Two climatetech startups are joining a new program from Greentown Labs and Browning the Green Space. Photo via greentownlabs.com

A new accelerator focused on BIPOC-led energy tech startups named its inaugural cohort, and two Houston-based companies made the cut.

The new program — Advancing Climatetech and Clean Energy Leaders Program, or ACCEL — is an initiative led by Greentown Labs and Browning the Green Space that was originally announced in November. The program was established to provide access to funding, networking connections, resources, and more to BIPOC-led startups working on a climatetech solution.

The program is supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, or MassCEC, a state economic development agency, and the Boston-based Barr Foundation, a Boston-based foundation. Each of the selected startups will receive a $25,000 grant, incubation at Greentown, mentorship from Greentown and BGS’s networks, and access to a curriculum curated by VentureWell, a nonprofit with deep expertise in the climatetech space.

“We are thrilled and eager to support this exceptional cohort of startup leaders as they tackle some of our world’s biggest climate challenges,” says Kevin T. Taylor, CFO and interim CEO at Greentown Labs, in a news release. “Through partnerships with Browning the Green Space and VentureWell—and with the support from MassCEC and the Barr Foundation—we look forward to offering intentional mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to help these BIPOC-led startups thrive.”

The co-located program will host startups at each of the two Greentown Labs locations in the Houston and Boston areas. The inaugural cohort includes:

  • Active Surfaces, based in Salem, Massachusetts, unlocks dual land-use applications through its ultra-thin-film, flexible solar technology. Its co-founders are Shivam Bhakta and Richard Swartwout.
  • Houston-based DrinKicks is a sneaker-themed consumer-products company that is focused on repurposing food waste and recycled materials into sustainable goods such as shoes, sports equipment, and clothing, all while educating consumers on the power of the circular economy. The company was co-founded by Kristeen Reynolds, Michael Fletcher, and Kristen Lee.
  • EarthBond, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, leverages group financing and carbon accounting to lower costs and risk in the energy transition of Nigeria's $14B fuel-based, off-grid generator market. Chidalu Onyenso founded the business.
  • Amherst, Massachusetts-based florrent is a bio-based materials and energy storage company providing solutions to address critical bottlenecks to the global decarbonization and electrification of utilities, transportation, and buildings. Its co-founders are Jose LaSalle, Joe Hastry, and Alexander Nichols. florrent is a current Greentown member.
  • frakktal, founded in Houston by Jhana Porter, is a B2B materials company developing bio-based polymer processes for the replacement of fossil-fuel-based feedstocks across industries. The company is a current Greentown member.
  • SpadXTech from Worcester, Massachusetts, is contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions impacting several industries such as packaging, textiles, transportation, filtration, and construction through the manufacturing of its core and versatile material platform technology. Its co-founders are Lina M. González and Connor Crawford.

“We are inspired by and excited to support the wealth of innovation and fresh perspectives on climate solutions offered by our inaugural ACCEL cohort of startup leaders,” said Kerry Bowie, executive director and president of Browning the Green Space. “Through this partnership with Greentown Labs we are able to build critical support infrastructure for entrepreneurs of color and accelerate the equitable development and distribution of climate solutions across all communities.”

The program will officially kick off at an event on February 23 at Greentown’s Boston location.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston health care institutions receive $22M to attract top recruits

coming to Hou

Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine has received a total of $12 million in grants from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas to attract two prominent researchers.

The two grants, which are $6 million each, are earmarked for recruitment of Thomas Milner and Radek Skoda. The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced the grants May 14.

Milner, an expert in photomedicine for surgery and diagnostics, is a professor of surgery and biomedical engineering at the Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic at the University of California, Irvine and the university’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

In 2013, Milner was named Inventor of the Year by the University of Texas at Austin. At the time, he was a professor of biomedical engineering at UT. One of his major achievements is co-development of the MasSpec Pen, a handheld device that identifies cancerous tissue within 10 seconds during surgical procedures.

Skoda is a professor of molecular medicine in the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel, both in Switzerland. He specializes in developing treatments for myeloproliferative neoplasms, which are a group of blood diseases including leukemia.

Other recruitment grants provided by the institute to Houston-area organizations are:

  • $4 million for recruitment of Susan Bullman to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She was an assistant professor at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, where she studied the connection between microbes and cancer.
  • $4 million for recruitment of Oren Rom to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Rom is an assistant professor of pathology and translational pathobiology at Louisiana State University Shreveport.
  • Nearly $2 million for recruitment of Lauren Hagler to conduct RNA cancer biology at Texas A&M University. She is a postdoctoral scholar in biochemistry at Stanford University.

The institute also awarded grants to five companies in the Houston area:

  • $4.7 million to 7 Hills Pharma for development of immunotherapies to treat cancer and prevent infectious diseases.
  • $4.5 million to Indapta Therapeutics for the Phase 1 trial of a cell therapy for treatment of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • $2.75 million to Bectas Therapeutics for development of antibodies and biomarkers to overcome a type of resistance T-cell checkpoint therapy.
  • $2.69 million to MS Pen Technologies for development of technology that differentiates between normal tissue and cancerous tissue during surgery.
  • $2.58 million to Crossbridge Bio for development of an antibody-drug combination to treat certain solid tumors.

Houston startup secures $10M to expand into rural communities

ready to grow

A Houston company that is working on a value-based model for primary care has fresh funding to support its mission.

Hamilton Health Box announced the completion of a $10 million series A funding round led by 1588 Ventures with participation from Memorial Hermann Health System, Impact Ventures by Johnson & Johnson Foundation, Texas Medical Center Venture Fund, and the Sullivan Brothers.

The company, founded in 2019 by Dr. Toby R. Hamilton, will use the funding to fuel its expansion into rural areas to help assist those living in Health Professional Shortage Areas, or HPSAs.

The company has pioneered a proprietary “small footprint primary care delivery model,” which is considered suitable for rural markets, employer worksites, office buildings, schools, and university campuses. The cost-effective microclinics are “prefabricated facilities” that are designed for primary care services, and employ a hybrid in-person and telemedicine care approach.

Hamilton began his career as a physician before founding Emerus Holdings, which is a micro-hospital system in the Houston area that later moved to private equity.

The recently acquired funding will help expedite the high-touch care model to 98 million Americans in HPSAs, which was a goal for when the company was established during the Covid-19 pandemic. HHB has made partnerships with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to provide primary care services both at existing FQHC centers and through new sites in rural areas.

"Hamilton Health Box that was designed to deliver the lowest possible price of primary and preventative care," Hamilton said in a previous interview with Innovation Map. "We built that to be able to take that care to the jobsite and meet the customer where they are at."