The University of Connecticut, R/GA Ventures, and CTNext are kicking off their first cohort of the Future Climate Venture Studio this week, with six selected companies creating solutions across a range of critical areas of climate and sustainability including energy, agriculture, manufacturing, and financial services solutions.
The Studio has been launched as a partnership between UConn, a national and global leader in interdisciplinary climate research, R/GA Ventures, a leading venture studio operator and early-stage investor; and CTNext, a state agency dedicated to public-private partnership to catalyze Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem.
The companies selected to the first cohort are:
- Applied Bioplastics (Austin, TX): Delivering lower-carbon durable plastics at price and performance parity with traditional plastics while reducing emissions by 20-40%
- Clean Crop (Holyoke, MA): Using electricity to boost yields, improve safety, and reduce waste across the food space
- Cool Amps (New Haven, CT): Cool Amps is a team of technologists focused on reclaiming lithium-ion battery metal components in a responsible manner—in order to develop a closed-loop supply chain that increases American competitiveness and enhances national security.
- GreenPortfolio (New York, NY): Helping millennials and Gen-Z fight climate change with their financial decisions
- INOVUES (Houston, TX): Retrofitting building facades to incorporate the latest energy-saving and smart glass innovations without removal, replacement, or disruption
- Urban Stalk (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada): Creating novel circular vertical farming technology to grow vegetable foods locally, year-round, and with no waste or carbon-based chemicals ensuring a higher quality, nutritiously safe product
The Studio is the latest in a series of investments and initiatives for UConn as it establishes itself as a leader in climate change and clean energy research and innovation. Working with other institutions and industrial leaders, the University has expanded its influence and worked lockstep with state leaders toward the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
“The selected companies align perfectly with UConn’s mission to contribute valuable research toward clean energy production and reducing dependence on carbon-based fuels,” says Pamir Alpay, UConn’s interim Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. “Our faculty and students are committed to the solutions that will steer us toward a cleaner energy future.”
“The transition to a green economy is an increasingly crucial focus to produce positive change for our world and markets. Therefore, sustainability is a core value at CTNext and a major factor in where we invest as an organization to generate a stronger innovation ecosystem in Connecticut. In supporting this first cohort, we’re excited to showcase how our regional resources and relationships can drive greater impact both on a local and national level,” says Onyeka Obiocha, Executive Director at CTNEXT.
The program and its partners will provide the selected companies with access to industry and UConn faculty experts, capital investment from R/GA Ventures, technology facilities at the Innovation Partnership Building at UConn, as well as guidance from the Studio’s Investor-in-Residence, Cody Simms from MCJ Collective, a media platform and investment fund powering innovative climate solutions.
Additional partners include CT Innovations, the state of Connecticut’s venture capital arm; Connecticut Green Bank, the nation’s first green bank; the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA); technology leader Oracle Corporation; and investor partners such as Cimbria Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, and others.
You can learn more about the Future Climate Venture Studio at futureclimateventurestudio.com.
About the University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut is a national and global leader among public research universities, with more than 32,000 students seeking answers to critical questions in classrooms, labs, and the community. A culture of innovation drives this pursuit of knowledge throughout the University’s network of campuses. Connecticut’s commitment to higher education helps UConn attract students who thrive in the most competitive environments, as well as globally renowned faculty members. UConn fosters a diverse and vibrant culture that meets the needs and seizes the opportunities of a dynamic global society.
About R/GA Ventures
R/GA Ventures works with startups and organizations to create a more human future. We do this by identifying disruptive and inspiring technologies and ideas, and supporting those ideas with the financial, creative, and relationship capital necessary to drive growth and returns. R/GA Ventures has run 31 programs to date across numerous verticals. R/GA Ventures and R/GA are part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). Learn more at rgaventures.com and by following @rgaventures.
CTNext is Connecticut’s catalyst for entrepreneurship. CTNext leverages public and private investment to create and support programs that help fund, advise, connect and inspire innovators with new and early-stage companies. Our mission is to accelerate startup growth and success, positioning Connecticut as the most desirable location in the country for an innovative company to build, grow and create jobs. Learn more at ctnext.com.
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