Infographic of impacts of incubator networks

July 6, 2017

Clean energy innovations and breakthroughs may come from anywhere in the world—and the impact of individual ideas and technologies can be multiplied through global deployment. Through stronger international connections, US-based clean energy entrepreneurs and companies can gain access to additional support systems, with specific relevance to new markets.

Conversely, entrepreneurs looking to enter US markets can find smoother pathways to entry by working with leading incubators based in different regions around the country. Helping to provide support for innovative ideas all around the world enhances the development of clean energy solutions needed everywhere to address the challenges of the rapidly evolving global energy system.

Exploring connections between energy innovators in the US and many other countries in Europe, Asia and beyond is the focus of our latest Incubatenergy report, which demonstrates how these increasingly strong international relationships help to support entrepreneurs all over the world. Energy challenges are global in scope and require solutions to be implemented over all scales. International collaborations and partnerships are essential to broad diffusion and adoption of clean energy innovations that may be created by inventors and startups located anywhere in the world.

The report begins with a review of the strong clean energy innovation ecosystem in the US followed by an exploration of groups working to support energy entrepreneurs organized into three main regions of the world: Europe and the Middle East, Asia and Australia, and Africa and Latin America. Case study examples of connections between US incubators and international groups are highlighted throughout.

For example, InnoEnergy is the leading clean energy accelerator program in Europe, with offices in eight European nations and operations in more than 25 countries. Supported business ventures are selling products and services all around Europe and in India, Japan, Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, US, Morocco, Senegal, Turkey and elsewhere.

Since starting operations in 2011, InnoEnergy has supported 171 early-stage ventures and created 95 companies, reducing time to commercialization to an average of 12 months. In the last 3 years, portfolio ventures were able to raise 65 million euros from private and public investors, and they have created around 1200 jobs. One success story, Smartive, uses artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and data mining algorithms for wind turbine performance monitoring and optimization. Headquartered in Barcelona, the company is exploring US wind power markets in collaboration with leading incubators.

Looking towards examples in Asia, several Incubatenergy members based on the US west coast have developed a strong focus on the geographically proximate Pacific Rim as part of their international strategies. In one example, both the Elemental Excelerator in Hawaii and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubators helped send portfolio companies to BIXPO 2016, a major exposition of electric power industry technology hosted by KEPCO, the largest electric utility in South Korea. BIXPO invitations for BK Litec, Shifted Energy, and other companies were coordinated through EPRI’s international contacts.

Finally in Africa and beyond, The World Bank Group’s Climate Technology Program is a $65 million initiative focused on catalyzing startup and sector growth in developing countries by supporting the clean technology entrepreneurship ecosystem. It has launched seven Climate Innovation Centers (CIC) around the world with funding from the UK, Norway, Denmark, Australia, and the Netherlands. CIC groups connected with the Incubatenergy Network during the 2016 ARPA-E Innovation Summit, leading to an exchange of best practices for helping inform the development of these innovation centers. To date, the World Bank program has provided support for more than 300 firms, and the supported firms have raised more than $9 million in private financing.

Download the full report for additional details on how growing connections between the clean energy innovation ecosystem in the US with similar efforts around the world are helping to support entrepreneurs everywhere in more rapidly developing solutions to transform our energy system.