Wells Fargo renews, expands IN2 incubator program thru 2024 with NREL; agtech, transport now in focus

December 2, 2020 |

In Colorado, Wells Fargo Invests $20M To Extend Highly Successful IN2 Incubator Program with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, through 2024.

Now in its seventh year, the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) is now a $50 million program. It was designed from the start to consider a diverse cross section of start-ups—many of which might appear risky to traditional venture capitalists—collect them into cohorts, connect them with technological expertise, and ultimately accelerate their clean technologies to the marketplace. In 2014, Wells Fargo and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) designed the blueprint for taking promising energy efficiency innovations, de-risking them, and delivering them to market for the benefit of everyone and to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. A couple of years after its original investment of $10 million, Wells Fargo doubled down and pumped an additional $20 million into IN2 and has recently stayed the course with yet another $20 million. The program enjoys an impressive 33:1 funding leverage rate, meaning that for every dollar Wells Fargo invests in the program, $33 originate in terms of independent investments. In total, as of fall 2020, the program has amassed $383 million in total investment money, seen seven mergers, and helped create 402 clean energy jobs.

Companies selected for IN2 join a cohort, averaging about five companies each. New “verticals” for investment added since the program first launched in 2014 are agricultural technology (the food-energy-water nexus), residential technologies that contribute to affordability, and transportation. The program has hosted a total of 46 companies with clean technologies focused on commercial buildings, affordable housing, and agtech. With the additional $20 million tranche of funding awarded in 2020, IN2 plans to host two cohorts per year through approximately 2024.

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