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NASA Launches Climate-Focused Startup Studio with Technology Incubator

NASA Launches Climate-Focused Startup Studio with Technology Incubator

A woman presenting to a group of people.
Kaycie Gillette-Mallard, 2021 FedTech participant, presents her project, Video Magic, a video-based, remotely operated structural health-monitoring software.
Credits: FedTech
People presenting at an event.
Jake Kramer, managing partner at FedTech, left; Andy Lewis, FedTech guest instructor, middle; and Trang Pham, FedTech mentor, present to the group at the end of the 2021 program.
Credits: FedTech

When it comes to “going green,” NASA technology is already hard at work all around you. Better water conservation, improved renewable energy storage, and even toxic chemical cleanup are just some examples of the ways these technologies, invented or enhanced to further the space agency’s mission work, are being used on Earth, for Earth.

Now FedTech, an organization that specializes in connecting entrepreneurs with technologies from federal labs, is teaming up with NASA Technology Transfer Expansion (T2X) to introduce entrepreneurs to NASA technologies ripe for commercialization as solutions to climate-related problems. The NASA FedTech Startup Studio matches entrepreneurs with agency patents available for licensing and groups them into teams for entrepreneurial training to develop new products and services.

“One of the great things about NASA is our ability to innovate and support emerging technology – and that’s as important for studying our home planet as it is for studying the rest of the universe,” said Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor. “Programs like this help ensure not only that we have access to innovative climate technology, but also that those technologies can be used more broadly by businesses around the world.”

Technology selection and entrepreneur recruiting are underway for the series to kick off in June. Participants will work in teams for 16 weeks, leading up to a showcase event to be held in Wilmington, Delaware in October, where they will pitch their final business concepts to judges selected by both T2X and FedTech.

T2X accelerates the commercialization of NASA-developed technologies and new venture creation through strategic partnerships, entrepreneurial activities, and engagement with academia. T2X falls under the NASA Technology Transfer program.

“We’re excited about this next step to get NASA technologies in front of the right groups of people,” said Dan Lockney, NASA’s Technology Transfer program executive. “We aren’t just waiting for people to come to us­­ – we’re going out there, making connections with entrepreneurial communities, and ramping up the process to solve some big environmental challenges.”

Person on a stage speaking to an audience.
Ben Solomon speaks to a group of entrepreneurs at a FedTech showcase event, following the 16-week session in 2021. Participants pitch their final business concepts and receive feedback from judges.
Credits: FedTech

The Startup Studio will guide participants through the challenges associated with starting a business. FedTech will run the program on behalf of NASA. FedTech will help the participants build skills to discover customers, develop business models, and raise investment funding to gain a competitive edge and be successful. Business mentors will also serve as sources of professional advice throughout the program.

Participants are grouped based on interest, skill, and experience to form dynamic, complementary teams. The Startup Studio will walk the teams through the business model development cycle with NASA technologies related to wind turbines, environmental monitoring, waste management, solar power, and more.

“With all of the current focus around climate technology, now is a perfect time for any aspiring entrepreneur to take the leap to launch a new venture,” said Robyn Brazzil, a partner at FedTech. “This startup studio will create important opportunities and will help us build upon the successful cohorts we’ve previously had with NASA in creating new businesses around vetted technologies.”

Previous NASA FedTech Startup Studios have led to several startup companies. Past participants have also pitched on ABC’s Shark Tank and participated in the virtual NASA Startup Feature Series.