Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) announced a $20m expansion of the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a program that advances emerging clean technologies and startup companies.
Launched in 2014, the program was developed to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. Its initial focus was to support scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings, leveraging a network of channel partners for participant referrals. Companies selected for participation in the program receive up to $250k in non-dilutive funding from Wells Fargo, technical support and validation from experts at NREL’s facilities in Golden, Colo., and the opportunity to beta-test at a Wells Fargo facility or with a strategic program partner.
To date, the program has funded 20 early-stage startups from across the U.S. and has seen the exits of two Round 1 awardees via acquisition.
Now a $30m program co-administered by Wells Fargo and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), IN2 will leverage its commercialization model to build out additional verticals to drive innovation in sectors such as transportation, sustainable agriculture, energy storage and others.
The additional funding will also be used to develop a Channel Partner Award program to provide financial support for its more than 40 Channel Partners, made up of universities, business plan competitions, and other incubators, that maintain a pipeline of startup referrals to be considered for participation in IN2.