Amidst Global Pandemic, Cleantech Open Northeast Welcomes 47 Startups to Participate in the 2020 Cleantech Business Accelerator

The largest Cleantech Open Northeast cohort ever participates virtually.

Cleantech Open Northeast, U.S. Northeast region’s oldest and largest cleantech accelerator program, today announced its 2020 class of 47 startups developing clean technology solutions related to energy distribution and storage, energy efficiency, chemicals and advanced materials, agriculture, energy generation, waste, information and communications technology, water, and transportation. Selected from a pool of 75 applicants, this year’s cohort is the largest in the history of Cleantech Open Northeast. A full list of participating companies is available here. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the entire 2020 accelerator will take place virtually.

“With so much uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn, this year is a difficult one for all cleantech ventures. It gives me hope that so many entrepreneurs have entrusted us to work with them to accelerate their businesses,” said Cleantech Open Northeast Director Beth Zonis. “Even in an online setting, we feel a sense of community and purpose.”

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) said, “Cleantech innovators and entrepreneurs play a key role in advancing new technologies needed to help New York State reduce harmful emissions through clean energy solutions. As we accelerate progress toward a carbon neutral economy under Governor Cuomo’s post COVID-19 recovery efforts, innovation will drive market creation, boosting economy recovery and job creation efforts for statewide benefits.”

New York State’s ambitious climate and clean energy agenda was formalized under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which sets the state on a path to economy-wide carbon neutrality by mandating an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and 100 percent clean electric grid by 2040.

“Cleantech Open Northeast is a key contributor to the vibrant clean energy innovation economy in Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Stephen Pike. Once again, this year’s CTONE cohort includes a large contingent of strong Massachusetts entrepreneurs who are determined to tackle climate change, build an economy fueled by clean energy, and improve public and environmental health.”

All cleantech categories are represented: nine in energy distribution and storage, seven in energy efficiency, seven in chemicals and advanced materials, seven in agriculture, six in energy generation, four in waste, four in information and communications technology, two in water, and one in transportation. Combining categories, there are 18 energy startups; this represents the largest group overall. There are 13 startups altogether in the category of agriculture, water and waste.

Of the 47 participating companies, 15 are from Massachusetts, 12 from New York, six from New Jersey, six from Canada, three from Pennsylvania, two from Maine, two from Vermont, and one from Rhode Island. Five of these startups are part of the Company Development Program , which provides mentorship and curriculum to help earlier-stage companies prepare for participation in future accelerator programs.

This year, startups from several states and Canada are receiving financial support to cover  participation fees. Maine E2Tech and the Maine Technology Institute are providing full support for all Maine companies. Similarly, Slater Technology Fund will fully reimburse the participating Rhode Island team upon completion of the program. And the State of New Jersey will reimburse up to 50% of program costs for all startups from the state. Finally, the Canadian Consulate in New York is covering the participation fees in full for all companies from Canada.

In addition, Cleantech Open Northeast received a grant from the Wells Fargo/NREL IN2 program to reimburse graduates for at least 50% of their participation fees at the end of the accelerator. This will be distributed equally to teams that do nott receive funding from their state or country. This strong financial support for startups helped lead to an increase in accepted teams electing to participate in the accelerator (89% in 2020 compared to 69% in 2019).

Cleantech Open Northeast works in conjunction with partner accelerators, incubators and prize competitions across the region. This year’s cohort includes teams who have previously participated in programs in New York, Massachusetts, Canada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and many that are outside of the Northeast. Examples in New York include: Columbia Technology Ventures, FutureWorks, Launch NY ECO Incubator, NewLab, PowerBridge NY, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, The Tech Garden, Urban Future Lab. Examples in Massachusetts include: MassChallenge, MIT $100k, MIT Clean Energy Prize, MIT Enterprise Forum, MIT Sandbox, MIT Water Innovation Prize, Tufts University $100K New Ventures Competition. Additional programs in Canada and elsewhere are: Canadian Technology Accelerator, Ecofuel accelerator, MaRS, NSF I-Corps, Project Olympus Incubator Program, and Rice Business Plan Competition.

Many of the startups are spinning out or have spun out of universities. These include: Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Northeastern University, Princeton University, Stevens Institute, Tufts University, University of Buffalo, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Toronto.

Cleantech Open strives for diversity and inclusion among startups, as well as staff and volunteers. The 2020 cohort includes 21 teams led by people of color, 17 led by women, and 10 led by students.

About Cleantech Open

Cleantech Open is the world’s oldest and largest cleantech accelerator and is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs and technologists the resources needed to launch a successful cleantech company. Our mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Over the past eight years, the Cleantech Open has awarded over $5 million in cash and services. During that time, our 1600 alumni companies have raised more than $1.2 billion in external funding. Fueled by a network of more than 2,000 volunteers, Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit us at or follow us on Twitter.


NECEC (Northeast Clean Energy Council & NECEC Institute) is the premier voice of businesses building a world-class clean energy hub in the Northeast, helping clean energy companies start, scale and succeed with our unique business, innovation, and policy leadership. NECEC is the Northeast regional affiliate for Cleantech Open, executing the Northeast accelerator and business plan competition and building the region’s innovation network with NECEC’s successor program for cleantech entrepreneurs, Navigate. Learn more at

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