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For Startups

Accelerate your success and speed to market with us.

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We’re laser-focused on accelerating your pathway to commercialization.

Because the challenges climate tech startups face are not one-size-fits all, our flexible and virtual 18-month accelerator is designed to meet your startup exactly where you are. From day one you get matched with a D3 connector, who acts as your bridge into our powerfully curated network of partners.

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Apply to our next cohort. Start here:

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Bring your innovation to market faster with the best-networked climate tech accelerator.

We’re here to help you bridge critical finance and resource gaps by uniting and aligning the world’s most promising climate tech startups—like you—with D3’s network of committed investors, corporate partners, market experts, and mentors.

We’re looking for world-changing climate tech startups addressing billion-dollar markets in the areas of hard science, hardware, software, and business model innovation. If accepted, you’ll take part in our virtual, 18-month-long accelerator program.

Cohorts 22-2 and 22-3 (CDR)!

As part of our effort to move the needle—and the market—on climate tech, D3 is proud to announce Cohorts 22-2 and 22-3. 

Alongside a general cohort (22-2) comprising 29 promising climate tech startups, we’re also excited to introduce our first focused cohort of 5 additional startups (22-3) zeroing in on a critical area: carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

"Third Derivative's patient perspective (18 months) and light, but tailored and targeted touch means we have extracted maximum value from the program whilst being able to build Mission Zero at the speed our ambition demands. If you're a founder doing hard things, you'd be hard pressed to find a better program/collection of people to bring along for the journey."

Nick Chadwick, CEO
Mission Zero Technologies

"D3 has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for TS Conductor. We are grateful for the support from D3 and colleagues. It should be the role model for other incubating platforms. The system D3 is building to support startups like mine is amazing, and there is also a critical mass in the cohorts to fully leverage the collective effort. Just amazing, and for a very worthy cause!"

Jason Huang, President & CEO
TS Conductor

 

Why join D3’s accelerator?

Remote, flexible, tailored programming

We are not a one-size-fits-all accelerator. D3 is designed to meet your startup’s current growth stage head-on with tailor-made programming for your needs. Your experience in the accelerator can be as light-touch or involved as you desire.

Accelerated pathways to commercialization with D3's strategic corporate partners

D3’s dynamic network of corporate partners help you fast-track your pathway to commercial deal-making. Our corporate partners are fully invested in your success.

Unparalleled market experts and techno-economic analysis powered by RMI & New Energy Nexus (NEN)

Gain access to RMI’s 400+ energy professionals’ expertise and network. RMI works across power, transport, buildings, and industrial sectors on six continents and has deep connections to all parts of the energy value chain including government, corporates, and NGOs. NEN has 15 years of experience serving 300+ startups in accelerator and investment programs and currently operates accelerators in nine countries.

Dial into focused capital mobilization

Each startup selected for the accelerator receives an optional $100k convertible note. We also bring $880M+ of follow-on funding available from D3’s investor partners.

 

Looking for more specifics on the D3 startup experience?
Explore our frequently asked questions

What are your sector, technology, and innovation focuses? How do you define climate tech?

What are your sector, technology, and innovation focuses? How do you define climate tech?

Following is a list of core Third Derivative sector, technology, and innovation focuses:

  • More efficient building cooling, heating, and envelope
  • More efficient building lighting and appliances
  • Advanced construction for more efficient buildings (prefab, 3D printing, etc.)
  • Batteries (new chemistry, BMS, manufacturing, etc.)
  • Electric transportation
  • Vehicle efficiency technologies
  • Long-duration energy storage
  • Renewable power generation
  • Power electronics and hardware for a low carbon electricity grid 
  • Carbon capture and utilization
  • Carbon markets
  • Methane capture
  • Green hydrogen
  • Renewable process heat
  • Biofuels, synfuels, and low carbon chemicals
  • Low carbon steel and cement
  • Other low carbon materials
  • Computing and communication technology efficiency
  • Financing and project development innovation that expands or accelerates adoption of climate technologies
  • Enabling software (e.g.: building energy management, grid management) that expands or accelerates adoption of climate technologies

We also encourage applicants to apply if they don’t fit neatly into one of the above categories. Solving energy and climate requires many fresh and out-of-the-box approaches. We keep our doors open for any innovation that can mitigate or remove significant greenhouse gas emissions, and any innovation that can enable faster and greater adoption of greenhouse gas mitigating or removing technologies, that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

For reference, here's how (and why) we measure climate impact: https://www.third-derivative.org/blog/why-and-how-we-measure-climate-impact

What stages of companies do you work with, and what are the benefits?

What stages of companies do you work with, and what are the benefits?

Short answer: The minimum is two full-time employees (no upper limit) with a working prototype, and we enthusiastically encourage applicants from anywhere in the world. More details: 

  • Minimum requirement: You are a for-profit company, with two full-time employees (FTEs) and a working prototype/no basic science risk (about TRL 3 or 4). For earlier-stage startups, we help in particular with an optional $100K USD convertible note, refining product-market fit, connecting with strategic corporate partners, capital partners, and mentors, and working towards your next funding round. 
  • If you are a later-stage startup (series A or later), we encourage you to apply if you think we can help you grow. The program for later-stage companies will focus on helping you deploy with corporate partners (from within the program and beyond), getting the funding you need to grow, and coaching you through your growth process. The curriculum is flexible and is customized to what you need, when you need it (i.e., not one-size-fits-all). If you’re a later stage company, don’t feel constrained by the $100K convertible note since it is completely optional.
Is there any exclusivity associated with the program?

Is there any exclusivity associated with the program?

No! We have specifically crafted a program that has NO exclusivity, either to the program or the partners. So, yes, you can do both D3 and another program, and you can also work with other funds, corporates, or customers as you see fit. We want to help you and keep your options open as much as possible.

What is First Gigaton Captured? Does my startup qualify for FGC, or should I apply to the general D3 Cohort?

What is First Gigaton Captured? Does my startup qualify for FGC, or should I apply to the general D3 Cohort?

D3’s Carbon Capture Cohort is part of our First Gigaton Captured initiative with the Jeremy Grantham Foundation. Our end goal is to accelerate the most-promising durable carbon dioxide removal startups to commercialization, and this begins with attracting the strongest startups to our cohort–that’s where you come in.  

D3’s bespoke curriculum of targeted connections and coaching features:

  • Remote, flexible, tailored programming
  • Facilitated dealmaking 
  • Access to unparalleled market research and insight
  • An optional $100k convertible note 

 

Startups that qualify for First Gigaton Captured span carbon dioxide removal methods including, but not restricted to:

 

  1. Direct Air Capture 
  2. Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage
  3. Carbon Mineralization
  4. Enhanced Weathering
  5. Ocean-based carbon dioxide removal

 

Qualifying start-ups will have these features:

  • For-profit companies
  • At least 2 full-time employee
  • TRL 4+, lab-scale or field performance data should be available

 

The technology selection criteria are as follows:

  • Techno-economic projection showing fully levelized cost to <$100/t removed at million ton/year scale
  • No fundamental techno-economic barrier to gigaton-scale capture
  • 1,000+ year permanence
  • Net carbon negative
  • Do No Harm to ecological systems
What happens after the 18-month program?

What happens after the 18-month program?

You become an alumni of our ecosystem with access to programming, resources, and D3's Slack community.  You may be asked to provide occasional support to incoming startup cohorts. 

What is expected for startups being a part of the program?

What is expected for startups being a part of the program?

D3 is a highly-tailored accelerator program. By taking part in the program you commit to: 

  • Participating in monthly check-in calls with your D3 connector 
  • Being a productive member of the global D3 Slack ecosystem 
  • Actively updating D3 tools (i.e. stacker) to keep information current for our partners
  • Attending D3’s annual virtual global summit during the course of the program, present if asked, and build virtual startup booth as part of startup virtual village
  • Accessing an array of programming—although it’s up to you how much you’d like to attend. Think of this as a choose-your-own-adventure experience.
What are the details about the convertible note?

What are the details about the convertible note?

There is an optional $100K convertible note with no valuation cap. Download a detailed PDF for more info. Participation in D3 does not require that you accept it.

What if my team doesn’t speak English?

What if my team doesn’t speak English?

The program is only taught in English, so proficiency is required. We plan to add other languages in subsequent years.

What is your admissions process? Can I reapply if components of my startup change?

What is your admissions process? Can I reapply if components of my startup change?

As part of our mission to accelerate the rate of climate tech innovation, Third Derivative brings on multiple cohorts per year. Quite simply, there are too many companies that need help, and the markets and partners we serve have more demand for innovation that we can fill with a once-a-year cohort. 

Once you apply, your application is sent to a Sector Lead (i.e. buildings, transportation, electricity, industry). We do an initial review focused on climate impact, techno-economics, business model, and competitive landscape. We will set up a first-round interview to learn more if your application seems like the right fit for D3’s program.

There will also be a second-round interview focused on investor perspective and ecosystem fit. Some of our fund or corporate partners may also request an interview to learn more. After these two interviews we will make a decision, and communicate it by email. The whole process takes roughly two months. 

We accept startups multiple times a year, and after acceptance, you are transitioned to D3’s Ecosystem Success team, who will onboard you and your team. 

If you have already applied, we have you in our database and will proactively reach out to you as the program grows and as our partner network and their needs grow. (We are a customer/corporate-driven program, though we do make our own calls.) 

That said, if you have significant changes (e.g., new funding, new partners or deployments/pilots, technological or techno-economic breakthroughs or proof points, etc.), then you should absolutely apply again and make note of the changes so we can reconsider you.

Third Derivative is dedicated to the advancement of the broad fields of climate and world-positive technology. So, if you are working in the field, want to know more, or want to advise, we encourage you to join the New Energy Network, our open Slack community, which incorporates hundreds of people like you—learning, sharing, and striving for solutions and change from all over the world.

How will my application be judged?

How will my application be judged?

Roughly, these are the categories that our team uses to assess each application:

  • How large are the climate benefits if the technology or innovation is broadly adopted?
  • Is there a believable techno-economic pathway to scale?
  • Can D3 help the team in mobilizing more investment capital to achieve their goals?
  • Can D3 help the team in mobilizing commercialization and corporate partnerships to achieve their goals?
  • Is the team a good fit as an engaging participant and contributor to D3’s collaborative ecosystem?

Subject matter experts from our corporate, investor, and expert network also weigh in, and our decisions are based on our collective assessment of impact, program fit, and how much we can add to your success.

How will my confidential information be protected?

How will my confidential information be protected?

D3 will treat all application data with care and discretion. We will share with our investor and corporate partners as needed for the selection process. The purpose of sharing information with our partners is to accelerate potential access to investment and deployment opportunities for your venture. In your application, please do not disclose any proprietary information that you consider to be your “secret sauce,” but be as clear as possible about your competitive advantage and differentiation.