North America’s largest climatetech incubator will expand to Houston’s Innovation District to accelerate the clean energy transition and reveals Microsoft, Rice Management Company, Saint-Gobain, Direct Energy, Naturgy, and FCC Environmental Services as additional partners
SOMERVILLE, Mass., and HOUSTON, Sept. 23, 2020 — Greentown Labs announced today that it has selected the inaugural location for its new Houston incubator, alongside Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Greater Houston Partnership (the Partnership). Greentown Labs Houston (Greentown Houston), the city’s first-ever climatetech and cleantech startup incubator, will be located at 4200 San Jacinto St. in the Innovation District being developed byRice Management Company (RMC). Projected to open in Spring 2021, the incubator will provide more than 40,000 sq. ft. of prototyping lab, office, and community space for about 50 startup companies, totaling 200-300 employees.
Greentown Labs announced its first-ever national expansion to Houston in June 2020, with the intention of broadening its impact and accelerating the energy transition through entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration. Greentown Labs is the largest climatetech incubator in North America, headquartered in Somerville, Mass., just outside of Boston, and provides 100,000 sq. ft. of lab, office, and community space for about 100 member companies.
“We are thrilled to announce the selection of Greentown Labs’ inaugural location in partnership with RMC, the City of Houston, the Partnership, and leading global energy and climate impact-focused companies,” said Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. “In order to meet the urgent challenge of climate change, we must engage the talent and assets of major ecosystems around the country. We look forward to catalyzing the Houston ecosystem’s support for climatetech startups as we work together toward a sustainable future for all.”
Greentown Labs is excited to open its new location in the 16-acre Innovation District, which will be the epicenter for the city’s growing innovation ecosystem. It joins a growing number of startup support organizations and startup companies already located or locating there, as well as Houston-based accelerator programs including MassChallenge (also founded in Greater Boston, Mass.), gener8tor, Impact Hub Houston, and others. Greentown Houston will be adjacent to The Ion, a 300,000 sq. ft. mixed-use space that anchors the Innovation District.
“What we love about Greentown Labs as much as its commitment to helping Houston become a leader in energy transition and climate change action is its proven track record of job creation through the support of local visionaries and entrepreneurs,” said Ryan LeVasseur, Managing Director of Direct Real Estate at RMC, the developer of The Ion and the Innovation District. “Greentown Houston, like The Ion, is a great catalyst for growing the Innovation District and expanding economic opportunities for all Houstonians. We’re thrilled Greentown Labs selected Houston for its first expansion and are honored it will be such a big part of the Innovation District moving forward.”
The location in the Innovation District also positions Greentown Houston close to local universities with strong energy- and cleantech-focused programs, including Rice University, the University of Houston, Houston Community College, and other leading educational institutions. Located in Midtown, Greentown Houston is less than two miles away from downtown Houston, and will provide entrepreneurs with convenient access to investors and corporate and civic leaders. Finally, it will be located steps away from a Houston METRORail stop and accessible by a new, on-street protected bikeway.
In coming to Houston, Greentown Houston will serve as an on-the-ground catalyst for the energy transition in the city—aiming to bring together civic and business leaders, entrepreneurs, students, community members, and other stakeholders who have already begun the transition and raise awareness of the opportunity for those who have yet to engage. Greentown Labs is already working closely with the City of Houston to support the goals outlined in its first-everClimate Action Plan, which includes a commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Houston has quietly positioned itself as a national leader in the cleantech and renewable energy sectors, with the municipality powered by 100 percent renewable energy and more than 130 solar and wind companies calling it home.
“We are proud to welcome Greentown Labs to Houston, and we are excited about the new possibilities this expansion will bring to our City’s growing innovation ecosystem,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Organizations and partners like Greentown Labs will play a vital role in helping our City meet the goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan and will put us on the right track for becoming a leader in the global energy transition. The City of Houston looks forward to witnessing the innovation, growth, and prosperity Greentown Labs will bring to the Energy Capital of the World.”
The Greater Houston Partnership is the economic development organization serving the Greater Houston region and has played a significant role in supporting Greentown Labs’ expansion efforts to Houston. Dedicated to Houston’s long-term economic vitality and growth, the Partnership is committed to working alongside the business community, industry leaders, and elected officials to identify solutions to take on the dual challenge of meeting the world’s increasing energy needs while lowering the world’s carbon footprint. Greentown Houston is a proud member of the Partnership and is actively involved in the organization’s public policy and economic development efforts to position Houston to lead the global energy transition.
“We are so pleased that Greentown Houston will locate in the heart of the Innovation District,where they will seamlessly integrate into the region’s robust energy innovation ecosystem of major corporate energy R&D centers, corporate venture arms, VC-backed energy startups, and other startup development organizations supporting energy technology,” said Susan Davenport, Chief Economic Development Officer at the Greater Houston Partnership. “Houston truly is the hub of the global energy industry, and Greentown Houston will ensure we continue to attract the next generation of energy leaders who will create and scale innovations that will change the world.”
Founding Partners Will Drive Impactful Collaborations within Innovation District
Greentown Houston is made possible by a network of supportive Founding Partners that are committed to accelerating climatetech innovations and climate change solutions. Greentown Labs’ partners are deeply engaged with its startup members, often becoming investors, customers, and pilot sites. These partners represent a broad community of energy companies, renewable energy experts, and organizations devoted to supporting early-stage cleantech and climatetech startups.
In announcing its expansion to Houston, Greentown Labs was thrilled to share its inaugural Houston Founding Partners: Chevron, NRG Energy and Reliant Energy, Shell, BHP, Vinson & Elkins, ENGIE North America Inc., Sunnova Energy International Inc., The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, SCF Partners, and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
Today, Greentown Labs is excited to announce that RMC will be joining Microsoft, Saint-Gobain, and Direct Energy as new Houston Founding Partners.
Microsoft, a multinational technology company, has put a powerful set of climate commitments into motion, including making its energy supply 100 percent renewable for all its operations by 2025, becoming carbon negative by 2030, removing its historical carbon emissions by 2050, and rolling out a $1 billion climate innovation fund. Microsoft’s VP Energy Industry Darryl Willis will join Greentown Houston’s Founding Advisory Board.
“Accelerating the transition to clean energy is an important priority for us at Microsoft,” said Darryl Willis, VP Energy Industry. “Our world requires all of us to come together to enable long-term sustainability. Aligned with this philosophy, we’re pleased to partner with the Greentown Labs Houston group. Their focus on incubating innovation among energy startups will help us move towards a greener planet and also build on our strategic collaboration with the city of Houston.”
Saint-Gobain, which operates in 70 countries, is one of the world’s largest building materials companies and focuses on design, manufacturing, and distribution of materials and solutions that are key to the wellbeing of each of us and the future of all. Saint-Gobain products can be found everywhere in our living places and our daily life, providing comfort, performance, and safety while addressing the challenges of sustainable construction, resource efficiency, and climate change. A committed Greentown Labs partner since 2014, Saint-Gobain was integral to the opening of Greentown Labs’ headquarters, donating over $1 million worth of products and becoming the presenting partner of the building’s event space.
“As an established global leader focused on bringing innovation to the field of building materials, Saint-Gobain is committed to supporting the continued growth of Greentown Labs and working in partnership with Greentown Labs’ startups in developing climate innovations and technologies,” said Minas Apelian, Vice President of Internal and External Venturing at Saint-Gobain. “As a Founding Partner of Greentown Houston, Saint-Gobain will use the new location as a test site for its sustainable building products and provide donated building materials for the site’s construction.”
Direct Energy, a new partner to Greentown Labs, is one of North America’s largest retail providers of electricity, natural gas, and home and business energy-related services, with nearly four million customers. Direct Energy is driving the transition toward a more sustainable future through innovation, technology, and cultural change.
“The Direct Energy team is thrilled to be working with Greentown Labs to support Houston’s growing cleantech community,” said Bruce Stewart, President of Direct Energy. “Innovative thinkers, like the ones at Greentown Labs, are driving the current energy transition toward increasingly reliable, energy-efficient, and renewable energy solutions, and we look forward to working with them to build a more sustainable future for our customers.”
Greentown Houston is pleased to announce that it is now welcoming Grand Opening Partners that would like to be involved with Greentown Houston early on and be an instrumental part of the incubator’s Grand Opening in Spring 2021. Naturgy and FCC Environmental Services (FCC) have become the first Greentown Houston Grand Opening Partners.
Naturgy, a multinational power company, has 18 million customers across 28 countries. Naturgy structures its sustainability and environmental efforts around four key pillars: climate change and energy transition; circular economy and eco-efficiency; natural capital and biodiversity; and environmental management and governance.
“In an increasingly interconnected world, innovation and technology are key to transforming the way we do business,” said Leyre de Adrián, Global Head of New Energies and Innovation at Naturgy. “Naturgy sees innovation as vital to the company’s transformation and this is the reason why we foster entrepreneurship and support initiatives and organizations like Greentown Labs that accelerate access to increasingly efficient, clean, and sustainable energy.”
FCC Environmental Services (FCC) is one of the world’s largest waste management and recycling companies, with a presence in over 35 countries, including the United States. FCC’s Houston Material Recycling Facility has been honored with the Recycling Facility of the Year 2020 award by the National Waste & Recycling Association. This award recognizes innovations, state-of-the-art construction, and operations for recycling facilities.
“We feel deeply honored to be a part of the Greentown family,” said Inigo Sanz, CEO of FCC. “We strongly identify with their projects, since their goals and strategies represent the key values that FCC has been working for during the last decades. This year, FCC celebrated its 120-year anniversary. We want to make sure that the next 120 will be greener, more sustainable, and respectful of the environment we want for our future generations.”
Greentown Houston is actively accepting startup members through its early access membership offering and welcoming additional partners in advance of the incubator’s opening in Spring 2021. Interested startups and prospective partners should reach out via this form.
For more information on Greentown Houston’s building and location, register here to attend a virtual press conference with Greentown Labs and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. CT / 11 a.m. ET.
Greentown Labs will also host a celebratory EnergyBar networking event on Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. CT / 5 p.m. ET., where attendees can learn about the Greentown Houston incubator and meet others from the climatetech ecosystem. Registration for the EnergyBar is open here.