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Sights & Insights: A Look Back at Interactive 2019

June 12, 2019

· 4 min read
Ian Chipman Editorial Director

In mid-May, we hosted over 270 entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, and changemakers at our 6th annual Interactive. CEOs and leaders of 19 portfolio companies spoke about their vision to move markets in energy, water, agriculture, mobility, and the circular economy and outlined the opportunities that will come from looking around corners to solve them.

In addition to the entrepreneurs from our latest cohort of companies, we heard from Kevin de León, Elemental Excelerator Strategic Advisor & President pro Tempore Emeritus of the California State Senate, Katherine Hamilton, Co-Founder at 38 North Solutions, and energy visionary David Crane, former CEO of NRG.

For those who weren’t able to join us, we wanted to share some sights and insights from the day and give you a chance to watch the event in its entirety. And if you’re an investor and you’d like to join us next year, be sure to save the date — May 14, 2020.

Entrepreneurs kicked off the day with a morning full of one-on-one investor meetings. Here, Christine Ho, CEO of Imprint Energy explains how their ultra-thin printed batteries can power the next generation of electronics.

Kevin de Leon

Kevin de León, architect of some of the nation’s most ambitious climate policies, spoke about how such policies can lay the market foundations to democratize the benefits of clean technologies for all people in every community.

“Once that policy is etched in stone for predictability and consistency, that sets up standards for the marketplace. Then capital flows, and the creative innovations that come from many of the folks that you’re going to see today will be part of those breakthroughs that will help to improve the human condition.”

Points of Inflection

Rob Niven, CEO of CarbonCure, shared insights about the company’s demonstration project with the Hawaii Department of Transportation, which is supported by Elemental Excelerator. He spoke with Katherine Hamilton and Cody Friesen, CEO of Zero Mass Water, about working at the intersection of infrastructure, technology, and policy — and the key inflections points that led to their companies’ growth.

“We’ve been able to create a brand new model in Hawaii where we’re working at the state level and most recently at the city and county level with Honolulu. They’re using their procurement, that powerful tool they have at their disposal, to scale up carbon utilization into their local economies. That’s really transformational, and I’m speaking to other government leaders about how we can adopt Hawaiiʻs model in other economies.”

Steph Speirs, CEO of Solstice, held a conversation with David Crane and Andy Karsner, Managing Partner of Emerson Elemental, about how leadership, vision, and “using the market to scale goodness” can accelerate the adoption of clean technologies.

“The rate in which you can go is the rate that you build trust. And that is why it’s so important to democratize, to go local, to empower and trust in the wisdom of communities. This climate problem is so big and so urgent, that we will never achieve our climate goals unless we democratize access to things like clean energy and EVs. The phrase I come back to is, ‘There’s no alternative but to go as fast as we can.’ We cannot forget the people that are being marginalized in the process.”

After all of that, it was happy hour for some. For others, like Swiftly‘s CEO Jonny Simkin and Proterra‘s Director of Business Development Alan Westenskow and Sales Operations Manager Patrick Pennel, it was time for a little transit solution throwdown. Perhaps a future tech stack?

To hear more about what our latest cohort is up to, you can watch each company’s presentation by clicking the links below.


BlocPower | Machine learning and structured finance to green inner cities | watch

Microvi | Biotechnologies for safe drinking water, wastewater treatment, and renewable chemicals | watch

Scoot | Shared electric mobility | watch

Solstice | Shared solar for every American | watch

 *   *   *


BioCellection | Upcycling hard-to-recycle plastic waste | watch

Full Cycle Bioplastics | Converting organic waste into compostable bioplastic | watch

FlyWire | Electronic monitoring for sustainable fisheries | watch

Yerdle | Powering resale for leading brands | watch

 *   *   *


Zero Mass Water | Making drinking water from sunlight and air | watch

CarbonCure | Reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment | watch

 *   *   *


Imprint Energy | Ultra-thin, flexible printed batteries | watch

Blue Planet Energy | Safe, powerful energy storage | watch

Sunfolding | Seriously simplified air-driven solar trackers | watch

SparkMeter | Smart meters for emerging markets | watch

 *   *   *


Chargetrip | Smart navigation for electric mobility | watch

Ampaire | Electric commercial aircraft  | watch

Proterra | The battery electric bus for the masses | watch