SOMERVILLE, MA -- CertainTeed, Saint-Gobain's leading building and construction brand in North America, along with Saint-Gobain NOVA, the external ventures arm of one of the world's largest building materials companies and manufacturer of innovative material solutions, and Greentown Labs, the largest clean-tech incubator in North America, recently announced the start-ups selected for their inaugural InNOVAte 2019 Challenge. The selected start-ups will participate in a six-month accelerator program to develop innovative technologies and solutions to disrupt the built environment value chain.

After a highly-competitive InNOVAte Challenge Kickoff and deliberation, the following companies were selected to participate in the accelerator program:

  • Hyperframe, based in San Francisco, CA, is designing, manufacturing and distributing a new class of building components that can be installed without tools or skills. Its products include a steel framing system for commercial buildings, which can be installed up to 75% faster and 30% cheaper than traditional materials.
  • Inovues, based in Houston, TX, is developing a non-intrusive building envelope retrofit system that enables the windows and glass facades of existing buildings to be upgraded as energy efficient and smart without requiring any replacement, alteration or drilling. The system can increase window insulation by up to 10 times and can save owners up to 40% on energy consumption.
  • Pre Framing Corp., based in Berkeley, CA, provides partially pre-fabricated walls through automated machinery and software that can minimize cost by 45% and reduce labor time by 10 times while simplifying installation.
  • Techstyle Materials, based in Providence, RI, is creating smart multifunctional construction materials that can enhance building sustainability through increased energy efficiency, comfort and durability.

The inaugural InNOVAte Challenge attracted more than 110 applications from across the globe. Submissions were reviewed by a diverse panel and narrowed down to 12 finalists based on the start-up's ability to disrupt the built environment value chain. On May 30, 2019, at the InNOVAte Challenge Kickoff, the 12 finalists participated in a lightning pitch round and presented their ideas to a panel of judges and audience members for selection into the accelerator program.

"Through the InNOVAte Challenge, we are challenging the tried and true conventions of the building industry," said Minas Apelian, vice president of internal and external venturing at Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed. "Our accelerator program will provide these start-ups with the resources and reach to disrupt on the world's oldest industrial ecosystems and achieve tangible business outcomes. We are excited to partner with the winners to develop unique, tailored growth and development strategies through every step of the incubation process."

The InNOVAte Challenge is focused on developing emerging technologies to enable new value within the residential (single and multi-family homes) and the commercial building value chains across North America. The challenge allows entrepreneurs and innovators to receive support and guidance in launching a successful venture. The chosen class of 2019 will receive intensive business training, hands-on mentorship from industry experts and a unique approach to start-up and corporate relationship building.

"We know a significant percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings and the built environment and we're proud to be collaborating with our long-standing partner, Saint-Gobain, to support entrepreneurs who are creating sustainable solutions to this challenge," said Greentown Labs CEO, Dr. Emily Reichert. "We're eager to see the progress these startups will make throughout InNOVAte 2019 and believe their technologies will help the built environment value chain take action on climate.”

All participants in the program will receive:

  • $25,000 in grant funding
  • Acceptance into Greentown Launch, a six-month accelerator program
  • Exclusive access to Greentown Labs' and Saint-Gobain's networks
  • Access to Saint-Gobain testing capabilities, technical facilities and expertise
  • Desk space at the Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation

Participants may also engage in a partnership opportunity or receive investment from Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed by the end of the program.

The InNOVAte Challenge will include six sessions throughout the program highlighting the participants and their startup industry. The InNOVAte Challenge partners will host a culminating event in late 2019 to share progress and accomplishments.