WeSpire one of Eight recipients of $1.9 Million in Funding from MassCEC

October 13, 2020 – The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced $1.9 million in funding awards for eight early-stage clean energy companies based in Massachusetts. The MassCEC-launched program, Bridging Recovery for Innovators Driving Green Energy Solutions (BRIDGES), was developed to help support the most promising early stage clean energy companies adversely impacted by the global coronavirus pandemic and advance them through the next six months or more of operations. 

“Massachusetts is a global leader in clean energy innovation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the disruption caused to our economy by COVID-19, it is essential that we continue to support the entrepreneurs that make Massachusetts such a special and vibrant place to work.”

“Working side-by-side with our industry partners, directing resources through public-private partnerships like MassCEC is an effective way to support our innovation ecosystem and its workforce at minimal cost to the taxpayer,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These awards are catalyzing further investment from the private sector, and will spark funding and job growth many times over the $1.9 million that is being committed today.”

The eight Massachusetts-based companies are developing innovative solutions to address climate change and have all previously received MassCEC funding through its investments or technology development grant programs. MassCEC is investing $800,000 ($100,000 in each of the eight companies), with the balance of the $1.9 million investment coming from its program partner, climate technology venture capital firm Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and a syndicate of co-investors, including SE Ventures, Clean Energy Venture Group (CEVG) and NOVA, the external ventures arm of Saint-Gobain. 

“This public-private partnership will help clean energy and climate solution startups make it through these challenging times,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These companies employ hundreds of our residents, attract millions in outside investment, and are a key component of our state’s world class innovation economy.”

The companies will use the funding to support operations, maintain staffing, manage temporary disruptions to customer demand, grow their pipelines, and continue prototyping and scaling their solutions during the ongoing period of COVID-19 economic slowdown.

“The BRIDGES program is another example of MassCEC’s innovation and leadership in our community,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “This is a great way for BEV to contribute much needed capital for adversely affected emerging clean technology companies in Massachusetts, while also giving us the opportunity to evaluate these businesses for direct investments down the road.” With more than $1 billion in committed capital, BEV invests in innovative companies with bold goals for reducing emissions and addressing climate change. 

“The Boston area is one of the most active launchpads for promising climate tech companies and we’re excited to deepen our partnership with MassCEC in supporting some of Massachusetts’ best and brightest as they navigate these uncertain times” said Grant Allen, General Partner of SE Ventures.

SE Ventures is Schneider Electric’s global corporate venture capital fund based in Silicon Valley, and partners with bold entrepreneurs who can benefit from their deep domain expertise covering energy, industry and infrastructure.

Each of the following companies will receive $100,000 in funding from MassCEC. 

  • AeroShield (Cambridge, MA) manufactures super-insulating transparent materials for energy efficient windows.
  • Blackburn Energy (Amesbury, MA) created RelGen® a Hybrid Charging solution that is road proven and charges truck batteries faster to provide power for autonomous sensors, liftgates, air conditioning, and components such as electric pumps or fans, while reducing emissions in the global trucking market.
  • Boston Materials (Bedford, MA) is enabling the mass-adoption of lightweight composites to drastically reduce transportation emissions.
  • EnergySage (Boston, MA) is the country’s leading marketplace for solar energy and battery systems, as well as community solar, allowing both residential and commercial customers to comparison-shop online.
  • Raptor Maps (Somerville, MA) builds software that analyzes solar plant performance and organizes the data into a transparent system of record.
  • Solstice (Cambridge, MA) offers a turnkey platform for the community solar industry, educating and connecting communities to solar gardens and creating financial innovations such as EnergyScore that expand renewable energy access.
  • Transaera (Somerville, MA) is developing energy-efficient, sustainable cooling using novel composite materials. 
  • WeSpire (Boston, MA) is a behavior change technology platform that helps companies engage their workforce in sustainability, wellbeing, social impact, and inclusive culture initiatives that drive environmental, social, and business value and inspire employees to build a better working world.

“Massachusetts clean energy and climate solution startups are developing some of the world’s most promising technologies to tackle climate change and the BRIDGES initiative will help ensure these innovators are able to continue their important work,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “We are proud to be able to support companies on the front lines of our climate change fight during this pivotal time.”

“Long-term innovation is necessary and will not happen without the emergence of new technologies and companies that are particularly vulnerable in times of global crises such as COVID-19,” saidJean-Noel Poirier, Executive Managing Director of CEVG. “CEVG has been deeply committed to supporting early-stage clean energy entrepreneurs for many years, via seed capital and active management support, and is proud to join MassCEC during these tough times.”

“Through this relationship with BRIDGES, Saint-Gobain is able to expand our commitment to support startups and provide our expertise in the clean energy and sustainability space while also assisting startups in overcoming challenges during the pandemic,” said Minas Apelian, Vice President of Internal and External Venturing, Saint-Gobain NOVA. NOVA is the external ventures arm of Saint‑Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies and manufacturer of innovative material solutions that combines comfort and sustainability to enhance the well-being of people all over the world.

This initiative builds upon MassCEC’s continued dedication to supporting the clean energy economy in Massachusetts, helping these companies withstand the current economic slowdown so they can develop and deliver innovative and critical solutions to the market.

MassCEC is funded by the Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1998. A systems benefit charge paid by customers of investor-owned utilities and five municipal electric departments that have opted into the program funds the trust. 

About MassCEC

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies, and projects in the Commonwealth—while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. Since its inception in 2009, MassCEC has helped clean energy companies grow, supported municipal clean energy projects, and invested in residential and commercial renewable energy installations creating a robust marketplace for innovative clean technology companies and service providers. MassCEC constructed and operates the Wind Technology Testing Center and the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal.  Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides chairs MassCEC’s board of directors. 

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