US tour gives Europe’s brightest cleantech start-ups a crash course in entrepreneurship

Climate-KIC, the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative, has kicked off its 2014 US Start-up Tour where 13 of Europe’s most promising start-ups will get a crash course in cleantech entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and the Boston area. The US Start-up Tour is a vital part of Climate-KIC’s mission to create opportunities for innovators to address climate change and shape the world’s next economy. This year’s tour will provide participants with vital international experience, mentoring, networking and potential investment opportunities.

Frans Nauta, Deputy Director Entrepreneurship at Climate-KIC, stated: “Ultimately we want to see a global community of cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators. But real communities are built on trust, and trust can only be established with real-world face-to-face interaction. To this end our Start-up Tour programme has a vital role to play in facilitating these connections – helping to establish creative partnerships between dynamic companies across borders and regions.”

This approach is at the core of Climate-KIC’s vision for the future of climate innovation. To mark the kick-off of the US Start-Up Tour the organisation has published its new report titled The Future of Cleantech, detailing Climate-KIC’s views on the current state and future prospects for clean technology.

Cleantech has come in for some harsh criticism in recent years, with its value as an investment opportunity questioned around the world. However, as the concept of cleantech’ evolves and broadens, and the markets for climate innovation shift in Europe, the US and China, Climate-KIC’s report highlights the new opportunities for investors. In the report Climate-KIC also calls for far greater cross border collaboration and ‘co-opetition’ in order to maximise the potential success for climate innovators and entrepreneurs around the world.

Nauta continued: “Climate-KIC believes that entrepreneurs and innovators hold the key to responding to the climate challenge. From the low of 2009, and the so-called ‘death’ of cleantech, the last five years has seen a steady resurgence of climate innovation as governments and organisations around the world increasingly pursue the sustainability agenda. This is no time for complacency though, which is why we have chosen this time to detail our vision of the next steps for the climate innovation sector in our new report.

“The Start-up Tour is a big part of this vision as programmes like it are crucial to fostering the productive alliances that will help ideas flourish and create economically beneficial change. The Tour is a great example of the practical, real-world help entrepreneurs need to turn their ideas into viable commercial propositions.”

Climate-KIC’s US Start-up Tour involves 13 of the most promising European start-ups, including representatives from the UK, the Netherlands and France. The start-ups are responsible for innovations ranging from smart charging technologies for electric vehicles to sensors that optimise the logistics of waste collection and environmental management software for businesses and the construction industry.

The programme, co-ordinated by Climate-KIC, will see the start-ups spend the next two weeks in Silicon Valley and Boston getting a crash course cleantech entrepreneurship in two of the world’s leading innovation hotspots, as well as the opportunity to pitch to some of the world’s leading Venture Capital firms and meet potential partners and customers. The tour will also encompass visits to leading universities like Berkeley, Harvard and MIT, and entrepreneurship hotspots like solar incubator SunCube in Oakland, CA, and the Cambridge Innovation Center and Greentown Labs in Cambridge, MA.

The 2014 US Start-up Tour follows the success of the 2013 Tour when Climate-KIC start-ups, ECF Farmsystems, Eternal Sun and Naked Energy, dominated the 2013 Cleantech Open Gobal Ideas Competition in Silicon Valley, with ECF Farmsystems picking up the main prize of the competition, the Global Ideas Award. Climate-KIC also led a Start-up Tour to Israel in May 2014.

The full details of the 2014 Climate-KIC US Start-up Tour can be found at www.climate-kic.org/USA2014


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