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, 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 (CCCI) in London.

** Applications for the July 2021 cohort are now closed. Applications for the next cohort (Cohort #3) will open in November**

 

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 startups 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 ideally 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.

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

The Greenhouse 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 for the next cohort (Cohort #3) will open in November.

  • Successful applicants (approx. 25 teams) will be invited to attend a 2-day bootcamp, in-person, at our new headquarters in central London on 2 and 3 August 2021. Please save the dates.
  • Successful teams at the bootcamp (up to 15 teams) will be invited to join The Greenhouse.

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 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.

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.

If you applied to the July cohort, please save the following dates: 2 and 3 August 2021.

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.

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 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 startups testing their business model through meeting and interviewing their hypothetical customers. This is supported by intensive coaching to help startups 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, startups 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 startups 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. Eligibility

  • You must be a London-based team, with your headquarters registered in London.
  • The startup must be a legal UK entity, not normally more than 12 months old, or become one immediately upon completion of the bootcamp.
  • Each team will ideally 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 and other required activities at our headquarters in the heart of London.
    • However, we will be flexible and make the necessary provisions to ensure we are ‘COVID-19 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.

If you are not sure of your eligibility or have questions, please 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.

viii. Diversity

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

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.

The Greenhouse is part of the Centre for Climate Change Innovation (CCCI). It is co-funded by the 2014 to 2020 European Regional Development Fund programme.

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