Become a Venture Fellow.

Do you have an idea to make your community more resilient, equitable, & sustainable?

The Venture Fellows program is a 9-month hands-on experience – we invest in diverse innovators to pilot good ideas that help communities become more resilient in response to the impacts of climate change.

Since 1993, Larta Institute has helped over 4,500 startups, and our alumni have raised over $7 billion in funds.

14

startups enrolled in the 2023 Venture Fellows program.

79%

of Venture Fellows startups in 2023 cohort are led by female founders.

64%

of Venture Fellows startups in 2023 cohort are led by racial minorities.

37

jobs were preserved by Venture Fellows in 2023.

11

jobs were created by Venture Fellows in 2023.

Our Fellowship program begins in April 2024.
Apply now to become a Venture Fellow in Los Angeles or Miami.

Tell us about your idea & vision — and our team will be in touch with next steps & more info.

View our inaugural cohort in Los Angeles & Miami.

We had a large batch of impressive applications, each with a unique approach to enhancing urban climate resilience.

Funding & Support for Good Ideas.

The current climate crisis is disrupting the health of humanity, our planet, our economies and the future of our world. With modern cities being one of the largest contributors to climate change, population centers must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase resilience to climate-related disasters and promote sustainable development. We believe the urgent action needed to combat this global challenge can be spearheaded by innovators in the places most impacted, to spark a vision that can then be scaled to many more urban areas.

Clean Energy, Air, and Water

Our communities, especially in cities, are critically affected by polluted air, increasing heat episodes, and clean water availability. These concerns are interrelated and are expected to increase in intensity and effect in coming years. Our communities have a right to clean air, sources of reliable, affordable energy from renewable sources like solar and wind, and water for drinking and everyday use. All of this with the backdrop of accelerating climate change.

We seek community-led approaches that work alongside municipalities, like small-scale solar and wind projects, water cleaning projects, and the use of non-traditional approaches to cleaning our air.

Food Security, and Zero Hunger

Food insecurity and lack of access to nutritious food is increasingly acknowledged, especially in our cities. In 2022, new disruptions challenge food security and the global food supply chains even in zones previously unaffected, while inflation has driven essential foods into the realm of unaffordability for many communities across the U.S. It is clear cities need new plans to maintain resilience and engage with our communities to reimagine food sourcing.

We seek changemakers with creative visions in urban farming, city food access, crop diversification, sustainable agriculture, nutrition enhancement, curbing food waste, and solutions for populations at most risk for hunger.

Safe, Inclusive, and Sustainable Cities

City transformation is one of the most critical needs for a sustainable future. High population density and outdated infrastructure make city residents highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. Rapid urbanization means our cities face deepening challenges in air pollution, concrete “heat islands”, infrastructure, services, urban sprawl, traffic, waste management, gas emissions, inequality, rising sea levels, and carbon emissions.

We seek practical solutions that can make modern cities more resilient and adaptable, in areas such as public space transformation, smart housing, resource efficiency, education, and transportation.

The Venture Fellows program is supported by our funders & partners.

Program Funders.

Program Partners.

This fellowship is a game changer. The Larta team took the time to understand our challenges and gaps and have actively provided resources, introductions, assistance and more to help us reach our milestones. Our solar-powered and EV mobile farmers market will be ready to hit the road in no time. It’s also inspiring to be in a cohort of so many other amazing businesses who are doing their part to change their communities.

Carmen Dianne and Kara Still

Co-Founders of Prosperity Market
& Members of the Venture Fellows Inaugural Cohort

Applications are closed.

Join a cohort of social entrepreneurs who are innovating to build a better future for local urban communities.

The Ventures Fellows program is a 9-month hands-on experience offering funding & support to help turn your idea into a scalable startup for impact on local communities.

Become a Venture Fellow — Los Angeles

Los Angeles — Applications closed.

Up to 5 applicants who have good ideas for Los Angeles communities will be selected to participate in the 2024 program. Applications will be open from October 2023 to late February 2024. The program is scheduled to begin in April 2024, and will run until December 2024.

Become a Venture Fellow — Miami

Miami — Applications closed.

Up to 5 applicants who have good ideas for Miami communities will be selected to participate in the 2024 program. Applications will be open from October 2023 to late February 2024. The program is scheduled to begin in April 2023, and will run until December 2024.

Program Overview & Benefits.

The Venture Fellows Program is a 9-month commitment — helping you move from an idea to startup launch.

Powered by Larta Institute, and funded by Wells Fargo, the program will invest in diverse innovators, entrepreneurs, and founders across the U.S. With a tagline of ‘Entrepreneurs Vs. Climate Change’ – the program will focus on supporting good ideas that can be translated into startups and then scaled to help create resilient, equitable, and sustainable communities in U.S. cities.

The program is housed within Larta Ventures – a new initiative of Larta Institute – that invests in promising founders and impact-focused startups who are working to feed, fuel, and heal the world.

We are seeking climate innovations across a spectrum of stages.  

Earlier stage ideas will enter our Pilot Development Track, where our team of experts and curriculum will guide you in developing a proof of concept in areas such as: validation-oriented “studies”, user characterization, market research aggregation around the problem being solved, stakeholder identification, needs analysis, creating and conducting simple user/potential user surveys and focus groups, outreach testing, small scale experimentations such as pop-ups and then developing a “pilot” plan for activation at a later point. This pilot is intended to advance iteration, garner more support, activate natural allies, and open pathways to additional funding. 

More mature or developed innovations and teams can enter our Pilot Ready Track. This track would apply, for example, to those who have a product or service which is well established, but may need additional help to achieve and/or overcome “targeted outcomes”; these would specifically help  candidates execute their urban pilots during the program itself.   

The Pilot Ready track would not necessarily exclude innovations beyond pilot stage. We are open to innovations that may be more developed that wish to extend or create (a) custom offering(s) specifically for the underserved communities of LA and/or Miami.  

 

Support in resources and funding to develop community based solutions

— No cost program – no equity or fees
— 1:1 mentoring and group cohort sessions
— Connections, Resources, & Funding
— Up to $25K associated in pilot costs for validation of a project in targeted community*
— Cohort based learning, knowledge hub, educational content

*Only selective pilots for funding of up to $25K associated with validation of a project in targeted community

Trial & iterate your idea in local Los Angeles or Miami communities

— Market access support from local cities & NGOs 
— Depending on your stage of idea: 
— Pilot Preparation: Support for pilot planning, discovery, and research
— Pilot Ready: Deploy your MVP, pilot-ready solution in a local community

Legal fees paid to incorporate your startup

— Legal services provided for incorporation
— Expert advice on creating your startup
— Setup your business with legal support

Access to investors & grant funding to scale your new startup

— Hands-on help to prepare your pitch & materials
— Support identifying & applying for funding/grants
— Curated sessions with seed investors + Demo Day

Steering Committee.

Thank you to our team of advisors for supporting this program.

Ali-Frazzini
Steering Committee

Ali Frazzini

Policy Advisor, LA County Chief Sustainability Office
Dr. Galen Treuer
Steering Committee

Dr. Galen Treuer, Ph.D.

Climate Tech & Economic Innovation Miami-Dade County, Office of Economic Development
Ken-Riley
Steering Committee

Ken Riley

Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Taj-Ahmad-Eldridge
Steering Committee

Taj Ahmad Eldridge

General Partner & Co-Founder, Include Ventures
Kiel Berry
Steering Committee

Kiel Berry

Founder & Managing Partner, Mission One Capital
Robert H. Hacker
Steering Committee

Robert H. Hacker

Director StartUP FIU, Florida International University
Band Testimonial Video Portraits
Steering Committee

David Choi

Director, M.S. in Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Innovation, Loyola Marymount University
Cassie Rauser, Ph.D.
Steering Committee

Cassie Rauser, Ph.D.

Founder & Principal, MorphoStrategies
Claudia Akel
Steering Committee

Claudia Akel

Co-Founder, SDG InvestorsImpact Hub Miami
Alba Velasque
Steering Committee

Alba Velasquez

Executive Director,​ Los Angeles Food Policy Council
Images Created by iClickStudios
Steering Committee

Rob Tashima

Senior Director of Pipelines and Partnerships, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
Kecia Washington
Steering Committee

Kecia Washington

Director of Innovation, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)
Rohit_Shukla-for_web_crop
Larta Team

Rohit Shukla

CEO & Founder, Larta Institute & Ventures
Vaishali_Paliwal-for_web_crop
Larta Team

Vaishali Paliwal

Head of Programs & Evaluations, Larta Institute; Global Fellow of Social Impact, MovingWorlds
Carlos_Gutierrez-for_web_crop
Larta Team

Carlos Gutierrez

Chief Strategy Officer, Larta Institute
Hilary_Bendon-for_web_crop
Larta Team

Hilary Bendon

Chief of Staff, Larta Institute

Program Details.

Program Overview

Powered by Larta Institute, and funded by Wells Fargo, the program will invest in diverse innovators, entrepreneurs, and founders across the U.S. With a tagline of ‘Entrepreneurs Vs. Climate Change’ – the program will focus on supporting good ideas that can be translated into startups and then scaled to help create resilient, equitable, and sustainable communities in U.S. cities. The program is housed within Larta Ventures – a new initiative of Larta Institute – that invests in promising founders and impact-focused startups who are working to feed, fuel, and heal the world.

Who's Eligible?

The program is open to everyone, and we highly encourage applications from diverse & underrepresented innovators & founders including:

–Minority & women-led ideas and/or startups
–Innovators from marginalized communities
–Academic / student innovators (individuals or teams)
–Social entrepreneurs & grass-roots organizations

Funding

The Venture Fellows program is no cost to selected applicants. There are no fees or equity to pay. The program is funded by Wells Fargo.

Enrollment Deadlines

Applications open October 1, 2023 – and will be open until late February 2024.

Duration

The program is a 9-month commitment, from April 2024 to December 2024.

Hours

This is a part-time program intended to run alongside your education or job. We expect the hours required per week to vary depending on phase of the cohort. 

Fellow Mentors.

Thank you to our team of Mentors for supporting this program.

BreAnn Brown
Mentor

BreAnn Brown

BreAnn brings more than 18 years of leadership in start-ups in the agriculture/aquaculture, and information technology industries. As the founder of Orange Canyon Consulting, she helps clients create and develop commercialization strategies, implement new tech, and prepare for early-stage financing.
Marty Meisler
Mentor

Marty Meisler

Marty has spent his career in numerous leadership positions as an environmental planner in organizations such as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and as a consultant to public agencies, non-profits, and start-up companies.
Seema-Sood-01
Mentor

Seema Sood

Seema leads clients in their transition from a founder-led sales model to a scalable business development process that delivers growth and creates value for early-stage healthcare companies.
Chuck DeMilo
Mentor

Chuck DeMilo

Chuck is the Founder of Spectral Strategies, Inc., a consulting company that works with start-ups to successfully launch new tech. Previously, Chuck was head of global marketing at MIT start-up, Luminus Devices and he has also worked at multi-billion dollars companies, Raytheon and PerkinElmer, where he was responsible for driving new product development.
Darlene Knipe
Mentor

Darlene Knipe

Darlene Knipe has over 25 years of experience working at the grass roots level in food and agriculture and has worked internationally, providing technical support for entrepreneurship development programs targeted to developing countries for organizations that include UNIDO, ILO and IFHE.
Shaun Sanders
Mentor

Shaun Sanders

Shaun has more than 15 years of experience building and growing companies in the startup ecosystem. He worked with multiple Y Combinator portfolio companies, including Reddit, Hipmunk, inDinero, and Airbnb, while developing and managing cross-branded marketing campaigns with Google, Angry Birds, and SXSW.
Jeff Carpenter
Mentor

Jeff Carpenter

Jeff has over 30 years of experience in marketization of innovations in industry sectors including life sciences, clean technology and agriculture. Jeff is the owner and principal consultant of Bird Dog Innovation Strategies, where he provides due diligence services to entrepreneurs.
Lenka Kollar
Mentor

Lenka Kollar

Lenka is an expert in clean energy with over a decade of experience. She is the co-founder of Helixos, a collective of people consulting on projects that are aligned with the UN SDGs. Ms. Kollar also previously worked for the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argonne National Laboratory, and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Tim Raines
Mentor

Tim Raines

Tim is an experienced commercialization executive with a primary focus on early-stage tech marketing, business development and SBIR grant development. Tim has served as a DOE SBIR Principal Investigator and on DoD review panels and has worked with SBIR awardees for DOE, NASA, NIH, Army, Navy, Air Force, DARPA, USSOCOM, DHS, NOAA, and USDA.
Matt Walton
Mentor

Matt Walton

Over the course of thirty years, Mr. Walton has served as both a founder and a senior executive for E Team, Inc., Clinically Home, SAMIHealth and Fitscript, LLC. Over two decades, Mr. Walton has been involved in a variety of classified programs for defense and intelligence.

Our Fellowship program begins in April 2024.
Apply now to become a Venture Fellow in Los Angeles or Miami.

Tell us about your idea & vision — and our team will be in touch with next steps & more info.

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Follow us on Instagram to get updates on all our activities on our Fellows.

FAQs.

General Questions

Our program runs for 9 months starting in April, 2024 – December, 2024. All sessions will be hosted virtually but each participating idea should be tested in either Los Angeles or Miami.

This program is open to established startups with traction as well as early-stage concepts who would like to test their idea. Your innovation could be a nonprofit model, a hybrid or a traditional business model. You can be based anywhere, but during the program will test your product in at least one underserved community in Los Angeles or Miami.

We are looking for ideas that are solving a climate change related problem and can be scaled to other urban environments. We welcome applications from any field, sector, or industry that can have an impact on climate change resilience in urban settings. It could be in the categories of water, air, energy, sustainable cities, food security but we welcome applications outside those areas as well. You do not need to be a “tech company” to be considered.

The program is free for all accepted innovations. Ideas must go through an application process to be eligible for this program. We do not take equity in participating concepts.

Participating ideas agree to test their concepts in either Miami or Los Angeles for the 9-month period between April, 2024 – December, 2024.

Each week consists of up to 1.5 hours of facilitated sessions plus assignments, office hours, accountability groups, and occasional workshops. Like anything, you get out what you put in. This program is specifically designed to allow you to focus on running the day to day operations of your business, while layering in support where needed to help you meet key milestones.

Your idea can be very early stage and still a concept, although it will be helpful to have at least a minimal viable product (MVP) with some early signs of engagement. The majority of ideas selected for Larta’s programs are live with their product or service, but exceptions can be made for promising products/founders.

Larta Institute is a non-profit accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation for a sustainable planet. Since 1993, we have helped over 4,500 startups translate their ideas into sustainable enterprises – our alumni have raised over $7 billion in funds. Learn more about Larta here

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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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