There’s a certain magic in the number 10. We’re recruiting our 10th cohort at a moment where we have roughly 10 years to halt the most damaging impacts of our changing planet.
The market is changing every day, and we’re making two major changes to meet this moment: we are 1) launching a new Global Track, and 2) expanding our Equity & Access work across Elemental.
“Elemental Excelerator is on a mission to redesign the systems at the root of climate change,” says our CEO Dawn Lippert. “In 10 years of funding and helping scale companies, we have identified two key areas of untapped potential: driving international growth for startups, and empowering CEOs to infuse equity and access into their companies. This year we are sharpening our focus to accelerate the pace of change in both areas.”
We are looking for passionate, diverse teams from around the world who are committed to solving climate change, addressing social inequities both in their companies and through their work, and playing an active role in our community of peer entrepreneurs. If that’s you, we want to hear from you. And if you know an extraordinary entrepreneur, please send them our way.
Here’s the high-level on Elemental’s application process:
- Early-bird: March 24, 2021 @ 5:00 pm PT
- Applications close: April 16, 2021 @ 5:00 pm PT
- Funding: Between $200,000 – $500,000, as described below
- Geography: Startups can be from anywhere in the world, relocation is not required, and convenings will be remote until the end of COVID
- Minimum requirements: Two full-time employees, an operating prototype, an independent for-profit venture operating in the Climate Tech space (energy, agriculture, water, mobility, circular economy, and beyond)
- Equity & Access: All companies will make a commitment to Equity & Access principles and utilize the Field Guide developed by Elemental
- What we’re looking for: Strong teams with differentiated technology, with the promise to scale and make a positive social and environmental impact
Introducing the Global Track
It is with great excitement that we launch the newest offering from Elemental — the Global Track.
In the Global Track, we will invest $300,000 into mature, high-impact startups that are seeking global and commercial expansion. Projects can be deployed anywhere in the world, and Elemental will play a lighter role in project and stakeholder support than we do for our Project Track. We envision companies that have raised a Series B and beyond will be the best fit for this track, but it is not a requirement.
“We ask companies to apply with a specific project in mind and a narrative about how the project will help the company reach a new commercial inflection point,” says Ramsay Siegal, Managing Director, Accelerator. “One of the use cases for this track could be proving out key technical and commercial elements in preparation for raising project finance. We have had a number of companies utilize Elemental funding to unlock project finance at the conclusion of our work together, and we see this as one way to fuel their growth engines.”
We’ve also redesigned our other tracks for 2021:
- Project Track, which provides $500,000 to Series A and beyond companies to deploy technology projects in Hawaiʻi or California (typically over the course of 12-18 months). In addition to project funding, we provide customized support including stakeholder introductions, community engagement, and project management.
- Strategy Track, where we invest $200,000 into companies of any stage over a 9-month program. We offer custom coaching in the areas of market intelligence, sales & growth, operational scale-up, messaging, fundraising, and Equity & Access strategy. This track is appropriate for both early-stage companies that are forming their core strategies and later-stage companies that are exploring a big bet or a pivot.
The ties that bind climate change and social inequity
You might notice that we no longer have an Equity & Access track. But our equity & access work hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, it’s gone everywhere. Climate change and social inequities are directly related, and frontline communities are already experiencing the “first and worst” effects of climate change, continuing injustice and “often lack basic infrastructure to support them and … will be increasingly vulnerable as our climate deteriorates.”
Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback, and an urgent need for this work to be shared more broadly, we are taking the Equity & Access framework we developed over the past 3+ years and making it a core component of how we work with startups across our entire portfolio.
“Each project we deploy will be designed to create climate solutions for mutual benefit for all partners involved. Every partner will have a part of the solution,” says Sara Chandler, Managing Director, Equity & Access. “At the end of the day, all technology deployment happens at the community scale. While we are growing globally, we are committed to instilling place-based principles, which includes listening, partnering with local organizations, and inviting the community into the process.”
What does that mean for applicants? We want to work with companies who are open to examining their internal and external work to strengthen and incorporate equity. Through our years of practice we have learned that there is no shortcut or silver bullet to becoming an equitable company. Elemental will provide guidance, resources, and support to companies and CEOs on their own journeys.
Other than being selected for Cohort 10, are there other benefits for applicants?
Yes! While we can only select 15-20 portfolio companies, we’re eager to support the hundreds of other climate innovators that apply. This year, there are new ways for startups to plug into Elemental’s network and resources, even if they aren’t selected for our portfolio:
- Elemental Connect – a matchmaking platform for climate-tech startups to connect with Elemental’s broad investment community of angels, VCs, private equity investors, corporate VCs, and SPACs. Qualifying startups will be invited to the platform and have the opportunity to connect directly with interested investors.
- Deal Day – Deal Day is a gathering of Elemental’s Corporate Partners and about 25 applicant companies. The Elemental team facilitates conversations to help accelerate commercial opportunities between our Corporate Partners and relevant applicants. Our Corporate Partners invite applicants to collaborate on a project proposal and Elemental incentivizes action with $50,000 prize money (non-dilutive) to the most compelling project proposal to come from the Deal Day meetings.
- Beta test our Equity & Access Field Guide – Later this year we will launch Equity Is Dynamic, a field guide to help startups incorporate equitable business practices and principles of equitable behavior into their work. Applicants will have the opportunity to test this new tool.
- Introductions to corporate partners, community-based organizations, and investors – Throughout the year we facilitate introductions between startups and close partners who are committed to supporting the growth of the climate tech industry through direct investment or commercial opportunities. We happily and actively facilitate introductions when there is mutual interest by both parties. You’ll find a subset of those partners here.
Banner photo courtesy of Steph Speirs, founder and CEO of Solstice