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News Release: NREL, Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) Announce New Participants

IN2 Continues Growth, Funds Five New Companies to Accelerate Commercial Building Tech Development, Commercialization

October 30, 2018

As part of an ongoing partnership designed to accelerate transfer of energy efficient technologies to market, the Wells Fargo Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today added five new clean-tech startups to the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program. The IN2 program launched in 2014 with the goal of expediting the path to market for innovative and promising new energy technologies, giving them the opportunity to create immediate impact.

“Through partnerships, we’re able to gain insight into industry and inform new research at the lab,” said NREL Director Martin Keller. “Strong partners, such as Wells Fargo, keep our technologies moving forward, help create demand for new energy innovations, and grow opportunities for new collaboration.”

Building on the early success of the program and partnership, the Wells Fargo Foundation extended IN2’s original $10 million investment in 2017 with an additional $20 million boost to support the program through 2022. In addition to financial expansion, IN2 is also broadening its scope to include new technology sectors.

IN2 pulls potential participants from more than 40 incubator, accelerator, and university programs that serve as Channel Partners. To select the best candidate companies, IN2 sorts through applications in a rigorous selection process, which includes final review by an External Advisory Board of industry experts. This is the fourth round in the program’s history. Selected companies will receive up to $250,000 in technical assistance and project-related support to help with the testing and validation of their concepts—stages where NREL’s broad spectrum of expertise and capabilities play a key role.

Companies selected for this round are:

  • 75F (Burnsville, MN): Easy-to-setup HVAC controls systems that addresses occupant experience and operational efficiency.
  • Ladybug Tools (Baltimore, MD): Computer applications that support environmental design and education.
  • Next Energy Technologies, Inc. (Santa Barbara, CA): Energy-generating windows.
  • UbiQd, Inc. (Los Alamos, NM): Nanomaterials for energy harvesting and utilization.
  • Yotta (Austin, TX): Modular energy storage integrated with solar.

IN2 is an excellent example of how NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility provides space for organizations to bring ideas to NREL and shape them into marketable, commercially-ready technologies. Companies typically spend an average of 18 months in the IN2 program. To date, IN2 has funded 20 early-stage companies who have gone on to raise $89.5 million in follow-on funding from external sources.

For NREL, IN2 is part of a broad strategy to advance new energy technologies and expand market impact through the laboratory’s active partnership portfolio and collaborations with partners from government, industry, and academia. In FY2017, NREL added 285 new partnerships and 288 new partnership agreements, worth $80 million, bringing its total to more than 500 partners and more than 730 agreements.

Learn more about NREL’s partnership programs.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.