NASA, FedTech to Launch First Climate Tech Startup Studio

Joshua Roberts /Getty

The program will help entrepreneurs leverage NASA tech to provide commercial solutions to climate challenges.

NASA is collaborating with the organization FedTech to launch a climate-focused NASA FedTech Startup Studio to help commercialize the use of NASA climate-related technology for public benefit, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

Specifically, NASA Technology Transfer Expansion and FedTech—an organization that brings entrepreneurs together with technology from federal labs—will select entrepreneurs to use NASA’s technologies to create commercial solutions for climate issues like water conservation, renewable energy storage and toxic chemical cleanups. The Startup Studio will match entrepreneurs with NASA’s licensable patents and group them into teams to develop new products and services. 

While prior NASA FedTech Startup Studios have led to several startups, such as HealieTech and Canopy Aerospace, this new cohort will be solely focused on climate-related technology and projects.

“One of the great things about NASA is our ability to innovate and support emerging technology—and that’s as important for studying our home planet as it is for studying the rest of the universe,” said Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor. “Programs like this help ensure not only that we have access to innovative climate technology, but also that those technologies can be used more broadly by businesses around the world.”

According to the announcement, NASA Technology Transfer Expansion—part of NASA’s Technology Transfer program—helps to fast-track the commercialization of NASA-developed technologies and create new ventures via partnerships, entrepreneurial activities and academic engagements.

“We’re excited about this next step to get NASA technologies in front of the right groups of people,” said Dan Lockney, NASA’s Technology Transfer program executive. “We aren’t just waiting for people to come to us­­—we’re going out there, making connections with entrepreneurial communities and ramping up the process to solve some big environmental challenges.”

The new endeavor will help participants work through challenges of starting a business.

Participants will be grouped based on interest, skill and expertise to form complementary teams. The Startup Studio will guide teams through the business model cycle with NASA technology for wind turbines, environmental monitoring, waste management and solar power, among other things. 

“With all of the current focus around climate technology, now is a perfect time for any aspiring entrepreneur to take the leap to launch a new venture,” said Robyn Brazzil, a partner at FedTech. “This startup studio will create important opportunities and will help us build upon the successful cohorts we’ve previously had with NASA in creating new businesses around vetted technologies.” 

NASA and FedTech are in the process of selecting the technology and recruiting the entrepreneurs for the Startup Studio to begin in June. The groups will work for 16 weeks culminating in a showcase event held in Wilmington, Delaware in October, where they will pitch their concepts to judges chosen by NASA Technology Transfer Expansion and FedTech. 

FedTech will run the program on NASA’s behalf.