Black-Owned ‘Climate Tech’ Startup Making Inner Cities Greener Raises $63 Million

A Black-owned climate technology startup is making waves in the industry, and investors are taking notice. BlocPower just raised $63 million to fund its work transforming old buildings into smarter, greener facilities with electric heating and cooling systems to save amounts of energy.

Donnel Baird (Credit:

In a Series A round, BlocPower raised the $63 million ($55 million debt and $8 million equity) from American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, AccelR8 and The Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. CityRock Venture Partners, ElementalExcelerator, Kapor Capital, Salesforce Ventures and The Schmidt Family Foundation also participated in the funding round.

The funding will be used to help the company scale it’s retrofit projects in inner cities across the country, create green jobs and improve quality of life for residents in urban areas, AP reported.

“By combining emerging technologies, our software platform and our new innovative green financing solution, we can now provide sustainability upgrades to millions of buildings in underserved communities,” company founder Donnel Baird said. “BlocPower is creating new green jobs by turning buildings into Teslas, making them smarter, healthier, and more profitable by getting them off of fossil fuels.”

The Brooklyn-based company was founded in 2012 by Baird after he was inspired while working with the Obama administration on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Since many small and mid-size companies cannot afford energy efficiency projects, Baird and his team “created an innovative financing solution … with no out-of-pocket costs,” AP reported. The company has completed energy projects in almost 1,000 buildings in New York City, according to its website. It also has projects underway in 24 cities.

Investors shared how excited they were to support BlocPower as the company changes lives one building at a time.

“One of the key questions we wrestle with is how do we help create generational wealth for underrepresented and undercapitalized people and communities in America? Climate change has the potential to devastate at-risk communities. We envision the potential to transition to clean energy as an opportunity to invest in those same communities and their people. With the investment the AmFam Institute has made in BlocPower, we believe Donnel Baird and his team can turn that vision into reality,” said John McIntyre, managing director of the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact.

“BlocPower is proving that it is possible to have commercial solutions that improve public health in underserved communities, create quality jobs, and lower carbon emissions,” Margaret Anadu, managing director and head of the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, said. “We are so proud to have supported Donnel and his team through the Launch With GS entrepreneur cohort and now through both equity and debt capital to further expand their reach.”

Baird said he was grateful for the investors who believed in the climate company’s vision and work. “Thanks to everybody who believed–especially the amazing team @BlocPower. Series A secured. Let’s Go!!!” Baird tweeted Monday, Feb. 22.

What people are saying

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top