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Elemental Excelerator to Fund First-of-a-Kind Climate Projects with a $32.5 Million Commitment from Office of Naval Research

May 25, 2022

· 4 min read
The Elemental Team

We are proud to announce a new multi-year commitment from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to expand our mission to redesign the systems behind climate change. This commitment of $32.5 million over five years brings the total funding from ONR to more than $90 million. This is the third installment of ONR funding to advance technology commercialization and first-of-a-kind project deployments at Elemental.

“This grant from the Navy is a vote of confidence in our ability to select technologies and design projects that transform the systems behind climate change,” said Dawn Lippert, Elemental’s Chief Growth Officer. “The Navy’s five year commitment enables us to bring new private and philanthropic funders to the table who are increasingly stepping up to invest in equitable climate solutions.”

“We are excited to leverage this groundbreaking federal funding to mobilize a growing network of ambitious foundations, corporate leaders, and private investors to work together to de-risk climate technologies, grow a more diverse climate workforce, and build on the nearly $7 billion in follow-on funding that our work has inspired to date,” said Melissa Uhl, Elemental’s Chief Growth Officer.

“This award is proof that federal funding can help bring major private sector investments into the fight against climate change,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, Hawai’i. “Elemental is a groundbreaking organization, leveraging funds to identify and incubate new climate solutions, and ultimately scale those solutions around the globe.”

In May 2022, the Department of the Navy released its climate strategy, Climate Action 2030, which sets the objective of building a climate-ready force through two performance goals: building climate resilience, and reducing the climate threat. The Department will work with a range of stakeholders, including Elemental, to meet these goals.

“The purpose of the grant to Elemental Excelerator is to leverage private sector innovation to help the Department of the Navy reach climate goals while strengthening our maritime dominance,” said Deborah Loomis, Senior Advisor for Climate Change to the Secretary of the Navy. “Grants like this one help ensure that tomorrow’s climate innovators are able to secure the resources they need to create the solutions we need.”

While Elemental’s work began in the use of the accelerator model with climate-focused startups, we have grown through funding from sources like APTEP to now encompass a wide array of teams transforming the climate tech landscape, including:

  • Elemental Policy Lab, a team of policy experts and fellows focused on bridging the gap between policymakers and technology on local, regional, and national levels.
  • A dedicated Equity and Access team, which builds local partnerships with community organizations and supports project development to benefit startups and ensure frontline communities are receiving equitable funding for climate solutions through work like the Square Partnerships model.
  • Elemental Navigator, a group of corporate members that collaborate with Elemental’s pipeline and portfolio companies to make investments, identify acquisition opportunities, pilot first-of-a-kind projects, and roll out project deployments at scale.
  • EDICT (Empowering Diverse Climate Talent), a comprehensive internship program that was designed to create a diverse pipeline of talent for the climate sector and inspire and empower organizations to create inclusive cultures.

To date, Elemental has invested in more than 130 climate technology startups worldwide, pioneered and published a model for embedding equity and community in technology deployments, deployed 100+ projects (many of which were first-of-a-kind), celebrated more than 20 exits across our portfolio, and built a platform for scaling equitable, market-driven solutions to climate change. We are currently evaluating applicants for our 11th cohort of investments, and in October 2022 we will name the next 15-20 companies receiving $300,000 to $600,000 in funding for strategy or project-specific work. More than 500 companies from 46 countries applied to participate in this year’s cohort, with 52% of all applicants having a CEO from a traditionally-excluded race or gender.

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