🧀 ClimateHack Vol 12: Cow-Free Cheese

PLUS: What 28 Climate VC's are watching next

Hey There,

This week we asked 28 Food / Climate VC's what they're watching next quarter

Some of the interesting responses include- Biomaterials (following in the footsteps of the alt protein boom)- Mycelium (everything from food and mycoremediation to materials)- Fertilizers (fossil-free alternatives)Check out the full list here

What’s in today's edition? 💰 Why green tech deserves more investor attention. 🧀 Conversation with a Swiss startup making cow-free fats.🐊 WallyGator, the emotional support animal we never knew we needed.

Digest x Climate

📈 Whats up? New research shows that, at the current rate of warming, the Earth is already at risk of triggering six “dangerous” climate tipping points.

📉 Whats down? Researchers at UBC, the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions and University of Bern claim that global fish stocks will not be able to recover to sustainable levels without “strong actions to mitigate climate change”.

💡 Good Read: Here’s why green tech is becoming a lucrative industry in its own right, according to a founding partner at cleantech VC Kiko Ventures.

Carbon x Climate

💵 CEEZER, based in Berlin, raised €4.2 million in a round led by Carbon Removal Partners to expand its carbon credits marketplace, that simplifies planning, purchasing, and monitoring complex corporate compensation portfolios.

💨 Per Bloomberg: “The world's top five polluters were responsible for 60% of global emissions in 2019. China alone generated about the same amount of CO2 as the next four countries combined. And its carbon output is still rising every year.” Ouch.

Food x Climate

👨‍🌾 Berlin-based Klim raised $6.6 million seed funding to encourage farmers adopt ‘regenerative’ agriculture methods with its digital platform that helps to set goals and determine the best combination of techniques to apply to their farmland.

🌾 Argentina’s Puna Bio raised $3.7 million in an oversubscribed seed round for its seed treatment that uses extremophiles to strengthen crops against the impacts of climate change and soil degradation.

♻️ Canada’s SixRing Inc. secured $1.4 million from the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, under its Agricultural Clean Technology Program. SixRing plans to scale its low-energy biomass conversion process, that converts agricultural waste into renewable fuels and sustainable advanced materials.

❌ The Dutch city of Haarlem is the first to ban meat adverts on buses, shelters and screens in its public spaces in an effort to reduce consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

☕️ Switzerland’s biggest retailer, supermarket chain Migros, launched fully compostable coffee balls to shake up the global market and take on Nespresso's world dominance.

🌡 A recent study from North Carolina State University shows that soil temperature can be used to track and forecast movement of the corn earworm, a significant pest that damages vegetable crops, potentially reducing crop spoilage.

Transport x Climate

🚗 Lightyear, based in Holland, secured €81 million to get its first car, Lightyear 0, on the road this year. It will be the world’s first commercially sold solar-powered car, and will cost €250,000.

🛩 Electric aviation company Beta Technologies is developing a network of chargers that could power small electric planes as well as ground-based vehicles.

🚐 Mercedes-Benz and Rivian are joining forces to produce electric vans at scale in Europe, helping each company to leverage investments and costs.

Energy x Climate

⚡️ Tesseract secured $78 million, in a round led by Balderton and Lakestar, to build and buy renewable energy assets and sell the power directly to consumers, decentralising the right to power and cutting the middleman.

🇳🇬 Dubai-based financing consultants Barika and Kraft raised over $60 million to support various Nigerian electricity interconnection projects, including solar energy, and decrease the country’s fossil fuel dependency and greenhouse gas emissions.

📦 Odyssey Energy Solutions, based in Colorado, closed $5.34 million for its “first-of-its-kind freemium business-in-a-box platform”, designed to unlock massive scale in renewables in emerging markets.

🇳🇱 Dutch deeptech startup Jungle raised €5 million Series A funding to use its AI platform to tackle machine underperformance in the renewable energy and industrial sectors.

🔋 Munich-based female-led startup tozero secured €3.5 million pre-seed funding to further develop its pioneering way to recycle lithium-ion batteries, which could be a gamechanger for the sector.

Funds x Climate

💰 PowerPlant Partners closed a $330 million fund, PPP Fund III, to invest in growth-stage disruptive plant-based companies. It’s already made four investments in healthy and sustainable brands, including plant-based dairy pioneer Miyoko’s Creamery.

🌊 London-based Ocean 14 Capital received an additional €10 million for its impact fund from the Constitutional Reserve Fund of Monaco. The fund has raised €100 million to date to support sustainable ocean preservation, including shrimp breeding technology startup SyAqua and plastic management platform AION.

Conversations x Climate: Cow-free Cheese

This week I reached out to Tomas Turner, co-founder of Switzerlands Cultivated Biosciences who are creating something akin to high-fat cream using a GMO-free yeast fermentation process.

💡 What does Cultivated Biosciences do and who do you serve?

From our laboratories in Zurich, Cultivated Biosciences is developing a creamy ingredient from GMO-free yeast which offers the mouthfeel needed to make plant-based dairy an alternative for average consumers.

Using a one-step process starting with oleaginous (oily) yeast, we ferment this ingredient depending on the needs of our vegan dairy-brand clients and the specific products they’re making — whether that’s yogurt, cheese, ice cream or anything else.

🌱 Why did you decide to go after fat for plant-based?

I try to base important decisions in my life on the criteria of 1) Scale - how big is the problem, 2) Solvability - what is the likelihood of solving it, and 3) Neglectedness - how much difference will my marginal effort make. (This framework is loosely based on Effective altruism and 80'000 hours).

This premise is why I decided to work in the alternative protein industry as a way to solve factory farming (the reason why one should do this are well covered by Steve Molino's piece last week).

Within alternative proteins - fats stood as the thing that ticked all 3 boxed:

  • Scale: most animal products have an important fat component and, millions of tons of fats is equivalent to millions (maybe billions?) of animals inputed for consumption. It is evident to me that it is a fundamental component to work on.

  • Solvability: I decided to work with yeast fats for this criteria. Yeast is a flexible organism that we know how to scale up and produce in a food-grade and cheap way. A lot needs to be achieved, but we do not have to invent new tech every step of the way before industrialization.

  • Neglectedness: most talent and money in the industry up until 2021 has gone to find protein alternatives. Food producers have very little choice when it comes to choosing the best fats for their target application. Looking at the number of startups we are not more of a dozen working on novel fat / fat-rich in ingredients, compared to the hundreds of new protein startups.

The Good Food Institute and their advancing solutions for alternative proteins database has been an incredibly precious resource in these considerations.

🧀 What impact would this have when scaled?

Once our technology scales, medium-term (3-5 years) we could make all indulgent/creamy plant-dairy products reach at least the same market share percentage in their respective category as plant-based milk have today (in CH plant-based milks are 17% of total milk sold).

Long-term (5y+) scaling our and also other fat solutions would be a game-changer and boost the switch consumer preferences to plant-based products for most (80%+) from processed meat and mainstream dairy.

❓ What’s one thing you’d like to see more people working in FoodTech/ClimateTech?

We need more people to work on long-term solutions.

Two examples:

  • Technologies using widely available and resilient sources of food. Here I am very excited of the developments in gas fermentation.

  • Technologies that allow for continuous production processes that require relatively low capital investments or can reuse existing industrial infrastructure. In this category, if biocatalytic processes reach maturity to produce and functionalize food it is going to be very interesting.

🔮 What’s next for you?

We just announced our $1.5M pre-seed in a round led by Wingman Ventures, with participation form Big Idea Ventures, Blue Horizon, Proveg International, FoodHack and industry angels.

The pre-seed funding will be used to optimize our production process, carry out additional R&D, and enter product development trials with our first customers next year, with plans to launch our first products shortly after.

Tomas Turner, is the co-founder of Switzerlands Cultivated Biosciences - follow them on Linkedin to see what they're on next, or reach out to Tomas if you'd be interested to join their team - they're hiring.

Bit of Fun: 

"WallyGator" is the emotional support animal we all need in our lives right now:

That's for reading, and have a great weekend ahead

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Curated by Nicola & Arman