The Nature Conservancy has embarked on a first-of-its-kind partnership with entrepreneurial network Techstars to launch the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, which aims to identify entrepreneurs with commercially viable technologies to address pressing environmental and social issues.
“We’re excited to partner with Techstars to pursue potential technology breakthroughs that will accelerate protection of nature at scale,” said Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “We know from experience that well-designed partnerships between NGOs and the private sector can lead to big and valuable breakthroughs.”
By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion. The Techstars Sustainability Accelerator challenges entrepreneurs to create technologies that can be rapidly scaled to help provide food and water sustainably and tackle climate change.
The mentorship-driven accelerator program will connect entrepreneurs, conservationists, corporate partners and investors to deliver products that can put the world on a path to sustainability. Additionally, conservationists will learn from entrepreneurs how to quickly innovate and scale commercially viable businesses.
Over the next three years, the Sustainability Accelerator expects to attract thousands of potential applicant companies, of which 30 high-potential companies will be selected for the program. The Accelerator will establish a more systemic approach for bringing technologies, conservationists, corporate partners and investors together to accelerate the pace of technological innovation for sustainability.
“Innovation and disruption are essential to solving the world’s problems related to food, water and climate change,” said Brad Feld, co-founder of Techstars. “The Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, will use the same technologies that have disrupted other industries such as finance, healthcare, mobility and energy, but this time applied through the lens of sustainability. Techstars understands disruption and The Nature Conservancy understands sustainability and conservation — this partnership will enable us both to make real changes to real problems.”
Applications will open in January 2018 and the program kicks off in July 2018. The Sustainability Accelerator will be based in Denver, Colorado, a fitting location considering the state’s longstanding long-standing connection to nature and technology and The Nature Conservancy’s and Techstars’ history of impact there. Techstars was founded in Boulder in 2006. The network’s accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,000 companies with a market cap of $10.2 billion. It has 34 accelerators and thousands of Techstars Startup Program events in nearly 170 countries.