Naveed Chaudhry, Accelerator Lead at the Grantham Institute, discusses the role of entrepreneurs and startups in tackling climate change.

Naveed Chaudhry on how innovation can help create a cleaner, greener future.

Are you developing a solution to tackle climate change?

The mission of The Greenhouse is simple: to support the growth of young, sustainable, businesses looking to tackle climate change. We aim to grow the pipeline of emerging, viable, impactful businesses that will go on to become commercially successful enterprises that have a positive impact on our climate.

At its core, The Greenhouse is a 12-month innovation programme for climate positive technology startups that offers early-stage ("pre-seed") entrepreneurs access to business coaching with experienced professionals, a range of masterclasses, free workspace at our new headquarters in central London (to be announced in December), and up to £40,000 in equity-free grant funding. Above all, it provides the opportunity to be at the heart of a new climate-focused innovation community at the Centre for Climate Change Innovation in London.

**Applications are now open for our Jan 2021 cohort – please see below for further details. Applications for the July 2021 cohort will open in spring 2021**

Background

The Skipping Rocks team

The background

  • We have been running innovation activities for almost a decade. The Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment was a founding partner of Climate-KIC, which resulted in the development of the Climate-KIC Accelerator, Climate Launchpad, The Journey, and many others.
  • We have supported 95 startups on our accelerator, 64 of whom successfully graduated and have gone on to raise well over $275m in follow-on funding, while creating over 1,000 jobs.
  • The Greenhouse represents an exciting new journey, but with the same spirit, expertise, and motivation as before. We have taken this opportunity to improve and strengthen various aspects of the programme, and look forward to achieving even more success alongside our start-ups in the coming decade!

[Image: The team behind Ooho!, Skipping Rocks Lab]

Co-founders of Lixea Limited working in a lab

What are we looking for?

  • Open-minded individuals and teams who are passionate about climate change, working on something ground-breaking, looking to learn, and 100% committed to achieving their vision.
  • More specifically, teams with a breakthrough idea that has the potential for significant climate impact. We expect applicants to have a clearly thought-out idea, a good understanding of how the technology will work (you don't necessarily need to have a working prototype yet), and usually at least one team member working on the idea full-time.
  • A critical factor in our track record is startups fully engaging with us and our programmes. We are determined to maintain (and improve) our success, which means commitment and engagement will be used as a barometer at all points, from selection, to remaining on the programme, and graduation.

[Image: Co-founders of Lixea Limited]

Team members of Arborea

What’s in it for me?

  • Equity-free grant funding of up to £40,000

In addition, at no cost to the startups:

  • Direct 1-on-1 coaching support with the experienced Greenhouse team
  • Pre-Greenhouse bootcamp
  • Masterclasses
  • Workshops
  • Talks from relevant stakeholders, including alumni, investors, and others
  • Structured mentorship programme
  • An opportunity to present your idea to prominent investors in the cleantech ecosystem
  • Office space in the heart of London
  • Membership of an increasingly active alumni community

[Image: Members of the Arborea team]

Overview of the Greenhouse

flow chart showing application process

[Full details of the information in this graphic are available in the drop down menu below.]

Find out more about The Greenhouse

i. Applications

  • Applications are now open, and will close at 5pm GMT on 11 January 2021.
  • Teams will be informed of the outcome of their applications by 14 or 15 January 2021.
  • Successful applicants (approx. 25 teams) will be invited to attend a 2-day bootcamp taking place on 18 and 19 January 2021, in-person, at our new HQ in central London.
  • Successful bootcamp teams (up to 12 teams) will be invited to join The Greenhouse from 25 January 2021.

If you apply, we kindly request that you hold 18 and 19 Jan 2021 in your diary to attend the bootcamp. We apologise if you are not successful, but the challenge of COVID has meant a much tighter timetable than we would otherwise like to have.

ii. Selection for the Bootcamp

Overview

Teams will be assessed on the basis of their application forms and submitted pitch decks, and scored against the following criteriaQuality of Application

  • Climate impact / relevance
  • Strength and uniqueness of innovation / IP
  • Potential to scale
  • Team capability
  • Likelihood of market success
  • Overall suitability for The Greenhouse

We will also assess each application of the basis of how much the team is likely to benefit from our support. This is a key criterion, and where there are a number of similarly-ranked teams, this will be the deciding factor.

Selection Panel

The Selection Panel will comprise Richard Templer and Naveed Chaudhry from the Centre for Climate Change Innovation. We may also involve others from the UK cleantech ecosystem.

iii. The Bootcamp

The bootcamp takes the place of a formal interview process. It gives us an opportunity to get to know the teams better than we would otherwise be able to do so in an interview, while providing a number of teams with an opportunity to learn and network.

The bootcamp is a 2-day event, and will be focused on:

  • Day 1 – will largely comprise a presentation and discussion on completing a business model plan (the business model canvas), support for teams to complete their plan, followed by team presentations and feedback
  • Day 2 - teams will incorporate this feedback, developing a presentation of their business model, prior to delivering a presentation to a room of their peers

Following completion of the bootcamp, the final selection of participants for the Greenhouse will be made.

iv. Selection for The Greenhouse

Overview

Selection will be based on the feedback from the application form, and interactions and outputs from the bootcamp. Offers will be contingent on a fully-engaged and committed approach to The Greenhouse, which will need to be maintained throughout the programme in order to remain a participant.

Selection Panel

The Selection Panel will comprise Richard Templer and Naveed Chaudhry from the Centre for Climate Change Innovation.

v. The Germination Phase

Teams will receive an equity-free grant upon commencing this phase

This phase lasts six months, and will focus on customer discovery. This entails the start-ups testing their business model through meeting and interviewing their hypothetical customers. This is supported by intensive coaching to help start-ups redesign their business and technology models in response to feedback and more formal support through masterclasses, workshops, lectures and seminars. The formal support will cover a wide range of relevant topics from a sustainable business perspective.

Key outputs and deliverables at this phase will be substantial evidence of market meetings with customers, partners, and others, and a validated business model. Furthermore, start-ups will develop a detailed and realistic plan of how they will develop their idea such that it is market-ready and can ultimately achieve commercialisation

Progressing from this phase will be subject to a review, and a positive outcome will lead to the Propagation Phase of the Greenhouse.

vi. The Propagation Phase

Teams will receive a second equity-free grant upon commencing this phase

The propagation phase moves from a period mostly devoted to training and homing in on the right business model to a phase in which the founders are dedicating most of their time to commercialising the business model.

This period also lasts up to six months and is supported by hands-on business and technical mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs, who help and advise the start-ups as they execute their strategies to commercialise.

Key outputs and deliverables at the end of this phase will include evidence of investor and / or customer traction, and a fully developed business plan.

Progressing from this phase will be subject to a review, and a positive outcome will result in graduating from the Greenhouse.

vii. Graduation

The first c.60% of teams to graduate will receive a final equity-free grant at this stage. All three grants received by this stage will total up to £40,000

At the end of this phase, some of the teams will “graduate”, i.e. they will have raised £100k or more in funding (commercial and / or grants) and / or secured significant sales.

Where this is not the case, they will have up to a further 6 months to do so.

viii. Eligibility

  • You must be a London-based team, with your headquarters registered in London.
  • The startup muse be a legal UK entity, not normally more than 12 months old, or become one immediately upon completion of the bootcamp.
  • Each team must have more than one founder.
  • State Aid regulations – teams will be required to submit a declaration confirming that the grants from The Greenhouse will not result in exceeding €200,000 in State Aid over a 3-year rolling period. More details under Using the De Minimis Regulation.
  • In most cases, we expect companies not to have raised commercial investment yet.
  • You must have the time to fully commit to the programme.
  • The Greenhouse is a ‘physical-first’ programme, and participating teams need to be able to attend coaching sessions, workshops etc at our headquarters in the heart of London.
    • However, we will be flexible and make the necessary provisions to ensure we are ‘COVID-secure’, and there will be some ‘remote’ activity too.
  • If your team has already participated in an ‘accelerator’, or similar innovation programme, you may still be eligible for The Greenhouse. However, we ask that you think carefully as to whether you will benefit from the educational elements of the programme before applying.

ix. Diversity

We recognise the positive value of diversity, wish to promote equality, and look to challenge discrimination. In turn we welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds.

Apply

Please download the application form below, and submit a completed version by the deadline at 5pm GMT on 11 January 2021.

Download the form here [Word]: The_Greenhouse_Application_Form

Submit the application here: The Greenhouse Application Portal 

Please ensure you adhere to all character / word / slide limits in the application, or your submission will not be considered.

Any questions?

If you have questions on any aspects of The Greenhouse, please visit our FAQ pageIf you still have questions, we will be holding “Open-Window” sessions on the following dates:

Please register via one of the links above, and we look forward to seeing you there. If you cannot make those dates but still have questions, please contact us at ccci@imperial.ac.uk.

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