Sustainability Innovators: Larta’s Monthly Digest (January 2024)

Larta Institute
Blog, News
January 29, 2024
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January 2024

As we embark on a new year filled with possibilities and challenges, I am thrilled to introduce the inaugural edition of our monthly newsletter. We intend now to use this platform to go beyond general observations into the latest trends, data, and impactful stories shaping our work at Larta Institute.  

We are all aware that the world is at a critical juncture. The persistent threat of climate change affects every part of our lives. There is a great deal of posturing in various forums around big goals, which often “kicks the can down the road” and often offers vague compliance and monitoring modalities. But no amount of pontification gets to the heart of the terrible impact: Over 2 million deaths and $4.3 trillion in economic losses have resulted over the past 50 years. By 2050, the latest report by the World Economic Forum shows that climate change will likely have caused an additional 14.5 million deaths – and the economic impact on human health will be more than $12.5 trillion.  

Many organizations and individuals are seeking to make real change happen at local, national, and global levels. To and for them, Larta Institute is offering our assets, network, and track record to reaffirm our mutual commitment to catalyzing innovations – specific solutions – that address the immediate needs of communities.

We work to increase the viability of solutions being developed by entrepreneurs across food, clean energy, healthcare, and ocean health, nationally and locally. We operate deep-dive programs for federal agencies that fund high-risk, high-impact science-based projects, currently through the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We work with entrepreneurs who have federal funding across many other agencies, including NIH, NSF, and NASA. Our community programs, Venture Fellowsand Heal.LA, focus on the impact of practical solutions driven by entrepreneurs grappling with climate, health, and wellness challenges in a post-pandemic environment.  

Each month, we will spotlight the remarkable progress of passionate innovators from our diverse communities who are rising to meet the challenges head-on and call out opportunities to get involved. We invite you to join us in providing tangible support to scale the impact of these entrepreneurs, the driving force behind transformative solutions that address the most urgent challenges of our time. Together, let’s shape a brighter future for Los Angeles and beyond.  


— Upcoming Opportunities —

Do you have an idea to make your community more resilient, equitable & sustainable? Applications are now open for the 2nd cohort of our Venture Fellows program. We are seeking to invest in diverse innovators to pilot good ideas that help communities become more resilient in response to the impacts of climate change. Apply here by February 29th.

Benefit from:

  • Support in resources and funding to develop community-based solutions
  • Pilot support for your MVP in a local community
  • Legal fees covered to incorporate your startup
  • Access to investors and grant funding to scale 

Do you have an idea for an innovation that can improve the  health and  wellness of underserved communities in  LA County and beyond? 🩺 Applications are now open for the 2024 cohort of our Heal.LA Bioscience & Healthcare Accelerator program. Participants will receive expert mentorship to nurture their ideas and support to pilot their innovations in LA County communities.

Benefit from:

  • 1:1 mentorship from LA’s top bioscience experts
  • Pilot your innovation with leading healthcare partners
  • Non-dilutive funding and support to apply for grants
  • Investment through access to our curated network of investors

The State of California has recently launched the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program, offering funding of up to $3 million to qualified entities. This presents a prime opportunity for innovators in agriculture, processing, supply chain hubs, and related sectors to engage with end users and develop proposals for their innovations. Larta can assist in connecting you with entities in California that provide technical assistance, facilitating collaboration with farmers and supply chain firms to deploy your hardware, software, or services with the available RFSI funding.

Contact our Senior Advisor of Sustainability, Gunjan Siroya (gsiroya@larta.org), to learn more.


Events Calendar

Join our team at the upcoming gatherings and stay informed to help shape the future of industries and foster collaborative growth.

  • Grid 110 & Techstars: Bold Beginnings: Bootstrapping in a Time of Uncertainty (January 31, Online) – In this funding environment, founders often hear that there is no better time to launch a business than during a market downturn. Some of the most commonly used apps and products were all founded during the Great Recession. Challenging conditions highlight the resilience of creative founders. Join Techstars Los Angeles and Grid110 in discussions around strategies to stretch capital, run lean, and build a recession-proof business. Register here.
  • Heal. LA & LA Biospace Demo Day (February 2, Los Angeles) – Join us as we showcase eight innovative healthcare startups. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to witness groundbreaking innovations in the healthcare space, hear pitches, and network with industry pioneers. Register here.
  • MedTech Color Webinar: The Path to the C-Suite 2.0: The Career Pipeline to Achieving More Diverse and Inclusive Leadership in MedTech (February 28, Online) – MedTech Color & the AdvaMed Women’s Executive Network are collaborating to host a webinar highlighting diverse women voices about their medtech career. The panel will bring a multi-generational perspective to the challenges and opportunities on how to support and advance historically underrepresented groups in medtech. Register here.
  • Aspen Ideas: Climate (March 11-13, Miami) – In collaboration with the City of Miami Beach and a diverse group of partner institutions in and beyond South Florida, the Aspen Institute is enlisting global and local policymakers, scientific experts, corporate leaders, inventors and innovators, artists, young leaders, influencers, and engaged members of the public to participate in Aspen Ideas: Climate 2024. Register here.
  • LABEST 2024 (May, Los Angeles) –  Get ready for LA’s premiere bioscience conference, hosted by UCLA TDG, bringing together industry, VCs, investors, researchers and partners including USC, City of Hope, Cedars-Sinai, CalTech and more. Stay tuned for more information.
  • BIO International Convention (June 3-6, San Diego) – BIO is where business and breakthroughs converge. Whether it’s across hemispheres or across the aisle, BIO brings the industry together to solve the most pressing issues facing our world. Register here.
  • VERGE 24 (October 29-31, San Jose) – VERGE 24 is a leading climate tech event accelerating solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. It is the center of gravity for the climate community — leaders from business, government, solution providers and startups — working together to address the climate crisis. Learn more here.
  • ECO 2024 (December, Los Angeles) – ECO, hosted by Larta Institute, is multidisciplinary festival and ecosystem gathering designed to foster innovation for a sustainable planet. By engaging with communities on the frontlines of today’s most urgent climate change and environmental challenges, we aim to identify and accelerate groundbreaking innovations that can make a real impact. Check out our 2023 festival recap and stay tuned to learn more.


Funding Opportunities

Explore the resources available and apply directly through the links below.


— Ecosystem Spotlights —

We’re thrilled to bring you the latest updates from our portfolio companies, where innovation meets sustainability. Here’s a curated selection of outstanding companies dedicated to pioneering solutions that make a positive impact on industries and the environment.

Larta Program: Venture Fellows

Impact Area: Agriculture & Food, Cleantech & Energy

Funders & Partners: Wells Fargo, SoCalGas, SoCal Edison, County of Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, Include Ventures, NOAA: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Loyola Marymount University, Florida International University


Prosperity Market is committed to increasing access to healthy food curated by Black farmers, artisans, producers, and chefs across Los Angeles neighborhoods. Born out of a response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prosperity Market aims to address food apartheid, supporting Black-owned businesses and providing affordable, healthy options through pop-up markets and a solar-powered mobile farmer’s market. Follow along on their journey and upcoming markets, and join their mission towards Zero Hunger (UN SDG 2) and Climate Action (UN SDG 13).


Larta Program: Heal.LA

Impact Area: Bioscience & Healthcare

Funders & Partners: California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), U.S. Small Business Administration, Gilead Sciences, The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, BioscienceLA , Cedars-Sinai, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, UCLA Technology Development Group, Biocom California, MedTech Color, California State University, Los Angeles, City of Hope, BioLabs, Rio Hondo College, Alliance for Southern California Innovation, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and WuXi Biologics.

TNC Medical Solutions has developed a low-cost gastronomy re-insertion device for safer, more accurate, and faster feeding tube reinsertion procedures. The company is addressing racial and socioeconomic disparities in gastronomy tube placement and treatment that affect underserved communities, working towards good health and well-being (UN SDG 3). Join TNC at MedTech Color’s 2024 Pitch Competition, in partnership with Children’s National Hospital, where they have been chosen as one of the top five companies to pitch


Larta Program: SBIR/STTR Technology & Business Assistance Program

Impact Area: Cleantech & Energy

Agency Partner: U.S. Department of Energy

Element One, Inc.‘s innovative DetecTape® silicone tape, a groundbreaking solution for cost-effective and easily deployable hydrogen leak detection, aligns with goals for Affordable and Clean Energy (UN SDG 7) and Responsible Consumption and Production (UN SDG 12). As they extend their leak detection technologies to wireless systems and networks, including low-cost passive RFID, Element One is at the forefront of introducing a cutting-edge passive wireless sensor for hydrogen leak detection under a current SBIR Phase 2 Award, with excellent results documented in a study by National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


Larta Program: SBIR/STTR Technology & Business Assistance Program

Impact Area: Agriculture & Food

Agency Partner: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Danimer Scientific is committed to advancing Sustainable Cities and Economies (UN SDG 11), Responsible Consumption and Production (UN SDG 12), and Climate Action (UN SDG 13) through their groundbreaking efforts to create 100% renewable and biodegradable alternatives to traditional plastics. Formerly known as Meredian Bioplastics, their journey began with a collaboration with NatureWorks to develop corn-based PLA resin for hot-beverage paper cups. Explore more about their journey and recent achievements in commercializing home compostable packaging, including the introduction of a unique PHA-based product designed to degrade within months under specific conditions.


— Portfolio Showcase —

Our Portfolio Companies in the News


— Our Impact —

and Other Resources

Explore our latest Impact Report, which combines a review of our efforts in 2022, including a showcase of startups selected into our portfolio, and a look at our new strategic initiatives in 2023.


Did you know that Los Angeles is on the cusp of a major food justice revolution? Read our Rooted Horizons Report, a groundbreaking research collaboration between Larta Institute and Los Angeles Food Policy Council, funded by California Community Foundation.


— Our Growing Team —

Welcome Laura Macias, who has joined us as a Community Liaison. Laura will help to faciliate communication, collaboration, and understanding between Larta and the communities we serve, including underserved communities in our region and, given our national pipeline, elsewhere. Impact areas that she will focus on include access to care and financial equity, disease screening, prevention & treatment, and holistic well-being, including nutritious foods & mental health.


Join our Team

Visit our Careers page to learn more.

image of los angeles with text join our team in DTLA and a collage of business events

Partner with us to support or sponsor Larta’s programs and initiatives!
Contact Carlos Gutierrez, Chief Development Officer, at cgutierrez@larta.org.


Our mission is to foster science & technology innovation for a sustainable planet.
Let’s feed, fuel, and heal the world.

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About Larta Institute

Each year, we select over 500 founders and ventures to join our startup accelerators. We provide innovators with access to our programs, ecosystem, and funding, which all play a vital role in supporting the development and implementation of their solutions.

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