In a celebratory announcement with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Greater Houston Partnership, and cleantech and energy leaders from around the region, Greentown Labs today announced its plans to open its second location in Houston, Texas. As the city’s first climatetech and cleantech-focused startup incubator, Greentown Labs Houston (Greentown Houston) will be a catalyst in driving progress toward the goals outlined in Houston’s recently announced first-ever Climate Action Plan. Greentown Houston is scheduled to open in Spring 2021.
“Opening Greentown Labs’ second location in Houston—the energy capital of the world—is the best place to broaden our impact and help accelerate the energy transition through cleantech entrepreneurship, in partnership with the nation’s fourth largest city and the world-leading energy organizations headquartered there,” said Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. “We believe the engineering strength, talent, and assets of the energy industry in Houston can and must be redeployed toward a decarbonized future. Climate change cannot be solved from the coasts—we need all hands on deck at this time. Houston has the opportunity to be the energy transition capital of the world and we believe bringing Greentown Labs to Houston will accelerate the shift in this direction.”
Greentown Houston will serve as an on-the-ground catalyst for the energy transition in Houston—aiming to bring together civic and business leaders, entrepreneurs, students and other stakeholders who have already begun the transition and raise awareness of the opportunity for those who have yet to engage. The City of Houston, under Mayor Sylvester Turner, has shown strong leadership with the release of its Climate Action Plan and is doubling down on its efforts to lead the global energy transition. Mayor Turner co-chairs Climate Mayors, a bipartisan network of almost 450 U.S. mayors demonstrating leadership on climate action.
“As the Energy Capital of the World, the City of Houston has set a strong example of how to combat climate change and lower emissions. Since 2005, the City has reduced municipal emissions by 37 percent through building efficiency upgrades, investing in renewable energy, and converting to hybrid, electric and alternative fuel vehicles. Reducing Houston’s emissions and leading a global transition is a community-wide effort and will require action from residents and the business community,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This is why it’s more important than ever to have partners and organizations like Greentown Labs, whose mission is to solve the climate crisis through entrepreneurship and collaboration. We are proud to welcome this organization to our City and look forward to the continued partnership. The City of Houston is pleased to welcome Greentown Labs as a partner in building a more sustainable and resilient Houston.”
With the expansion into Houston, Greentown Labs aims to build a bridge between the Boston and Houston metro areas to have the best and brightest engineering and business minds in energy working together on the global climate challenge. Both cities are members of C40, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, and have a shared goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Greentown Labs’ home city of Somerville, MA, just outside of Boston, released Somerville Climate Forward, its first comprehensive climate change plan, in 2018 with a focus on carbon neutrality by 2050 and an equitable transition to a clean energy economy. The City of Somerville and its Mayor, Joseph Curtatone, have been enthusiastic supporters of Greentown Labs since 2013 and key partners in the incubator’s growth over the past six years.
“Somerville has been proud to be the home of Greentown Labs and to work with them to help support their growth. They have always been a strong community partner and an active participant in our climate change work,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “I want to congratulate them on their expansion and congratulate the City of Houston on gaining such a great community partner. I look forward to seeing the new ideas and technology that come out of a bigger Greentown Labs.”
The Greater Houston Partnership (the Partnership), an economic development organization serving the Greater Houston region, has played a critical role in supporting Greentown Labs’ expansion efforts. As an organization dedicated to Houston’s long-term economic vitality and growth, the Partnership is an ardent champion of bolstering Houston’s leadership in meeting the world’s increasing energy needs while lowering the world’s carbon footprint.
“We are thrilled to welcome North America’s largest cleantech incubator to Houston, which comes at a time of great momentum for Houston’s innovation ecosystem and further positions the region to lead the transition to a cleaner, more efficient and more sustainable, lower carbon world,” said Bob Harvey, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Greater Houston Partnership. “As the home to major corporate energy R&D centers, corporate venture arms, and VC-backed energy startups, Houston is already leading the way in digitization, renewable forms of energy, and the development of carbon capture management technology.”
Greentown Labs’ Houston announcement comes just two years after expanding its headquarters, which added an additional 60,000 square feet to its Somerville campus, enabling its community to grow to more than 100 member companies across 100,000 square feet. Greentown Labs supports climatetech and cleantech entrepreneurs with the community, resources, and connections needed to achieve their technical and business milestones. Greentown Houston will serve the same purpose for cleantech entrepreneurs in the Greater Houston area, and at its outset will provide approximately 30,000 square feet of prototyping lab and office space for about 50 startups.
Greentown Houston is made possible by a network of supportive Founding Partners that represent a broad community of energy organizations, renewable energy experts, and organizations committed to supporting early-stage cleantech startups.
Chevron, a longtime partner of Greentown Labs, has made public commitments to help enable the energy transition and was an early advocate of Greentown Labs’ expansion to Houston.
“Chevron is a long-time champion of the Greentown Labs incubator and its work in the growth of cleantech innovation,” said Barbara Burger, President of Chevron Technology Ventures. “We are excited and all-in on this expansion to a second home in Houston, the energy capital of the world. Greentown will be an integral player in Houston’s growing innovation ecosystem and our region’s goal to lead in the energy transition by welcoming, aggregating, and networking with startups, investors, and needed resources.”
NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, brings the power of energy to more than 3.7 million customers, including 100 percent renewable power to the City of Houston. Reliant, an NRG company, is one of the largest electricity providers in Texas and delivers power to more than 2 million residents and businesses across the state.
“With a deep commitment to strengthen our communities by being an innovative pioneer, NRG and Reliant are honored to play a leadership role in bringing Greentown Labs to Houston as we work toward ensuring Houston stays the Energy Capital of the World and becomes the Energy Transition Capital of the World,” said Elizabeth Killinger, Executive Vice President at NRG Energy, Inc. and President, Reliant, and Chair of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Energy 2.0 Committee.
Shell, a Greentown Labs partner since 2013, is an active participant and thought leader in the energy transition and has announced its intentions to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.
“At Shell, we want to play our part and contribute to the global effort to tackle climate change,” said Ajay Mehta, General Manager at Shell New Energies Research and Technology. “It’s through collaborations with organizations like Greentown Labs that make our net-zero ambition achievable. We are very excited to continue our relationship with them in Houston and look forward to the future we could build together.”
BHP, a new partner to Greentown Labs, is a leading global resources organization in mining and petroleum that in 2019 announced a five-year $400M climate investment program to develop technologies to reduce emissions from its own operations and those from the use of its resources.
“We have many initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint, and throughout this process we have learned we need to leverage those outside our company and outside our industry to think of new ways to reach our goals. Greentown Labs is a proven cleantech incubator, and we believe it is the right setting to do this in,” said Michelle Thomas, Head of Petroleum Innovation at BHP. “With the right support, the right environment, and the right talent there is a lot of shared value to be created right here in Houston.”
Through their Founding Partnership, Vinson & Elkins (V&E) will serve as the go-to legal counsel and resource for the Greentown Houston cleantech startup community. Highly regarded for its stronghold in energy and other tech-related fields, V&E is the law firm of choice for a diverse roster of clean energy and technology clients.
“As recognized leaders in energy, Vinson & Elkins is proud to be on the cutting edge of renewable energy and clean technology,” said V&E partner James Garrett, who serves on Greentown Houston’s Founding Advisory Board. “Concerns about climate change and sustainability have led many of our clients to make new investments in renewables and innovative clean technologies, so it is an honor for us to be the exclusive law firm partner with Greentown Labs Houston as we continue to navigate the energy evolution.”
ENGIE North America Inc. offers a range of capabilities in the United States and Canada to help customers decarbonize, decentralize and digitalize their operations. These include comprehensive services to help customers run their facilities more efficiently and optimize energy and other resource use and expense; clean power generation; energy storage; and retail energy supply. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ENGIE North America has been a partner of Greentown Labs since 2015.
“ENGIE North America is excited to join in the launch of Greentown Houston, accelerating new possibilities in clean energy and technology to benefit the common good while creating long-term value that can be shared within Houston and beyond,” said Gwenaëlle Avice-Huet, President and CEO of ENGIE North America. “Innovation, entrepreneurship, and hard work are at the heart of ENGIE’s mission to empower vibrant, sustainable businesses and communities for generations to come.”
Sunnova Energy International Inc. (NYSE: NOVA), headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a leading residential solar and energy storage service provider, with customers across the U.S. and its territories. Sunnova’s goal is to be the source of clean, affordable and reliable energy, with a simple mission: to power energy independence™ so that homeowners have the freedom to live life uninterrupted®.
“As a leading residential solar and storage service provider headquartered in Houston, Sunnova is proud to be a founding member of Greentown Labs Houston as our city looks to help pioneer the new energy paradigm,” said John Berger, Chief Executive Officer. “Houston is a city rich with diversity, talent and energy innovation, and we look forward to helping our city become the new energy capital of the world.”
The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact (The AmFam Institute), a new partner to Greentown Labs, is a venture capital firm and partner of choice for exceptional entrepreneurs who are building scalable and sustainable businesses in a long-term effort to close equity gaps in America.
“We are excited to be part of the Greentown Labs community with an investment in Biobot.io and now supporting Greentown Labs in Houston,” said John McIntyre, Managing Director of the AmFam Institute Social Impact Investment Fund. “The AmFam Institute invests in startups that seek to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions, develop green infrastructure, promote mental health services and increase economic and educational opportunities in underrepresented communities.”
SCF Partners (SCF), a new partner to Greentown Labs, is headquartered in Houston and is a long-standing private equity firm focused exclusively on building energy services, technology and equipment companies. SCF is investing out of its ninth fund, having completed more than 430 energy services investments in its 31-year history. SCF’s global buyout fund is complimented by its venture capital fund, SCF Ventures, an early stage investment vehicle focused on emerging companies that develop new technologies for the energy sector.
“SCF Partners is looking forward to supporting the City of Houston and Greentown Labs to enhance our city’s standing as the energy capital of the world, and to build the investment and innovation ecosystem required to deliver clean, affordable, and reliable energy sources to supply future global economic growth,” said David Baldwin, Co-President of SCF Partners.