RAY Clean Energy Diversity Fellow: Third Derivative Team

POSITION TITLE: RAY Clean Energy Diversity Fellow           

DEPARTMENT/PROGRAM: Third Derivative (Climate-tech startup accelerator ecosystem)                                       

REPORTS TO: Josh Agenbroad, Principal  

STATUS: Regular, Full-Time                             

LOCATION: Remote work, but optionally after the pandemic, they could work alongside team members in Boulder, CO; New York City, NY; Oakland, CA; or Washington, D.C. if located there 


Inspired by efforts to increase racial diversity in Clean Energy, the Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Clean Energy Diversity Fellowship Program aims to increase and facilitate Clean Energy-related career pathways for emerging leaders of color. The RAY Fellowship Program is a paid fellowship designed to equip recent college graduates with the tools, experiences, support, and community they need to become leaders in the Clean Energy sector—one that, in our visions of the future, fully represents, includes, and is led by the diverse communities, perspectives, and experiences of the United States.


Rocky Mountain Institute transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. That is our mission. That is our passion. And every day, every member of our team of nearly 280 works relentlessly to achieve it. We are driving the global energy transition from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables by working in partnership with businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to advance market-based solutions. We achieve this by developing breakthrough ideas, testing and refining them, reshaping markets, and bringing solutions to scale. RMI is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an annual budget of $70 million and offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing, China.     


New Energy Nexus is a non-profit international organization that strives towards an abundant world with a 100% clean energy economy for 100% of the population in the shortest time possible. To achieve this goal, New Energy Nexus supports diverse clean energy entrepreneurs with funds, accelerators and networks. New Energy Nexus started in California and now operate programs in New York, China, India, Southeast Asia and East Africa.


The successful candidate will support a recently launched joint venture between RMI and New Energy Nexus called Third Derivative. Third Derivative is a startup accelerator ecosystem designed to enable and accelerate startup companies working on climate-tech innovation. Third Derivative recently accepted its first cohort of 46 startups, selected from 600+ applications. We accept startups from all around the world, with a particular focus on hardware and hard-tech innovation addressing the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The accelerator is closely linked with partner venture capital funds, who help select startups for the program and invest into those startups as they join the program. These funds can also provide $800M+ for follow-on investment into these startups as they grow and scale after graduating the program. Third Derivative also works closely with a coalition of ~10 large corporations from around the committed to addressing climate change and related issues (e.g., Microsoft, FedEx, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Engie, BHP). These corporations are critical, strategic partners to work with the startups for commercializing many of the most important new climate technologies.

Increasing the racial diversity of climate-tech innovation and venture capital is particularly important because it directly impacts the flow of capital to entrepreneurs, creates job opportunities, and determines which communities/markets/customers will benefit from new technologies/services.


Third Derivative is seeking RAY Clean Energy Diversity Fellow candidates from technical fields like Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science. The Fellow will combine technical research with a business and economic perspective. The Fellow does not need to have any prior experience focused on clean energy or climate change.

The RAY Clean Energy Diversity Fellow will quickly gain broad experience across a range of new technologies and business models while researching trends and new opportunity areas. They will meet venture capital investors as well as corporate sustainability and innovation teams from around the world to gain perspective on how they make investment and partnership decisions.

In general, at RMI, we look for aptitude at solving challenging problems, thinking in numbers, and working in groups. We expect self-motivation, curiosity, creativity, the ability to drive oneself and others toward meaningful results, and a passion for making the world better. The Fellow will be an independent contributor who works closely with a core group of colleagues on specific projects under the direction of senior staff, as well as across the broader ECE team. 


The Fellow’s work will center around the Third Derivative’s climate-tech startup database. The database is a key part of Third Derivatives competitive advantage and value proposition to partners. Specific responsibilities for the Fellow include: 

  • Researching climate-tech startups from around the world, with guidance from Third Derivative team members, to understand what is unique about their technology, business model, or other innovation. Compare these startups with competitors from an investment, business, and climate impact perspective. The following are some examples of the type of information we are tracking in this database: technology description, business model, performance and cost metrics, stage of startup, funding raised thus far, comparison to competitors, etc.
  • Helping to design a database that will create value from existing applicant data as well as future applicants and research. We have data on 600+ startups already who applied for our program. We are currently using a tool called Airtable to organize this information. It’s very intuitive—similar to common spreadsheet tools like Excel.
  • Join discussions with investor and corporate partners to better understand their perspectives and help them get the most value from our database.
  • Work with others on the Third Derivative team to perform analysis and publish insights briefs on key clean energy technologies.


In addition to the responsibilities at the host institution outlined above, RAY Fellows will spend, on average, 2-4 hours per week (5-10% of work time) on the following:

  • Actively communicating and building community with their RAY Fellow cohort and previous RAY Fellows.
  • Attending monthly check-ins calls (including 1-on-1 check-ins with RAY program staff and group calls with their RAY Fellow cohort).
  • Meeting regularly with mentors both inside and outside the host institution.
  • Attending monthly professional development webinars, trainings, and other opportunities to build knowledge and skills.
  • Developing a Personal Leadership Plan (PLP) with the support of supervisor(s), mentors, RAY program staff, and their RAY Fellow cohort. The PLP will serve as a tool for self-reflection, planning, and assessing progress towards professional, personal, and leadership goals.
  • Preparing and leading an hour-long end-of-fellowship webinar highlighting their Fellowship experience.

RAY Fellows will also attend:

  • A 3-day Orientation Retreat in August 2021.
  • A 3-day Leadership Retreat in February 2022.
  • At least one other in-person training or workshop with their RAY Fellow cohort.

*Due to COVID-19 concerns, all retreats will be held virtually until further notice.


Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:

  • Come from a racial/ethnic background underrepresented in Clean Energy and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Be less than 1 year out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2021 (we are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time).
  • Have not had a full-time job in Clean Energy.
  • Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship.


  • A college degree by the time of employment, with preference given to graduate degrees and study in the following fields: engineering (mechanical, electrical, civil, energy), business (marketing, finance, international), computer science, mathematics, architecture, physical and social sciences.
  • An interest in the field of Clean Energy.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience with designing, building, and maintaining models (e.g., Excel, MatLab). 
  • Understanding of basic financial analysis and metrics (e.g., NPV, cash flows). 
  • Ability to stick with a problem until a solution is found, but knowledge of when to ask for help. 
  • Ability to be self-motivated and work independently. 
  • Ability to listen actively, be diplomatic, and share knowledge and information clearly. 
  • Willingness to plunge into unfamiliar disciplines, and to take risks by exploring and testing new ideas. 
  • A passion for making the world better.
  • Spanish and/or French fluency a plus.


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one-year renewal) starting on or after July 15, 2021.


The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by Rocky Mountain Institute, who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities.

We offer a comprehensive benefits package including: 

  • Medical, Dental, Vision Insurance 
  • 403b Retirement 
  • Life, AD&D, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability 
  • Parental Leave 
  • Commuter and Wellness Benefits 
  • Casual Work Environment 


To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

  1. Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website: https://rayfellowship.org/apply.
  2. Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a curriculum vitae or a resume, one essay, one visioning piece, and short answer responses, and a letter of support.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than March 26, 2021. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. Questions about the application process can be submitted to the RAY Program Manager, Charlie Espedido, via email at charlie@elpnet.org.

Rocky Mountain Institute is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Rocky Mountain Institute is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.