Barclays hosted a two-week accelerator for startups trying to make the world a better place
Altaeros Energies is using tethered, airborne platforms to bring power generation, telecommunications, and technology services to the world's most rural and isolated communities.
Bitty foods uses crickets to create water-efficient, protein rich food with the potential to lift millions out of poverty and hunger.
These environmentally and socially focused high-growth start-ups, along with eleven others, are part of Unreasonable Impact, a partnership between Barclays Investment Bank and environmentally-focused accelerator Unreasonable Group.
According to founder and director of Barclays Social Innovation Facility Mark Thain, it's all about job creation and social impact. "The green economy is one of the fastest growing sectors in job creation," he said to Business Insider. "Jobs are being created by entrepreneurs and not established players."
As part of the program, 13 startups focused on solving environmental and social issues went to a two-week immersive retreat at Cedar Lakes in upstate New York, where CEOs interacted with serial entrepreneurs, funders, global experts, and senior Barclays executives.
The days were filled with one-on-one mentoring sessions, issue-based deep-dives, feedback sessions, and workshops on design thinking and rapid prototyping, and the evenings with fireside chats and family dinners.
Caitlin Kleiboer/Unreasonable GroupMentors lived and worked closely with the CEOs at the retreat, discussing everything from business models to management to social media. Seven managing directors from Barclays were onsite, including Will Bowmer, who leads the firm's banking team that manages relationships with the venture capital community, and Steven Berkenfeld, co-head of the firm's cleantech initiative and emerging industrial technology companies.
Non-Barclays mentors included serial entrepreneur Jigar Shah who founded solar services company SunEdison, serial entrepreneur and Priceline.com founder Jeff Hoffman, and Tom Chi, one of the founders of Google Glass, Google X and Google's self-driving car.
The program culminated with a "Braintrust" event at the Rise co-working space in New York, where the companies presented their ventures to the Barclays network. 35 Barclays MDs, including Barclays Americas CEO Joe McGrath and Head of Loan Capital Markets Claire O’Connor, spent the afternoon in problem solving breakout sessions with the entrepreneurs.
This is the third year Barclays has partnered with Unreasonable Group with the goal of helping scale high-growth ventures addressing key global challenges with the aim of creating jobs. The first program took place in the UK with successive programmes in New York and Asia.