Maui Business

Funds Available for Environmental Startups in Hawai‘i

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Elemental Excelerator, an environmental startup funder, is seeking applicants in Hawaiʻi that further environmental innovations for funding of up to $1 million.

Of the 59 projects the Elemental Excelerator has funded so far, 36 are in Hawaiʻi.  This includes companies such as Kunoa Cattle Company, Blue Planet Energy, Ibis Networks, SmartYields, Pono Island Capital, in2lytics, and Shifted Energy.

For its 8th application season, Elemental Excelerator seeks growth-stage startups that have secured seed-to-Series C funding, employ a minimum of two full-time employees and have a working prototype or business model that:

  1. Increases adoption of renewable energy and reduces energy sector greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Improves food resiliency and slows emissions associated with the agricultural sector.
  3. Addresses water stress and scarcity and increases access to clean water.
  4. Reduces emissions from air, ground, and sea transportation, and increases availability of mobility options.
  5. Fosters a circular economy and reduces global constraints on natural resources.

“To protect our planet, we must accelerate the deployment of technologies that deliver sustainable solutions quickly and at scale,” said Elemental CEO Dawn Lippert. “We’re looking for promising startups with talented founders and leadership teams to tackle the most pressing environmental challenges.”


Elemental’s model is unique among tech accelerators. In addition to coaching and strategic partnerships, Elemental also co-funds and co-designs project deployments with portfolio companies using a “place-based” model of innovation that unites startups, industry partners and local communities to identify challenges and deploy innovative solutions.

“Innovation happens at the community level, and change only happens at the pace of trust, which is why we focus on developing projects collaboratively with diverse stakeholders,” said Lippert. “By building trust at the local level, we help startups scale faster and large organizations innovate faster – while ensuring that people from all backgrounds are included in and benefit from the innovation economy.”

Elemental is accepting applications for three tracks:

  • Demonstration: Up to $1 million for scalable project deployments in Hawaiʻi and Asia-Pacific
  • Equity & Access: Up to $1 million for companies expanding access to clean innovations for disadvantaged communities in California
  • Go-to-Market: Up to $100,000 for companies in search of product/market fit

Elemental’s portfolio consists of startups focused on commercialization, including Opus 12, which is piloting carbon-capture technology with the world’s biggest emitters, and Zero Mass Water, whose technology makes drinking water from sunlight and air.

“Zero Mass Water has installed our SOURCE Hydropanels across 18 countries,” said Cody Friesen, founder and CEO of Zero Mass Water. “As we scaled internationally, we turned to Elemental to co-design and co-fund a project we’re now deploying in Western Australia in a joint venture with an Aboriginal community. Elemental’s team, funding, network and world-class community of entrepreneurs have been instrumental in helping us scale faster.”

Since 2013, Elemental has allocated more than $30 million to 82 companies (six of which have been acquired) that have raised more than $550 million in follow-on funding, and funded 59 demonstration projects in Hawaiʻi, California and Asia-Pacific.


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