Vice President Biden Joins Mayor Garcetti for LA Cleantech Incubator Roundtable

Mayor Eric Garcetti today joined Vice President Joe Biden and leaders in the clean-technology industry at LA Clean Tech Incubator’s La Kretz Campus for a roundtable discussion on renewable energy, green business, and public-private partnerships in Los Angeles.

Said Vice President Biden, “This incubator brings together innovative minds with the courage to take a chance on a new idea. There is a power in technological and financial resources coming together to take ideas from paper to product to marketplace.”

The roundtablers included a mix of academia, business, finance, government, and entrepreneurs, such as LACI CEO Fred Walti, LACI CSIO Ian Gardner, LACI Board Members Richard Morgenstern and David Nahai, LADWP GM Marcie Edwards, Kelli Bernard of the Mayor’s Office, Jim McDermott of US Renewables Group, and Tom Soto, who originally developed and chased the funding of LACI.

LACI portfolio company members at the table were Chris Blevins, whose company Pick My Solar is already in discussions with the Department of Energy; Lauren Gropper of Repurpose Compostables, whose 100% biodegradable cups are already in 3500 stores and used in House of Cards and Veep; Arcady Sosinov of Free Wire Energy; John Walsh of VENA, who are developing atmospheric water production for drought-stricken areas; and wunderkind Ka Suen of Chai Energy.

Biden opened the sessions by telling the startups that moonshots are worth taking, that the rest of the world is looking at you, that this is the future.

Among the topics discussed were how to get VCs more involved in the long game of energy, managing government subsidies to foster innovation, as well as re-classifying small business and micro-businesses so that early-stage startups can more easily obtain government-backed loans.

After a series of introductions and a few questions, Biden regaled the audience with inspiring stories from his early days as a junior Senator.

But the real winner was Samantha Gardner of Kids Scoop, who got to ask the important questions of the day: Biden’s favorite football team? Eagles. Favorite dessert? Ice cream. Favorite flavor? Chocolate chip.

And when asked by an ABC7 reporter if he had anything to say on the subject of ISIL, Biden quickly replied, “Hell no!” before offering a more logical, sober view of the state of the world post-Paris:

“Los Angeles is seen to be leading and believing in the potential of innovation more than any other part of the country, because your Mayor has a vision and a sense of optimism,” said Vice President Biden.

Mayor Garcetti’s sustainability agenda, which also includes aggressive solar power and green building targets, is detailed in the city’s first-ever Sustainable City Plan. This comprehensive policy roadmap is preparing Los Angeles for an environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable future in a city that expects population growth of 500,000 people over the next 20 years.

“One year ago, I said that Los Angeles would become one of the most sustainable cities in America,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We are delivering on that pledge: cutting emissions 80% by 2050, getting off coal by 2025, and embedding sustainability into everything we do. Here at LACI, the City of Los Angeles is leveraging federal dollars to support a state-of-the-art innovation campus and non-profit incubator that helps the private sector envision the future — then build it in ways that are more sustainable and innovative than many of us ever thought possible.”

Author Description

Scott Perry -- LA Tech Digest founder

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