The Rocket Fund
FLOW's Rocket Fund is a granting pool that helps academic and garage innovators turn their technologies into commercial realities through financial support and entrepreneurial education.
The Fund is an exclusive program of the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech, which is dedicated to supporting the cutting-edge research and creative problem solving necessary to change the balance of the world’s sustainability. The Rocket Fund enables sustainability-related innovations to progress towards commercial reality, where they can have an impact beyond the university laboratory.
In partnership with the Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council (ETCC), a consortium of California utilities, and the Moxie Foundation, the Fund provides awards from $5,000 - $75,000 to help students or new graduates starting companies turn lab innovations into product prototypes, ready for testing with customers.
Interested candidates should check Rocket Fund Guidelines and fill out the Rocket Fund Application Form which will then be screened for eligibility. Selected applicants prepare a business presentation for further consideration by Rocket Fund Advisors. Those moving forward will be invited to present in person to the Rocket Fund Review Panel of technical and industry experts. Those receiving an award sign a Memorandum of Understanding agreement focused on fulfilling the goals outlined in the application but otherwise unrestricted.
Why You Should Apply
- $5,000 - $75,000 in non-equity grants for cleantech startups
- Opportunity to work with California’s largest utilities
- Invitation to the DOE FLOW Cleantech UP competition with $50,000+ in prizes
- The NSF I-Corps BLITZ Webinar Series and an opportunity to qualify to apply for an additional $50,000 in NSF I-Corps Team grants.
- Introductions to experts in product development, scale up and manufacturing
- Access to legal advice, packages of design engineering software for start-ups
What the Fund Covers
- Validated lab scale software or hardware technologies
- Topics: Energy Efficiency; Demand Response; Smart and Microgrid; Data Analytics and Energy Management; Zero Net Energy technologies; Energy Storage; Renewables and Agriculture/Water Energy Nexus.
- Fund’s scope: Initial product design and commercial engineering development; equipment purchasing; software development; and dedicated mentoring for scale up and manufacturing
Application & Eligibility for Students, New Graduates and Garage Entrepreneurs
- Rocket Fund Application Guidelines
- Application Form
- The Rocket Fund looks for companies led by students, new graduates and garage entrepreneurs where students form a large percentage of the team.
- Ventures may not have received equity capital totaling more than $750,000 prior to selection as a Rocket Fund winner.
- 20% of the final score for FLOW Rocket Fund prizes will be assigned to furthering the mission of the Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council. For ETCC areas of interest, check “Recent Reports”.
The Fund’s governing body is the Founders Circle, consisting of the three sponsors: the Resnick Sustainabilty Institute, the ETCC and the Moxi Foundation. The Fund’s Review Panel reviews applications and makes the awards. The Founders Circle is seeking partners from the cleantech industry, academia and the investment community to join the Fund’s Advisory Council and support the Rocket Fund with technical advice and industry expertise. The role of the Advisory Council will be to assess the business potential and technical viability of applications; recommend initial and second stage awards; and provide in kind support, where mutually beneficial.
The Rocket Fund offers partners a variety of ways to participate through a tiered Rocket Fund Membership program. To learn more about becoming a Rocket Fund member contact Stephanie Yanchinski, Executive Director of FLOW, 626-395-1968