NREL Industry Growth Forum: A one-of-a-kind event for cleantech startups

The cleantech industry has grown immensely in the past year. Amidst the turmoil of COVID-19, investors and policymakers have focused in earnest on supporting technologies that can help to address another crisis facing our society: climate change.

But being associated with a growing industry does not guarantee success for individual companies. It is critical for startups of all stages to have access to capital, and intellectual, technical and testing resources in order to cross the “Valley of Death.”

In just two weeks, cleantech investors and startups will gather virtually for the Industry Growth Forum (IGF), hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (April 20-22, 2021). The event brings together investment community members who are interested in cleantech, as well as startups from all stages.

Now in its 26th year, the NREL IGF includes a two-day pitch competition featuring 40 investor-selected cleantech entrepreneurs and a day of one-on-one meetings between entrepreneurs, investors and other industry experts.

Entrepreneurs can expect to gain insights from investors and peers alike, with networking and learning opportunities available via the online platform before, during and after the event. We connected with IGF organizers to determine what startups at various stages can take away from the sessions:


  • Early stage. What it means: You have a minimum viable product that has been proven. You are pre-revenue and need additional capital resources for commercialization.

    • You can sync up with stakeholders who can help you get to the next stage of development. That could mean identifying seed or early-stage funders, as well as potential strategic partners and opportunities for technical assistance. It’s also a good time to be developing relationships with late-stage investors while learning from peers who are further along the startup path.


  • Commercialization stage. What it means: You have demonstrated your technology in an operational environment and are awaiting commercial launch.

    • There are opportunities to meet with Series A-C investors, commercial demonstration partners and even potential customers. You can also connect with both early and growth stage companies for networking opportunities.


  • Growth stage. What it means: You have a technology that is being applied in successful operations, with multi-year revenue streams.

    • You may be looking for Series C+ growth financing, hoping to make an exit by acquisition, or seeking capital to scale a proven business model. Similar to startups at other stages, you can also expect to connect with new potential partners, perhaps with an international presence, and you can engage in networking and publicity efforts ahead of a substantial capital raise.

Sign up today for access to the virtual platform on which you can schedule one-on-one meetings by selecting from a list of more than 100 investors. You will also receive a three-week trial with Pitchbook.. You can use the code ANT10 for a discount at checkout.

We’ll see you online and we look forward to connecting with you and the global cleantech community at the NREL Industry Growth Forum.


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