CHILI, or the Carbon and Hydrogen Innovation & Learning Incubator, is an innovative program led by Texas Innovates that aims to foster hydrogen and carbon innovation in the greater Houston and Gulf Coast region. It provides selected startups with access to resources (inc lab space), mentorship, and support to accelerate the growth of their hydrogen-related projects.

The CHILI program is from August 2024 to March 2025. The program is conducted virtually, with an in-person pitch event to a large group of energy VC investors scheduled for March 2025.

Classes are held twice per week, each lasting two hours. Participants are expected to dedicate sufficient time to program activities, which include assignments, projects, and final pitch preparation. This structure allows for a comprehensive learning experience while accommodating other commitments participants may have.

The CHILI Incubator is primarily focused on hardware startups related to hydrogen and carbon innovation. The current cohorts supported by DOE funding specifically cater to hardware projects. However, future programs may encompass a broader range of ventures.

No costs to apply or attend the CHILI program. Selected startups receive access to resources and support free of charge. Texas Innovates does not take any equity stakes for our services.

Benefits include access to technical and business courses tailored to hydrogen ventures, guidance on scaling up, and access to software for business model development and risk analysis. Additionally, selected startups benefit from better prices for access to partner labs.

Startups must fill out the application form available on our website here. The application process is free, and selected startups will be notified regarding their acceptance into the program.

Selection is based on various factors, including the innovative nature of the hydrogen-related project, the stage of development, the potential for impact, and the alignment with the goals of the program. We are accepting applications from countries outside of the USA (but classes are US Central time).

Accepted startups will receive further information regarding onboarding, program expectations, and upcoming events. They will also have the opportunity to participate in a webinar to address any questions or concerns.

CHILI provides ongoing support to startups throughout the program, including mentorship, access to facilities and labs (from our partners), networking opportunities, and guidance on scaling up. Additionally, alumni of the program remain part of the CHILI community and may continue to receive support as they grow their ventures.