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🌏 New life for old trees #99
New executive order boosts nature-based approaches to climate change
Happy Earth Day! Here’s for celebrating our planet in 24-hour chunks, as Biden did by protecting ‘mature’ trees across federal lands due to their accelerated climate sequestration capabilities.
In funding news, a new gigacorn was born last week in UPSIDE Foods, a cultivated meat and seafood co, which gobbled up a $400m in Series C funding in “the largest round in the industry to date.” Crusoe Systems also uses recycled natural gas as a source of computing power, to the tune of $350m in new Series C funding, alongside electric aerospace company Beta Technologies taking down $375m in Series B.
In the news, China increases utilizing coal to kickstart their economy (contrary to going net zero by 2060) and Biden increases our commitment to aging nukes (with net-zero emissions) by carving out $6B to their preservation. The XPrize also announces their $1m carbon removal prize to Heirloom, Verdox and Captura out of 1000s of applicants.
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Seeing the forest for the trees on Earth Day
As Oscar Wilde declared, “With age comes wisdom [and accelerated carbon sequestration].” We might have added the bracketed portion, but Biden gets what we mean.
Biden signed an executive order on Earth Day to protect forests domestically and internationally – boosting the nature-based approach to curbing climate change. Old-growth forests are particularly set to benefit with targeted initiatives under the decree to define, inventory, and protect “mature” trees. Federal agencies will conduct the first-ever inventory of mature and old-growth forests on federal land.
Forests are the original DAC. Old growth forests absorb 70% more carbon than logged and replanted trees – making them one of the most effective forms of carbon sequestration. For example, a 150-year-old beech tree will absorb nine tons of CO2 – the equivalent of 35,000 miles driven by car – and its capture rate will accelerate as it ages.
The announcement is set to strengthen forestation efforts across three broad efforts - with leafy-forward climate tech innovators positioned to benefit from the order:
🔥 Reduce wildfire risk with ~$14B for fire management through fuels and forest treatment
Wildfire detection and response: Dryad, OroraTech, Pano, Overstory, Gridware, Rain Aero
🌱 Strengthen US forests by expanding reforestation efforts to plant ~1.2B trees and funding nature-based solutions to advance ecosystem restoration and resilience
New growth / Seedlings: Living Carbon, DroneSeed, Terraformation, Lord of the Trees, Propagate Ventures, Komaza
Ecosystem monitoring / MRV: Treeswift, Dendra Systems, Descartes Labs, Pachama, NCX, Open Forest Protocol
🌳 Combat global deforestation by deterring commodities - like beef and palm oil - from illegally deforested lands abroad
Commodity alternatives: C16 Bioscience, Zero Acre Farms
As we highlighted in our breakdown of the IPCC WGIII report, ecosystem restoration holds down 2.9 GtCOe of emissions reduction potential yet received a meager $0.2B in comparative venture investment ($.07B for 1 GtCO2e) in the last 2 years. With this new announcement, hopefully nature will soon get its own time in the climate tech spotlight.
Deals of the Week (4/18-4/25)
Here’s the TikTok version for those of you already reading on your phone.
🥩 UPSIDE Foods, a Berkeley, CA-based producer of cultivated meat and seafood, raised $400m in Series C funding from Temasek, Abu Dhabi Growth Fund, Baillie Gifford, Bill Gates, Cargill, Tyson Foods, CPT Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, SALT Fund, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, SOSV’s Indie Bio, and Synthesis Capital.
⛏️ Crusoe Energy Systems, a Denver, CO-based company mining bitcoin by using wasted natural gas as a power source, raised $350m in Series C funding from G2 Venture Partners, Valor Equity Partners, Lowercarbon Capital, Polychain Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Founders Fund, MCJ Collective, Engine No. 1, FootPrint Coalition Ventures, and others. [See our Twitter discussion in which 600+ of you voted on whether this is climate tech or not.]
✈️ Beta Technologies, a Burlington, VT-based electric aerospace company, raised $375m in Series B funding from TPG Rise Climate and Fidelity Management & Research Company.
🍷 Air Company, a New York, NY-based maker of vodka, fragrance, and fuels from captured carbon, raised $30m in Series A funding from Carbon Direct Capital Management, Toyota Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, MCJ Collective, and Parley for the Oceans.
💨 Greenly, a France-based carbon emissions tracking and reduction solutions platform for SMEs, raised $22m in Series A funding from Energy Impact Partners, Xange, and angel investors.
💨 Vaayu, a Germany-based carbon tracking platform for retailers, raised $11.5m in Seed funding from Atomico, CapitalT, and Seven Seven Six.
💨 Klima, a Germany-based climate app that enables users to measure and offset their personal carbon footprint, raised $10.9m in Series A funding from Keen Venture Partners, HV Capital, Headline, 468 Capital, and Adjacent.
🦐 CellMEAT, a South Korea-based alt shrimp maker, raised $8.1m in Series A funding from NauIB, BNK VC, Strong Ventures, and Ryukyung PSG.
🥩 Nowadays, a San Francisco, CA-based maker of plant-based meat, raised $7m in Seed funding from Stray Dog Capital, Standard Meat Co., VegInvest Trust, Tenacious Ventures, Cornucopian Capital, Good Protein Fund, Selva Ventures, Vanterra Accelerator Fund, FoodHack, Gaingels, Beyond Impact, Unpopular Ventures, and others.
☀️ Tandem PV, a Santa Clara, CA-based developer of solar panels that pair perovskite with traditional silicon, raised $6m in Series A funding from Bioeconomy Capital.
🌱 Eeki Foods, an India-based agritech startup, raised $6.5m in Series A funding from General Catalyst, Avaana Capital, Better Capital, and others.
💨 Carbon Upcycling Tech, a Canada-based developer of a CO2-embedded cement and concrete additive, raised $4.8m in funding from Clean Energy Ventures, CEMEX Ventures, Amplify Capital, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, Zero Carbon Partners, Purpose ESG, Clean Energy Venture Group, Fund for Sustainability and Energy, Prithvi Ventures, and others.
🚗 Euler Motors, an India-based EV manufacturing startup, raised $5m in Series B funding from Moglix.
🚗 Prakriti E-mobility, an India-based EV cab service provider, raised $5m in pre-Series A funding from IEG Investment Banking Group.
♻️ Glacier, a San Francisco, CA-based recycling robotics startup, raised $4.5m in Seed funding from NEA and angel investors including our own Sophie Purdom :-).
🔌 Tirex Transmission, an India-based EV charging startup, raised $2m in Seed funding from an undisclosed investor.
🌱 Aisti, a Finland-based startup developing carbon negative acoustic tiles, raised $1.7m in Seed funding from Maki.vc and Valve Ventures.
🥩 Off Meat, an Indonesia-based plant based meat producer, raised $1.7m in Seed funding from Alpha JWC Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Creative Gorilla Capital, United Family Capital, and Lemonilo.
🌱 TômTex, a New York, NY-based biobased leather alternatives company, raised $1.7m in pre-Seed funding from SOSV, Nucleus Adventures Capital, C3 Ventures, CRCM Ventures, Gaingels, Portfolia, and Chasing Rainbow.
🔋 BattGenie, a Seattle, WA-based software solutions provider for battery management systems, raised $1.5m in Seed funding from Powerhouse Ventures and VoLo Earth Ventures.
🦐 Cruz Foam, a Santa Cruz, CA-based maker of compostable packing foam from discarded shrimp shells, raised nearly $1m in extended Seed funding from Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher.
Exits & New Funds:
Cycle Capital Demeter raised $160m for its new Circular Innovation Fund ("CIF") with participation of anchor investor L'Oréal.
Energy tech company Baker Hughes acquired carbon capture and removal company Mosaic Materials.
In the News
To save the largest zero-carbon emitting generation fleet in the US, the Biden administration carved out $6b to help aging nukes stay on top of its maintenance and relicensing for the next few decades. According to Charles Komanoff, a back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that just 10 additional years of a quarter of our nuclear fleet could avoid 580 MMTs of CO2.
In the past, companies leasing US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) were oil and gas companies—now it’s shifting to renewables. The federal government approved more than 39 sites for solar projects, totalling 29 GW of capacity by 2025, or 25% of the existing US solar capacity, or 2x France’s current deployment!
The soon-to-be 2nd lithium mining operation in California’s Salton Sea found a buyer for their minerals. Italvolt will build a new 54GWh gigafactory, capable of pumping out 650,000 EV batteries a year. Lagging behind in lithium production, the US government has been pushing for more domestic EV production and this project would help move the needle in the right direction.
Biden reinstated a Nixon-era policy (removed by Trump) to conduct environmental studies prior to any approval of federal infrastructure. However, lacking from this reinstatement is any additional improvement on another important federal planning policy: the social cost of carbon, seemingly stalled on any increase from $51/ton to $125/ton.
Cementing themselves as the largest private buyer of clean energy, Amazon expands their global renewable fleet to a total of 15.7GW of capacity, enough to power 125% of New York City (and more!) if produced at the same time.
China doubles down on coal to jumpstart their limping economy—counter to their vow to meet net-zero by 2060. Curiously, this news comes right after China unveiled its long-term hydrogen plan to produce 100,000 to 200,000 tons produced from renewables.
Can you reach net zero by 2050? Check out the new climate game from The Financial Times.
The Diamond List - a set of “hidden gem” climate startups - has released its 2022 members, featuring 56 early-stage companies across the climate ecosystem. Check out our opportunities & events section below for more details on in-person Diamond List launch events.
The sea rose 4 inches between 1993 and now. According to NASA, if you put that volume of water just on the footprint of the US, it would be 16 feet tall.
Axios reports that private equity invested $27b in cleantech in 2021 through 124 deals, with the bulk of investment dollars going to renewable energy.
Reporters from the NYT Climate Desk answer frequent reader questions on climate change.
The DOE launches a pilot program to repurpose abandoned oil and gas wells for geothermal energy.
Lost in transmission. How a $3b transmission line was obstructed by a rancher’s conservation easement.
Wirecutter explains what type of heat pump might be best for your home.
A new GE 3D printer the size of a three story building can print 20 meter sections of wind turbines.
Opportunities & Events:
💡 IBM Sustainability Accelerator: Apply by Apr 30th to IBM’s public request for nonprofit and government organizations serving vulnerable communities through clean energy initiatives and enjoy IBM’s support, guidance, and network of partners for up to two years.
📅 Diamond List Launch: Join around the world to celebrate Diamond List’s highly sought-after hidden gems and talk about the list of startups through a variety of lenses including that of an investor, jobseeker, and/or climate tech addict. Apr 25th in London, May 10th in NYC, May 19th in San Francisco.
📅 IndieBio Demo Day: Join on Apr 26th to watch nano-documentaries highlighting all 13 startups from IndieBio’s 12th batch of biotech entrepreneurs.
📅 Project Drawdown (Earth Day Special): Join on Apr 27th to hear from Drawdown’s Executive Director, Dr. Jonathan Foley, alongside other renowned climate experts and investors narrowing in on solar, water, and plastic innovations.
📅 Black & Veatch Showcase: Join in-person in Kansas City or virtually on May 5th to watch eight startups pitch their climate tech business model and discuss the experience they had with Black & Veatch’s IgniteX accelerator.
Business Development @Cloverly
Community Manager @Ecosapiens
Ventures Principal @OGCI
Principal Soil Scientist @Yardstick
Founding Business Lead @RightHandGreen
VP - Climate Technology @HolonIQ
Senior Investment Associate @Unreasonable Group
Head, Sustainable Finance Advisory @Nature Conservancy
Feel free to 📩 send us new ideas, recent fundings, events & opportunities, or general curiosities. Have a great week ahead!