🌏 Code red on climate #70
Meanwhile new climate funds seed innovation
Welcome to our 1,020 new subscribers who’ve joined us since our last Monday issue!
We’re grateful for our long term collaborators and friends Nat Bullard at BloombergNEF and Shayle Kann at The Interchange for sharing CTVC’s mid-year funding data through their illustrious channels on air and in e-print.
Whether you’re on the east coast, west coast, or in between, last week’s fires, floods and associated climate peril have hit home - leading Biden to call code red on climate after Hurricane Ida. 1 in 3 Americans (!!) have experienced a weather disaster this summer according to federal disaster declarations.
In this week’s issue, we share two new climate funds with big missions as well as chemicals, polymers, and e-bikes raising hundreds of million of dollars. And ICYMI - our interview with Solugen, climate tech’s latest unicorn.
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Seed (funds) of change
As the river of capital continues to flow into the climate tech ecosystem, two new funds announced this week made an especially big splash:
1️⃣ Galvanize Climate Solutions will provide policy guidance alongside seed and expansion capital for companies working on decarbonization strategies – with a slight lean toward carbon sequestration and agricultural technologies. The fund is inspired by movement capitalism, an economic philosophy merged with activism “in support of a higher public purpose.”
👯 Founders: Tom Steyer, the former presidential candidate and billionaire founder of Farallon Capital, has teamed up with Katie Hall, founder and co-chair of Hall Capital Partners, to launch the platform.
🤑 Funders: Beyond personal capital commitments from Steyer and Hall, early backers include Marc Benioff's Time Ventures and the Laurene Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective.
🕺 Funk: Unlike other climate funds, Galvanize promises a full capital stack from seed to expansion dollars to support companies from the garage to IPO. GCS also plans to provide “lots of value-add capabilities at the umbrella level” like guidance on policy and politics.
2️⃣ Earthshot Ventures is a spin-out of climate tech accelerator Elemental Excelerator (EEx) and will expand on EEx’s support of early-stage entrepreneurs tackling climate change, starting from a $60m first close.
👯 Founders: Dawn Lippert will lead the fund [read CTVC’s interview with the Elemental Excelerator founder and CEO] alongside Mike Jackson, EEx’s investor-in-residence since 2017.
🤑 Funders: Earthshot is backed by LPs including Emerson Collective, John Doerr, Tom Steyer, McKinley Alaska, Microsoft, Employees' Retirement System of Hawaii, Stafford Capital Partners, and Chris Cox.
🕺 Funk: The Earthshot team, composed largely of EEx veterans, draws from almost 10 years of climate startup expertise and community projects – a rare accolade. The fund also has strong participation from institutional investors for its size and stage focus.
In addition to announcing in the same week, the two funds share strategic and LP overlap. Both deploy catalytic capital (aka greater risk for impact alpha), in part from the same backers (i.e., Tom Steyer, Laurene Powell Jobs via Emerson Collective).
As we predicted, Galvanize and Earthshot are welcome new climate-first investment firms with support from new LPs. Their founders and funders contrast with the trend of the past ~year’s climate funds coming from existing firms backed by their existing LPs pushing for ESG products. We’re looking forward to more fund announcements in the countdown to COP26 in Glasgow.
Deals of the Week (8/30-9/12)
🧪 Solugen, a Houston, TX-based startup making chemicals from renewable feedstock, raised $357m in Series C funding from GIC, Baillie Gifford, Temasek, BlackRock, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, Carbon Direct, Refactor Capital, Lowercarbon, and Fifty Years. [Check out our interview with the founders from Friday!]
🕸️ Spiber, a Japan-based developer of plant-based protein polymers, raised $312m in funding from The Carlyle Group, Fidelity and Baillie Gifford.
🚲 VanMoof, a Netherlands-based company that designs and sells electric bikes, raised $128m in Series C funding from Hillhouse Investment, Gillian Tans, Felix Capital, Balderton Capital and TriplePoint Capital.
🍎 Olio, a UK-based company that helps redistribute surplus food to reduce food waste, raised $43m in Series B funding from VNV Global, Lugard Road Capital, Delivery Hero, Accel, Octopus Ventures.
🌱 Fieldin, a Fresno, CA-based agtech startup, raised $30m in Series B funding fromFortissimo Capital, Zeev Ventures, Icon Ventures, Maor Investments, and Akkadian Ventures.
🚗 LeydenJar, a Netherlands-based EV battery startup, raised $26m in Series A funding from Catalus Capital, Yard Energy, Invest-NL, ING Sustainable Investments, Somerset Capital Partners, BOM, and DOEN Participaties.
🌱 Plantible Foods, a San Diego, CA-based startup using duckweed as a protein source, raised $21.5m in Series A funding from Astanor Ventures, Unshackled Ventures, Vectr Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Piva Capital, and others.
⚡ Kevala, a San Francisco, CA-based energy data and analytics company, raised $21m in Series A funding from C5 Impact Partners, Thin Line Capital, and others.
🧀 Stockeld Dreamery, a Sweden-based plant-based cheese maker, raised $20m in funding from Astanor Ventures, Northzone, Gullspång Re:food, Eurazeo, Norrsken VC, Edastra, and Trellis Road.
🏢 Juno, a San Francisco, CA-based proptech startup building sustainable apartment buildings, raised $20m in Series A funding from Comcast Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Real Estate Technology Ventures, JLL Spark, Vertex Ventures, Anim, K50, and Foundamental.
🔋 Echion Technologies,a UK-based startup making fast-charging batteries, raised $14m in Series A funding from University of Cambridge, Origin Capital, and other existing shareholders.
🌱 Smartwyre, a Denver, CO-based agriculture pricing and insights company, raised $11m in Series A funding from High Alpha Capital, Anterra Capital, Fall Line Capital, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund, and Cavallo Ventures.
🌱 Novi, a San Francisco, CA-based B2B marketplace helping brands make more sustainable products, raised $10m in Series A funding from Greylock, Defy Partners, Thomas Layton and Yannis Skoufalos.
🔋 Accure, a Germany-based provider of battery safety software for utility, home, and automotive uses, raised $8m in Series A funding from Blue Bear Capital and Capnamic Ventures.
☕ Compound Foods, a San Francisco, CA-based startup conserving carbon by producing coffee through molecules rather than beans, raised $4.5m in Seed funding from Lowercarbon Capital, SVLC, Humboldt Fund, Collaborative Fund, Maple VC, Petri Bio, and angel investors.
⚡ Revos, an India-based EV infrastructure platform, raised $4m in Series A funding from Prime Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures.
💨 Greenly, a France-based carbon accounting startup, raised $3m in Seed funding from French Partners and Bpifrance.
🌱 Agricycle Global, a Milwaukee, WI-based ingredient upcycling startup focused on Africa, raised $2.4m in Seed funding from MaSa Partners, CSA Partners, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Brightstar Wisconsin, and angel investors.
🛩️ Perceptual Robotics, a UK-based company focused on autonomous wind turbine inspections, raised $2.2m in funding from TSP Ventures, Metavallon, and other angel investors.
📊 Responsibly, a Denmark-based company with an ESG scorecard for suppliers, raised $2m in pre-Seed funding from Flash Ventures and Pirate Impact.
💵 Sphere, a San Francisco, CA-based company focused on green investments in 401(k) plans, raised $2m in funding from Pale Blue Dot and Climate Capital.
⚡ Withthegrid, a Netherlands-based energy analytics solution company, raised $1.2m in funding from Boundary Holding, ROM Utrecht Region, and others.
🏢 Audette, a British Columbia-based net zero planning platform for commercial real estate, raised $1m in Seed funding from Active Impact Investments, Powerhouse Ventures, Panache Ventures, and Turnham Green.
Exits & New Funds:
Allbirds, a San Francisco, CA-based shoe startup, filed for an IPO.
Volkswagen is forming a $335mVC fund focused on decarbonization projects and startups.
Galvanize Climate Solutions, a climate investment fund co-founded by Tom Steyer and Katie Hall, announced that it will invest in decarbonization strategies from seed to IPO.
Earthshot Ventures, a new climate tech fund spinning out of Elemental Excelerator, announced the close of its first fund at $60m.
In the News
Climeworks unveiled the world’s biggest carbon capture facility - Orca to capture and store 4,000 metric tons of CO2 a year (~0.1% of Iceland’s CO2 emissions per year) at the current cost of $600-800/ ton.
The US Department of Energy laid out an ambitious blueprint for increasing solar power from from 4% to 45% of national electricity production by 2050.
House Democrats unveiled two seismic policies within their huge $3.5T bill - an updated infrastructure tax package for new tech like batteries and microgrid controllers (longer thread) and the Clean Electricity Payment Plan increasing clean electricity through financial incentives for US electric utilities (longer thread about this too!).
More than 200 medical and health journals penned an editorial emphasizing how climate change will be “the greatest threat to global public health.” Heeding that advice, the White House has opened a new federal office to focus on the climate’s health consequences and disproportionate effects on poor communities.
Energy traders might start trading carbon as their primary commodity as the global carbon market grows to be worth $22 trillion by 2050.
In an attempt to dominate the global hydrogen market, China’s state oil and gas major, Sinopec, will shell out 30 billion yuan ($4.6b) on green hydrogen investments by 2025. Meanwhile South Korean automaker Hyundai may be the only automaker left still holding out for hydrogen with a plan to make fuel cell cars by 2028.
Bezos Earth Fund - Amazon-CEO’s $10 billion climate commitment - pledged $200m in grants to climate nonprofits. Separately, Amazon is protecting the other Amazon by compensating Brazilian landowners to restore their land in the Amazon.
Sustainable aviation is also having its moment this week. The White House challenged airlines to burn only sustainable aviation fuels by 2050 (we wrote about SAFs here). United Airlines expanded its SAF commitment to 1.5 billion gallons and Chevron is also trying to get its skin in the game.
To divest or not to divest, that is the question that Harvard has been debating for years. President Lawrence Bacow announced that HMC will “runoff” legacy investments in fossil fuels but stopped shy of using the word ‘divest’ - though that didn’t stop activists from declaring victory.
Lovers of lists, rejoice! The Cool List is the place to find 75+ of “the hottest companies that are keeping the planet cool.” Chock-block with lots of CTVC alumni.
As the California wildfires rage on, ski resorts are turning snowmaking machines into fire-fighting water cannons.
Epic timelapses of global development from the 1980s to 2020.
In an exceptionally reported portrait, NYTimes covers how climate change is bankrupting small towns across America.
A must read story that’s the result of a 19-month investigation into the safety of CO2 pipelines, based in Satartia where a CO2 leak sickened dozens and shut cars down due to lack of oxygen along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
Lewis Pugh completes a frigid 12-day swim across Greenland’s ice fjord to highlight the climate crisis before COP26.
The top 10 futuristic EVs at Germany’s biggest auto show.
Salvation for biochar? After decades being dragged through the mud, a recent meta-analysis over 20 years of studies dives into how biochar “mitigates climate change and supports food security and the circular economy.”
All hail hydrogen! Check out this fascinating chart on European plans for electrolyzer capacity by 2030.
Ikea’s buyback and resell program is finally coming to the U.S. First stop: Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Opportunities & Events:
💡 Penn Climate Ventures Student Fellowship: Students from any school can apply by Sept 18th to PCV’s Fellowship consulting program, to work with cutting edge climate tech startups during the Fall semester.
💡 Cards and Payments Challenge: Apply by Oct 1st to this climate fintech challenge bringing together the latest innovators and technologies in digital payments, wallets, credit assessment, rewards, and processing infrastructure decarbonization.
🗓️ Techstars Sustainability Roundtable: Tune in on Sept 15th to a net-zero challenge demo day from promising seed through Series C stage climate tech startups like Twelve, Descartes Labs, Yard Stick, NCX, and DroneSeed.
Climate Editor @Bloomberg Green
Country Head @Planetly
Head of Product @Nitricity
Business Operations Manager @SINAI Technologies
Technical Program Manager @SINAI Technologies
Operations Manager @Third Derivative
Onboarding Coordinator @Indigo
Innovation Fellowship @NYSERDA
Software Engineer @Myst AI
Software Engineer @CarbonChain
Lead Controls Engineer @Heirloom
Feel free to 📩 send us new ideas, recent fundings, or general curiosities. Have a great week ahead!