Startups

Delaware greentech startup Carbon Reform made it into this national accelerator for LGBTQ founders

Plus, how to get a discounted ticket to #MILLSUMMIT's hybrid 2022 event and other Delaware tech news.

Carbon Reform's cofounders.

(Screenshot via carbonreform.com)

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a newsletter alongside a roundup of Technical.ly’s best reporting from the week, job openings and more. Subscribe here to get updates on Delaware tech, business and innovation news in your inbox on Thursdays.


Newark-based green technology startup Carbon Reform is one of 10 LGBTQ-owned startups selected to participate in the current cohort of StartOut’s Growth Lab accelerator.

The cohort marks an expansion of the relationship between JPMorgan Chase, one of Delaware’s most prominent employers, and the nation’s largest nonprofit supporting LGBTQ entrepreneurs. Over the next six months, participants from across the US and Canada will gain access to mentorship, networking and resources to drive sustainable business growth.

“Our partnership began with [StartOut] a number of years back in terms of supporting their Pride Economic Impact Index,” said David Barbee, who leads JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking’s LGBT+ initiatives, in a statement. “They became a strategic partner in the market in terms of developing our plan around better serving in a deeper, more intentional way.”

The founders of Carbon Reform, Jo Norris and Nick Martin, began their own relationship with StartOut in 2020.

“The Growth Lab Accelerator is one facet of the broader startup community, which is the largest community for LGBTQ investors and entrepreneurs in the country,” Martin told Technical.ly. “And for us, as LGBTQ cofounders, it was important for us to really identify early on a sense of community within the entrepreneurial network, but also with investors who cared about being identified as part of the community or as allies themselves.”

Martin said he joined the mentoring program and was paired with a Bay Area-based investor — “so not only has that been great, just to pick his brain, but he actually connected us to our now lead investor for our seed round.”

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The growing startup, which has participated in a Science Inc. cohort at the Delaware Innovation Space, the Startup 302 funding competition, and the Plug and Play Smart Cities Japan Accelerator, developed a technology that pulls carbon from the air inside office buildings, making the air cleaner and reducing the carbon footprint.

“We’ve got lab-scale validation of the technology, and the full scale units will be installed in buildings,” Norris said. “We are currently developing those and they will capture CO2, permanently sequester it, and also filter other indoor air contaminants so that we can improve the indoor air quality in these buildings enough to be able to reduce the amount of intake air from outside and save energy for our customers. So the customers will benefit from the energy savings, the improvement in the indoor air quality and there will be carbon credits all around.”

In addition to the Growth Lab accelerator, which is fully virtual, Carbon Reform is in the process of wrapping up a joint development project with a major Fortune 500 HR company.

For LGBTQ startups seeking advice, Martin stressed the importance of connecting with the broader community and registering as an LGBT Business Enterprise through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which gives startups access to business development, advocacy and a certification that is increasingly valuable as corporations prioritize supplier diversity.

“In Delaware, being a completely LGBT-owned company is unique in itself,” Martin said. “We’re only one of three companies in Delaware that is registered as an LGBT Business Enterprise. There’s a certification process to go through to show that you are majority-owned LGBT. We’re the youngest company and the only tech company in Delaware that is an LGBT Business Enterprise.”

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P.S. Ready to gather and learn? The hybrid #MILLSUMMIT returns Aug. 2 to 4 online and at The Queen in Wilmington.

Technical.ly newsletter subscribers can get a free virtual pass to the summit, valued at $149. You can also use our code as a discount toward a $199 1-day in person pass or a $299 VIP pass. These free passes are limited quantity and first come first serve, so grab one before they’re gone by subscribing to our newsletter and looking out for this Thursday’s edition:

Subscribe to Technical.ly's Delaware newsletter

If you miss out on the code above, you can always get 10% off your ticket price using the discount code TECHNICALLY22.

Register for #MILLSUMMIT here.

What else happened in Delaware this week?

  • Wilmington biotech company Napigen, which specializes in gene editing, has raised $7.85 million from a private stock sale. The seed funding round was led by The Grantham Foundation and RA Capital Management, both of Boston. Breakout Labs/Thiel Foundation, Thrive SVG Ventures, MarsBio and the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation also participated in the financing.
  • The #MILLSUMMIT has booked its closing speaker for Aug. 4 at The Queen and online: Michael D. Smith, CEO of AmeriCorps, who tackles some of the country’s most pressing challenges by connecting members and volunteers with nonprofits.
  • West End Neighborhood House’s Above ‘Xpectations’ (AX) track and field team took home the gold, and are the new #1 team and national champions of the Amateur Athletic Union National Club Championships, with four athletes — Ke’Von Briddle, Jackson Bliey, Timothy Wright and Donte Dockery — winning their events.
  • University of Delaware marine science professor Art Trembanis, his team and their mini-subs mapped possible underwater locations of the ship that inspired “The Goonies” off the coast of Oregon.
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