There's not enough lithium in California to go to zero emissions. That's where Cleanstart comes in.
Cleanstart is a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports clean energy companies with defendable IP: "Truly new business ideas and helping them grow so we can turn the greater Sacramento region into a cleantech hub," said Thomas Hall, CleanStart's director.
CleanStart is Hacker Lab's newest tenant. The nonprofit supports 85 companies with 5,000 employees who bring in $3.2 million in revenue. If it were a single business, it would be one of the largest employers in the area.
The organization has brought back the Central Valley Clean Tech Showcase, this Wednesday from 9:30 - 2 p.m. The group meets monthly for talks on building sustainable green businesses. Sign-up for their newsletter here or check back for their next event at Hacker Lab.
Gary Simon is one of the cofounders of Cleanstart, which began in 2005.
"We're educating people, connecting them with the right resources and get them exposure. These companies don't include insulation retrofits or solar installers — we're supporting the core cluster of companies that can grow the future of clean energy into substantial businesses."
Simon ran several companies before as a senior executive at Fortune 500 companies. He went on to work in state legislature and decided to work on lifting other companies up.
"As much as Trump would like to kill this space, he can't as long as people are interested in doing it. Renewables are cheaper than the fossil fuels we had. That's progress," Simon said.
Hall came to Cleanstart after evaluating companies in the VC space. He brings sustainability experience working at a Chico nature center. Together, they run the monthly meetups, including last month's, which brought representatives from SMUD, CalEnergy and the Greenlining Institute to bring clean tech to underserved communities.
Cleanstart came to Hacker Lab a few weeks ago to introduce new companies to a space where they can do hardware and create the future they want.
"We want to help companies to a Minimum Viable Product. That's why it's great we're at Hacker Lab - we meet people who have ideas and connect them with ways to bring them to life," Hall said. "These entrepreneurs are makers - they're building something.
"It's hardware. One example is a company that makes battery packs. Another is making kinetic storage batteries that spin called flywheels. As long as it's spinning, it has energy. That's being built right here in Sacramento.
Learn more about Cleanstart by attending the Central Valley Clean Tech Showcase, this Wednesday from 9:30 - 2 p.m., or sign-up for their newsletter here. And check back for their next event at Hacker Lab.