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Techstars Teams Up with Nature Conservancy for First-of-its-Kind Program in Denver

Calling all sustainably minded founders


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In partnership with the Nature Conservancy, the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator is accepting applications through April 8, looking to identify entrepreneurs with commercially viable products to solve pressing problems facing people and the planet. The third leg of the partnership includes mission-aligned investors: Zoma Capital; Lukas Walton; the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust; and Lyda Hill.

The first-of-its-kind program launched Nov. 1, 2017, applications opened Jan. 8, and the inaugural summer session will kick off July 16. The Sustainability Accelerator will develop a streamlined approach to take the expertise of technologists, conservationists, corporate partners and investors to innovate at a rapid pace. Companies accepted into the accelerator will come from all over the world to set up residence for the three months in Denver.

"We know from experience that well-designed partnerships between NGOs and the private sector can lead to big and valuable breakthroughs," says Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conversancy.

The Techstars Sustainability Accelerator will bring in 10 teams of high-potential founders for several weeks over the summer, investing $120,000 into each startup and providing space and mentorship for the teams to create commercially viable businesses focused on fostering food and water sustainability and tackling climate change. The founders work across areas such as agriculture and soil health, to forestry, water data, climate adaptation and more. The three month mentorship program concludes Oct. 17 with a Demo Day for the companies to showcase their technologies to investors for possible funding.

The Denver-based program is the second Colorado location for Techstars. Its Boulder-based boot camp has launched more than 1,200 startups in the last 12 years. 

"The Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, will use the same technologies that have disrupted other industries like finance, health care, mobility and energy, but this time applied through the lens of sustainability," Techstars co-founder Brad Feld says.  

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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is the former digital editor of ColoradoBiz.

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