In this episode of the Impact Podcast, we get to hear about social impact in Cleantech space from Mr. Rajan Kasetty, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Cleantech Incubator.
L.A. Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is an innovation hub for early stage clean technologies. Building on their success in southern California, LACI has established a strategic second location in Silicon Valley, under the name Silicon Valley Cleantech Incubator (SVCI).
Rajan has also served as a judge and mentor at Cleantech Open, a not-for-profit organization that runs the world’s largest accelerator for Cleantech startups. Their mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges.
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Meet Rajan Kasetty, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Cleantech Incubator
Rajan Kasetty has four decades of experience as an Entrepreneur, Engineer, and CEO in IT, IT outsourcing, Engineering and Design outsourcing, GIS, R&D, Manufacturing, Project Contracts, Power Systems, Industrial Equipment, Control Systems and Automation, Renewable Energy, and related services.
He set up, grew and ran engineering, R&D, consulting services and manufacturing in India, USA, Puerto Rico and Canada, in the fields of Information Technology, CAD/CAM/CAE, Engineering Services, GIS, Manufacturing, Alternative Energy, Controls and Power Systems. He also trained in, and ran R&D, in HVAC.
Prior to his current role as an Executive in Residence with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, based in the San Francisco bay area, he served as Co-Founder and CEO of Terrafore, pioneering R&D work in the area of high temperature solar thermal energy storage, in addition to consulting for large CSP and PV installations.
Rajan was the CEO of Infotech Enterprises America, (now “Cyient”) part of a group of companies currently with 35 global locations and more than 12,000 people. Cyient offers Engineering Design and IT services for aerospace, automotive, electronics and industrial sectors, Geographical Information Systems for utilities, transportation and governments, and IT services for businesses.
Rajan’s earlier entrepreneurial ventures were in manufacture of fasteners and pumps, design, fabrication and installation of power distribution systems, controls and production automation. He moved to California in 1999 and has served in various advisory and board positions with the City of Riverside CA, University of California – Riverside, and several business, trade and technology groups. He mentors and advises several startup ventures in the US and internationally. He served as a counselor for TriTech SBDC. He volunteers with the Clean Tech Open as a competition judge, mentor and trainer for participating startups. He has been a Faculty Director at Hult International Business School in San Francisco, directing and mentoring Action Projects of graduate Students.
Though there are numerous definitions available about clean technology, in his interview Rajan describes cleantech as “anything that can do, that is useful to anybody, without damaging the environment or the planet”. Rajan also believes in the amount of impact or results that these enterprises are able create, rather than their definition of social impact. As executive director at LACI (Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator), he and his team focus on metrics, including: how impact can be measured and how investments are being affected. The metrics are critical to discerning the benefit of a technology. In cleantech area, Rajan feels that sustainability or impact is easily measurable compared to other sectors.
In cleantech space, it takes a long time for companies to succeed and some such success stories are recognized through CleanTech Open competitions and programs, where Rajan is serving as Judge and mentor. There are companies in solar and lighting sector who received their initial funding through CleanTech open. The LACI has been rated as one of the top incubators by UBI among all university associated incubators. It is a $45 million dollar facility with 20,000 sq ft of make space, $5 million worth of equipments.
Here are a few articles related to this episode.
- Article on LACI, Earth Day Brings Together the Nation’s Top Cleantech Incubators
- Article on Tech Incubator , Inside a New Tech Incubator
- Article on Clean Tech Open , About the Cleantech Open
More About LACI
- Website: http://laincubator.org/
- Value Proposition: “LACI is the business equivalent of baseball’s farm system: it identifies local talent, nurtures it, and helps it get to market, resulting in more jobs and a bigger green economy in Los Angeles.“