NW cleantech accelerator gets Toyota foundation backing, seeks applicants

The Toyota Mobility Foundation is backing the Cascadia Cleantech Accelerator’s 2019 program as lead sponsor, a $25,000 commitment.

The move comes as Cascadia — a collaboration between Portland-based Vertue Lab (formerly Oregon BEST) and Seattle-based CleanTech Alliance — takes applications through April 17 for the 15-week accelerator.

The Toyota foundation is aimed at innovation in sustainable transportation, but “even for companies not directly related to mobility, they will be able to offer excellence in supply chain management, marketing and sales, composite materials, manufacturing, proof-of-concept testing, modeling and more,” CleanTech Alliance CEO Tom Ranken said in a statement.

The range of the accelerator’s efforts is evident in the recent proof-of-concept grants it handed out. Consider the two Oregon companies that got $55,000 apiece: Wheyward Spirit, a Eugene startup that uses whey left over from the cheesemaking process to make ultra premium spirits; and Bladerunner Energy, a Bend startup that’s developed a hydropower rotor that can be easily deployed for sustainable distributed energy generation.

The accelerator is open to cleantech product- or service-focused companies that are at least in the process of incorporating, and that haven’t raised more than $1 million.

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