venturewell selects eight startups for 2021 aspire cleantech cohort


VentureWell has chosen eight startups to participate in the 2021 ASPIRE Cleantech investment-readiness program. The selected startups all have innovations making a positive environmental impact, specifically solutions that address climate change, air and water pollution, food and transportation systems, waste management, or energy use.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this program to startups dedicated to solving environmental challenges with science and technology, and we are grateful for the many investors who are offering us their time to help these founders demystify the due diligence and equity investment process. This program has been carefully designed to create a safe space for founders to learn, network, and set themselves up for success in raising money and building their companies.”  said Christina Tamer, Director of Early-Stage Innovator and Venture Development Programs at VentureWell.

The selected startups will participate in the intensive 6-week ASPIRE training, which prepares entrepreneurs for investment and building their companies. Participants will gain insight into an investor’s thought process as well as an understanding of what is required in a deal room. Participants complete the program with a vetted fundraising strategy.

ASPIRE brings together mentors, coaches, and guest speakers representing angel investor, VC, and corporate perspectives to provide individual support to the startups as they identify relevant partnerships and vet their fundraising strategy.  The program will welcome mentors-in-residence Marcia Dawood of Angel Capital Association and Mindshift Capital, Jose Padilla of Padilla Law PLLC, Jolene Gurevich of the Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund, Andrea Course of Shell Ventures, Juliana Garaizar of Greentown Labs, and Deb Kemper of Golden Seeds Ventures to ASPIRE Cleantech to share their expertise and advice and help each venture refine their investment ask. Mentors are embedded into the program to provide continuous and thoughtful feedback to help the entrepreneurs develop and hone the materials they need to launch their fundraising efforts. 

Meet the spring 2021 ASPIRE Cleantech cohort:

Typical double-pane windows are used to aid in home insulation but often are not affordable. AeroShield developed a super-insulating, porous glass to create windows that are 50% more insulating and more affordable than typical double-pane windows.

Atrevida Science
Offshore wind turbines necessitate longer, rigid blades in order to generate more electricity, resulting in both difficult installation and increased equipment failure due to greater load forces placed on device components. Atrevida Science is developing an Active Morphing Blade™, which changes shape in real time depending on wind conditions, to improve efficiency and overall system performance.

Farm to Flame Energy
Current biomass-powered generators can typically only use one or two feedstocks to power their engines. Farm to Flame Energy has developed a patented combustion process that allows for the burn of a wide range of biomass fuels without the release of smoke, odor, or harmful particulates at a competitive cost.

Iconic AIR
Businesses and institutions concerned with air quality need to detect leaks, identify pollution sources, and monitor emissions. Iconic Air is developing a geospatial analytics platform and an air quality monitoring device that attaches to most aerial and terrestrial vehicles (manned and autonomous) for use in collecting samples of pollutants and aeronautic data.

Intelligent Systems
Current facility monitoring systems employ complicated user interfaces, often report incorrect readings, and system failures frequently go unnoticed unless they are being constantly observed. FacilitiesCoach employs the latest advancements in Machine Learning toward an environmental monitoring and alerting system capable of predicting HVAC faults and indoor air quality hazards.

In order to maintain sewer pipes, municipalities must analyze multiple sources of inspection data on pipe conditions which today is done separately and is very costly. One-Voice developed a software system that analyzes multiple data sets and formats, enabling municipalities to predict and prevent sewer pipe failures at a much lower cost.

TRIC Robotics
Farming strawberries requires human labor that is at risk from pesticide exposure; to reduce risk and save labor, TRIC Robotics’ automatic solution uses ultraviolet-C light to prevent pathogen formation. Nightly autonomous treatment of the plants keeps workers safer and increases profitability with no disruption to harvest and field operations.

Current textile manufacture harms the planet through the use of toxic dyes , high consumption of raw materials, and shedding of microplastics in the environment. Werewool is engineering biodegradable textile fibers with inherent color and function that can be returned to the ecosystem after their useful life, supporting a circular fashion industry.

The impact of ASPIRE on seed-stage startups is clear—more than $190M in follow-on funding has been raised by the nearly 120 startups that have participated in the program since 2015 and 90% of these ventures are still in business. ASPIRE startups that are also E-Team grantees  are eligible to  receive matching seed-stage funding from VentureWell if they have secured a sophisticated lead investor and can illustrate the impact of their solution and clear growth through their experience in our programming. 

We congratulate the members of our newest ASPIRE cohort!

Interested in serving as a mentor or guest speaker for ASPIRE? Contact Program Officer Tricia Compas-Markman at to learn more about the program and how to participate in an upcoming cohort.

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