Verizon partnered with coLab on an innovative mission to solve one of the most pressing – and least-understood – issues associated with climate change: climate justice. The Forward for Good Accelerator focused on supporting start-ups leveraging technology to make a social impact.
As one of the largest companies in the world, Verizon understands the importance of delivering on their commitments to customers and shareholders – especially in the worlds of ESG and CSR. They could see that climate change, and the impacts of climate change on human populations, were clear opportunities for innovative, sustainable solutions that scale. At the same time, Verizon’s unique technological capabilities make them well positioned to have a real impact.
With a network of labs, and a strong investment in innovation teams, Verizon was well equipped to explore vast, complex categories of technological innovation. However, they needed help finding ways to connect their next generation technological capabilities and platforms to the issues that they cared about the most. Furthermore, they needed to find a way to engage with early stage startups, impacted communities, and sensitive issues in a way that was respectful and produced real results.
Climate Change is a key pillar of Verizon’s CSR initiative, and an area we identified as poised for disruption by 5G technology. Working with coLab, the team at Verizon was able to dig deeper, and identify Climate Justice as an especially critical avenue for innovation. Climate Justice acknowledges that climate impacts are felt differently across communities, and aims to ensure that no one shoulders an unequal burden. This issue sits at the intersection of climate change, sustainability, social justice, and technology, and yet solutions for Climate Justice are hard to come by. Verizon wanted to change this. With Verizon’s next generation technology, and coLab’s network of startups, we invested in solutions that will help communities weather the changing climate, and promote climate justice.
We created a 16 week innovation program, bringing together Verizon executive leadership, industry leaders, experts, nonprofits, and the most promising new solutions focused on addressing climate justice. The cohort put 7 seed stage and series A startups on an accelerated growth trajectory, supported by a host of mentors, community leaders, and partners. Startups gained access to Verizon’s cutting-edge technology, funding to scale, and opportunities to pitch influential figures in the industry. Our team built a fully bespoke curriculum and supporting community for this program, with an emphasis on principles of collaboratively building with impacted communities, while capitalizing on Verizon’s unique capabilities to give the startups differentiated advantages.
Through this cohort, our Verizon partners learned about and invested in solutions that are helping communities weather the changing climate, and promote climate justice. For Verizon, it was important that they had the opportunity to engage with, and invest in, next-generation technology with additional potential for partnerships, commercial pilots, and beyond. At the same time, we also gave their team exposure to thought leadership, professional development, and industry insights into major sustainability trends impacting the telecom industry – a top priority. The accelerator also provided Verizon with a platform to continue to showcase brand leadership on this critical issue.
Fireball’s system, FUEGO, provides early fire detection and mapping services protecting infrastructure and population. Key users can include forestry, fire and emergency services, local, state and federal governments, primary producers, mobile phone tower operators, power companies, and grid operators.
Alkemy's solution can recycle more than 16 different types of industrial waste materials into structural-grade lightweight concrete aggregates that offer the same performance as the mined aggregates used today, cost less, and are more environmentally sustainable.
Bloomfield provides direct line-of-sight pixel-level inspection using RGB imaging and AI to automatically assess the health and performance of each and every plant in an agricultural operation, regardless of plant type, location, or quantity.
Care Weather made radar weather satellites that measure wind over the ocean , and are 1000x cheaper than government scatterometers. An AI-powered weather forecasting system is automatically tuned to optimally use these ocean wind data, along with a free forecasting system for the public to stay informed.
ISeeChange is a climate data platform for cities, engineers, utilities, and the public to develop climate solutions together. Available on the web and mobile devices, the platform tracks impacts, validates models, and helps design solutions through crowd-sourced data and dialogue.
Smartfin is an IoT-enabled surf & paddle board fin with embedded sensor technology that captures data to improve understanding of coastal environments. Smartfin provides near real-time data, with high spatial and temporal resolution, to researchers through a freely available, open access cloud database.
The Earth Archive will provide high resolution data to underserved populations to better plan and respond to Earth system change. This data will allow more accurate measurements of dynamic weather conditions such as flooding, fire forecasting and response, drought, and migrations, and countless other facets.
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