Webinar Highlights: Fighting Climate Change Together - The Power of Collaboration Between Startups and Corporates

In the second edition of the 2019 Navigate Webinar Series, NECEC’s Navigate welcomed thought leaders from the Oil & Gas, Transportation, and Real Estate Industries to discuss the impact of climate change, the role of businesses, and the potential for startup partnerships. Geoff Chapin from Phoenix Revolution, a wastewater treatment technology startup, led a highly engaging discussion with General Motors, Equinor Energy Ventures, and Boston Properties as they shed light on their involvement in climate change-focused innovations. Couldn’t make it to the webinar? Read on and discover how these industries are joining hands to tackle the ever-growing problem of climate change, head on.

With a theme tailored towards providing maximum value to a largely entrepreneurial audience, we picked the brains of each of our panelists to gain answers to three top questions:

  • How do corporates choose cleantech innovations that align with their mission?
  • How can a startup prepare to pitch their technology to bag a successful corporate deal?
  • What challenges do corporates face when working with cleantech startups?

Know the Industry: Ben Myers from Boston Properties kicked off the conversation by sharing an example of an LED technology called ThinkLite that they adopted in their buildings and cut energy intensity by 57% with a payback period of about 2.2 years. Ben explained how the real estate giant is interested in startups that have some experience in real estate and the ability to sell their product to a wide range of players within the commercial real estate industry.  

Tap into your Network: Next up, Bala Nagarajan at Equinor, explained how his Ventures Team acts as the eyes and ears for the company in terms of finding relevant startups. Apart from making capital investments, Equinor runs an energy accelerator program in partnership with Techstars for early-stage startups. Equinor is also a limited partner in a couple of venture funds, and Bala expressed how the team is happy to make relevant introductions to help startups who might not always align directly with Equinor’s goals.

Build Measurable Solutions: Will Dickson of iHub Innovation, the internal incubator at General Motors, shared that the earliest misconception that hinders partnerships for corporates is expecting a large corporate to hand-hold the product launch process. From a product perspective, GM Ventures is focused on growth stage startups that may not be right off the shelf but are solutions that boast of a product-based competitive advantage. Whereas, the iHub team looks beyond internal innovation and is interested in measurable projects that are relatively robust.

To wrap up this highly informative session, each of our speakers shared great success stories of partnerships with startups. To learn more about these success cases, watch the live recording of our webinar! And if you want to hear what experts from  Engie, Enel, National Grid, MassCEC, NYSERDA, and Braemar Energy Ventures have to say about strategic partnerships and fundraising, checkout our previous webinars on YouTube.

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Neritti Lakshman

Neritti is Cleantech Navigate Northeast's 2019 summer Marketing Intern.