Partnering to Drive Innovation

Since 2018, Nelnet has facilitated the construction and operation of nearly $1 billion in solar projects across the U.S. We apply that expertise by deploying resources aimed at helping early-stage companies raise capital and develop solutions in CleanTech, ClimateTech, and other high-impact ecosystems. While our primary venture focus is in the CleanTech and ClimateTech space, we’ll always entertain opportunities that fit within the strategic Nelnet ecosystem (i.e., FinTech, EdTech, PropTech, etc.). Partnering with Nelnet means harnessing our network, market position, and subject matter expertise to open doors and drive strategic, long-term growth for your venture.

Enterprise Strength With Start-Up Agility

We’re uniquely positioned to bring enterprise-level resources to the table in the timeframe start-ups and early ventures require.

Established Ecosystem

Partnering with Nelnet means having access to our ecosystem. If we don’t have the answer, we know someone who does.

Slow(er) Money

We’re not solely focused on quick returns. Our positioning allows for longer timelines when needed to ensure that our PropCos grow and enter the market at the right time to achieve success and longevity.

Established Customers

Nelnet proudly serves millions of customers in over a dozen industries. This means we’re able to recognize market segments that can help identify and test MVPs early on – and utilize an established distribution network when trying to gain mass adoption.

Synergistic Opportunities

Our various business units provide the opportunity to explore synergistic opportunities that can identify potential additional markets, customers, and revenue streams.

Benefits of Partnering with Nelnet

As a founder, it’s essential to be intentional in selecting early-stage partners for your venture. Strategically partnering with an experienced investor allows your start-up to enter the market well positioned and poised to realize long-term growth. Partnering with Nelnet – a trusted and established partner with deep and broad expertise – offers the benefit of backing from a publicly traded company that shares your synergistic and innovative approach.

  • An experienced venture capital investment team committed to advancing technologies, processes, and companies focused on climate, resilience, and sustainability.
  • A strong portfolio of early-stage investments and several internal divisions focused on corporate innovation.
  • An established company with a $3.5B market cap and presence across three continents.
  • A partnership that leverages Nelnet’s core capabilities of renewable energy, finance, technology, payments, and consumer services.
  • A focus on Pre-Seed, Seed, and Series A companies that have a viable MVP and GTM strategy, and are realizing revenue.

CleanTech Innovation and Strategic Partnerships

Partner with an entrepreneurial company that has financial assets and deep, service-oriented competencies to deploy in the CleanTech ecosystem. We have an experienced venture capital investment team and strong resources to assist with corporate innovation. Nelnet is committed to advancing technologies, processes, and companies focused on climate, resilience, and sustainability.

Explore a Partnership With Nelnet

You’ve just found a like-minded organization with the expertise, capital, and resources to take your organization to new heights – or make your vision a reality. Reach out to discover what a partnership with Nelnet might look like.

Contact Us Today

Industries We Serve

In supporting early-stage companies to develop solutions in CleanTech, ClimateTech, and other high-impact ecosystems, Nelnet provides unmatched value to our partners and customers working within various sectors.

Related Nelnet Brands

Nelnet creates and offers valuable solutions across multiple business lines that you may find useful. We invite you to explore our brands related to Renewable Energy Innovation and Partnerships.

Our Innovation and Partnerships Team

Learn more about the team that’s leading Nelnet Renewable Energy’s innovation and partnerships group. Connect with us and explore whether partnering with Nelnet may be a good fit for you and your venture.

Chad Riley

Chad Riley

Director of Innovation & Strategic Partnerships


Chad Riley is the Director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at Nelnet Renewable Energy. Chad has over 20 years of experience in sustainability, renewable energy, real estate development, and venture capital. As a founder or co-founder of several start-ups over the course of his career, Chad understands the unique needs, timelines, and challenges that start-ups face when bringing their ideas to market. Chad holds a B.A. in Sustainable Community Development from Warren Wilson College and an M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from the University of Denver.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

I am a:*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.