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As an entrepreneur for many years, I’ve had the good fortune of being on the entire path from googling how to be a CEO, to growing and leading that same powerful team to a successful exit. While the road has been ever winding, there has always been one constant: in the things I choose to show up and build – both head and heart must always be aligned. It’s what makes us powerful. It’s what keeps us showing up every single day to do the hard work of company building. And on those days where optimism wanes, that same strong belief can conquer fear.

So, when deciding what to build next – I set out on the same mission to align head and heart. I engaged with nonprofits, for-profits, foundations and founders on a path to understanding where there might be a fundamental need for creating impactful solutions for society through startups. And, together, we worked on some big questions. How might we reduce single-use plastics in consumer goods? How might we use technology to help reduce food insecurity? How might we build solutions to help identify and reduce exposure to toxic stress in children? How might we improve our health through connection to nature?

The questions were big and the impact on my heart was much bigger. I made the decision, whatever was next, it would help solve for a more sustainable future for people and planet.

That’s why, today, I’m so proud to announce that I’m joining the Techstars family as the managing director of our first-ever Techstars Sustainability Accelerator in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. This is going to be powerful and I can’t wait to support founders on their path to building a more sustainable future, where nature and people thrive together.   

This is a big call to action – and it has all of my attention and energy. And…if you are founder working in this space, this should have your full attention too.  

This accelerator represents a rare powerful three way partnership between Techstars, The Nature Conservancy and smart mission-aligned investors. (Read: lots of opportunity and deep robust global networks to drive your disruptive technology forward at scale.) And trust me, The Nature Conservancy is showing up in full force…you can learn more from their inspiring CEO Mark Tercek in this Forbes article.    

Driven by science-based optimism, The Nature Conservancy’s work spans 72 countries, 50 US states with over 400 scientists, 3600 conservationists, one million + dedicated members and decades of work collaborating with the private sector across thousands of companies.  Combine their commitment with the Techstars network of over 10,000 mentors, 1,200 portfolio companies across 16 countries and $11 billion market cap – together, we’ve got a network at the ready. From mentorship with leading TNC science experts and executives, to creating the possibilities for pilots and partnerships, to deep functional business expertise across the technology community – we know that getting the right people together at the same table is going to be powerful on your path.

So what kinds of companies are we looking for?

We are searching the globe to connect with you, the founders, building commercially viable technologies and business models that can help governments, companies and communities provide food and water sustainably and tackle climate change. You are a mission-driven, for-profit company that can provide solutions at scale.

You are asking yourselves questions such as, “How might we provide food and water sustainably in a future where there are 9 billion people on earth?” “How might we use technology to tackle climate change?” or “How might we build solutions to support a world where both nature and humans thrive?”

You work across areas as broad as agriculture and soil health to fisheries, forests, aquaculture, water data and markets, climate adaptation, carbon sequestration, green printing cities and beyond. Your applications of technology may be broad but you know exactly why your solution drives impact at the core of what you do.

If this sounds like you, applications are open now and we are excited to start a conversation with you! The program begins July 16th in Denver and I’m confident it’s going to be a powerful place to be.   

Together, we’ll strive to build significant value in your significant ideas. That’s my commitment to you, the founders, doing hard work that matters – for people and the planet.

Not a founder but want to help? Get involved by sharing this program with your networks or visit this page to sign up for ongoing updates.  Sign up for Office Hours with the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator team here

Jenna Walker Jenna Walker
Jenna Walker is the Managing Director for the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator in partnership with The Nature Conservancy in Denver, Colorado. Operating from a belief that the best ideas aren’t born behind desks, Jenna has a love for building lives and businesses grounded always in authenticity. Getting their start from a basement in 2012, Jenna served as Co-Founder and CEO of Artifact Uprising through June of 2016.