The University of Connecticut, R/GA Ventures, and CTNext are collaborating to launch the Future Climate Venture Studio, which will identify and accelerate companies working in the critical areas of climate and sustainability.
The Studio will support startups at any stage of growth with a unique and comprehensive set of partners, assets, and opportunities that reflect the commitment of UConn and the State of Connecticut to lead nationally and globally in efforts to address the climate crisis.
This collaborative effort comprises 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.
Additional partners include CT Innovations, the state’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.
“UConn is proud to lead this unique effort to address the most important challenge of our time,” said UConn President Radenka Maric. “The University offers unparalleled expertise in all dimensions of climate science and research through our School of Engineering; College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and climate and renewable energy research at its Avery Point campus.”
“As part of our role as a catalyst for entrepreneurship, CTNext is pleased to support this initiative alongside UConn and the other Studio partners,” said Onyeka Obiocha, CTNext Executive Director. “Our mission to strengthen Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem is fully aligned with the critical work of addressing climate change locally, nationally, and globally.”
The multi-year initiative is designed to support startups with unmatched access to technology solutions and innovative research, connections and commercial opportunities with industry and corporate partners, insights from investors in the sector, and three sources of capital:
- Financial capital: investment capital to expand and improve existing products, services, and technologies
- Relationship capital: introductions to top executives across the climate tech ecosystem and beyond, curated to develop specific business opportunities and accelerate growth
- Creative capital: access to award-winning strategists, technologists, designers, and consultants to provide services customized to the unique needs of each startup
Startups selected to participate in the Studio will also have access to faculty experts, corporate partners, and core technology facilities at the Innovation Partnership Building at UConn, which is dedicated to research and commercial applications for new and maturing technologies.
Studio areas of interest include the following categories; however, startups from anywhere in the world working on innovative climate solutions are encouraged to apply:
- Mitigation: carbon tech, industrial decarbonization, blue tech
- Adaptation: natural ecosystem management, agriculture, built environment innovation, industry and manufacturing, modeling and data
- Energy: battery storage and performance improvement, distributed energy, alternative energy including hydrogen and fuel cells
- Human Factors: food/water/transportation systems, circular solutions, disparate impact
The Studio will be led by Investor-in-Residence Cody Simms. Simms is a partner at MCJ Collective, a media platform and investment fund powering innovative climate solutions.
“Climate change is an immense global challenge, and it has been inspiring to see so many entrepreneurs turn their attention toward the myriad solutions that need to be developed across sectors and industries,” said Simms. “Decarbonizing the planet requires rethinking some of our global economy’s biggest sectors — from energy to food to transportation to manufacturing — and the imminent threat of climate change creates entrepreneurial opportunity to make a huge impact and build lasting businesses.”