The Los Angeles Cleantch Incubator is rebooting its incubator program and moving from rolling applications to a cohort model beginning with 16 new startups. 

Los Angeles’ not-for-profit incubator exchanges sweat equity in the form of services and office space, and the promise of $20,000 in funding for local pilot projects, for a 1.5% to 3% stake in a company.

“This is a renewed incubation program switching to the cohort model. The great part of a rolling program was that you could meet the startups where they were. The challenge with that was giving founders steady programming,” said chief executive Matt Peterson.

Nearly one-third of the founders involved in the incubator’s latest program are women, over half of the founders are people of color and more than 5% are veterans, making the new cohort the most diverse in the incubator’s history.

Peterson is also flagging what he believes is a first for an incubator where startups can earn back their equity if they show hard numbers that indicate privileging diversity and access in hiring and in the availability of technologies and services to low-income communities.

Some of the companies in the incubator’s current cohort may also provide a small degree of support — and jobs — to Los Angeles residents hit hard by the social distancing measures the city and state have enacted to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Companies like SparkCharge, ePave, and CERO Bikes are all companies that could employ local residents and launch shovel-ready projects with potential funding from local stimulus plans.

“As LA’s most established incubator, we have a strong track record of empowering and supporting entrepreneurs truly representative of our energetic, diverse and innovative city,” says Matt Petersen, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. “It is critical to help startups deliver solutions for clean air and greenhouse gas mitigation. By continuing our investment in startup incubation, we will help stimulate the economy now, invest in industries that will bring future clean jobs to our communities and spur innovation to develop climate mitigation solutions.”

The new incubator program will last two years and is structured in a way that allows for startups to buy back equity from the incubator upon completion of certain milestones. 

Companies in the new class include:

  • Alumina Energy is a U.S.-based energy storage technology company designing and building energy storage systems for the utility, industrial and commercial scale power generation and process heat markets.

  • CERO Bikes is a family-owned and operated business that designs and produces compact electric cargo bikes.

  • ChargerHelp! is an on-demand charging station repair service.

  • ePave has developed a new composite material that can reduce the greenhouse gas effects of surfaces.

  • InPipe Energy has developed a technology that generates low-cost electricity from the flow of water through gravity-fed water pipelines. 

  • Jump Watts sells fixed and mobile charging stations for all types of electric vehicles.

  • Maxwell Vehicles offers power train conversions, maintenance and management for light industrial vehicles to make the switch to electric or hybrid electric vehicles.

  • NeoCharge makes smart splitters that allow for faster home electric vehicle charging without the need for panel upgrades or other home modifications.

  • Noria provides education and services for industrial companies to improve efficiency by enhancing their lubrication processes.

  • Prime Lightworks makes electric propulsion systems for small satellites.

  • SEED sells a farm-in-a-box for folks who want to grow their own produce.

  • SparkCharge is a manufacturer of modular electric vehicle charging units. The company partners with roadside assistance companies to service electric vehicle owners when they run out of range.

  • Substance Power and Mobility is founded by a team of former aerospace and automotive entrepreneurs and executives and is working on developing energy storage hardware.

  • Sustainable Building Council uses modified shipping containers with grid-independent water and power to make affordable housing.

  • TBM Designs makes self-shading window systems using thermo-bimetal to reduce energy costs by cutting the need for air conditioning.

  • Xeal has an electric car charging system that makes chargers money-making assets for apartments and offices.

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