired startups
  • Startups without a prototype
  • Companies with fewer than two full-time team members

Application Timeline

Applications open for Elemental's 11th cohort

March 7

Which Track is Right for You? Elemental Live

March 9 | 10 - 11 a.m. PT | virtual

Danya (Managing Director, Portfolio) and Benny (Dealflow Manager) will help you determine which track is right for your stage of growth.

Register

The Importance of Storytelling Elemental Live

March 17 | 11 - 12p.m. PT | virtual

Portfolio CEO, Whit Fulton, will share about his experience as the winner of the Film Studio Prize, an opportunity for portfolio companies to harness the power of storytelling to change hearts and minds.

Register

What Investors Aren't Telling You Elemental Live

March 24 | 11 - 12 p.m. PT | virtual

Join us as Elemental's Investor-in-Residence, TD Lowe, shares her strategies for startups navigating valuation, fundraising, controlling dilution and more from the eyes of an investor.

Register

What It Means To Be An Elemental Portfolio Company Elemental Live

March 30 | 12 - 1 p.m. PT | virtual

Portfolio leaders, Becs Percasky of Better Packaging Co. and Su Sanni of Dollaride, will join us to share their experience as an Elemental portfolio company and how they've leveraged our resources to scale their businesses.

Register

Applications close

April 8 | 5 p.m. PT

Acceptance and onboarding

September

Elemental's newest portfolio companies will be selected, notified, and onboarded.

Kickoff Week and CEO & Leadership Summit

October

Cohort 11 portfolio companies kick off their Elemental experience with a week together as a cohort. The week ends with CEO & Leadership Summit with the entire Elemental portfolio.

FAQs

How do we define frontline communities?

Our definition of “frontline communities” comes from the Climate Justice Working Group. Frontline Communities are groups that “experience continuing injustice — including people of color, immigrants, people with lower incomes, those in rural areas, and indigenous people — [and] face a legacy of systemic, largely racialized, inequity that influences their living and working places, the quality of their air and water, and their economic opportunities.”

We look to support projects, technologies, and business models that incorporate local partnerships to deliver mutual benefits and create new access to opportunity in frontline communities.

How does Elemental evaluate and select their portfolio companies?

We consider a number of factors when evaluating and selecting our cohort:

  • Impact – Does the company and solution have a positive environmental, social, and community impact?
  • Solution & Technology – Does the solution solve a major problem in a unique way and is the technology differentiated from competitors?
  • Business Model & Financials – Does the company have a compelling business model and healthy financials that can support the company in the near-term?
  • Team – Is the leadership team comprised of individuals that can contribute value to the company through expertise or unique lived experiences? Has the team been designed with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in mind?
  • Program fit – Will our engagement together be transformational for the business andis the track is aligned with the company’s strategy?

Can I apply to both tracks? Can I switch which track I'm applying to in the application process?

Yes — During Round 1 of the application process we ask you to indicate which track(s) you are interested in, but it is non-binding. During Round 2 of the application process we like to see that you have identified the best fitting track for your needs. At this stage, companies interested in applying for the Project Track will be asked to submit details about their proposed project, including project description and ideal outcome, budget, timeline, project partners, and the status of their commitment to your project (such as LOI). In some cases, we may advise you on the best fitting track for your company stage and goals.

How many companies are selected each year?

Each year we select and fund 15-20 companies. We do not have a set target for the total number of companies in the Project Track or Strategy Track, but usually it is close to a 50/50 split.

Where does Elemental's funding come from?

The Elemental program is funded by a mix of public and private partners. A large chunk of our project funding comes from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), which means that we must adhere to government contracting in order to fund your work with us. Companies will not directly interface with ONR. Other funding comes from private philanthropic funders and corporate partners.

Can you provide more information on the funding instruments you use?

As a nonprofit organization, any proceeds from our investments go to supporting future climate tech entrepreneurs. We use three different instruments, depending on the track and funding source. We will provide more specifics upon acceptance into the program.

Simple Agreement for Future Equity (“SAFE”):

Y Combinator created the SAFE as a simpler alternative to convertible notes. It allows investors to purchase shares in a future round at a pre-negotiated discount (industry standard is 20%). We like this investment vehicle because it is founder-friendly and flexible, allowing us to work with companies outside of their usual fundraising cycle.

Convertible Note:

In some cases, we will use a convertible note. This flexibility allows later stage companies to choose the instrument which is right for you. If you’re interested in learning more about the commercial terms of our Convertible Note, we can share that information further into the application process.

Warrant Donations:

We accept a donation through a standard 10-year warrant for 1-4% preferred stock. Although we provide you with grant funding, your donation of equity is not connected to the amount of funding we provide to you during the program. The strike price is determined by the price per share at the last round of financing and it is our general strategy to pursue a cashless exercise of the warrant following an acquisition or IPO, but we may exercise early in special circumstances.

How do we know if we're a good fit for Elemental?

At minimum, we require companies to:

  • Be a startup addressing climate change and related issues
  • Be a for-profit stand-alone venture
  • Have at least 2 full-time employees
  • Have an operating prototype

Other than that, we look for passionate, diverse teams who are committed to solving climate change, addressing social inequities, and playing an active role in our community of peer entrepreneurs.

Is relocation and/or travel required to participate in the program?

Elemental funds companies from all over the world and relocation is not required to participate in our program. We do come together in person throughout the year for our annual ‘Program Elements,’ including Kickoff Week, CEO & Leadership Summit, and Interactive. All Cohort CEOs and at least one other full-time team member will be required to participate in all elements for the first year of the program. We ask that you participate in one or two of the elements in the following years to continue building relationships among companies and partners, share your learnings, and seek new opportunities within our ecosystem.

Can we set up a call to discuss my application?

Due to the volume of questions and outreach we receive during this time, we aren’t able to connect directly with everyone. However, we encourage you to review our Applicant Packet and attend an upcoming Elemental Live session where we always leave time for Q&A. If you still have questions, we invite you to send an email to apply@elementalexcelerator.com and our team will try to get back to you as soon as possible.