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Startups

We’re looking for the most-promising, early-stage startups addressing billion-dollar markets in the areas of hard science, hardware, software, and business model innovation. If accepted, you’ll take part in a virtual, 16-month-long program.
What is Third Derivative?

As a vertically integrated engine for climate innovation, we are unique combination of accelerator + venture funding + strategic partner network that offers seamless support for startups to succeed. In other words, we strongly believe that our whole is far greater than the sum of our component parts.

What does the program do for me?
  • Investment: You have the option to take a $100k investment. Through our network of deeply engaged startup investors, you are also first in line for $100M+ follow-on funding as you progress through the program.
  • Partners: Our corporate partners are all investors in the program, and play a significant role in helping us select our focus areas and companies. We facilitate interactions with these corporate partners to help you close deals with them. Whether as customers, partners, investors, or acquirors, they want to work with YOU! 
  • Network: Access to RMI’s 250+ energy professionals’ expertise and network. RMI works across power, transport, buildings and industrial sectors on 6 continents and has deep connections to all parts of the energy value chain including government, corporates and NGOs.
  • Training: The program is designed to help you both work on, and work in your business. 
  • Deal facilitation. 
  • Social Proof: Getting chosen to be in the program means that you have been vetted and selected from a large field of companies. Investors, customers and companies often take acceptance into accelerators as a vote of confidence for your business. 
  • Community: Connections to a community of support, including the program itself, mentors, Rocky Mountain Institute, and New Energy Nexus.
What sectors, technologies, and businesses are we looking for?

We're looking for clean solutions in the realms of:

  • Electricity production, transmission/distribution, and storage
  • Transportation
  • Buildings and built environment
  • Industry (including heating, cooling, materials, biofuels, data centers, recycling, plastics, etc.)
  • Food and agriculture
  • Carbon capture, utilization, and storage
  • Climate and world-positive software, hardware, and hard-tech
  • Business model and finance innovation around any of the above

We also encourage you to apply even if you don’t fit neatly into one of the above boxes. Solving energy and climate requires many fresh and out-of-the-box approaches; tell us about your venture through the short application and we promise to provide rapid feedback on fit with our program.

What are the minimum requirements?
  • Business structure: You are a for-profit, registered company (in any geography; this is a global program)
  • Staff: You have at least two full-time employees 
  • Technology: The basic science behind your business should be resolved, so you should be able to have at least a lab test, or more. This is about TRL level 3–4. 
  • Geography: We enthusiastically accept startups from any country in the world.
Who are your investors and corporate partners so far?

Confirmed corporate partners (to date) include Microsoft, AT&T, and Wells Fargo. Supporting investors (to date) include Imperative Ventures, Emerald Technology Ventures, and Tsing Capital. Note that we’re in the process of confirming even more global partners, and we’ll keep this FAQ response updated as soon as we can!

  • If we're going to achieve the speed and scale of change that the world needs to tackle the climate crisis, we have to take startups with the most-promising no-carbon solutions—and then immerse them in a new kind of innovation ecosystem that gives them their best shot at succeeding. That's what Third Derivative will do for dozens of companies at a time. It's a thrill to be building it.
    Danny Kennedy, CEO, New Energy Nexus
  • Third Derivative is just the kind of ecosystem approach to startup support I feel we need as a game-changing, young company. When you have a new tech that makes the incumbency better, it can be hard to know how to scale, how to go to market, and who to work with. Third Derivative's accelerator design solves for that. We can't wait to go for it.
    Rajesh Lakhiani, CEO, Athena Power
  • Our company is breaking diesel dependency in Nigeria, one of the most-populous countries and fastest-growing economies in the world. Positively disruptive companies like ours need accelerators that can connect them to capital, corporate partners, and game-changing networks all over the world. I'm excited to see Third Derivative help startups with this new approach.
    Ugwem Eneyo, CEO and Cofounder, Shyft Power
  • Startups from our innovation ecosystem could benefit from the global exposure and corporate partnering that is part of the Third Derivative approach. This and the partners driving it will bring major benefits that we think we need for our founders. The Energy Internet Research Institute of Tsinghua University will be happy to send the best and brightest from our programs across China to apply.
    Liu Yi, Vice President, Energy Internet Research Institute
  • Our experience shows that a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders is important to fast-charge big solutions and get them to market—which is why we're excited to tell our game-changing startups to go for Third Derivative.
    Piers Grove, Cofounder, EnergyLab Australia

Our innovation engine = your best chance of success

FIND

Addressing market ‘blind spots’

We’re set up to address critical climate innovation market gaps overlooked by others, including hardware and hard-science innovation. We’re building a global ecosystem to accept startups from around the world and deploy with corporate partners across markets.
FUND

Providing early & follow-on investment

Each startup selected for the accelerator receives a $100k convertible note. We also bring $250M+ of follow-on funding available from VC partners interested in software as well as hardware, hard-science, and business model innovation. Partner funds help select and coach startups, getting to know companies much better than a 5-minute demo day pitch.
HONE

Flexible and tailored coaching

With an annual cohort of 30–50 startups from around the world, we coach startups on investability, business models, and monetization pathways in a bespoke environment during the accelerator program. Startups work with our corporate and investor partners to guide a curriculum focused on investability at the end of the program.
SCALE

Strategic corporate partnerships

Our network with global reach can serve as customers; development, manufacturing, and sales partners; investors; and potential acquirers.

Be part of our next cohort.

Because together, we can accelerate the rate of climate innovation.
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