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10 Startups Selected for Accelerator Program to Advance Climate Justice for Migrants and Communities of Color in the United States

The accelerator program empowers entrepreneurs who are building inclusive solutions for communities disproportionately impacted by climate change

Washington, DC (July 31st, 2023) - Village Capital, in partnership with the World Education Services (WES) Mariam Assefa Fund, announced the selection of 10 US-based startups to take part in the accelerator program, Climate Justice for Migrants and Communities of Color. Through workshops, mentorship, and catalytic capital, the accelerator program will help the startups develop the necessary networks and tools to scale their impact.

As climate change disproportionately impacts immigrants, refugees, and communities of color, the program aims to help climate migrants in the US not only navigate their new lives, but truly thrive. Participating organizations were selected following an open call that focused on startups working to build high-growth, scalable solutions to help vulnerable communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate-related and other natural disasters.

More than 50 startups from 19 states applied to participate in the accelerator. The program’s Advisory Board, consisting of climate tech investors, founders, and climate justice and migrant-focused organizations, provided feedback on the companies. Companies were evaluated and selected based on their business model and scalability, impact for migrant communities and BIPOC communities in the US, and founder profile. The final cohort includes 10 startups from 6 states, with 80% of the cohort headquartered outside of tech hubs in the US, 50% led by a female founder or C-suite member, and 80% led by a BIPOC founder or C-suite member. 70% of the cohort is led by migrants.

Here are the 10 selected startups helping immigrants, refugees, and communities of color mitigate and adapt to challenges related to climate change in the US:

  • Blip Energy (Chicago, IL) is a smart energy platform that provides critical backup power for households, adds millions of homes to the smart grid, and supplies electric grid managers with data to build a better, smarter grid.
  • Climatize (Santa Cruz, CA) is a platform connecting investors with bankable climate infrastructure projects with a focus on community solar.
  • Future (Chicago, IL) is catalyzing the building electrification movement by automating utility incentive programs.
  • JustAir (Detroit, MI) offers a platform that provides localized air quality insights to communities, aiming to create a healthier breathing environment for everyone.
  • Kazadi Enterprises (Batavia, IL) is developing refrigeration solutions that use up to 90% less electrical power than conventional refrigerators by accessing environmental heat as an energy source.
  • Logista (Upland, CA) saves lives, reduces costs, and increases productivity during disasters by leveraging data to better predict logistics needs.
  • Map-Collective (Washington, DC) is an AI-driven data and analytics platform for supply chain traceability and decarbonization that offers toolkits to simplify emissions mapping across the supply chain and region, biodiversity mapping, energy hub planning, and circular economy transition planning.
  • Parachute (Chicago, IL) leverages the best practices in Data Science, Meteorology and Insurance to deliver a new financial risk management product, StormStrong. 
  • Poly Platform (Arlington, VA) is a smart-city platform that facilitates the digital transformation of all government departments, allowing them to be more accessible to residents while amplifying the voice of city officials.
  • Quioveo Energy (Philadelphia, PA) builds technology and solutions designed to accelerate the actual use of sustainable renewables in the US and catalyze a more robust and resilient electrical grid.

From August to November 2023, the selected startups will participate in three interactive virtual and one in-person workshops to complete a milestone achievement plan. They will also receive mentorship from potential strategic partners, investors, customers, and other founders in the US, as well as connect one-on-one with an investment analyst for feedback and support.  

“I am deeply inspired by the 10 selected startups for this year's cohort,” shares Elizabeth Nguyen, Economic Opportunity Practice Lead at Village Capital. “From designing and launching new products such as a smart home battery and refrigeration solutions to leveraging data and technology to improve the accessibility and affordability of renewable energy, I am thrilled to support their entrepreneurial journeys as they continue to advance climate justice in the US.”

Nomzana Augustin, Associate Director of Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives at the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, shares Elizabeth’s excitement by stating, “Powered by an extraordinary partnership with Village Capital, alongside our advisory board, mentors, and other dedicated supporters, together we will drive meaningful change to create more inclusive economies for migrants, refugees, and communities of color in the US disproportionately affected by climate-related disasters."

Finally, the selected startups will receive an equity-free grant fund of around USD $20,000 for their participation and completion of the accelerator program. The top two peer-selected startups will receive an additional investment of USD $100,000 each from the WES Mariam Assefa Fund to further scale their solutions.

For more information, reach out to Sofía Cándano at Village Capital (sofia.candano@vilcap.com).

About Village Capital 

Village Capital is reinventing the system to back the entrepreneurs of the future. Known for its groundbreaking approaches to supporting founders who are building solutions to emergent social, economic, and environmental challenges, VilCap unlocks critical social and financial capital for early-stage companies to maximize business and impact growth.

Village Capital has operated in the US since 2009 by running over 45 accelerator programs. VilCap has supported more than 897 startups from over 43 states and 23 entrepreneur support organizations (ESO) working in sectors such as financial health, health equity, justice tech, and sustainability. Learn more at www.vilcap.com and follow @villagecapital.

About the WES Mariam Assefa Fund

World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. Through its grantmaking, impact investing, and partnerships, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund seeks to advance economic and social inclusion for immigrants and refugees. The Fund supports greater opportunity, wealth, power, and justice for the individuals and communities it serves. Learn more at wes.org/fund.