In this newsletter we try to uncover which Planet+ startups have raised money, and who their investors are - with the goal of shining more light towards companies that are building what the planet needs.
Welcome to Planet+news inaugural edition
Really, another newsletter?
Well, yeah. Newsletters tend to be a great way to get up to speed on a topic of interest, and are easy to curate and distribute.
And this one is important. While the interest from entrepreneurs and investors (like your truly) is growing everyday, innovation in climate tech is heavily underreported.
This newsletter aims to track investment rounds happening for Planet+ companies, and will sprinkle along some very relevant major news.
To be clear, it isn't a policy newsletter, or even a scientific newsletter. This is a newsletter about the growing trend of startups working to save the planet, and the investors supporting them. But I might sprinkle in some news that make it clear the trend is here, and it is here to stay, like Unicredit exiting coal mine financing (even if it's gonna take 5 years).
But the important thing is the companies getting started to solve this crisis and the investors funding them. So strap on, and let's get inspired by all of this amazing companies.
Note: It took me a while to get this one out, so it has overinflated into a massive edition covering every round from September 1st to November 28th. I'll aim to publish this every month or so from now on, but as the pace of investments grow - so could the cadence of this newsletter.
I might clearly have missed some, so please do send over others you think should be in here. All of these rounds are tracked in a mega database, together with all investors, locations, amounts and so on - so if you have similar data, please reach out.
Note, definitions: The definition of Planet+ is at the moment purely subjective to the author. We might work on a more quantitative definition, but for now the companies mentioned are ones I think can have a positive environmental impact on the world. The most notable impacts are around climate change, waste and circularity. There are some edge areas like e-scooters and their sharing operators. Electrification of all transport is very important but these do not feel like Planet+ companies: as in they were not started to save the planet. I have also tended to exclude larger investments in renewable energy developers, as they aren't really startups bringing to market new products, and there are just so many of them. There might be one or two sprinkled if they are particularly interesting.
Note, format: I will probably transition the deals section to a more readable format for the next edition. It will look something like:
Package Free raises $4.5M Seed round from Neil Parikh, Brooke Wall, Ryan Engel, Day One Ventures, TQ Ventures, Primary Ventures. Source
Tags: Consumer,Waste; Location: 🇺🇸 USA, Date: 2019-09-27
Any feedback is much appreciated, as well with potential sources of news!
The news, as always, isn't particularly good. It isn't shocking at all though, as we all know the world is doing almost nothing in the face of the crisis.
1. GHG emissions continue to rise, despite scientific warnings and political commitments. There is no sign of GHG emissions peaking in the next few years.
2. G20 members account for 78 per cent of global GHG emissions. Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States of America are currently projected to miss their Cancun Pledges.
3. The emissions gap is large. In 2030, annual emissions need to be 15 GtCO2e lower than current unconditional NDCs imply for the 2°C goal, and 32 GtCO2e lower for the 1.5°C goal. (meaning there is no way we can reach a path for sub 2°C by 2030, so we will need to cut even more afterwards.)
4. Countries must increase their NDC ambitions threefold to achieve the well below 2°C goal and more than fivefold to achieve the 1.5°C goal.
5. Decarbonizing the global economy will require fundamental structural changes. By necessity, this will see profound change in how energy, food and other material-intensive services are demanded and provided by governments, businesses and markets.
So, no time to waste. We need all of you in the climate fight, starting yesterday.
It is starting. The Planet+ thesis is already materializing quite clearly.
- The EIB will end financing for fossil fuel energy projects from the end of 2021 - The EIB Group will aim to support EUR 1 trillion of investments in climate action and environmental sustainability in the critical decade from 2021 to 2030; - The EIB will gradually increase the share of its financing dedicated to climate action and environmental sustainability to reach 50% of its operations in 2025 and from then on;
This is just MASSIVE news. The Planet+ thesis was that this sort of capital shift from big institutional investors and government was going to happen in the next five years, and it is just awesome to start seeing the first sings of it, especially in the EU. I don't expect the US to follow suit so fast, for a number of factors, but surely in the next five years too.
The post is a must read of how companies should think about the future, but here is what the fund will be used for:
- Buying $1M of sequestered carbon annually at any price: Shopify is committed to investing at least $1 million USD each year into carbon sequestration. Our goal is to kickstart the demand and predictability of this market so industrial engineering can scale and the price can come down.
- Carbon-neutral operations: We've bought enough renewable energy to neutralize our carbon footprint in Canada, and in 2020 we plan to power 100% of our global operations with renewable energy. We’ll offset all travel-related emissions too.
- Carbon-neutral platform: All of Shopify runs in data centers powered by renewable energy.
- Sustainable offices: We look for LEED-certified office space, and most of our square footage is LEED Gold or Platinum. We’ve chosen buildings in areas with high transit and walkability scores, and built with local materials wherever possible. This also includes minor but locally impactful things like adding bike racks and storage to every office.
Pretty big move here, as this is the largest ride-hailing company in Europe to voluntarily commit to carbon offsetting.
Aside from buying offsets they have a bigger plan: Bolt’s Green Plan, which is more comprehensive and awesome. 1. To neutralise Bolt’s contribution to the CO₂ emissions of the European transportation sector, with a minimum commitment of 5 million tonnes offset by 2025. 2. To reduce emissions, by bringing scooters, electric cars and other environmentally friendly transport options for you to move in cities. 3. To use renewable energy (and 100% offsetting where that is not available) in all Bolt offices around the world in 2020.
Expect more companies to drive towards these policies in the coming month.
Ben of the Clean Energy Trust explores the landscape of Planet+ VCs, but unfortunately can just state that there aren't that many.
He also explores what a $10B fund dedicated to climate could/should do in order to provide a lot of value add.
1. Turbocharged industrial marketing support. 2.Top recruiting. 3. Policy, regulatory, and lobbying help. 4. Grant writers. 5. PR and advertising. 6. IP strategy. 7. Manufacturing & Scale Up
"In climate tech, I’m sorry to say, we’re not at the point where we have such cutthroat competition for deal flow. The amazing (but growing!) funding in this space can’t keep up with the number of great ideas, so VC firms don’t yet have to compete with added services."
Bill Gates posts are always very simple, as they have to target a super wide audience, but it's really great to see someone like him shine light on one of the worst offenders in climate change, and one where we are doing way too little.
Many people pointed to evidence of much higher temperatures being achieved by solar furnaces even in the 70s, but this article is also looking at the feasibility of the solution. Cleantechnica digs in to see if it actually can be useful for all of the advertised uses, and it has some serious doubts.
Not an everyday headline here, and not a Planet+ specific one, but still a game changer that signals EU's intentions in the deeptech space.
The European Union is planning a 3.5 billion-euro ($3.9 billion) fund that will invest in early stage technology in an effort to increase the pipeline of innovations that might someday take on giants in the U.S. and China.
The funds would be externally managed by the European Innovation Council.
The fund targets the current capital gap for seed and early-stage investments in promising advanced energy innovations. CEV will focus on technologies and business model innovations in the U.S. and Canada that are ready to be scaled and commercialized, and that have the potential to significantly mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions.
Blue Horizon Ventures is a food technology-focused venture capital fund founded in 2018 by serial entrepreneurs and investors Roger Lienhard and Michael Kleindl. The fund aims to support the movement towards a more sustainable food system through innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. The underlying mission of the fund is to support and promote a positive global impact on the environment, human health, and animal welfare.
At the same time, it is announcing 4 investments: Human Food, TIPA, Algama Foods and Clara Foods.
Niklas Adalberth, founder of Klarna, poured another €31 million into the fund, bringing his total contribution to a total of €94 million.
Norrsken is one of the coolest new institutions in Europe, investing in startups working with the great challenges of society and mankind, such as poverty, disease, environmental issues, famine or mental health.
Money will be used to expand abroad, with already a co-working planned in Rwanda.
ArcTern Ventures, a Toronto and Montreal, Canada-based venture capital firm investing globally in breakthrough clean technology companies addressing climate change and sustainability, held the second closing of its Fund II bringing the total to $200m.
The Russian fund will target:
- Products based on vegetable protein — including the rapidly growing industry of vegetable meat and alt milk;
- Developments in production of sugar substitutes
- Next-generation’ modern «smart» packaging;
- Biotechnologies and digital solutions for the optimization of processes of the sector.
This week, the Fresno-based developer launched a $100 million Agriculture Energy Infrastructure Fund, aimed at combining low-cost solar power-purchase agreements with the backup power of energy storage.
Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer XPeng, backed by Alibaba, has raised $400 million from investors including Xiaomi Corp to fund its growth.
We're listing EV companies as Planet+, but they're at the limit of the spectrum, personally. But given we need to electrify everything it seems fair to add them. Would love some feedback on what readers think of them.
"Imagine a moving tower made of huge cement bricks weighing 35 metric tons. The movement of these massive blocks is powered by wind or solar power plants and is a way to store the energy those plants generate. Software controls the movement of the blocks automatically, responding to changes in power availability across an electric grid to charge and discharge the power that’s being generated.
The development of this technology is the culmination of years of work at Idealab, and Energy Vault, the company it spun out to commercialize the technology, has just raised $110 million from SoftBank Vision Fund to take its next steps in the world."
Provivi creates safe and sustainable methods for controlling pest populations to protect food supplies and minimize exposure to insecticide residues. This natural method harnesses the same pheromone molecules that insects use to communicate.
Funding was led by Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Fund and a global investment fund, with participation from new investor Tybourne Capital Management and existing investors Kairos Ventures, Spruce Capital, Lanx Capital, and BASF Venture Capital.
Hydrostor, a leading developer of Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) projects, announced today the closing of $37 million in growth financing. Meridian led, and was joined by MaRS, ArcTern, Lorem, Canoe and more.
The company has now raised a total of $33 million in a Series B round led by U.S.-based venture capital firm 14W, with a number of other existing investors participating, including Europe’s Balderton Capital, which is increasing their investment in the business.
Simple Feast provides plant-based ready-to-cook meal subscriptions. And it is ticking the climate agenda boxes, with packaging made solely by FSC-approved cardboard boxes, to the cooling element they use to keep the food fresh (frozen tap water in drinkable cartons) and their use of all-organic produce.
The round was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and SoftBank Group’s SB Energy.
Ess develops and manufactures the Energy Warehouse™ (EW) flow battery and battery-in-a-building platform, the Energy Center™ (EC). The EW is deployed in commercial and utility-scale energy storage applications requiring 4+ hours of flexible energy capacity and 20+ years of operating life with no capacity fade.
Based in Sweden, the company has developed a software platform and autonomous, electric Einride Pods that are modular and can be adapted to suit various loads. The goal is to speed the trend toward more efficient and sustainable delivery systems as logistics are stretched under the booming demand for goods worldwide.
The investment was co-led by the EQT Ventures fund ("EQT Ventures"), and NordicNinja VC. Other investors joining the round include Ericsson Ventures, Norrsken Foundation, Plum Alley Investments and Plug and Play Ventures.
TIPA announced the close of a $25 million venture round with Blue Horizon Ventures, Triodos Organic Growth Fund and existing investors Chestnut and GreenSoil Investments, to expand production and distribution of its high-quality packaging that is fully compostable, including laminates and labels.
CelLink's circuits use innovative combinations of manufacturing techniques and materials, resulting in simplified wiring designs with optimal electrical and thermal performance. This advancement in flexible circuit technology enables significant reductions in volume and weight over existing wiring technologies. For vehicle wiring, CelLink's technology can provide up to 70 percent weight reduction and up to 90 percent volume reduction by replacing round wire bundles with flat flexible circuits.
The round was co-led by new investors Franklin Venture Partners, Fontinalis Partners, BMW i Ventures, with existing investor Ford Motor Company, and further included Lear Corporation, as well as participation by other existing investors 3M Ventures, SK Telecom, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, and Band of Angels.
Volta Charging, a SF-based company that combines outdoor digital advertising with charging stations to give electric vehicle owners free power, has added another $20 million in a follow-on to its Series C round.
The company’s Series C round is now closed at $100 million. Schneider Electric Ventures, SK Innovation, Energize Ventures and a number of existing partners participated in the follow-on Series C round. Volta Charging also borrowed $44 million from Energy Impact Partners and CION.
Volta, which launched in 2010, partners with businesses and real estate owners to install EV chargers in high-traffic areas such as grocery stores, entertainment venues and shopping centers. Instead of charging EV owners, the power is provided for free. Volta makes money on the outdoor advertising that is a centerpiece of the charger design.
E-mobility and R&D specialist, QEV Technologies, will receive EUR 17 million funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a variety of low carbon transportation projects. The funding will boost the company’s development of electric powertrains for small urban transport vehicles, electric racing technologies, fast charging systems, and electric vehicles (EVs).
75F offers a vertically-integrated smart building solution that includes wireless sensors, equipment controllers and cloud-based software delivering predictive, proactive building automation right out-of-the-box that save up to 50% on HVAC and lighting energy, improves occupant comfort and enhances operational efficiency.
Eavor provides solutions in the geothermal energy space. Eavor-Loop, the company’s solution, is a new means of extracting power from the Earth’s natural geological temperature gradient and make a traditional niche energy source, geothermal energy, scalable by removing the need for volcanic-type temperature and permeable aquifers.
The company aims to use Eavor-Loop globally to transfer 10 million homes over the next 10 years onto heat or power from its distributed green baseload solution.
Wild Type, a startup developing cultured salmon (that is, fish grown from cells outside the animal), announced today that it had raised a $12.5 million Series A funding round. The round was led by CRV with participation from Maven Ventures, Spark Capital and Root Ventures.
Cooks Venture is the new, hyped regenerative agriculture startup from the founder of Blue Apron.
It is the first vertically integrated agricultural company to operate solely on regenerative agriculture - raising both chickens and growing their feed.
Cooks Venture plans to use the funding to expand processing capabilities and to help farmers transition to regenerative processes. The company recently opened a new high-tech, air-chilled processing facility, which allows for production of up to 700,000 chickens per week.
The $12 million in financing was provided by AMERRA Capital Management.
Winnow, the U.K. startup that has developed smart kitchen tech to help commercial kitchens reduce food waste, is disclosing $12 million in Series B funding. Backing the round is Ingka Group (a strategic partner to the Ikea franchisee system), Mustard Seed, Circularity Capital, D: Ax and The Ingenious Group.
Its latest Winnow Vision product automates waste tracking by using computer vision to track what food is being discarded and therefore enabling kitchens to make better inventory decisions.
Los Angeles startup EV Connect closed a $12 million Series B to fund its electric vehicle charging software expansion. The company works with charging hardware vendors and builds software controls to govern them.
Japanese industrial conglomerate Mitsui & Co. and cleantech venture capital firm Ecosystem Integrity Fund led the round, which brings total funds raised to $25 million.
Enfuce, a Finland-based company providing cloud-based financial services, has secured €10M in funding led by the early-stage VC firm Maki.vc, including venture debt from Nordea, LähiTapiola, and Finnvera.
The company intends to use the new funding to accelerate its global growth and scale its newly launched sustainability service, My Carbon Actions, a pioneering service for banks, other financial service providers, and merchants to help their customers track their actual carbon footprint per purchase.
India-based Atomberg has developed its own technology for making electric fans run on brushless DC motors, also called BLDC motors. According to Atomberg, these fans, in the ‘Gorilla’ brand, consume around 65% less power and can help you save a lot on your power bill.
The $10 million round has been led by A91 Partners. Whiteboard Capital Fund and Survam Partners have also participated.
The round was led by the notable entrepreneur, Kees Koolen who is the first investor and former CEO of Booking.com and one of the first investors in Uber. In addition, reknown German fund Freigeist Capital, multiple Dutch and Belgium investors, and the first engineer of Uber, Conrad Whelan, also participated in the funding. The total investment in the company is said to have exceeded 10 million Euros.
Hardt has a unique lane-switching tech for Hyperloop.
Redefine Meat, an Israeli company developing technology to 3D print plant-based meat, raised a $6 million seed round led by CPT Capital with participation by Hanaco Ventures, angel investors and German poultry company The PHW Group.
Package Free is announcing that it has raised its very first capital since launch in 2017, with a fresh $4.5 million in seed funding led by Primary Ventures. Scooter Braun’s TQ Ventures, Day One Ventures, Ryan Engel of Peleton, Brooke Wall of The Wall Group, and Casper founder Neil Parikh also participated in the round, alongside others.
Package Free is an online and retail shop where brands that are, well, package free, can sell their products.
OpenSC is focusing its technology platform on building transparency around commodities that are currently known to have significant environmental or human rights risks within their supply chains, such as seafood, timber, and palm oil.
OpenSC announced it has raised $4 million in seed funding from Working Capital and Christian Wenger.
New Culture has closed a $3.5 million seed round of funding led by Evolv Ventures, the venture fund of Kraft-Heinz. Bee Partners, Mayfield, CPT Capital, Boost VC, and SOSV also participated in the round.
Started in New Zealand and recently relocated to San Francisco, New Culture makes animal-free cheese not with plant-based ingredients but with biotechnology in a lab.
The round was led by Lux Capital with participation from Y Combinator, S2G, CPT Capital, PeakState, SGH Capital, Twenty Two VC, Aera VC, XFactor Ventures, and Climate Capital.
Led by Jasmin Hume, Shiru is a computational biology company that produces novel, functional proteins for food applications leveraging molecular design. Their goal is to make ingredients that decrease the reliance on animals for food by providing alternatives that are more sustainable and nutritious.
The company was recently awarded $3.4 million in new funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to advance and commercialize a new class of polymer membranes that will make fuels cells much more economical.
Coupled with an additional $1 million private investment.
The aviation startup ZeroAvia has received a £2.7m (US$3.3 million) grant from the UK government. The funds will be used to support continued development of fuel cell/electric propulsion technology to reduce aviation CO2 emissions.
It develops a zero-emission powertrain that has 75% lower fuel and maintenance costs, resulting in up to 50% total trip cost reduction.
It delivers 300–500 mile zero emission in a 10–20 seat fixed wing aircraft to utilize existing infrastructure and simplify regulatory issues.
Amped Innovation creates products that help those living under $4 per day to increase their incomes using affordable productive use power. The company is developing a new generation of highly efficient DC appliances, focusing on televisions, cold-chain, water pumping and diesel generator replacement solutions that are affordable to low-income segments.
The funding was led by ENGIE, with participation from Schneider Electric Ventures and FINCA Ventures.
Oceano Fresco’s strategy is to cultivate the two types of clam seedlings in its on-shore R&D center, then transport the seedlings to a 100-hectare off-shore farm, where they will grow for two years before being harvested for market. The company also eventually plans to sell the seedlings to other bivalve farmers in southern Europe.
The company believes bivalve farming is a viable way to meet the world’s growing demand for protein while minimizing and even alleviating strain on the environment.
Amber Electric, a new energy company which is unlocking the value of renewable energy with an entirely new way for customers to buy electricity, has raised $2.5 million in an investment round led by Square Peg.
It uses a pretty cool model: instead of charging a fixed fee for electricity, it just passes along the wholesale price, and charges instead a $10/m subscription fee. In this way, the incentives are aligned, and it will help consumers shift consumption to times when cheap wind or other renewables are generating energy.
SEPPURE creates nanofiltration solutions that can separate chemical mixtures at a molecular level with minimal energy. Existing separation technologies require heat for processes such as evaporation and distillation.
The round was led by SOSV, with participation from Entrepreneur First, 500 Startups, SGInnovate and Rekanext.
The round was led by Moonshots Capital with participation from new and existing investors Blue Bear Capital, Bull Creek Capital, Capital Factory and Service Provider Capital.
Copper Labs provides utilities with actionable, real-time energy measurements and insights that can be immediately shared with consumers to achieve cost and energy savings. Copper, the company’s flagship wireless energy monitor, collects revenue-grade data from electric, gas and water meters to generate insights with practical value alerts during peak periods.
DryGro, a UK-based startup growing a high-protein variety of duckweed called Lenma, has closed its first tranche of Series A investment worth £1.4m.
A European family office led the round.
The aim is to grow animal feed protein that can potentially substitute soybean meal in animal feed. What sets Lemna apart, the team say, is how it bears a similar amino acid profile and crude protein content to soybean meal.
The startup builds battery materials that enables lithium-ion batteries double energy storage capacity.
It develops battery materials that will enable lithium-ion batteries to double their energy storage capacity. Its technology helps smartphone batteries last up to 85% longer. It also enables electric cars to be between 10% and 15% cheaper, which brings them significantly closer to price parity with their gasoline-powered counterparts.
Funding was from 500 Startups, HKSTP Ventures, and Entrepreneur First.
Denda is a sustainable product aggregator trying to fix this. To make life simpler for the environmentally conscious, users can find the most useful sustainability products according to their lifestyles. Fortunately, all of this is available over one platform.
Zhenmeat, a new Chinese food-tech startup, brings plant-based meat analogs tailored to Chinese cuisines, from dimsum to stuffed peppers to mooncakes. The Beijing-based company launches their plant-protein and fungus based meat alternative on the market today, and hopes to not only target vegans and vegetarians, but meat eaters too.
Stash Energy’s system allows users to store energy during non-peak periods and save up to 70 per cent on their utility bill. It works with conventional heat pumps, allowing users to specify when to switch from using grid energy to stored energy. The system benefits both consumers and utility providers, who can make more efficient use of their generation capacity and use more affordable resources.
Novameat, a Spanish startup looking to accelerate the development of alternative proteins across the meat aisle, raised an undisclosed amount from New Crop Capital.
The core of Novameat’s technology is a customized printer that enables companies to create the kinds of fibrous tissues needed to make a steak. “We are providing the equipment, the machinery, under a licensing agreement to these companies,” says Scionti. “Plant-based meat manufacturers have access to something that creates the texture and taste of a steak.”
Marvel Fusion is the world’s first private sector laser fusion company to take advantage of recent breakthroughs in laser-based fusion technology. Marvel Fusion intends to build and operate its own peta-watt class and high energy laser system coupled with a sophisticated target physics infrastructure that is exclusively dedicated to commercial fusion energy.
Thai Union, which produces Chicken of the Sea tuna, invested an undisclosed amount into Flying Spark, an Israeli company which uses Ceratitis capitata larvae to produce a 70% protein powder that is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and amino acids, with nearly zero waste. The startup’s production methodology also requires very little water and land resources, creates no methane emissions, and does not use hormones or antibiotics.
Shell's New Energy unit invested in Orb Energy and acquired a 20% stake.
Orb Energy provides credit to SMEs to invest in solar panel systems.
The company has sold over 160,000 solar systems in India till date.
Africa-focused PowerGen, a market leader in minigrids, adds to Shell’s expanding investments in off-grid energy access. The pair will have a combined ownership of 15 percent after leading the most recent funding round alongside six other investors.