Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator Expands to Include Housing Affordability Solutions

Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator Expands to Include Housing Affordability Solutions

10 companies join partnership to boost clean technologies, decrease energy costs, make housing more affordable
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Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 10:05am

CAMPAIGN: Housing affordability: An American crisis

CONTENT: Press Release

DENVER, November 13, 2019 /3BL Media/ - The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), today announced that it is expanding its focus to include clean technologies for residential buildings. The goal is to help ratepayers use energy more efficiently and lower monthly utility bills.

IN2 has selected 10 new early-stage technology companies to join the program, harnessing the world-class expertise and facilities at NREL to validate promising, early-stage, clean technologies and speed their respective paths to the commercial marketplace.

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, no state or metropolitan area in the U.S. has enough affordable rental inventory to meet the existing housing demand for its lowest-income residents. To help address the housing crisis, the Wells Fargo Foundation recently announced a commitment of $1 billion in philanthropic funding for housing affordability through 2025. The IN2 platform will support this broader Wells Fargo initiative by identifying and advancing promising early-stage clean technologies that will make housing more affordable and decrease energy costs.

“Wells Fargo’s affordable housing initiative aligns nicely with the IN2 mission and NREL’s expertise in construction innovation and energy efficiency,” said Trish Cozart, IN2 program manager at NREL. “With this cohort, we are taking IN2’s five-year legacy of fostering cleantech innovations that improve commercial building energy efficiency and translating that to the residential space.”

Mary Wenzel, Wells Fargo’s head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, said, “Renewables and energy efficiency solutions for renters and low-income homeowners are important considerations in the housing affordability dialogue, and an area where we believe IN2 can help deliver both financial and environmental benefits for households and communities.”

Eight of the companies selected for this invitation-only program will focus on technologies aimed at housing affordability solutions, and two will develop technologies that improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. Participants will receive $250,000 in non-dilutive funding and hands-on technical assistance to further develop and validate their technologies.

This sixth IN2 cohort includes companies with expertise in advanced manufacturing and construction, materials, community and district-level technologies and design tools, and energy efficiency technologies. The companies are:

  • AeroShield, Cambridge, Mass., manufactures a super-insulating, nanoporous form of glass for energy-efficient windows.
  • Blokable, Seattle, manufactures a highly energy efficient, pre-fabricated building system that reduces the cost for the company to develop multi-family housing.
  • Blue Frontier, Parkland, Fla., integrates low-cost thermochemical energy storage with a new air conditioning technology for commercial use.
  • Cypris Materials, Inc., Berkeley, Calif., creates paintable heat-reflective coatings as a roofing retrofit for both residential and commercial buildings to reduce cooling loads.
  • EnKoat, Tempe, Ariz., re-engineers traditional paint, plaster and stucco into energy-saving architectural coatings using phase change materials.
  • Pre Framing Corp, Berkeley, Calif., offers faster wall framing installation at lower costs.
  • Span, Inc., San Francisco, develops products to reduce the cost and complexity of adopting distributed energy systems.
  • Shifted Energy, Honolulu, develops a power controller and software that converts electric water heaters into intelligent, grid-interactive energy storage devices.
  • STRATIS IoT, Philadelphia, provides smart access, energy, water and automation management Software as a Service (SaaS) for multifamily and student housing.
  • Techstyle Materials, Somerville, Mass., develops a multifunctional material that automatically regulates the flows of heat and water vapor.

With the addition of these 10 companies, IN2 brings its total portfolio count to 40 cleantech startups. Since joining the IN2 program, portfolio companies have raised $202 million from external follow-on funding — on average, more than $24 for every $1 awarded by the incubator.

Since 2014, IN2 has helped 30 startups develop and prove the viability of early-stage energy efficiency technologies by leveraging the unique capabilities, expertise and facilities of Wells Fargo, NREL and other IN2 partners. In 2018, the incubator expanded into the food-energy-water nexus by selecting a cohort of agtech companies and is now extending its scope further in order to advance cleantech innovations that will make residential housing more affordable.

About the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2)

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) is a $30 million technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Co-administered by and housed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, IN2’s mission is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. Launched in 2014 with an initial focus on supporting scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings, IN2 has since expanded its focus to advance technologies that address the sustainable production of agriculture and housing affordability. Companies selected for participation in the program receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding from Wells Fargo, technical support and validation from experts at NREL and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and ongoing connections to organizations across value chains. For more information, visit in2ecosystem.com.

About Wells Fargo

Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,500 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com). With approximately 261,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. With its corporate philanthropy, Wells Fargo aims to pave a path to stability and financial success for underserved communities by focusing on housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health, among other local community needs. In 2018, Wells Fargo donated $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits. For 10 consecutive years, Wells Fargo has held the honor of No. 1 in workplace giving by United Way Worldwide. Wells Fargo team members also actively support communities by donating more than 2 million hours of volunteer time in the last year. News, insights and more information on the company’s overall corporate responsibility are available at Wells Fargo Stories and www.wellsfargo.com/impact.