As part of the Social Innovation Journal’s “Disruptive Innovations” issue focusing on Boston, Kristin Gerber and Ben Stone, members of our Energy & Sustainability practice group, described Mintz Levin’s support of a burgeoning social innovation sector.

“It is no surprise that in 2017, Forbes Magazine named Boston as the top U.S. city for social entrepreneurs. As attorneys at Mintz Levin, a mainstay of the Boston community for more than 80 years, we have had the honor to engage with a thriving regional ecosystem of public and private sector actors supporting companies making a positive impact. 

We also have learned – through serving our clients and our own entrepreneurial experiences – that starting and scaling, or successfully investing in, a profitable mission-driven business is a challenging endeavor. Social entrepreneurs and impact investors must navigate a gauntlet of business, legal, and cultural hurdles while also attempting to simultaneously generate positive financial, social, and environmental returns. In the context of this exciting, multifaceted sector, attorneys are uniquely positioned to serve as invaluable advocates, translators, protectors, and connectors.”

Read the full article: “Mintz Levin’s Approach to Supporting a Thriving Social Innovation Sector in Boston and Beyond

A recent white paper published in accord with The Climate Solutions Collaborative (C2C) paints the current clean energy technology investment landscape and provides a primer for wealth owners, foundations, endowment managers, and family offices on developing a cleantech 2.0 investment strategy

Continue Reading Developing a Cleantech 2.0 Investment Strategy

The global economy must triple its annual investment in low-emissions technology, from $750 billion per year between 2010 and 2015 to $2.3 trillion per year going forward until 2040, to keep the planet under 2 degrees Celsius warmer compared to pre-industrial levels according to analysis from the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University. The report, Derisking Decarbonization: Making Green Energy Investments Blue Chip, served as the framing paper for the Clean Energy Finance Forum that the Precourt Institute hosted on November 1st.

Continue Reading Stanford Report Argues Clean Energy Investment Must Triple to Halt Catastrophic Global Warming

On November 1, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $3.7 million in grants to increase the adoption of cost-saving clean energy technologies by Massachusetts low-income residents as part of the Commonwealth’s Affordable Clean Residential Energy Program (ACRE).

Continue Reading Baker-Polito Administration Awards $3.7 Million in Grants for Clean Energy Technology

On October 31, 2017, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard testimony on six bills introduced this session addressing the use of non-compete agreements in Massachusetts. Each of the bills includes provisions that would place restrictions on the use of non-competes, with the aim of introducing more fairness to a dynamic skewed against workers, as Representative Lori Ehrlich argued in her testimony. Business interests claim non-compete agreements hurt innovation, a topic that became a focus of the hearing. The committee also considered arguments to update the state’s trade secret laws as well as to include language in the legislation that provides for strong garden leave and notice provisions in order to induce companies to reduce the use of non-competes. The bills are expected to remain before the committee until after the new year. The Massachusetts House and Senate passed bills to limit the use of non-competes last year, but negotiations between the branches broke down in conference committee. To learn more, please follow the link to our partner page at ML Strategies.

The same technology underlying the efficiency of bitcoin transactions and largely responsible for the online currency’s success could be the key to developing a smarter energy grid. Blockchain, a shared, encrypted ledger maintained by a network of computers, gives bitcoin transactions their unique peer-to-peer quality, making the entire system decentralized without a central repository or single administrator. While the electricity grid still relies on centralized plants generating power sent over long distances, blockchain technology could help modernize the system, making it easier for smaller, distributed networks to connect to the grid and exchange power locally.

Continue Reading Blockchain Technology Could be Key to Smarter Energy Grid

The Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC), the nation’s foremost clean energy advocacy group, recognized our own Tom Burton as one of eight clean energy industry leaders at NECEC’s 10th Annual Green Tie Gala on October 26 in Boston. Tom and the seven other awardees received special “Decade of Influence” Green Tie Gala Awards for their work advancing the clean energy economy over the past decade. Joining Tom in receiving this esteemed honor:

  • Alicia Barton, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
  • Ian Bowles, Co-Founder and Managing Director, WindSail Capital Group
  • Steve Cowell, President, E4TheFuture
  • Tim Healy, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, EnerNOC
  • Emily Reichert, CEO, Greentown Labs
  • George P. Sakellaris, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ameresco
  • Mitch Tyson, Tyson Associates, NECEC Board Chair

We are proud to have served as a sponsor for this event, which was comprised of 400+ attendees. We congratulate Tom and the seven other clean energy trailblazers on this wonderful accomplishment!

Continue Reading Tom Burton Recognized as Clean Energy Leader by Northeast Clean Energy Council

On October 13, former Nevada Senator Harry Reid and current Governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval hosted the ninth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, NV. Each year, the 3-day summit brings together leaders of industry, government, and advocacy organizations in an effort to shape the United States’ energy policy agenda and facilitate the country’s progress towards a clean energy economy.

Continue Reading National Clean Energy Summit Sets the Stage for the Future of Sustainability

On September 27, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) released a Request for Proposals seeking applications to the InnovateMass program, which provides up to $250,000 in grant funding for clean energy and water innovation technologies that demonstrate a strong potential for commercialization. In this cycle, MassCEC will also be funding a robotics technology demonstration project under the InnovateMass Robotics Carve-Out. Grants will be awarded to projects that (1) demonstrate innovations in a robot’s energy supply and/or storage system; or (2) deploy robots for clean energy applications.

Building, maintaining, and scaling a sustainable and innovative robotics companies requires accounting for a number of corporate and legal considerations unique to the start-up technology space. For those considering submitting a proposal under the InnovateMass Robotics Carve-Out, Mintz Levin’s Robotics, UAV, and AI practice may offer some valuable insights. When establishing or expanding on a robotics venture, there are a number of vital decisions to be made each step of the way, such as: hiring a key developer, negotiating a critical license or government contract, developing a commercialization strategy, sourcing and negotiating with investors, or seeking exit. Mintz Levin’s team of attorneys and technology specialists has helped groundbreaking robotics companies across the country successfully navigate these questions, and shares key lessons and invaluable resources for similar ventures on its interactive dynamic website, http://www.mintzedge.com/.

As MassCEC’s RFP reflects, the push for scalable innovation in energy, robotics, and artificial intelligence technology is greater than ever before. Along with a skyrocketing demand to commercialize these technologies, we are also seeing major growth in private investment and M&A transactions in the robotics space. 2016 saw over $19 billion paid to acquire 50 robotics companies – a huge leap from $2.27 billion for 32 acquisitions in 2015. 2016 also proved to be the “best year ever for funding robotics startup companies,” with 128 companies seeing a boom in venture capital investments totaling $1.95 billion (a 50% increase from 2015). Companies like Google and Softbank have a vested interest in harnessing and building upon the significant progress initiated by smaller, more targeted tech enterprises, and they’re willing to pay for it – so it makes sense for robotics companies to strategize early for a potential exit transaction down the road. In his article for the National Law Review, Mintz Levin’s Marc Mantell offers a deeper look into the essential elements of the most successful robotics company sales: securing the right legal, accounting, and financial teams; preparing a data room; assessing your intellectual property; carefully approaching deal structure; and protecting your confidential information. Check out Marc’s full recommendations here.

For the seventh consecutive year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) named Massachusetts the most energy-efficient state in the United States. The council’s 11th annual report, released September 28, 2017 in the wake of recent extreme weather events, highlighted the importance of energy-efficiency as a tool to help communities recover from storms and economic shocks. While many states, such as Idaho, Florida, and Virginia made vast improvements over last year, Massachusetts continued to pave the way for sustainability through continued leadership in energy-efficient transportation policies and utility-sector energy efficiency programs.

Continue Reading Massachusetts Named Most Energy Efficient State for Seventh Consecutive Year by American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy