Sao Francisco Verdadeiro River Planted forests border the Sao Francisco Verdadeiro River north of the city of Foz do Iguaçu, Parana state, Brazil. © Scott Warren

Technology and Innovation

An Invitation to Solve for a More Sustainable Future

By August Ritter, Accelerator Program Director, The Nature Conservancy

Looking for the 2020 Sustainability Accelerator?

Check out this year's challenge!

2020 Application

Last year, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Techstars picked 10 extraordinary early-stage tech companies with innovative solutions for sustainability and invited them to our three-month accelerator. Together with our world-class mentor network, we supported them in scaling up their businesses and impacts.

It’s time to do it again.

The application process for the next Techstars Sustainability Accelerator class in partnership with TNC is underway and will remain open until April 7. We strongly encourage all entrepreneurs and innovators with commercially viable sustainability solutions to apply.


Taking on the World's Biggest Challenges To help tackle the world's biggest challenges facing humanity today, The Nature Conservancy and Techstars have launched the Sustainability Accelerator.

We are in the race of our lives. Let’s act like it.

Data scientist and early Facebook employee Jeffrey Hammerbacher once famously said, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

Over the next 30 years, we will face increasing impacts of climate change, rapid population growth and greater pressures on our natural resources. The statistics are sobering: with 10 billion people on the planet by 2050, we can expect a 54% increase in global food demand and a 56% increase in energy demand. The World Health Organization, World Economic Forum and other leading global development organizations now say that air pollution and water scarcity—environmental challenges—are among the biggest dangers to human health and prosperity.

It isn’t all bad news, though. Last fall, TNC published a scientific report indicating that a 2050 where both people and nature thrive is possible. A 2050 where nature flourishes alongside 10 billion healthy, thriving people is achievable.

But we need the best minds of our generation working on building the path to get there, not focused on figuring out how to get people to click more ads.

With that in mind, TNC and Techstars launched the search for the best technologists and entrepreneurs of our generation who are building technology that will help us create the 2050 we know is possible. We want these entrepreneurs in our 2019 Sustainability Accelerator.

Help us find the best minds of our generation and spread this message to your networks. Email this article or share it via social media. If you are an entrepreneur or innovator with a smart solution, please apply or reach out and talk to our team.

We recognize that it will take diverse ideas to solve the world’s biggest problems, and we encourage entrepreneurs from groups underrepresented in technology to apply. Apply here.

"The mentorship-driven accelerator program based in Denver, Colorado connects entrepreneurs, conservationists, corporate partners and investors to deliver technology that can help put the world on a path to sustainability. During this three-month accelerator, entrepreneurs are plugged in to TNC’s global footprint of programs and projects as well as partnerships with NGOs, governments and corporations. Additionally, the entrepreneurs gain incredible value from being a part of Techstars worldwide network of coaches, mentors, and investors."

Gary Jordan, of Keller-Bliesner Engineering, uses a tablet to identify potential restoration sites along the San Juan River near Shiprock, New Mexico.
New Mexico A tablet is used to identify potential restoration sites along the San Juan River near Shiprock, New Mexico. © Erika Nortemann/TNC

Interested in the 2019 Sustainability Accelerator?
Techstars Sustainability Accelerator in partnership with The Nature Conservancy
Application period: January 7- April 7, 2019
Accelerator runs July 29, 2019- October 30, 2019
Location: Denver, CO

Apply Now

Contact Us

How does your Company Fit? 2019 Sustainability Accelerator Class Themes


  • How might we Make the Case for Natural Climate Solutions*?
  • How might we Inspire Climate Action?
  • How might we Conserve Working Forests?
  • How might we Advance Nature-Based Solutions** to lessen the impacts of climate change?


  • How might we Rethink Agricultural Practices?
  • How might we Improve Fishery Health?
  • How might we Improve the Sustainability of Aquaculture?
  • How might we Better Protect Water at its Source?
  • How might we Facilitate Water Market Transactions?


  • How might we Integrate Nature into Urban Growth Planning?
  • How might we Increase Climate Change Resilience?
  • How might we Decrease the Footprint of Human Settlements?


  • How might we Build a Model of Sustainable Energy Development and Inform Smart Infrastructure Decision-Making?
  • How might we Expand Community-Led Conservation?
  • How might we Better Protect our Land, Water, and Oceans?


  • How might we catalyze transformational change to achieve a world where people and nature thrive?
  • How might we better Measure Earth’s Natural Systems?
  • How might we better Build the Case for Nature?
  • How might we better Connect Nature and People?

Get Your Questions Answered

If you are interested in applying to the 2019 Sustainability Accelerator and have questions, you may contact us here or learn more through these resources and events:

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