🏗 ClimateHack Vol 104: AI-powered cement decarbonisation

PLUS: Spanish VC Seaya closed its latest climate tech fund with €300M

Hi There,

Last weeks poll results are in. We asked where climate tech funding was heading next quarter and here’s how ClimateHack readers (who are mostly VC’s and Founders) voted :

50% of ClimateHack readers believe funding will increase, while 32% expect a decrease over the summer and 17.5% expect levels to stay the same.

This sentiment is in-line with discussions we had during the HackSummit last month, with long wind trends highlighting good reason for continued investments in climate tech - particularly a growing interest from traditional investors (like Asset Managers, Institutional’s, Family Offices) - there are still some short term hesitations to deploy capital as investors wait and see the performance of companies from the last investment cycle.

It’s also a very different story depending on what stage of the fundraising stack you’re in, with plenty of activity happening in Seed stage compared to Series A+ and more LP capital being deployed behind established managers than the emerging.

If you’re a Founder of Fund raising over the summer, we’d love to hear from you on how you’re approaching fundraising during this time and what you’re seeing. Hit reply if you’re up to chat.

In Today’s Edition;

🏗 Berlin-based alcemy raised $10M to scale its AI-powered cement decarbonisation solution.
👜 New York-based UNCAGED Innovations secured $5.6M for the “world’s first” sustainable leather made from grains.
🇪🇸 Spanish VC Seaya closed its latest climate tech fund, ‘Andromeda’, with €300M, making it the largest venture firm in the country.

Digest x Climate

📈 What’s up? Sifted pulled together a list of Europe’s fastest-growing climate tech startups. TLDR? They’re all working on hardware and infrastructure.

📉 What’s down? Depressingly, even ‘sustainable’ fashion brand Patagonia transports clothes to Europe by air, not sea.

🚞 Cool: This twitter thread of unique train trips around the world had us mezmired. #TeamTrainsNotPlanes.

💡 Good Read: ImpactVC released its founder impact playbook.

📚 Useful: Planet A Ventures shared its analysis of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, on its two-year anniversary.

AgriFood x Climate

Image Credits: eAgronom

👨‍🌾 Estonian agritech startup eAgronom secured €10 million Series A2 funding to encourage farmers into more sustainable farming practices by incentivising them with its carbon credit program.

🌾 Genica, based in Brazil, raised $12 million in a funding round led by Mitsubishi’s Agrex Group, and claims it’s the largest amount raised so far for ag biologicals in the country this year. It has developed a number of different bio-based products to support soil health in soybean, corn and sugarcane agriculture.

🍌 The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture has approved new, gene-edited banana varieties with reduced-browning characteristics, developed by Tropic Biosciences, thanks to their potential to help reduce food waste.

🍚 Scientists at the Beijing Academy of Food Sciences’ China Meat Research Centre claim to have developed rice grains with embedded cultivated meat cells, that are visually indistinguishable from regular varieties.

🍄 New York-based Afterlife Ag is building a circular solution for restaurant waste. It uses restaurant food scraps to grow gourmet mushrooms, which it then sells back to chefs.

❄️ US startup Prism is also tackling restaurant food waste, with a controlled atmosphere container that can be stored in restaurants’ walk-in fridges, extending the shelf-life of produce and potentially reducing the number of fresh food deliveries needed each week.

🐄 Scientists at the University of Galway received a grant of €1.4 million from the Irish government to support research into novel technologies for methane mitigation in beef and dairy farming.

Biodiversity x Climate

Image Credits: Natural Capital Research Limited

🔎 Natural Capital Research Limited secured $10 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round to support organisations in understanding their nature-related risks and opportunities, including the likes of Tesco and MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings.

Carbon x Climate

Image Credits: Tree.ly

🌳 Tree.ly, based in Austria and Germany, raised €5 million seed funding. It uses geospatial engines, ML-powered stock measurement, species detection, and stock change modelling to develop forest climate protection projects across Europe, then connects forest owners with companies who want to purchase high-quality carbon credits.

Construction x Climate

Image Credits: alcemy

🏗 Berlin-based alcemy raised $10 million to scale its AI-powered cement decarbonisation solution, which offers relevant insights along the entire value chain in real-time to help reduce emissions by up to 65%. 

📊 Norway’s Sensorita came out of stealth with a total of €6 million in funding, including €3.25 million in venture funding. It uses digital twin data to help waste management companies streamline their construction waste.

🧱 Cambridge Electric Cement, a spinout of the University of Cambridge, secured £2.25 million in a seed funding round led by Zero Carbon Capital. It has developed the world’s first process for making low carbon, recycled cement, and will use the funds to industrialise its production.

🔎 London-based startup ObraLink raised €1.8 million pre-Series A funding from Cemex Ventures. It uses BIM, computer vision, and IoT to reduce manual execution in construction projects, instead automating and speeding up the construction process.

🏡 Founders Factory and German housing company Vonovia are developing a new venture studio to support the scaling and availability of affordable and climate-neutral housing, via technologies such as generative AI, digital twins, and intelligent infrastructure. 

Energy x Climate

Image Credits: SCW Systems

💨 SCW Systems, based in the Netherlands, raised €25 million in a funding round led by Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn. It has developed supercritical water gasification technology to convert organic waste streams into sustainable energy.

❄️ Californian startup Artyc secured $14 million to disrupt the cold shipping industry with its temperature-controlled transportation device, which features a USB-C port to charge a lithium-ion battery that powers a solid-state heat pump.

📊 Seattle-based Phaidra raised $12 million, in a funding round led by Index Ventures, to lower energy bills in real-time by automating building controls for power plants with its AI-powered systems.

💾 Vaire Computing, based in London and Seattle, secured $4.5 million seed funding to build ‘reversible computing’ silicon chips that would consume negligible amounts of energy and generate very little heat.

☀️ New York-based GlassPoint secured a $2.5 million investment from MIG Capital. It builds, owns and operates large-scale solar steam facilities, designed to reduce carbon emissions in industries such as mining and metals, chemicals, construction materials and desalination. 

🏡 UK-based Heatio raised £2 million to make clean energy more accessible and affordable. Its AI-powered platform provides consumers with tailored energy solutions based on their property type and energy use, helping make the property more efficient and enabling them to save money on their energy bills.

Trends x Climate: Mycelium for Construction

🍄 The What; Traditional construction is a polluting business. The typical lifecycle looks like this: non-renewable resources are extracted, used in structures, demolished, and sent to landfill.

That’s why startups are looking at ways to avoid unnecessary extraction, shift to regenerative materials, and improve the decarbonisation of conventional materials.

Mycelium is one promising solution. It’s the root-like part of fungi that lives underground. Mycelium is organic, biodegradable, and readily replenishable, making it cost-effective. And when it’s dried it becomes incredibly durable – not to mention resistant to water, mould, and fire.

📊 The Stats; 
- The buildings and construction sector account for 37% of global emissions. And despite progress, the sector isn’t even close to being on track to meet its decarbonisation goals by 2050.
- One study says that bio-based construction materials could reduce carbon emissions by nearly 800M tons per year.

👀 The Who; There are 20+ companies globally working on Mycelium for Construction, including:
- Namibia based MycoHAB, founded in 2022 with the goal to help organisations and communities harness the boundless capabilities of mycelium to improve the lives of people.
- UK's Mykor who have raised £1.2M to date for their biotech company developing commercially viable and sustainable building materials grown from waste.

💡 Learn more; Deep dive into the world of Mycelium for Construction and the 20+ companies working in this space, with expert insights from Mridul Pareek of ECBF, Susanne Gløersen of The Fungi Investment Collective and Marc Violo of MycoStories in our latest climate deep dive.

ESG x Climate

Image Credits: Apiday

🔎 Paris-based Apiday closed its Series A funding round with €10 million. Its AI-powered, cloud-based ESG data platform enables users to develop and manage their ESG roadmaps.

Materials x Climate

Image Credits: Vytal

♻️ German startup Vytal raised €6.2 million, in a funding round led by Emerald Technology, for its digital reusable packaging system, which it operates across restaurants and canteens in 17 countries.

👜 New York-based UNCAGED Innovations secured $5.6 million, in a seed funding round co-led by Green Circle Foodtech Ventures and Fall Line Capital, for the “world’s first” sustainable leather made from grains, which it says mimics the texture and performance of its animal counterpart.

🪨 Altrove, based in France, raised €3.7 million pre-seed funding to create sustainable alternatives for critical materials. It uses AI models to generate potential recipes for new materials, then its proprietary characterisation technology uses an X-ray diffractometer to understand if the output material performs as expected.

Mobility x Climate

Image Credits: Zedify

🚲 UK-based Zedify raised £4 million from investors including Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital. It uses electric cargo bikes for last-mile delivery, and will use the funds to further expand its operations. 

🛰 German startup ISPTech, a spinout from the German Aerospace Center, secured €2 million pre-seed funding to further develop its “green” propulsion technology for the space industry.

🚤 Roboat, based in Amsterdam, raised €550,000 from LUMO Labs and SHIFT Invest. Its AI-powered autonomous boats are designed for highly complex urban and inland waterways, where heavy traffic conditions are the norm, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of city logistics.

Funds x Climate

Image Credits: Seaya

🇪🇸 Spanish VC Seaya closed its latest climate tech fund, ‘Andromeda’, with €300 million, bringing its assets under management to €650 million and making it the largest venture firm in the country. It will use the funds to support startups working across energy transition, decarbonisation, the sustainable food value chain, and the circular economy.

🇬🇧 Europe’s largest proptech VC, noa, secured investment from Grosvenor’s UK property business for its Fund II, with which it will support technologies disrupting and decarbonising the real estate industry and built world.

Memes x Climate  

This “The Office” style clip perfectly captures how big companies come up with their new eco labels:

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Editorial by Arman, Curation by Nicola