Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator and National Renewable Energy Laboratory Announce Partnership with Overlay Capital to Accelerate Cleantech Adoption in the Built Environment

Press Release • 05 June 2024

IN² is on a mission to decarbonize and digitize the built environment, partnering with Overlay Capital to match corporations with innovative startups and award adopters $250,000 to pilot transformational technologies.

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN²), a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), announced today a partnership with Overlay Capital to accelerate cleantech adoption. The initiative will allow real estate developers, builders, and owner-operators to work with startups and corporate adopters to digitize and decarbonize the built environment.

As part of its 10th-anniversary program expansion, IN² is seeking partners from large corporations, mid-size real estate companies, nonprofits, government entities, and communities to participate in the inaugural cohort of this new program, beginning summer of 2024. IN²’s role will match the best technology to each corporate's needs while providing up to $250,000 in grant funding for adopters to pilot and de-risk startup technologies via extensive implementation strategies.

IN² is now accepting applications from real estate developers, builders, and owner-operators interested in piloting new technologies. Adopters can leverage IN²'s funds to develop tailored technology deployment programs, access implementation best practices and financial pathways for decarbonization, and receive actionable steps to accelerate deployment. This program offers scalable, deployment-ready technologies to meet sustainability, net-zero, and ESG goals.

IN² also invites cleantech startups ready to apply for large-scale pilots with at least one year of post-revenue traction. Startups will receive customized guidance to develop storytelling and strategy for pitching pilot programs, an opportunity to pitch to large corporates in a final showcase, matchmaking with customers, and collaboration with adopters who receive training to maximize technology adoption.

“One of the most difficult steps for a startup is scaling up and deploying its technology. Much of this is because adopters need support choosing and implementing the right technologies that meet specific needs,” said Sarah Derdowski, IN² program manager. “We look forward to working with Overlay Capital because of their investment expertise in sustainable technologies and their focus on overlooked and hard-to-access opportunities within the built environment. This collaboration is essential to accelerate and implement global energy transformation.”

Overlay Build, the digital transformation consulting arm of Overlay Capital, will design the curriculum in partnership with IN² for corporate adopters through their Adoption Playbook. The playbook will prioritize pain points, identify innovation areas, and form peer groups for implementation strategies. Overlay will also develop due diligence criteria, help to determine the top startups for potential pilots, and form internal innovation working committees who will drive change. Additionally, Overlay will build a change management strategy to ensure practical evaluation and implementation of pilot projects, helping companies with significant real estate ownership reduce construction inefficiencies, costs, and carbon footprints.

“Overlay Build’s mission is to increase efficiency, lower costs, and reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment,” said Julieta Moradei, founder and managing partner of Overlay Capital Build. “The built environment has decreased in productivity over the last 60 years, losing up to 35% of time on job sites due to inefficiencies and costing the United States $177.5 billion in labor annually. As the second least digitized industry, and most responsible for carbon emissions accounting for 42% globally, we must digitize the built environment to decarbonize it. Technological solutions are vital, and we are dedicated to identifying and implementing them for widespread use. We're thrilled to partner with IN² to drive the industry towards an innovative and sustainable future through adoption.”

Learn more about how to apply.

About the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN²)

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN²) is a $50 million clean technology program funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. IN² advances clean technologies from ideation to commercialization—validating emerging startups in the built environment and infrastructure sectors while facilitating connections with end users who receive practical implementation guidance that supports their sustainability goals. IN²’s mission is to foster innovation and accelerate the pace of market adoption of clean technologies to address urgent climate challenges. For more information, visit in2ecosystem.com.

About Overlay Capital

Overlay Capital is an investment firm focused on advancements in the built environment. Overlay Capital invests in venture and private equity across the spectrum from innovation to infrastructure, approaching investment selection through the lens of the secular mega-shift toward sustainability, with a commitment to superior risk-adjusted returns.

Overlay Build is Overlay Capital’s consulting arm, focused on accelerating the adoption of critical digital transformation technologies in the construction industry by connecting innovative startups with adopters with significant real estate holdings like multinational corporates, contractors, and real estate developers seeking productivity gains and sustainability commitments. For more information, visit overlaycapital.com.

Media Contact:
Camille Cater
Antenna Group