Climate Founder

Are you a climate job seeker?
Check out our sister site: Climate Tech Careers

Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time. We need all hands on deck, and climate entrepreneurs are crucial to building and deploying new solutions.Starting a company is challenging. A climate company even more so. This site compiles resources to help you on your journey as a climate founder. Explore startup programs, communities, investors, tools, and educational materials that are available to support you as you build.Congratulations on making the decision to work on climate solutions. We need millions more like you. As you embark on this journey, know that there is a community here ready and willing to support you.You are not alone!

Climate Founder organizes resources into categories:

Pre-Idea - Support for pre-idea / pre-team aspiring founders exploring what to buildPrograms - Incubators, Accelerators, and other programs designed to help you grow your companyCapital - Everything related to fundraising for your startupHiring - Where to find talent for your growing startupCommunities - Meet and ideate with other climate foundersTools - Platforms, software tools, discounts, and resources related to building a startupEducation - Guides to help you work smarter, not harder


We built this site as an answer to the hundreds of questions we get about how to build and grow climate companies. If you have suggestions to improve the site, or if you'd like some additional help getting started, feel free to contact us directly!Jack Fritzinger & Schaffer Ochstein

Climate Communities

Virtual communities for people working on climate solutions.Note: Most startup programs and VCs have communities for the founders they work with. If you have access, join them as well! The following communities are open to all.

My Climate Journey

About: My Climate Journey is a climate collective with three pillars: community (paid membership to a Slack workspace), media (fantastic podcast), and startup investment.Who it's for: MCJ is a fast growing community for anyone excited about working on climate. Here you'll find other entrepreneurs, as well as job seekers, operators, and advisors.Details: Access to the community comes with a paid subscription and requires a short application.

ClimatEU

About: ClimatEU is a centralized resource for the European climate entrepreneurship scene. Connect with founders, investors, and talent in their Slack community.Who it's for: Climate founders in Europe!Details: Access is free with premium tiers for startups and investors.

AirMiners

About: AirMiners is a virtual community focused on Carbon-Dioxide Removal (CDR), which means finding ways to actually pull CO2 from the atmosphere (hence "air miners").Who it's for: AirMiners is the place to be if you're building a CDR company!Details: Free Slack community plus an accelerator program for CDR companies.

Newlab

About: Newlab is an in-person community for founders focused on energy, materials, or mobility. They have amazing facilities in NYC and Detroit.Who it's for: Newlab is especially well-suited for deep tech founders working on climate-focused companies using hardware, bio-engineering, or AI/ML.Details: Paid annual membership gets you access to co-working space + well equipped prototyping labs. Newlab also has many startup programs that are organized around key themes.

Startup Basecamp

About: Startup Basecamp is a climate community with the goal of accelerating capital deployment towards climate tech startups. You'll find other founders, as well as investors and experts, in the community.Who it's for: Founders looking to connect with investors and mentors.Details: Founder <> investor matchmaking services, a great podcast, a global pitch competition, and databases of climate investors and companies for you to browse!

WOC/CS

About: WOC/CS, pronounced /woke•sīs/, is the Women of Color Collective in Sustainability, a fantastic community with events, a job board/talent network, newsletter, and several community groups.Who it's for: Women of color working in sustainability!Details: Free to join and run by volunteers.

Climate Vine

About: Climate Vine is an action-oriented lab meant to create interdisciplinary collaborations that accelerate individual and collective climate impact.Who it's for: Experts with unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds, ranging from policy, investment, corporate, non-profit, entrepreneurship, and tech & science.Details: Competitive application process, 3 month themed cohort + paid annual membership. Members spend about 1-3 hours a week in curated small groups, socials and off-the-record conversations with climate leaders.

New Energy Nexus

About: New Energy Nexus builds ecosystems and runs programs that are locally tailored to support the specific needs of entrepreneurs in that region: providing accelerator services, capital, mentoring, skills and networks to help clean energy entrepreneurs thrive.Who it's for: Founders in renewable energy.Details: Free Slack community and tons of programming!

DER Task Force

About: DER Task Force is a community for people and interested in Distributed Energy Resources, which typically refers to small-medium scale power generation that happens separately from a centralized power plant. They have a newsletter, podcast, and jobs board.Who it's for: Founders working on DER.Details: Free Slack community for anyone to join and participate in channels that share news stories, research, events, questions, and more.

Heartland Climate Tech Partnership

About: The partnership helps to support and accelerate climate tech and clean energy hardware startups in the Greater Midwest. Partners support startups and small businesses via tailored accelerator programs, virtual and in-person events, sector-specific curriculum, mentorship, prototyping resources, and connections with industry.Who it's for: Founders working in the Greater Midwest of the United States.Details: Free resource that directs founders towards other resources in the region, such as accelerator programs, mentorship, events, prototyping resources.

Tofu

About: A community for climate tech marketing, where marketing-hat-wearing founders can get expert advice from leading climate tech marketers and other founders.Who it's for: Founders who are focused on marketing.Details: Free Slack community and substack with lots of helpful articles!

Programs

Programs designed to help climate entrepreneurs build their companies.There are hundreds of programs for climate founders. The list below highlights a few exceptional programs and breaks them down into the following overly-simplified categories.

Venture Builders

Programs for founders at the very earliest stages of starting a company. If you are pre-idea, pre-team, or have not yet built a minimum viable product (MVP) these programs might be a good fit.Jump to this section

Incubators & Accelerators

For founders with traction, incubator and accelerator programs often provide curriculum, resources, and community to help your business grow, in exchange for equity.Jump to this section

Venture Builders

CrowdSolve

Just getting started on your crazy climate business idea? CrowdSolve provides a self-paced online startup curriculum to support early stage climate founders. They also provide mentorship and a community for founders.Free to start, monthly fee to continue.

Carbon13

Carbon13 is an eight month program that helps both technical and commercial founders build scalable climate ventures from scratch. Portions of the program require in-person attendance at Cambridge in the UK. Founders accepted into the program are given a small monthly stipend and, if they complete the program, their ventures are funded with £80,000.

Marble

Marble partners with scientists, engineers, and operators to build deep-tech startups that slash emissions. Founders in Residence receive a monthly stipend and support to go from idea discovery to an investable pre-seed company in three months.

Wilbe

Wilbe provides education, support, and investment to scientists (usually spinning out of a lab) to build solutions to challenges in health, climate, and security. Their program runs 6-9 months and helps Fellows go from pre-incorporation to a first round of investment. For each company Wilbe builds, they come onboard as founding team members in exchange for founders shares (ordinary shares) up to 5% and a pre-emption right to invest in the company.

Activate

Activate assists scientists in bringing their groundbreaking research to market as new products and businesses. Activate's two year program offers mentorship, entrepreneurial education, access to funders and industry experts, and funding to turn your research into a first product. Fellows receive a yearly living stipend of $80,000 to $110,000 plus a health insurance stipend and travel allowance.

Breakthrough Energy Fellows

BE Fellows is a two year program for early stage climate founders working on hydrogen, electrofuels, cement, steel, food and agriculture, long-duration energy storage, carbon dioxide capture, storage, sequestration, offshore wind, solar, advanced materials, and efficient building technologies.There are two types of Breakthrough Energy Fellows: (1) Innovator Fellows: world-leading scientists and engineers who enter the program with a critical climate technology to commercialize. (2) Business Fellows: experienced professionals with complementary skills and support the Innovator Fellows in accelerating their technology to the market.

Entrepreneur First - Climate

A paid, 3-month program for 40 aspiring climate entrepreneurs to find co-founders; identify problems in the climate space you’re uniquely positioned to solve; and build startups from scratch. EF will invest in the top companies following the program.The program spans all sectors of climate tech and does not require a specific (or technical) background to apply.

Deep Science Ventures

DSV is a funded 18-month program for aspiring founders to form a company while working with a dedicated sector specialist team. Founders work on opportunities that have been pre-scoped by DSV, focused on four key sectors: agriculture, computation, climate, and pharma.

Icademy

Icademy is a continuous program designed to support founders in creating successful climate companies. The program provides one-on-one mentorship, weekly circle sessions with a group of peers, and on-demand micro-courses. Icademy is especially well suited to founders using a B Corp structure. Cost: $1000 per quarter.

Climate Vine

About: Climate Vine is an action-oriented lab meant to create interdisciplinary collaborations that accelerate individual and collective climate impact.Who it's for: Experts with unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds, ranging from policy, investment, corporate, non-profit, entrepreneurship, and tech & science.Details: Competitive application process, 3 month themed cohort + paid annual membership. Members spend about 1-3 hours a week in curated small groups, socials and off-the-record conversations with climate leaders.

National Labs

The US Department of Energy's Lab Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP) is designed to enable the most promising clean tech entrepreneurs to develop game-changing technologies for a clean energy future. They do this through 2-year, fully funded fellowship programs at four national labs across the US:Cyclotron Road
West Gate
Chain Reaction
Innovation Crossroads

Incubators & Accelerators

Elemental Excelerator

Elemental Excelerator is a non-profit accelerator funding climate tech companies at the intersection of climate change and social equity. They are focused on energy, agriculture, water, mobility, and circular economy, with two track options for founders:(1) The strategy track provides $300k of funding and coaching to help companies strengthen their core growth strategies.(2) The project track provides $600k of funding to help reduce the risk of deploying a commercial project alongside customers and community partners.

Greentown Labs

Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, and politicians to build climate solutions. Greentown is a great place for hardtech founders building physical products. At their Houston and Boston locations, they provide prototyping equipment, offices, and community spaces.

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

LACI runs programs supporting early stage climate startups focused on transportation & mobility, clean energy, and smart, sustainable cities. LACI supports with tech development, securing funding and financing, accessing customers and markets, and testing and piloting solutions.

AirMiners Launchpad

AirMiners Launchpad is an 8-week program for early stage companies focused on removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

SOSV - IndieBio & HAX

IndieBio (biotech) and HAX (hardtech) are part of SOSV, which is a US-based venture fund that specializes in early-stage investments and accelerator programs. SOSV’s programs provide 1:1 help from technical experts and startup mentors plus well-equipped facilities to develop products and launch new companies. All companies in SOSV programs receive early stage (typically pre-seed) investment from SOSV, anywhere from $150K to $500K.

Third Derivative

Third Derivative is a collaborative climate tech ecosystem that provides a virtual 18-month accelerator. They require founders to have a for-profit company with at least two full-time employees and a working prototype. For earlier-stage startups, they help with an optional $100K USD convertible note, refining product-market fit, connecting with strategic corporate partners, capital partners, and mentors, and working towards your next funding round.

Venture for Climate Tech

Venture for Climate Tech is a non-profit global venture studio + accelerator program offering hands-on support to get to first customers, pilot runs, and investment. They provide up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding during a three-phase, 30-week program that seeks to help you build the team, knowledge, and personal network you need to succeed while providing the capital, community, access to talent, and connections to make the journey faster and smoother.

Looking for more?

There are 100+ incubator and accelerator programs out there. Here are some great lists that compile the top programs:CTVC running list of climate accelerators
Startup Basecamp

Hiring

Attract top talent to your company via the following climate-specific job boards and platforms.Note: Most startup programs and VCs will have job boards where they advertise open roles at their member companies. If you have access, use them as well! The following sites are open to all.

Terra.do

Terra.do runs educational programs for job seekers and as a result has an amazing talent pipeline. They offer job fairs, vetted talent drops, and unlimited job postings to climate founders for free.

Climatebase

A comprehensive job board with lots of traffic and numerous filters to help people find your listing,

Impact Hustlers

Impact Hustlers has a comprehensive job board and is a great place to post opportunities in Europe, though they are not exclusive to Europe!They also have a great podcast.

Climate People

Climate People is a climate recruiting company. It's a great, high-touch way to recruit for technical roles, primarily software engineering.

Climate Career Portal

The Climate Career Portal is a digital skills transition platform developed by Iron & Earth which connects fossil fuel and Indigenous workers with career pathways in the net-zero economy.

ClimatEU

Ideal for finding talent in Europe. They also have a great community and offer connections to investors.

Leafr

Leafr is a climate freelancing platform. They have a network of 100s of vetted designers, data scientists, generalists and climate experts, and offer discounts to early-stage climate startups.

Job Boards Within Climate Communities

Both My Climate Journey and Work on Climate have great job channels within their Slack communities. These channels get noisy, but are a good place to connect directly with talent and have a conversation.

Climate Capital

Raise money for your ventureJust getting started? Check out Climate Tech VC's detailed overview of the climate capital stack.

Angel Investors

Angels are individuals who invest their own money to support very early stage startups. Syndicates help multiple angels pool resources. Typical check size $25k - $150kJump to this section

Venture Capital

After raising early rounds from friends, family, and angels, you might consider VC investment. VCs write bigger checks and can often support multiple rounds of funding.Jump to this section

Non-dilutive Funding

As the name implies, non-dilutive funding does not ask for equity in return. It often takes the shape of grants (no expectation of return) or project finance (a loan with interest).Jump to this section

Angel InvestorsThe following is a list of top angel investment syndicates

Climate Capital

Climate Capital is a generalist climate tech fund and syndicate that invests in pre-seed to series B companies worldwide. They are strong in the sectors of adaptation, energy, alt proteins, carbon, web3, transportation, real estate, and agriculture.

Green Angel Syndicate

Focused on the United Kingdom, Green Angel Syndicate is a large network of specialist investors fighting climate change. Sectors in which they're strong include energy, agriculture and aood, transport, buildings, water and natural resources.

4WARD

4WARD invests $100k for 5% in climate founders tackling problems in areas including Food & Agriculture, Construction & Manufacturing, Commerce & Circularity, Recycling & Waste Reduction, Energy & Renewables, and Transportation & Mobility. They also run an accelerator program.

Ramez Naam's Syndicate

Ramez Naam leads the Energy & Environment program at Singularity University and has also put together an angel syndicate. Great for very early founders, the syndicate typically invests ~$150k checks and looks for investments with one or more of the following:
1. Network effects that generate high value.
2. Apply software, IoT, and other digital tech to clean energy.
3. Unique, game-changing IP that's hard to compete with.
4. Extremely scalable, capital-efficient business models.

Climate Avengers

Climate Avengers is a syndicate investing primarily in software focused ClimateTech companies from pre-seed to Series A.
They look for capable founders, with at least a working beta, happy early customers, and strong product market fit.

CREO Syndicate

CREO is a non-profit that has gathered a community of family offices to deploy capital into decarbonization strategies. Primary sectors include energy, transportation, built environment, chemistry and materials, food & agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, waste management, and water.

Cool Climate Collective

Cool Climate Collective finds and funds early-stage climate startups and often looks to fill the last $100K-$200K of a founder’s funding round.

Funds that lead pre-seed rounds

For more early stage investors, check out this list of funds that lead pre-seed rounds.

CrowdFunding

CrowdFunding platforms allow founders to raise money from large numbers of non-accredited investors. Here are a few top crowdfunding sites to check out:Raise Green
Republic
Wefunder

Venture CapitalThere are thousands of VCs out there, and hundreds focused on climate. Below are a handful of resources to find them, along with a select few top notch funds.

Climate Tech VC

Climate Tech VC is packed with great climate-specific info, including running lists of climate VC and corporate VC, and a newsletter with frequent insights on the market.

Climate 50

Climate 50 is a fantastic list of the most impactful climate investors globally. In addition to their top 50 ranking, they have a running list of climate VCs and a matching tool to help you find the right investor.

4WARD's VC Database

A large, running database where you can filter by stage, sector, geography & check size to find your ideal climate investor

ClimatEU

ClimatEU lists 3,000 investors that have invested in climate-tech startups. Founders can filter by investor type, funding stages, location, and more. If you're in Europe, they're also a great resource for hiring and connecting directly with investors and other founders!

Open VC

OpenVC is an open resource (think Wikipedia) that helps founders connect with the right investors in the right manner.

Startup Basecamp - Fund 4 The Future

Startup Basecamp's Fund 4 The Future is a matching platform connecting climate founders with investors. There are 70+ VCs in the network who you can access through their matchmaking process.

VC funds I love

Here are some phenomenal climate VCs who I've worked with personally and would highly recommend!Third Sphere - great for hardware
Lowercarbon Capital - great for adaptation & resilience
Collaborative Fund - great for alt proteins
Pale Blue Dot - great for EU-focus
Earthshot Ventures. - great for energy and mobility
My Climate Journey - great for small checks to close a round

Non-dilutive Funding

4WARD.VC's Ultimate Guide to Non-Dilutive Startup Funding

A fantastic 101 guide on non-dilutive funding, paired with a database of non-dilutive funding sources for climate startups.

Innovative Finance

Not climate-specific, but a fantastic playbook to learn more about alternative capital products and investment strategies that can bridge capital gaps for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

OpenGrants

OpenGrants is a grant search engine and marketplace of grant experts for start-ups and non-profits.

Climate Capital Stack

Consolidated list of alternative sources of capital for startups, including grants, loan guarantees, revenue based financing, asset backed lending, and more!

Enduring Planet

Enduring Planet is deploying unsecured, non-dilutive capital into high-growth post-revenue climate startups.Currently they offer two main products: Revenue-based financing for climate businesses earning more than $25k/month, and Climate Grant Advances for companies who have been awarded grants but haven't yet received the cash.

US Department of Energy Grants

A running list of government-funded grants, requirements, and application deadlines.Also check out the DOE's Loan Programs Office which finances large scale energy infrastructure projects.Note: Navigating the world of government grant funding is still WAY too complicated. If anyone has - or is interested in making - a consolidated guide to this space, please get in touch with me!

Climate Finance Solutions

Climate Finance Solutions helps startups and SMEs worldwide access millions of dollars in non-dilutive funding, including grants and philanthropic funds. CFS offers a suite of services to aid in the pursuit of large funding opportunities, including assistance with technology roadmaps, business development, and pilot projects.

Perl Street

Perfect for climate founders working on hardware solutions, Perl Street has created a "hardware as a service" financing platform, which enables founders to build and refine HaaS revenue models, achieve bankable cash flows, and raise significant debt funding.

1000 Gretas

1000 Gretas is a climate grants organization distributing grants from $1k - $20k to high impact climate startups. They are sector/tech agnostic. Early stage companies are the best fit.

Starting Up

Resources for aspiring climate entrepreneurs. If you're pre-idea, pre-team, or pre-MVP, these are great ways to get started!

Project Drawdown

Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “drawdown”—the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. It’s a fantastic way to break down the causes of climate change and identify opportunities to build solutions. I especially recommend the Drawdown Roadmap free video series.

Choosing a Climate Problem to Solve

Chapter 1 of Third Sphere's Climate Startup Playbook is all about choosing to build a business with meaningful impact.

Climatescape

Climatescape provides a map of the companies working in climate tech, broken down by sector, and it a great way to see what's already being built. They also have a great database of capital and startup programs.

Terra.do

Terra.do's signature program, Climate Change: Learning for Action, is a 12-week climate education and solutions bootcamp to help you understand the causes and viable solutions to climate change.

Free Sustainability Courses from the UN

37 courses and counting on Sustainability and Climate Change from the UN's System Staff College. All classes are free and some are offered in multiple languages!

Startup tools to help you build!

Our list of lists to support you and your company as you grow

Conscience VC's Goodie Bag of Startup Resources

Conscience VC has compiled & curated 200+ resources for early-stage founders These resources include lab facilities, marketing, and design agencies, growth tools, HR tools, packaging partners, and more.

Third Derivative's Startup Resource Database

Exercises, videos, and curriculum to guide you as you build. Think of this like a self-paced, free, a la carte online course for entrepreneurs. It's curated by Third Derivative and New Energy Nexus, which are fantastic accelerators supporting diverse clean energy entrepreneurs.

For ClimateTech Resource Database

A gold mine of templates for climate founders with hard tech / manufacturing companies. Checklists, templates, and guides for everything from working with suppliers, to design best practices, to cost modeling.

Investment Resources from Pale Blue Dot

Pale Blue Dot (a well-respected climate VC in Europe) is opening their investment resources to the public! Right now it has a term sheet guide and template, and the plan is for this resource hub to grow.

Discounts and Perks Platforms

Consolidated lists of discounts to software platforms, sales tools, and other resources relevant to early stage startups.BuiltFirst
Secret
Founderly
Growth Supply - 400+ FREE tools for founders (business, marketing, design & code, productivity, etc)

Carbon Collective

Carbon Collective is a climate-friendly investment platform, great for your employees' retirement plans!

Silicon Legal

Climate-focused legal support for startups, including counseling, financing, and mergers & acquisitions.

Climate Startup Education

Guides to help you become a climate founder

Third Derivative's Startup Resource Database

Exercises, videos, and curriculum entrepreneurs to use to build their companies, curated by Third Derivative and New Energy Nexus, both ecosystems of funds and accelerators supporting diverse clean energy entrepreneurs.

Activate's Science Founder Handbook

Activate wrote this Science Innovator’s Handbook to help scientists become entrepreneurs. Topics covered include: Choosing Your Path, Elements of Risk, Customer Discovery and Techonomics, and Fundraising Basics.If you're a science founder, you should also definitely check out Wilbe's Science Founders Toolkit!

The Climate Startup Playbook

A step by step guide to building a climate startup, packed with useful advice from a VC firm that has seen a decade of climate businesses. The guide is especially helpful for hardware/hardtech founders!

Unusual VC's Startup Field Guide

Unusual VC built this field guide breaking down the earliest legs of a founder’s journey through interviews with more than 30 founders, including the founders of Nextdoor, AppDynamics, and Demisto.

LinkedIn's Sustainability Resource Hub

LinkedIn's Sustainability Hub has resources to help organizations set, manage, and measure sustainability goals. They provide education on each of those three topics, plus a small database of solution providers.

A Financial Guidebook for US Startups

A Financial Guidebook for US Startups: Crossing Climate Tech's Valleys of Death and Achieving Scale is a detailed overview of the intersection between capital markets and emerging climate tech companies. The report is authored by Hugo Mkhize from UC San Diego, and provides a comprehensive look at the challenges and opportunities of funding climate tech innovation.