In 2019, we at Incite.org devoted ourselves to causing catalytic world-change with early companies, organizations, initiatives and individuals who we believe are not just forward-thinking visionaries, but faithful doers.
We deployed investments and grants to teams working on a wide range of solutions across consumer hardware, robotics, sustainable products, civic tools, carbon removal solutions, climate policy, election protections and advocacy focused on economic security. The common denominator? Values.
The entrepreneurs that make up our portfolio are not only uniquely talented, strategically positioned, but they share our core value: use all efforts to make the world a better place.
Our investing and grant-making philosophy has always and will always anchor in these values. Furthermore, the leaders in our portfolio are uniquely qualified to tackle a problem, persevere to its solution and, ultimately, change the world in their specific way.
Last year, the Incite entrepreneurs faced pivotal moments as they addressed the deepest emergencies of our time: saving the planet and saving democracy.
The climate crisis continues to be a mainstream issue, and in 2019, carbon removal and sequestration solutions became a much more prominent part of the US climate conversation. Carbon180, Activate and Antora experienced major moments in the fight against climate change.
Last October, Giana Amador, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Carbon180 testified to Congress as part of a series of hearings on climate change.
In her testimony, Giana advocated for the importance of carbon removal, as well as the need for new machinery and technology, and increased investment in forest restoration projects needed to meet a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Also in 2019, Carbon 180 led advocacy efforts to include carbon removal incentives for 45Q federal tax credits and California low-carbon fuel standards where none had previously existed. The team catalyzed breakthrough research on carbon removal and spurred businesses from large corporations to tech startups to take action on this issue by setting carbon negative emissions targets and making carbon removal procurement pledges.
2019 was an instrumental year for clean energy wins and momentum in states across the country, with AEE playing a key role in advancing policy to achieve positive climate and clean energy results. Among other achievements, AEE worked to build support for the Pennsylvania Clean Transportation Infrastructure Act and continued close engagements with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam who signed an executive order that puts the Commonwealth on the path to using 30% renewable energy by 2030 and being 100% carbon-free by 2050.
Activate, which supports the Cyclotron Road fellowship program at Berkeley Lab, continues to pave a new fellowship path for the brightest scientists and engineers to transform their ideas into world-changing products. Since 2015, Activate has supported 56 fellows, who have been awarded over $18M in direct fellowship support to create 40 transformative products across industries like energy, manufacturing, and electronics.
Three of these fellows founded Antora Energy, which building a low-cost thermal battery for grid-scale energy storage. A key metric is the ability to convert heat into electricity with high efficiency using our thermophotovoltaic cells. The Antora team set and successfully fulfilled the goal to achieve 30% conversion efficiency by fall 2019.
The Antora device now holds the record efficiency for thermophotovoltaic energy conversion.
2019 also kicked off with new members sworn into what has now become the most diverse Congress in history. Leading with fresh energy and a sense of urgency, the new House majority made strides in revamping policy and redefining purpose – reminding us what government at its best is meant to be. Ten of the newest members of the House are Arena alumni, and we’re thrilled that they led the charge for good against the current administration.
The Arena successfully completed five academies, training over 1,000 new progressive campaign staff. And not a moment too soon: in the span of twelve months, our country will have witnessed an impeachment trial and a presidential election.
Similarly, we supported Phil Barnett and Phil Schiliro from Co-Equal as they worked tirelessly to equip Members of Congress with the information, policies and conduct they needed to conduct an effective impeachment trial. They worked behind the scenes: provided advice to committees; developed A Guide to Congressional Oversight Precedents and A Guide to Oversight Procedures that help policymakers overcome Trump Administration roadblocks; connected Members and staff with a wide range of experts to refine policy initiatives and so much more.
The Arena and the Co-Equal teams know that the past moments in time, while pivotal and important, now serve as beacons for the work ahead. They are committed to doing everything they can to illuminate truth and fight for justice. Now is the time for real change. And real change starts with people.
Three people whom Incite is thrilled to support were featured in this year’s TIME100: Desmond Meade, Pete Buttigieg and Lauren Underwood. These individuals embody our shared values, they have taken their gifts and talents to make the world a better place – not in some ambiguous and unattainable futuristic sense, but now. They are doers in a time of urgency.
“Desmond fought to graduate with a law degree. When he learned he could not vote for his own wife, a candidate for the state legislature, he became president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and led the charge to adopt a constitutional amendment to re-enfranchise Floridians with felonies...”
By Stacey Abrams
Keep reading here.
“Congresswoman Underwood is blazing a trail for a new generation of unbought and unbossed leaders, and I know that one day soon, another newly elected Congressperson will look back at her example and be inspired to do the same...”
By Cory Booker
Keep reading here.
“We don’t need to look backward to find greatness. As a presidential candidate, Mayor Pete gives us hope for a better future. Our country needs a fresh start, and Pete stands for the best America we all know we can be...”
By Steve Adler
Keep reading here.
We are committed to investing in organizations and in individuals like these who are rooted in shared values and who are acting now.
This new year has already brought its own set of challenges and triumphs–highlighted in no small way by the ever-approaching Presidential Election. 2019 was a uniquely clarifying, gratifying and growing year for us at Incite. We are proud to have put our resources, our efforts, and our support behind people who are changing the world.
We’re nowhere near done. 2020 isn’t just a distant moment in time. It’s here, it’s now. And Team Incite is ready.