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Cradle to Commerce-Accelerating the Climate-Tech Innovation Economy through Technology Transfer

Accelerate Impact: A OneValley blog series dedicated to sustainability and social responsibility in the acceleration industry.

This article is a follow-up to our last post about unpacking the $20 Billion Grant opportunity tailored to Universities, Labs, and Entrepreneurship Support Organizations. See Post

Cradle to Commerce  |  A unique public-private infrastructure commons

At OneValley, we’ve recently announced our participation in the Cradle to Commerce (C2C) climate tech accelerator. C2C is a one-of-a-kind tech transfer startup accelerator created in partnership with the DOE, OneValley, Decisive Point, and MIT’s Deep Tech incubator, The Engine. C2C seeks to accelerate the creation of startups based on existing government-funded IP and technology with an outsized potential to combat climate change.

C2C will pair aspiring climate-tech founders with lab IP to create cohorts of climate-tech startups. These founders will access resources from four national labs, including Lawrence Berkeley, Argonne, Oakridge, and Idaho, and work with scientists to prepare their tech for commercialization. These founders will also receive training from The Engine on taking technology to market, focusing on addressing issues unique to deep tech.

What makes the C2C program so revolutionary is the pace at which government-funded IP will lead to the creation of new climate-tech enterprises. After three years, we plan to launch 16 of the world’s most promising climate tech startups.

“Build a little, test a little, fix a little.”

The C2C program seeks to increase the volume and pace of climate-tech startup creation from national labs by applying principles of startup acceleration and increasing multi-lab collaboration. An example of the power of partnerships between startups and the National Labs that we hope to replicate. Kairos energy is a promising nuclear energy startup based on technology created at Oakridge national lab.

In a recent Atlantic article, John Muratore, Sr Director of Special Projects at DOE-backed Kairos Energy, talks about using the mantra “build a little, test a little, fix a little” to take molten salt nuclear technology from concept to reality. As a result, their molten salt reactors are incredibly safe and will offer clean, zero-carbon energy at prices comparable with fossil fuels. They plan on starting construction in 2023 and will have their first demonstration reactor up and running by 2026. The “build a little, test a little, fix a little” mantra aligns with the core Silicon Valley lean startup principle of “build, measure, learn.”

Their technology promises to create safe, abundant, zero carbon at scale within the next ten years. Kairos Energy was founded in 2016, yet they use IP developed at Oakridge National Lab in the 1960s - an astounding 60 years gap in the fight to achieve net zero by 2050; that pace of innovation simply won’t do.

To create more success stories like Kairos, we’re building an entire ecosystem to support the Cradle to Commerce initiative by increasing collaboration between national labs and providing climate tech startups with acceleration support. Drawing on our experience of helping over 1 million founders in their start-up journey and our extensive work with governments, universities, and fortune 500 companies, we’re building a robust platform at C2C that includes:

  • Tools to quickly identify and assess promising IP via automated screening tools

  • Passport OS-based application platform to identify high-potential founders, accept applications, and manage complex judging and review processes

  • A community and resource-sharing platform built on Passport OS that connects all C2C resources

  • Access to the OneValley entrepreneurial support network, including 150+ mentors, hundreds of investors, and an ecosystem of 350+ technology partners

  • Deep-tech-focused entrepreneurship training and programming to help teams take great technology to market

Join the fight

OneValley is excited to join the fight against climate change with C2C by doing what we do best, supporting startup founders and democratizing innovation. The Cradle to Commerce program has rolling applications for aspiring founders to join our program. I’m personally appealing to all founders and entrepreneurs to check out the C2C website, review the available IP and see if you find IP you can transform into the next big clean energy startup. In the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutierres, “the climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win.” So join us in the most critical fight of our lives; let’s win it together.

  • Entrepreneurs and Innovators: apply for the C2C program and explore whether leveraging 4 National Labs IP, Infrastructure, and talent could accelerate your next startup.

  • Investors: email alex.fang@theonevalley to join our network and stay up to date on all of OneValley’s climate-tech startups and programs.

  • Enterprises Interested in Climate Innovation: See if any technology being developed by the startups and innovators in C2C is aligned with your climate tech priorities and could accelerate your business goals.

Foundations: The C2C initiative is a public-private partnership that relies on grant philanthropic funding for support. Email alex.fang@theonevalley to learn the different ways you can support this cause.


About OneValley:

OneValley supports 100,000+ entrepreneurs, innovators, and nonprofits directly and another 1M+ through our B2B customers by providing software that powers many of the world’s most impactful startup and innovation programs. Our advantage draws from our unique combination of software and ecosystem and the experience of supporting dozens of universities, foundations, and Fortune 500 enterprises as they build thriving startup and innovation communities.

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