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Corporate-Backed Tech Accelerator's Innovation Ecosystem to Foster Climate Solutions

Backed by 9 corporate giants representing $3T in market cap and 9 investor partners with $2B in assets, the D3 tech accelerator will help commercialize and scale an inaugural cohort of almost 50 climate-innovation startups.

Today, Third Derivative (D3) — a joint accelerator venture of the of Rocky Mountain Institute and New Energy Nexus — unveiled its inaugural cohort of almost 50 climate-innovation startups, selected from more than 600 applicants across 60+ countries.

Known as “Cohort 417” (named for this year’s peak atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 417.1 ppm, recorded in May) the startups span many of the world’s highest GHG-emitting sectors — including electricity, transportation, buildings, industry, energy access, food and agriculture, and financial and business model innovation.

D3 combines a next-generation accelerator, committed venture capital, a curated ecosystem of global corporations; and unparalleled market, regulatory and policy insights. D3’s partner investor funds manage $2 billion of assets, and its corporate partners — including AT&T, bp ventures, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, FedEx, Microsoft and Wells Fargo — have a combined market capitalization exceeding $3 trillion.

D3 represents a new kind of collaborative, global, vertically integrated ecosystem united behind a singular purpose: to find, fund, hone and scale the most-promising technologies; to achieve larger, faster reductions in global carbon emissions.

“Startups hoping to transform our energy future face enormous challenges,” explained D3 CEO Bryan Guido Hassin. “Many succumb to a gauntlet of multiple valleys of death, yet the world needs climate innovation startups to succeed. That’s why we’ve assembled the best-resourced accelerator in clean energy and climate tech, ever.”

Climate-tech startups — especially hard tech solutions — face enormous challenges. They have more significant capital needs and longer paths to market than software startups favored by investors. They rely on large, slow-moving, risk-averse corporations as critical customers, deployment partners and acquirers; and must navigate complex market, regulatory and policy landscapes that favor incumbents and challenge disruptors. D3 is designed to overcome these specific challenges — bringing together top climate researchers, visionary investors, global corporate partners, and transformational innovators all under one roof.

“Achieving our commitment to be carbon negative by 2030 will require the development of new carbon reduction and removal technologies,” said JoAnn Garbin, Director of Innovation and Datacenter Advanced Development at Microsoft — which earlier this year committed to erasing all of the carbon it has emitted since its founding in 1975, by 2050. “We look forward to serving on the Third Derivative advisory board and working with its member organizations to help accelerate the commercialization of global early-stage climate technologies.”

D3 will formally announce the first cohort on December 1st — for the next 18 months, D3 will work with the startups, corporates and investors to facilitate investments, growth and long-term partnerships.