group photo of the 10 startups in the sustainability accelerator at 2019 demo day
Techstars Demo Day 2019 Techstars Sustainability Accelerator Demo Day 2019 © Kari Geha/TNC

Techstars Sustainability Accelerator

The Time is Now: Let’s Build Technology to Solve Problems That Matter

August Ritter Managing Director, Agility Lab & Portfolio Management


Applications are now open!

Be sure to apply by May 10.

Apply Today

Calling all for-profit tech start-ups aiming to help solve our food, water and climate challenges: Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), continues with its third accelerator class this fall in Denver, Colorado. Ten startups will be selected for the acceleration program, and will each receive seed funding up to $120k, plus exposure to TNC's global footprint of programs, projects and partners, and Techstars’ extensive network of 10,000+ mentors. Applications are open now through May 10th.

We’ve entered a critical decade. What the world will look like in 2050 and beyond will largely depend on the actions we take in the next several years. The food, water and climate challenges facing our planet continue to grow at an exponential rate. We must invest in tools that scale solutions to keep up with this rapid escalation of our challenges. It is time we begin more seriously leveraging the disruptive power of technology to forge the path to a better future for our planet – a more sustainable future, one where both people and nature thrive.

With this in mind, The Nature Conservancy partnered with Techstars to launch a Sustainability Accelerator in 2018 to find world-class entrepreneurs who are building tech solutions that help us solve some of the planet’s most pressing problems. 

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, entrepreneurs gain incredible value from being a part of Techstars’ worldwide network of coaches, mentors, and investors.

Techstars Startup Water Meter
Techstars Startup Water Meter Techstars startup, Mammoth Water, works with a farmer using new technology to measure water usage from irrigation. © Jenn Brunson/TNC

Interested in the 2020 Sustainability Accelerator?

Techstars Sustainability Accelerator in partnership with The Nature Conservancy 
Application period: February 17th, 2020 – May 10th, 2020 
Accelerator runs: September 8th, 2020 – December 9th, 2020 
Location: Denver, CO

Apply Now | Full Details | Contact Us

We Are Looking For Companies Solving These Problems:

We are focused on investing in companies that can make a material contribution to building a world where people and nature thrive. By solving the top threats to nature, we can also improve the lives of millions of people.


Make the Case for Natural Climate Solutions, Inspire Climate Action, Conserve Working Forests

Climate Change Mitigation

  • Carbon Sequestration, Carbon Measurement and Market Validation, Precision Forestry, Sustainable Timber, Reforestation

Climate Change Adaptation

  • Advance nature-based solutions to lessen climate impacts (drought/flooding) (Examples of nature-based solutions include: Wetland Conservation, Open Space Protection, Dam Removal, Groundwater Infiltration, Living Shorelines) with technologies such as Innovative Insurance and Finance Models, Remote Sensing, and Spatial Planning


Improve Fishery Health, Rethink Agricultural Practices, Protect Water at its Source, Build ‘Zero-Deforestation’ Supply Chains

Sustainable Agriculture 

  • Soil Health and Nutrients, Zero Deforestation Supply Chains, Sustainable Yield Increases, Precision Irrigation and Fertilization, Nutrient Runoff Monitoring, Sustainable Grazing, Carbon Capture, Microclimate Sensing

Sustainable Fisheries

  • Catch Monitoring, Bycatch Exclusion, Supply Chain Transparency, Vessel Tracking, Automated Stock Assessment 
  • Technology to support Sustainable Aquaculture such as Monitoring Systems, Ecologically Restorative Business Models, Siting Technologies, Feed Innovations ,Off-Shore / Open-Ocean Systems

Water Funds and Markets

  • Watershed-Scale Sensing, Flow Measurement, Sensor Connectivity, Usage Mapping Technology, Aggregating Water Data, Groundwater Recharge, Fintech companies that assist in the arbitrage of water use/allocation


Urban Water, Greenprinting, Sustainable Cities, Transforming the City Landscape, Urban Heat and Air Quality

Greenprinting and Stormwater

  • Advance Green Infrastructure, Urban Growth Planning, Address Urban Challenges (including stormwater run-off, air pollution and heat islands)


Expand Community-Led Conservation, Build a Model of Sustainable Energy Development, Inform Smart Infrastructure Decision-Making, Protect Oceans and Increase Climate Change-Resilience

Land and Water Protection

  • Technology that unlocks conservation investment in Land and Ocean Protection, Coastal Restoration, Climate Adaptation

Energy and Infrastructure

  • Technology to improve Energy Siting, Land-Use Planning and Development, Renewable Energy Planning, Mitigation Mapping

Indigenous Landscapes and Communities

  • Technology that facilitates Community-Based Natural Resource Management, Multi-Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainable Economic Development for Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples


Technologies that catalyze transformational change to achieve a world where people and nature thrive. 

Generate More & Better Data on Planetary Health 

  • Tools that increase our understanding of/ monitor/ improve - ecosystem services, pollution, and natural resource use (Remote Sensing, GIS, Sensors/Hardware) 

Understand the Data

  • Tools that aggregate/ analyze/ visualize/ digitize data  

Influence Decision Makers (NRM - natural resource managers)

  • Tools that better inform NRM (farmers/fisherman/industry etc.)
  • Influence policymakers and business leaders
  • Innovative finance and funding mechanisms that incentivize decisions to improve planetary health 

View the full deck with details.


Events and Updates

Sign up for our newsletter for updates and tune into our Taste of Techstars weekly sessions.

Over 9 weeks you’re invited to join us for a Taste of Techstars Sustainability. This is a unique opportunity to get a feel for our program while accelerating your business through 9 hours of interactive sessions. We will cover key topics to help you grow yourself, your business and your impact. 

Attend a few or all of the sessions for free. Go here for more info and to sign up.

Techstars Sustainability Accelerator Overview The Sustainability Accelerator will ensure that we innovate to make the world a better place to live. Watch a detailed overview of the program.

Interested in applying? We're here to help!

If you are interested in applying to the 2020 Accelerator, reach out with questions.

August Ritter is Managing Director, Agility Lab & Portfolio Management. Formerly he held the role of TNC Program Director, Techstars Sustainability Accelerator.