February 2, 2021 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner joined Greentown Labs Houston (Greentown Houston) today for a groundbreaking ceremony of the City's first-ever climatetech startup incubator facility located in Houston's Innovation District.
Greentown Houston also announced its network of partners has grown by five with the addition of CenterPoint Energy, Gexa Energy of NextEra Energy Resources, EIV Capital, Wells Fargo, and Williams as its newest Founding and Grand Opening Partners. These partners join a diverse group of 16 existing partners that represent a broad community of energy organizations, renewable energy experts, and organizations committed to supporting early-stage cleantech startups.
"Greentown Houston is proud to have CenterPoint Energy, Gexa Energy, EIV Capital, Wells Fargo, and Williams join our roster of partners that are committed to climate action and accelerating the deployment of climatetech solutions," said Dr. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. "These partners—from energy providers to financial services organizations—will play a pivotal role in enabling the success of both our operations and the Houston startup community."
In September 2020, Greentown Houston announced its location at 4200 San Jacinto St. in the Innovation District being developed by Rice Management Company. The general contractor for the project is Miller LaPoint Construction, based in Houston. Design services for the project are provided by Abel Design Group and Silverman Trykowski Architects. The incubator will provide more than 40,000 sq. ft. of prototyping lab, office, and community space for about 50 startup companies, totaling 200-300 employees.
After the ceremony, Greentown Houston revealed what the exterior facade of the building and interior layout will look like once it opens. The building's exterior will be painted gray with Greentown Labs' brand colors incorporated as accent details. Greentown Houston is working with the Houston Arts Alliance to identify a local artist to install a large mural on the east side of the building to display Greentown Houston's mission around climate action, community collaboration, and entrepreneurial partnership.
Images and footage of Greentown Houston can be viewed here, and all are invited to a public, virtual EnergyBar networking event on Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. CT / 5 p.m. ET., where attendees will hear a recap of the Feb. 2 ceremony, learn about Greentown Houston's progress, and get a sneak peek of what the incubator will look like when it opens this spring.
"Houston is delighted to welcome Greentown Labs to our expanding innovation ecosystem, and we can't wait to see the incubator's facility open in a few short months," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "Last year, we released our first-ever Climate Action Plan, and we believe organizations like Greentown Labs, its impressive network of partners, and climatetech entrepreneurs will help us achieve the ambitious goals outlined in the plan. The City of Houston is focused on catalyzing and leading the global energy transition, and we're excited to work with Greentown Labs on this effort."
Greentown Houston is a proud member of the Greater Houston Partnership and is actively involved in the organization's economic development efforts to help Houston lead the global energy transition.
"It is essential that we position Houston as the leader of the global energy transition, and Greentown Houston is a crucial part of that effort," said Susan Davenport, Chief Economic Development Officer with the Greater Houston Partnership. "We are thrilled to join Greentown Houston to celebrate this critical step forward in their much-anticipated expansion with the addition of these new partners. These organizations, and the expertise and resources they bring, join a thriving ecosystem built of major corporate energy R&D centers, corporate venture arms, and VC-backed energy startups. We are eagerly anticipating Greentown Houston's official opening this spring and look forward to working together to build a more efficient and more sustainable low-carbon future."
Greentown Houston sits adjacent to The Ion, a 288,000 sq. ft. innovation hub that anchors the Innovation District being developed by Rice Management Company.
"We are excited to recognize Greentown Houston's momentum. This is another step in solidifying Greentown's presence as Houston's premier destination for cleantech and climate change technology," said Ryan LeVasseur, Managing Director of Direct Real Estate at Rice Management Company. "Greentown's role in the innovation ecosystem further solidifies the Innovation District's position as a hub for the advancement of the region's economy. Together, The Ion and Greentown Houston will set a new standard for creating new opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs."
Greentown Houston's Growing Partner Network
Since announcing its expansion to Houston in June 2020, Greentown Labs has received a warm welcome from the Houston business community—underscoring the city's eagerness and enthusiasm to lead the energy transition. Today, Greentown Houston is fortunate to welcome three new Founding Partners to its ecosystem:
As the only investor-owned electric and gas utility based in Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) is an energy delivery company with electric transmission and distribution, power generation, and natural gas distribution operations that serve more than 7 million metered customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas. As of Sept. 30, 2020, the company owned approximately $33 billion in assets and also owned 53.7 percent of the common units representing limited partner interests in Enable Midstream Partners, LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership that owns, operates, and develops strategically located natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With approximately 9,600 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years.
"At CenterPoint Energy, we are energized by this partnership with Greentown Labs. Our company has a strong commitment to the delivery of clean energy to customers and we see this partnership as an opportunity to lend our expertise and industry knowledge to help craft and accelerate a clean energy future," said Kenny Mercado, Executive Vice President of Electric Utility at CenterPoint Energy. "As part of our new long-term growth strategy, we plan to provide a modern, reliable electric grid to connect the large number of renewable energy projects being built in our Houston service territory. We are also committed to the continued development of alternative fuels programs, including renewable natural gas, that would provide customers new energy choices."
Gexa Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, is one of the fastest-growing retail electricity providers in the U.S., serving over 1.5 million residential and commercial customers. NextEra Energy Resources is one of the largest wholesale generators of electric power in the nation and the largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun in the world.
"Greentown Labs is an exciting forum for Gexa Energy to collaborate and accelerate early stage innovation. We look forward to developing new ideas in Houston that benefit our customers and the broader markets," said Brian Landrum, President at Gexa Energy.
Wells Fargo is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets and proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10 percent of all middle-market companies in the U.S. Wells Fargo is committed to playing an important role in accelerating a just transition to a low-carbon economy and reducing the impacts of climate change. Through strategic partnerships, its goal is to do this by increasing its operational efficiency, advancing clean technology, innovation, and other environmental solutions—at work, at home, and in the communities it serves.
"Wells Fargo is committed to bringing innovation and entrepreneurship to Houston," said Chad Johnson, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo's Technology Banking Group. "This is an exciting time to see Houston's tech ecosystem expand and become home to cleantech incubators. We know Greentown Labs will provide critical resources to entrepreneurs that will enable them to launch innovative businesses, which will help build a more sustainable future for our city."
Greentown Houston is on schedule to open its facility in Spring 2021, and has a subset of partners dedicated to the success of its grand opening. Naturgy and FCC Environmental Services (FCC) were the first Greentown Houston Grand Opening Partners and today EIV Capital and Williams join them.
EIV Capital, a Houston-based private equity firm, specializes in providing growth equity to the North American energy industry. EIV concentrates on midstream infrastructure, emissions management, and alternative energy. The firms' management has extensive experience leading and investing in successful companies across the energy value chain, including companies focused on carbon reduction.
"EIV Capital is proud to support Greentown Labs and welcomes them to Houston. We believe fostering collaboration between Greentown Labs' climatetech and cleantech entrepreneurs and Houston's world-leading energy community is essential to developing and scaling the solutions needed to address climate change while still providing affordable and reliable energy," said Patti Melcher, Co-founder & Managing Partner of EIV Capital. "We are committed to Greentown Labs' mission and pleased to be joining a robust and collaborative partner network that will ensure its success."
Williams, an industry-leading energy infrastructure company, is committed to the safe delivery of natural gas products to reliably fuel the clean energy economy in the United States. Williams manages 30 percent of the nation's natural gas used for clean-power generation, heating, and industrial use. In 2020, Williams announced ambitious climate commitments, aiming to reduce 56 percent of company-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and is on a pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.
"Williams is excited to join Greentown Labs as the first midstream corporate partner to support cleantech entrepreneurship that will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future," said Chad Zamarin, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategic Development at Williams. "It is through technology innovation and collaboration with organizations like Greentown Labs that we can develop solutions to reduce emissions and build a clean energy economy on our path to net zero by 2050."
In 2020, Greentown Labs was thrilled to announce its 14 inaugural Houston Founding Partners: Chevron, NRG Energy and Reliant Energy, Shell, BHP, Vinson & Elkins, Microsoft, ENGIE North America Inc., Rice Management Company, Saint-Gobain, Sunnova Energy International Inc., The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, SCF Partners, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., and Direct Energy.
Greentown Houston recently announced its 16 inaugural startup members. It is actively accepting startup members through its early access membership offering and welcoming additional partners in advance of the facility opening in Spring 2021. Interested startups and prospective partners should reach out via this form.
About Greentown Labs
Greentown Labs is a community of climatetech and cleantech pioneers working to design a more sustainable world. As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing ground-breaking startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers prototyping and wet lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, a large network of corporate customers and investors, and more. Greentown Labs' 100,000 sq. ft. campus in Somerville, Mass. is home to more than 100 startups and has supported more than 300 startups since the incubator's founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 6,500 direct jobs and have raised more than ;$1.2 billion in funding. For more information, please visit www.greentownlabs.com or Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.