News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor Lee

Mayor Lee Announces CleantechSF Initiative to Support Growth of Cleantech Industry in San Francisco

Launches Living Innovation Zone to Enable Cleantech Companies to Demonstrate Products with City; Announces Groundbreaking Partnership with California Clean Energy Fund to Support CleantechSF Strategy;

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the launch of CleantechSF – a new initiative to support the growth of the cleantech industry and cleantech jobs in San Francisco. CleantechSF has three key goals: (1) to streamline the demonstration and testing of clean technologies utilizing City assets; (2) attract cleantech anchoring institutions to San Francisco and (3) support early stage cleantech firms in San Francisco.

“As part of my 17-Point Jobs Plan, CleantechSF is designed to drive job creation in the cleantech and green sectors,” said Mayor Lee. “This innovative partnership brings together the California Clean Energy Fund and key City departments, with the singular goal of keeping San Francisco the leading center for cleantech.”

CleantechSF is a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation (MOCI), the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the San Francisco Department of Environment (SFE), the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF).

“San Francisco is the center of the largest cluster of cleantech businesses in the nation, and we are confident that this partnership will help maintain and expand that leadership position,” said CalCEF Managing Director Paul Frankel. “This initiative is another example of how CalCEF’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) program creates implementable solutions that address critical issues in the clean energy market. As a result, we believe that CleantechSF will help create replicable models to accelerate innovation, the adoption of new technologies, and business growth.”

Mayor Lee made the announcement during remarks at the Greenstart Demo Day in downtown San Francisco, where four of San Francisco’s newest cleantech startups were launching. Greenstart is an investor and design studio for digital cleantech startups.

“A big challenge for young startups is finding organizations that are willing to pilot their products,” said Greenstart Founding Partner Mitch Lowe. “We met with Mayor Lee over a year ago, and asked what the city could do to help with this problem. CleantechSF is the answer - Mayor Lee heard our request loud and clear, and this demonstration and piloting program is exactly what the cleantech startup community needs.”

In this first phase, CleantechSF will focus on three key program areas:
1. Establish Living Innovation Zones: CleantechSF will support cleantech company and job growth by supporting the demonstration and testing of clean technologies. Through CleantechSF, CalCEF will work with the City to create an institutionalized and streamlined citywide process to use City properties, buildings, and other public assets to pilot and evaluate a broad-array of innovative new products and design concepts including those from the clean technology sector. This may ultimately take the form of enabling legislation, master agreements, special zoning or building permits for limited term pilot projects, concept demonstrations, and strategies for organizational structuring and process flow.

2. Support New Company Growth and Jobs: CleantechSF will support new cleantech company growth by addressing constraints to growth and seizing on opportunities to improve and strengthen the San Francisco Cleantech ecosystem. This will include developing a support network of mentors and services for San Francisco cleantech startups; recruiting cleantech incubators and cowork spaces to the city; and connecting cleantech companies to our workforce system so we can ensure San Franciscans are able to find jobs in this industry.

3. Attract Cleantech Anchoring Institutions: CleantechSF will work to attract additional cleantech industry anchors to San Francisco including science and engineering universities, national laboratories, research centers, non-governmental organizations, and other major firms.

San Francisco is home to more than 208 cleantech companies – one the largest and most concentrated cleantech clusters in the world. In 2012, the city was named Cleantech Capital of North America by the Cleantech Group.

About CalCEF
CalCEF is a family of non-profit organizations working to advance clean energy using tools from finance, public policy and technological innovation. We believe that a new model of entrepreneurship and financial innovation in the public interest is required to speed the transition to a clean energy economy. Our mission is the serial creation of institutions and investment vehicles that accelerate the adoption of clean energy technologies, and their movement along the continuum from innovation to infrastructure. For more information, go to:

About Greenstart
Greenstart is an investor and design studio for digital cleantech startups. Accepting only 2 percent of startups that apply, Greenstart invests $115,000 and runs an intensive 3-month Startup Design accelerator program focused on business model, UX, and brand design. Startups also receive extensive coaching from more than 50 world class mentors, collaborative work space in downtown San Francisco, and introductions to hundreds of investors during the program, culminating with a Demo Day and fundraising roadshow.