HONOLULU and EAST PALO ALTO, Calif., April 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Elemental Excelerator (Elemental), a funder of environmental and infrastructure startups, today announced that California State Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León is joining the organization as strategic advisor and chair of its new California Community Council. In this role, de León will advise Elemental's portfolio companies working to serve low- to moderate-income (LMI) customers in California's disadvantaged communities and drive Elemental's collaboration with other organizations committed to increasing access to innovative technologies for underserved populations.
For more than a decade, de León led bipartisan collaboration to advance some of the nation's most far-reaching climate policies, including landmark legislation such as SB 100, which mandated 100 percent clean energy by 2045, and SB 535, which required a quarter of all California Cap-and-Trade auction revenues — now totaling over $8 billion — be invested in communities most heavily impacted by pollution and the adverse impacts of climate change. As an advocate for disadvantaged communities and with deep roots in some of California's most politically diverse climates, de León's unique experience as a labor rights organizer and policy change-maker are well suited to advance Elemental's mission.
"We are very excited to work with Kevin, whose policies helped develop the market for technology companies to invest in California's disadvantaged communities," said Elemental Excelerator CEO Dawn Lippert. "Our program to expand access to sustainable market-based innovations in areas disproportionately impacted by climate change is bolstered by Kevin's legislation. His policy expertise and track record of expanding opportunities for communities to thrive will be invaluable to both our portfolio companies and our California Community Council."
As part of Elemental's commitment to driving innovations that serve the needs of all people, the accelerator launched its Equity & Access (E&A) Track in 2017. The E&A Track is designed to support startups building strategies to increase equity both within their organizations — through diverse hiring, retention and inclusion, and responsible supply chains — as well as externally by deploying clean technology projects in collaboration with residents, businesses and policymakers in California's disadvantaged communities. More than 40 percent of the 500 applicants who applied to work with Elemental in 2018 were interested in the E&A track, demonstrating strong business interest in serving LMI customers. de León will advise portfolio companies and apply the economic and environmental expertise he gained representing East Los Angeles and leading the California Senate.
The new California Community Council will bring together a coalition of stakeholders from the business, non-profit, government, philanthropic and education sectors to identify challenges and deploy innovative solutions. As chair, de León will help the council advance Elemental's efforts to increase access to sustainable technologies.
"Elemental Excelerator's unique model and focus on serving California's LMI populations dovetail perfectly with my policy work to prioritize disadvantaged communities as an essential element of combatting climate change," said Kevin de León, California State Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus. "To ensure that our most vulnerable populations thrive while transitioning to a clean economy, we must accelerate the deployment of technologies that deliver sustainable solutions quickly and at scale across all communities. I look forward to helping Elemental and its portfolio companies demonstrate that building a cleaner, more resilient and more equitable future is a winning business proposition."
Since 2013, Elemental has allocated more than $30 million to 82 companies that have since raised more than $550 million in follow-on funding, and funded 59 demonstration projects in Hawaii, California and Asia-Pacific. Applications for its 2020 cohort close on April 12, 2019. To contact Elemental about participation in the California Community Council, please fill out this form.
About Elemental Excelerator
Elemental Excelerator helps startups change the world, one community at a time. Each year, it finds 15-20 companies that best fit its mission and funds each company up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people's lives: energy, mobility, water, agriculture, and beyond. For more information, visit elementalexcelerator.com.
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