About our commitment

Grid Catalyst was founded in 2021 by partners with decades of experience in clean energy development, integrating renewables and innovation into utility and energy systems, launching and supporting energy businesses across the sector.

We are coming together in support of the next generation of big ideas and practical solutions to make our energy system more resilient and to achieve urgent decarbonization objectives.

Founder

Nina Axelson

Grid Catalyst was founded in 2021 by Nina Axelson, an industry leader with nearly 20 years of experience in energy and sustainability. She led her previous organizations with innovative programming and a focus on integrating environmental and financial results.

She will leverage her background in business development, corporate social responsibility, and renewable energy deployment to lead the Grid Catalyst cohort.

Prior to developing Grid Catalyst, Nina was the VP of Sustainability for Ever-Green Energy. She previously served on the board of the International District Energy Association, where she led the development of the industry’s association for the advancement and empowerment of women in this field.

Grid catalyst founder: nina axelson

Program Host

Clean Energy Economy Minnesota

Grid Catalyst is a signature program of Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM). As an industry-led, nonprofit organization, CEEM provides the business voice for energy efficiency and clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM educates Minnesotans and policymakers about the economic benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy. As a program of CEEM, Grid Catalyst taps into a network of partners that possess decades of experience in clean energy development, integrating renewables and innovation into utility and energy systems, and experience launching and supporting energy businesses across the sector.

Program Host

Clean Energy Economy Minnesota

Grid Catalyst is a signature program of Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM). As an industry-led, nonprofit organization, CEEM provides the business voice for energy efficiency and clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM educates Minnesotans and policymakers about the economic benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy. As a program of CEEM, Grid Catalyst taps into a network of partners that possess decades of experience in clean energy development, integrating renewables and innovation into utility and energy systems, and experience launching and supporting energy businesses across the sector.

What we do

Grid Catalyst will establish a cohort of startup clean energy businesses and help them achieve market deployment through demonstration and investment.

Startups will be paired with one of the regional demonstration partners and provided support to navigate permitting, funding, construction, and demonstration reporting and data.

What is Unique about Clean Energy Accelerators?

Accelerators have proven their value in the marketplace across several metrics:

  • Nearly double the debt and equity financing for accelerated ventures
  • Revenue growth is 50% higher
  • Average of 16% more full-time hires

The challenges for clean energy businesses are unique and will need an approach customized to this sector.

Minnesota has great success with building out innovation across a range of business sizes and sectors. However, energy acceleration has a unique set of challenges that require specialized pathways to growth, especially recognizing the rate of new product and market development occurring in this sector.

Grid Catalyst will address common hurdles to market introduction for businesses with a great idea, but faced with these barriers:

  • Lack of demonstration project partners to prove out solution performance and attract investors
  • Identifying investors looking for longer time horizons and interested in more capital-intensive ventures, like manufacturing
  • Players and institutions that haven’t yet adapted to new regulatory and business model dynamics that are more responsive to emerging tech
About

Building the Runway

With the incredible potential for growth in this sector, now is the time to establish a program that makes it easier for these businesses to scale and deploy in Minnesota. The accelerator will build on proven mechanisms to ensure that the accelerator process has strong outcomes by providing the following to cohort participants:

  • a network of mentors specializing in financial, business, technical, policy, and manufacturing/deployment acumen
  • demonstration partners and utility allies
  • access to investors familiar with the clean energy investment life-cycle that can work with businesses at this stage of commercialization
  • support of a group of like-minded entrepreneurs
  • visibility from participation in a reputable program with strong PR partnerships experienced with economic inclusion to support equitable outcomes

Our Team

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Andy Newman

SEO

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Alicia Keys

Marketing Director

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Mike Divor

Finance

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Patricia Ralph

Designer

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Nick Zele

Developer

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Amanda Grey

PR Management

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Greg Silmer

Support

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Rossa Pelmar

Support

Launching in 2021

Cohort applications will open in Fall 2021.
Sign up for program announcements.

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