I recently caught up with Mitch Lowe, one of the founders of Greenstart, a new cleantech accelerator that opens up its doors officially on Tuesday. Mitch, who started his career as an entrepreneur, having founded Jumpstart Automative Media, has partnered with fellow entrepreneurs, David Graham and Dillon McDonald for this new venture.
Greenstart is a new accelerator program that provides funding, mentorship, legal services, and office space in its 7,000 square foot digs in San Francicso. All this during a three-month period. Greenstart is similar to Y Combinator and TechStars, except its focused solely on cleantech, said Mitch.
Greenstart will take applications from May 24 to July 3.
Apply through the Greenstart competition.
Here's some highlights from my interview.
- Finalists will be selected by July 15, at which point Greenstart will begin interviewing applicants. Those accepted into the program will be announced August 3rd and the program starts Sept. 12.
- Greenstart will invest $25,000 and take a 3% to 10% stake. The partners expect to take in 12 applicants for its first class.
- What is the $25k for? "The $25k is meant to cover the living expenses of the founders while we help them validate their business model, and make sure they're pointed in the right direction, learn startup lessons from the mentors, and get prepared to present to and select the right investors," said Mitch. The small amount of funds "constrain the ability for them to go too far the wrong way."
- It seems a lot easier for a social media startup to get traction on $25k over a cleantech company. What does Greenstart expect its participants to achieve in three months? "In three months, we want them to validate their business model enough to demonstrate it to investors at Investor Day," said Mitch. Greenstart is focused on "new cleantech startups -- those that are capital efficient and capable of attaining revenue in 12 months or less. Greenstart entrepreneurs may be pursuing innovations in clean energy sources, clean energy distribution, smart grid, energy efficiency software, clean Web, plus some "out there' ideas that we haven't even considered."
Watch the interview for more, including why the three partners decided to launch a cleantech startup accelerator without having any experience in cleantech.