Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. Cleantech Incubator Founding CEO to Step Down

By Howard Fine Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fred Walti, the founding chief executive of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, is stepping down after six years at the helm, Los Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday.

Walti, a serial entrepreneur, helped found the incubator in 2011, which former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa envisioned as the linchpin of an effort to turn Los Angeles into a center for green technology companies. The incubator’s role is to shepherd clean technology companies from the idea stage to viability.

During Walti’s tenure as the first chief executive, the incubator has helped dozens of companies raise more than $82 million, create more than 1,200 jobs, and add more than $270 million in long-term economic value to Los Angeles.

Last fall, Walti also helped the incubator move into the La Kretz Innovation Campus, a 60,000-square-foot converted furniture warehouse that can host dozens of companies, has lab space, rooms for prototyping manufactured products, and training space.

“Helping to build LACI into the world’s premier cleantech incubator has been a labor of love and the proudest accomplishment in my business career,” Walti said in a statement. “And we’re just getting started. LACI and the City of Los Angeles have an unprecedented opportunity in the coming years to create a lasting green economy by replacing yesterday’s industrial base with tomorrow’s sustainable technology industry.”

Related Link: Incubator Hopes to Sow Field of Green Ventures

Walti will continue serving as chief executive while the Board of Directors launches a search for his successor. After a new chief executive comes on board, Walti will remain with the incubator as a member of its board of directors and as chief executive of its Network for Global Innovation initiative.

In an interview, Walti said one of the reasons for relinquishing the incubator’s chief executive post was to spend more time heading up this initiative, which he described as a network of “like-minded” incubators throughout North America, Europe, Asia and eventually Africa.

“If Los Angeles is truly to be a world-renowned hub for clean technology, connecting with other incubators around the world is a key part of that,” Walti said.

Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.