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 an innovator with 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.

At its core, The Greenhouse is a 12-month innovation programme for climate positive 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, and 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 (CCCI) in London.

 

Background

Founders of Honeycomb Network

The background

  • We have been running innovation activities for over 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 145 startups over this decade, who have gone on to raise well over £750m in follow-on funding while creating over 1,500 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 startups in the coming decade!

[Image: The team behind Honeycomb Network]

Founders of Mana Biosystems

What are we looking for?

  • Teams who are passionate about climate change, working on something innovative, looking to learn, and 100% committed to achieving their vision.
  • More specifically, teams will have a breakthrough idea that has the potential for significant climate impact and commercial growth. We expect applicants to have a clearly thought-out idea, a good understanding of how their technology or product will work (you don't necessarily need to have a working prototype yet), and ideally at least one founder 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. Startups must be a legal entity registered in London in order to participate.

Please see the eligibility criteria below for more details.  

[Image: Members of the Mana Biosystems team]

Founders of Sages

What’s in it for me?

  • Up to £20,000 equity-free grant funding.

In addition, at no cost to the startups:

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

[Image: Members of the Sages team]

Overview of the Greenhouse

Application phases
[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 for Cohort 4 of The Greenhouse are open until 4 July 2022!

Before applying please review our Welcome Pack cohort 4 and the information below.

To apply download and complete the The Greenhouse application form cohort 4 and submit it via the Application portal by 23:59 BST on the submission deadline.

ii. Eligibility

  • The startup must be a legal UK entity, not normally more than 12 months old (or register as a UK entity immediately upon selection).
  • You must be a London-based team, with your headquarters registered in London (or be willing to register in London upon selection).
  • Each team will ideally have more than one founder.
  • State Aid regulations – teams will be required to submit a declaration confirming that the support 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 and other required activities at our headquarters in the heart of London.
  • 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.

If you are not sure of your eligibility or have questions, please join of our informal Q&A sessions or email us at ccci@imperial.ac.uk. While we may make exceptions to the above, this is rare and will be considered on a case by case basis. 

iii. 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 criteria and quality of application:

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

We will also assess each application on 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 is formed by Richard Templer and Naveed Chaudhry from the Centre for Climate Change Innovation. We may also involve others from the british cleantech ecosystem.

iv. The Bootcamp

The bootcamp takes place instead 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 your business model, getting to know your founder team and presenting to the other shortlisted startups for peer feedback.  We expect the startup founder(s) to attend the bootcamp in-person. 

Following completion of the bootcamp, the final selection of up to 15 startups for The Greenhouse will be made.

The bootcamp will be held on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July 2022.

v. Selection for The Greenhouse

Overview

Selection will be based on the startup's application form and their interactions, engagement and outputs from the bootcamp. As part of this, we will assess how much each team is likely to benefit from our support. Where there are a number of similarly ranked teams, this will be the deciding factor.

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.

Interviews

While we do not normally conduct interviews as part of the Bootcamp selection process, in certain circumstances we may choose to do so.

Selection Panel

The Selection Panel will be formed by Professor Richard Templer and Naveed Chaudhry from the CCCI.

vi. The Germination Phase

This phase lasts six months and will focus on customer discovery. Startups will test their business model through meeting and interviewing hypothetical customers. This is supported by intensive coaching to help startups redesign their business and technology models in response to feedback. More formal, foundational support is provided through masterclasses and workshops. 

Key deliverables for this phase are evidence of market meetings with customers, partners, and others, and a validated business model. Furthermore, startups will develop a realistic plan of how they will develop their idea such that it is market-ready and can ultimately achieve commercialisation.


Teams will receive an equity-free grant upon commencing this phase. Progressing from this phase will be subject to a review, and a positive outcome will lead to the Propagation Phase of the Greenhouse. 

vii. The Propagation Phase

The Propagation phase moves from a period of foundational training and iterating of the business model, to a focus on more specialist skills (such as pitching) and commercialising the business model.

This period also lasts up to six months and is supported by business mentoring from experienced professionals, who help and advise the startups as they execute their strategies to commercialise. The phase culminates with a Demo Day with investors, held in the prestigious Royal Institution lecture theatre.

Key deliverables for this phase will include evidence of investor and/or customer traction and a fully developed business plan. Teams will receive the second equity-free grant upon commencing this phase.

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

vii. Diversity

At The Greenhouse, we recognise the positive value of diversity in innovation and in society - we strive to uphold equality and aim to challenge discrimination. We welcome and encourage questions and applications from people of all backgrounds. You can come from any university (or none at all) and have any kind of educational or professional background.

We recognise that we have an under-representation of women, Black and other minority ethnic groups, and disabled persons in our startup portfolios, and encourage more applications from people who identify as part of these groups. 

Any questions?

If you have questions on any aspects of The Greenhouse, please visit our FAQ page or contact us at ccci@imperial.ac.uk.

You are also welcome to join one of our informal Q&A sessions in May and June 2022.

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