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Hardtech-focused accelerator program opens applications for inaugural Houston cohort

Calling all hardtech innovators in Houston. Photo via Getty Images

As of today, Houston innovators can apply for a new-to-Houston program that supports researchers on their entrepreneurial journeys.

Coinciding with Climate Week NYC Activate opened application period for its 2024 cohort. Applications close October 17.

“Climate Week is a premier showcase for innovation, and the opening of Activate applications couldn’t come at a more aligned time,” Activate Executive Managing Director Aimee Rose says in a news release. “It’s the perfect moment for innovators to connect, plan, and gain momentum when they’re most inspired. We’re poised and ready to support the next wave of brilliant scientists driving real change."

Applications are open across Activate's five programs. The two-year, hardtech-focused program was founded in Berkeley, California, in 2015 and expanded to Boston and New York before launching its virtual program, Activate Anywhere. Activate announced its expansion into Houston earlier this year, naming Jeremy Pitts as Houston managing director.

“Activate’s recruitment process is crucial, as it centers around finding scientists directly interested in solving urgent problems,” Pitts says. “Activate fellows are turning their technical breakthroughs into businesses that can help industries like manufacturing, energy, chemicals, computing, and agriculture, to meet their decarbonization and resiliency goals.”

Activate is looking for local and regional early-stage founders — who have raised less than $2 million in funding — who are working on high-impact technology. Each cohort consists of 10 fellows that join the program for two years. The fellows receive a living stipend, connections from Activate's robust network of mentors, and access to a curriculum specific to the program.

While the program is industry agnostic, Activate Houston is likely going to attract energy transition and climate tech companies like Fervo Energy, a Houston-based geothermal tech company, which went through the program in 2018.

The 2024 cohort, which kicks off with this application period, is the first for Activate's new CEO, Cyrus Wadia, who was named to the executive position on September 18. His leadership takes effect next month.

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A View From HETI

LiNova will use the funds to advance its polymer cathode battery technology. Photo via Getty Images

A California startup that's revolutionizing polymer cathode battery technology has announced its series A round of funding with support from Houston-based energy transition leaders.

LiNova Energy Inc. closed a $15.8 million series A round led by Catalus Capital. Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, which has its US HQ in Houston, and Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures, also participated in the round with a coalition of other investors.

LiNova will use the funds with its polymer cathode battery to advance the energy storage landscape, according to the company. The company uses a high-energy polymer battery technology that is designed to allow material replacement of the traditional cathode that is made up of cobalt, nickel, and other materials.

The joint development agreement with Saft will have them collaborate to develop the battery technology for commercialization in Saft's key markets.

“We are proud to collaborate with LiNova in scaling up its technology, leveraging the extensive experience of Saft's research teams, our newest prototype lines, and our industrial expertise in battery cell production," Cedric Duclos, CEO of Saft, says in a news release.

CTV recently announced its $500 million Future Energy Fund III, which aims to lead on emerging mobility, energy decentralization, industrial decarbonization, and the growing circular economy. Chevron has promised to spend $10 billion on lower carbon energy investments and projects by 2028.

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