Incubating Market-Propelled Entrepreneurial-Mindset at the Labs and Beyond

IMPEL+ is a Department of Energy tech-to-market program focused on building technologies, funded by the Building Technologies Office and implemented by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. IMPEL+ helps early-stage innovators translate the premise and promise of their work into the language of business, boosting their chances of bringing their buildings technologies to market.

IMPEL+ stands for Incubating Market-Propelled Entrepreneurial Mindsets at the Labs and Beyond. Participants are buildings technologies and program Innovators from business, academia, and DOE’s national labs.

The focus is on the building lifecycle–the design, construction, operations, and circular technologies–as well as energy technologies that integrate with buildings, such as onsite renewables or grid integration incorporating electrification, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging. This domain has been challenging for tech-to-market due to notoriously difficult and deep ‘valleys of death’.

At the core of IMPEL+ are intensive pitch coaching workshops.

IMPEL+ 's Expert Coaches provide dynamic guidance during the one-day workshops to help Innovators refine and practice pitches for their projects to be clear, succinct, and compelling for their critical stakeholders.

Workshops include thoughtful pre-work through an expert-curated IMPEL Resource Toolkit. During the workshop, there will be real-time tailored exercises, on-video training, and live one-on-one coaching with professional critique from the IMPEL+ Expert Coaches.

This year, each IMPEL+ Workshop will be based on one of the themes below:

  • Decarbonize: For projects that radically reduce emissions for a zero-carbon built environment

  • Democratize: For projects that provide equitable wellness in a resilient, living environment

  • Digitalize: For projects that smartly connect buildings, distributed energy resources, people, and organizations

What type of projects should Innovators bring to the IMPEL+ Workshops?

  • Hardware Products: Building materials, assembly, sensors, controls, energy equipment, microgrid components

  • Software Products: Building information and construction management, energy data, building-to-grid optimization tools

  • Services: Design, modeling, construction, consulting, training

  • Systems & Solutions: Hardware + software + consulting

  • Programs & Policies: Residential building programs, energy efficiency programs, healthy buildings programs

Dig deeper into the content of our workshops here.

Who Should Apply to IMPEL+?

IMPEL+ offers unique pitch-training workshops to innovators working in the design, construction, and operations of buildings, or the building-to-grid space such as building-integrated renewables, electric vehicles, and energy storage.

Typically, IMPEL+ Innovators are earlier stage (Technology Readiness Levels 3-6), pre-revenue entrepreneurs and researchers or professionals with pre-commercial technologies, or pre-market programs. However, others with great ideas are also encouraged to apply.

Eligible applicants come from a variety of backgrounds

  • Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses who work in the built environment space such as engineering, architecture, urban design, facilities and real estate, healthy buildings, energy services, microgrids, data science etc.

  • National Lab Staff who conduct building and energy research

  • Non-Lab Awardees who have won Federal Opportunity Announcement Awards, Small Business Awards etc.

  • Faculty & Graduate Students who conduct building science R&D, or from BTO-affiliated university programs such as Solar Decathlon, JUMP into STEM, and others

  • Building Professionals who have new building innovation program ideas

Benefits to our Innovators

At the end of each IMPEL+ Workshop, Innovators will have developed well-formulated pitches with effective value propositions to non-technical audiences. This drives their building programs and technologies towards public or private sector engagement and funds and market impact. IMPEL+ Coaches help Innovators develop a refined roadmap for their projects by providing a deeper understanding of market factors.

Following participation in the IMPEL+ workshops, Innovators will be eligible for two types of tech-to-market pipelines in which additional pitching and mentoring opportunities are offered through IMPEL's Partner Organizations.

Many of our Innovators have moved on to win funding and recognition; check out the IMPEL+ Success Stories and Testimonials.

Public Sector Pipelines

IMPEL+ Innovators seeking public sector engagement will be eligible to pitch to public sector leaders at the IMPEL National Showcases hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. This year's IMPEL National Showcase Event is at Building Technologies Office 2020 Peer PReview, with an audience of DOE leaders and industry experts.

Private Sector Pipelines

IMPEL+ Innovators seeking private sector engagement will be eligible to gain fully-funded access to national pitch events, accelerators, and network connections. This is through pitch events organized by IMPEL's two partner Incubators, the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) and Greentown Labs, as well as a summer IMPEL-ATI Accelerator.