Wells Fargo taps 4 for innovation incubator

Wells Fargo taps 4 for innovation incubator

$10m program a philanthropic first for financial industry

| April 16, 2015


SAN FRANCISCO, April 9, 2015 -- Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced the selection of four clean technology startups for the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a five-year, $10-million program to foster innovative environmental technologies. The program is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Started last fall, it is the first philanthropy program of its kind within the financial services industry.


“To address growing climate concerns, it is absolutely crucial to accelerate investments in innovative companies that provide clean technology solutions,” says Mary Wenzel, Wells Fargo head of Environmental Affairs. “We are proud to work with NREL and the community of clean technology innovators to help support startups that are providing long-term sustainable solutions.”

In this first of three selection rounds, four promising technologies were chosen from more than 80 clean technology companies, referred by more than 20 leading accelerators, universities and research institutes in the U.S.

The four selected companies are eligible for up to $250,000 each in cash and in-kind technical consultation and services to support the further development of their technologies. Startups will receive research and testing support at NREL’s world-class research facility in Golden, Colo., as well as coaching and mentorship from Wells Fargo’s vast network of financial and technical experts.

Companies selected include:

  1. SmarterShade (Chicago) delivers on the promise of smart glass – significant energy savings, glare reduction, enhanced privacy impact – all in a seamless user-controlled shading interface that lasts 4-5 times longer than blinds and shades. SmarterShade’s technology costs a fraction of the price of traditional smart glass and requires no electrical power;
  2. Energy Storage Systems (Portland OR) is developing an advanced flow battery that utilizes earth-abundant iron as its energy storage medium. This translates to unmatched affordability when the All-Iron Flow Battery (IFB) is used to address commercial energy storage needs;
  3. LiquidCool Solutions (Rochester, MN) is developing two forms of total immersion electronics cooling technology for large-scale data centers:  Liquid Submerged Servers (LSS) and Liquid Submerged Computers (LSC). Initial testing of the LSS system has yielded 40 percent in energy savings for computer use when compared to a traditional air-cooled system;
  4. WattStick Systems (San Francisco) is developing peel-and-stick electricity metering technology that can be safely and easily installed by nontechnical staff. By eliminating the need for sophisticated electrical installation, WattStick Systems’ technology will drastically reduce total submetering costs for commercial buildings and open the door for significant long-term energy use reduction.

“The IN2 program serves as a model for private and public sector collaboration working together for one common goal,” says Richard Adams, director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) at NREL. “We are thrilled to see how these companies will make clean energy technologies more accessible for Americans and we hope they will also serve as an inspiration to their peers in the field.”

Launched in October 2014, the program is part of Wells Fargo’s 2020 Environmental Commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities. The goal is to create an ecosystem that fosters and accelerates the commercialization of promising commercial buildings technologies that can provide scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of buildings. According to the Dept. of Energy, nearly 40% of energy consumption in the U.S. today comes from buildings at an estimated cost of $413 billion.

As a leading financial institution with a broad geographical footprint, Wells Fargo is well-positioned to lead change by embracing innovation and supporting advancements in clean technologies to improve local communities and the environment. This program was developed to advance the commercialization of new sustainable technologies by validating them in the lab and then piloting them in select Wells Fargo locations.

About Wells Fargo

Since 2012, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) has provided more than $37 billion in environmental financing to environmentally beneficial businesses. This includes $3.8 billion in financing for affordable housing and commercial properties in low- to moderate-income communities. Wells Fargo has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 24% from 2008 levels and increased energy efficiency by 24%, water efficiency by 38%, and waste diversion by 65 percent since 2012. The company also has made strategic environmental grants totaling $40 million through two environmental grant programs focusing on community-based environmental projects as well as clean technology innovation and advancement. Wells Fargo environmental perspectives are available at the Wells Fargo Environmental Forum.


Pia Hahn 


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