New Energy Nexus (formerly CalCEF Innovations)

he future of clean energy is 100% for the 100%.

aka California Clean Energy Fund Innovations, CalCEF Innovations, Nexus, California Clean Energy Fund, The CalCEF Center for Innovation and Sustainability   |   Oakland, CA   |


We support diverse entrepreneurs to drive innovation and build equity into the global clean economy.

Ruling year info



Mr. Danny Kennedy

Main address

436 14th Street Suite 1220

Oakland, CA 94612 USA

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Formerly known as

The CalCEF Center for Innovation and Sustainability



NTEE code info

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The 2015 Paris Agreement commits to holding the average global temperature increase to “well below 2C”. This will require an investment of at least $12 trillion in new renewable power generation, grid management and integrated consumer technologies. More than 1 billion people lack access to electricity, including 675 million people in developing Asia; the best way to bring electricity to these regions is by accelerating clean energy technology. Entrepreneurship is the engine to deliver the technologies, products and services required to deliver cost-effective clean energy solutions at scale. At the same time, communities of color and low-income communities are often subjected disproportionally to pollutants and other environmental costs of fossil fuel energy. Yet women and people of color are notoriously underrepresented in the entrepreneurial world. The barriers for these entrepreneurs include access to capital, networks and capacity building.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

New Energy Nexus Global Programs

New Energy Nexus is an international non-profit that supports clean energy entrepreneurs with funds, accelerators, and networks. We started in California and also operate programs in New York, China, India, Southeast Asia, and East Africa.

We are a platform organization whose mission remains: to support diverse entrepreneurs to drive innovation and build equity into the global clean energy economy. To achieve it we launch, accelerate, fund, and scale startups. These yield social and economic dividends, while also building the market and political momentum for rapid transitions.

Each startup New Energy Nexus supports will stop carbon going into the atmosphere. The faster our companies grow, the faster we decarbonize the economy. We also create jobs, wealth, empowerment of women, diversity in the energy sector and better health outcomes, which creates buy-in. We have a formula that can scale – our programs spawn a number of companies and increase their likelihood of success, while our concessionary capital helps accelerate them down the path. Our pipeline is impacting markets from the US, to SE Asia, India, China and East Africa - countries that will ultimately dictate the global burden of CO2.

We take ideas from fledgling teams and turn them into companies selling solutions to real customers. We run a global network of 90+ incubators, accelerators and funds wherein every company fills a needed climate niche. Where needed we create accelerators and funds to build these startups that also uplift communities left behind by fossil-fuels. We connect them across borders and share lessons learned through our global network. We have a track record of supporting successful startups at critical moments – like Tesla. But we must increase our investments exponentially to replicate and scale our work to enable enough companies to undo the climate crises.

Our vision is to create 100,000 clean energy startups by 2030. While 70-90% of these will fail, the 10s of 1000s that succeed will play a critical role in accelerating the clean energy transition that we so urgently need.

A full list of our Global Programs can be found here:

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Immigrants and migrants
Economically disadvantaged people

The California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development Initiative (CalSEED) is a $24m grant program to help early stage California clean energy startups bring their concepts and prototypes to market. CalSEED is administered by CalCEF Ventures on behalf of the California Energy Commission.
CalCEF Venture’s CalSEED program provides the friends and family funding resources that most underserved entrepreneurs do not have access to. Our CalSEED program is funded by the state of California and will grant $24MM to aspiring entrepreneurs over 5 years. XIR helps to ensure a robust pipeline of equity applicants for CalSEED and support achievement of the CalSEED program’s equity goals.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Women and girls

Our goal is to help growth-stage clean energy companies from around the world scale in New York, at speed. We do this by helping build deep relationships with corporate and investor partners who can enable rapid growth. We’ve designed the program to be as efficient and effective as possible, offering the following tailored benefits: no relocation for program; no equity stake taken; hands-on matchmaking with industry-leading corporate partners in a time-efficient format; non-dilutive grants available to fund resulting partnership agreements, bridge loans, or growth rounds ($1.25M available per cohort: companies can apply for up to $500k, but no funds are guaranteed); tailored support services to equip the company for scale ($25-30k in value guaranteed per company); and, assistance navigating the New York market from top regulators and industry experts. There will be 8-12 companies per cohort. We are a not-for-profit and do not take an equity stake in the companies as part of being accepted to the program.

In creating each cohort, The Clean Fight selects a dozen or so highly engaged corporations and investors as formal partners in the program, all of whom commit to deeply engaging with selected startups in hopes of piloting and investing in clean energy innovations.

Population(s) Served
Self-employed people
Self-employed people

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We aim to change the face of the energy sector by providing resources that ensure women, the disadvantaged, and communities of color benefit from and economically participate in the clean energy economy. Our organization is unique in that we are accelerating clean energy solutions to benefit all people and all communities – 100% clean energy for 100%.

What especially distinguishes our entrepreneur programs are our extensive connections and networks within the clean economy. Through our highly developed local and international networks of investors, accelerators and incubators, we curate the connections that will help diverse entrepreneurs succeed in the clean economy.

We work in close partnership with our family of not-for-profits (California Clean Energy Fund, a 501c4 and CalCEF Catalyst, a 501c6). Together, our funds, programs and networks work across the business lifecycle of clean energy development, commercialization and deployment. While the entrepreneurial journey is not linear or predictable, we look to stabilize the journey by connecting the right human and financial capital at the right stage of business lifecycle.

We also frame broader conversations on equity-based solutions and engagement beyond the ‘usual suspects’ in start-up creation in everything we do.

We need to speed up the pace and the scale of innovation in the clean energy transition, and at New Energy Nexus we believe diverse entrepreneurs are most capable of this. We focus on entrepreneurship as a high-impact way to transition all communities to clean energy.

We are developing an inclusive clean energy economy that will benefit communities of color and underserved regions of the world – both with economic benefits and with market-based solutions that will reach these same communities.

We promote diversity in the clean energy transition both to change the face of the clean energy economy and to increase access to clean energy solutions for disadvantaged communities. Clean energy is a lever for the empowerment of individuals and communities, bringing the exponential benefits of job opportunities, lower electricity rates, and pollution reduction which results in cleaner communities and better health. We believe that solutions that benefit disadvantaged communities are more likely to be created by the people who come from these communities. As leaders in the clean energy transition, we have a responsibility to ensure these entrepreneurs have every opportunity for success.

The best way to bring electricity to the regions where many people live without electricity in their homes is through accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies, like microgrids. We help local entrepreneurs meet geographic and economic challenges to reach rural populations that are far from main energy grids; and deliver affordable energy to low-income populations.

Our unique equity in/equity out strategy guides the organization’s program development and execution as follows:

• Equity In: We work to attract a diverse pool of applicants across all programs. Small and diverse owned businesses are critical for the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy. We seek to ensure that diverse and underrepresented communities ­ including disadvantaged, LGTBQ, rural and veteran communities participate in our entrepreneur development programs and become an integral part of the transition to a clean economy. To this end, we devise bold and inclusive approaches to outreach, application processes, and professional development.

• Equity Out: Disadvantaged and low-income communities lack access to clean energy resources, due largely to a dearth of economic investments in those communities. Disadvantaged communities are in need of long-term job opportunities, innovative programs that reduce the cost of basic necessities, and clean energy investments that create healthier environments. Nexus encourages the development of advanced energy solutions that are lead and managed by women and people of color. We encourage applicants to prioritize supply chain diversity and inclusion. We work with our entrepreneurs to find opportunities to target and include underrepresented subcontractors and partners during both project development and after commercialization of the project.

New Energy Nexus --together with California Clean Energy Fund Ventures and Catalyst--sit at the intersection of environment and social justice.
In partnership with California Clean Energy Fund Ventures and California Clean Energy Fund Catalyst, we have leveraged $1.5 billion in investment, supported over 100 clean energy enterprises, and launched industry-leading centers for solution collaboration.

Our nonprofits are uniquely positioned to support entrepreneurs given our:
• 16-year history nurturing 100's of clean energy enterprises and our track record connecting investors to solutions with over $1.5B in investments leveraged;
• success incubating world-class solutions-oriented organizations like CalCharge;
• administration of the California Energy Commission’s Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development (CalSEED) program in partnership with CalCEF Ventures 501c4
• highly developed network of national and international investors and entrepreneurs;
• Our network that connects the world’s leading clean energy accelerators and incubators. Our leadership is drawn directly from clean energy enterprise with a depth of experience in launching startup businesses, building incubators and accelerators, cultivating entrepreneurs, and developing early stage social ventures.

Our Explorer-in-Residence program began in 2015 to administer short term (1-3 month) grants and mentorship to women and people of color, who traditionally receive very little “friends and family round” early stage entrepreneurial support. The program has since expanded to also include returned citizens (formerly incarcerated), immigrants, and refugees. Awards range from $10-$25K.

Since the program’s inception, our explorers have launched 1) A business model and pilot for solar-powered bicycles, 2) An e-bike shelter in Oakland, 3) An action plan for a virtual global clean energy accelerator and incubator network, 4) A research project of the applicability of green bonds in California, 5) Navajo Solar: an organization that catalyzes clean energy adoption in Native American communities, 6) a course series on clean energy with a focus on micro-business and green artisanal trades, 7) a project identifying the equipment, machinery and chemicals used in prisons that are most environmentally hazardous and least energy efficient, and 8) a project aimed at building awareness and bringing clean energy alternatives to co-living spaces.

CalSEED: Since its inception in 2015, this program, administered through our affiliate 501c4 California Clean Energy Fund Ventures, has obtained funding from the California Energy Commission to disburse $24MM in Concept Award Funding and has begun distributing these awards. A sampling of the selected grants to date include a wide range of research projects, including a new lithium extraction process, a high-efficiency electric power grid control device, and an improved light-emitting diode (LED) bulb.

New Energy Nexus: We have begun to radically share what we know about entrepreneurial support and impact investment with markets and movements in key regions to the climate struggle and energy transition through accelerators and incubators. We are building a local and global community of entrepreneurs and support systems. Over the past three years we:

1. Opened incubators in Jakarta and Bangkok, with plans to open another in Ho Chi Minh City.
2. Begun developing partnerships to bring clean energy solutions to East Africa.
3. Brought together 25 accelerators from around the world to Manilla to share best practices. We hosted energy summits in Shanghai and Long Beach.
4. Initiated EnergyLab in Australia.
5. Piloted the value of bringing together India’s biggest industries, Solar + Software, with the country’s first ever Solar Hackathon.
6. Collaborated with a small group of philanthropic foundations to implement the first Sustainable Energy Bond investment into cKers, a specialized Sustainable Energy (SE) finance company in India.
7. With GreenPeace, Convened PowerLab, China's first incubator focused on very early stage idea generation in solar and distributed generation.


New Energy Nexus (formerly CalCEF Innovations)

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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New Energy Nexus (formerly CalCEF Innovations)

Board of directors
as of 3/22/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ian Rogoff

Sierra Nevada Partners

Term: 2013 -

Michael Gelobter

Climate Strategist

Horst Simon

Berkeley Lab

Fran Pavley

Former California State Senator

Jon Foster


Tom Soto


Vic Shao


Chia-Lin Simmons

Looky Loo, Inc.

Janet Dalzeil

Leadership and Management Consultant

Sherri Pittman Howard

Principal at Being Human

Aneri Pradan

Elemental Excelerator

Julie Blunden

Growing Energy Transformation Businesses

Bernie Kotlier

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/22/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
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