On October 24, entrepreneurs, investors, and community leaders from the Delaware area gathered at the Innovation Space in Wilmington for the NASA Climate Tech Startup Studio Showcase event. Teams from the 2023 group of NASA’s Climate Tech Startup Studio shared go-to-market strategies to commercialize their technologies from NASA laboratories. Five teams pitched their final concepts for commercializing climate solutions and a panel of judges selected winners.
FedTech, an organization that connects entrepreneurs with technologies from federal labs, collaborated with the Innovation Space, a nonprofit innovation ecosystem space for science-based startups and entrepreneurs, to host this event. The Innovation Space was an ideal environment for the event.
NASA leaders supported the showcase event in person and virtually. Dr. Katherine Calvin, NASA's chief scientist and senior climate advisor, delivered a virtual keynote speech about the urgency of the climate crisis and the value of applying technological solutions to climate challenges. Daniel Lockney, Technology Transfer program executive at NASA, presented the awards to the winners. Jenn Gustetic, the agency’s director of Early Stage Innovations and Partnerships, served as one of the three judges. Christie Funk, Technology Transfer Expansion program manager, worked with the FedTech team from the beginning to make this program possible.
Organizers in NASA’s Technology Transfer program and Technology Transfer Expansion (T2X) were “excited to showcase FedTech participants and their NASA technology-based business concepts to a broad audience at the Innovation Space. Working with collaborative, entrepreneurial organizations and venues helps NASA to drive innovation and commercialization to create the products of tomorrow, today," said Funk.
The Startup Studio guided fledgling entrepreneurs through the process of commercializing climate forward NASA-developed technology. Participants developed skills to discover customers, create business models, and raise investment funding to gain a competitive edge. Throughout the experience, participants worked in teams, learning to implement lean startup methodologies, validate a business model, and commercialize NASA-patented technology. They also received training and mentorship, creating a supportive environment to test ideas and pivot when appropriate.
Each team presented its commercialization concept to a panel of judges from NASA, Innovation Space, and industry, receiving questions, feedback, and suggestions. While all the teams demonstrated an impressive grasp of their technology and the market space, this was a competition. The judges selected W2 Climatech, with Kristina Samonte, Don Samonte, and Chris Beronio, as the overall "Best Pitch." W2 Climatech is leveraging a NASA developed coating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry while developing efficient wind energy.
"T2X and NASA tech are turbocharging our startup – accelerating our product development, reducing costs, and propelling us into uncharted realms of innovation,” said Kristina Samonte. “This dynamic synergy lays the foundation for our success in the ever-evolving startup landscape. Thanks to T2X and NASA, we're not just launching a business but pioneering the future.”
"It has been incredible to watch everything that the companies formed in the Startup Studio have accomplished so far to solve major problems in the climate space,” said John Boyer, Associate at Fedtech. He noted that FedTech’s mission is to support researchers and entrepreneurs bringing innovations from the lab to the market, and the organization leverages programs like Startup Studio to make that happen. “None of this would have been possible without our partnership with NASA, and we cannot thank the NASA team enough for their commitment to supporting innovative new companies working to create climate-focused solutions.”
W2 Climatech will share its experience with FedTech and licensing NASA technology in upcoming segments of our monthly Startup NASA Feature Series. The event will be a 45-minute webinar presentation with a Q&A session at the end.
Sign up for the Technology Transfer program’s newsletter to get the latest news about upcoming events, and check the virtual events page to see the schedule of future events and recordings of past webinars.
For more information about FedTech, visit their website.