🌎 ClimateHack Vol. 43: Earth Day Predictions

PLUS: What a downturn in fundraising means for climate founders

Hey There,

It's Earth Day on Saturday. 

To help us highlight this years theme ‘invest in our planet’, we reached out to 30 still-active Food and Climate investors to hear what they’re excited by next, and their advice to founders navigating the current fundraising environment.

In today's edition:

🏡 Switzerland OPTIML raise $1.6M to decarbonise real estate.🔋 UCL spinout Gaussion closed £2.85M to unlock batteries full potential.💰 California's Congruent Ventures raised $300M+ for their “Continuity Fund".

Carbon x Climate

🏠 Swiss-based OPTIML raised $1.6M in pre-seed funding in a round co-led by Planet A Ventures and Innovation Endeavors. The ETH Zurich spin off has built a SaaS platform to help real estate owners to make smarter investment decisions towards Net Zero CO₂.

📊 UK-based nZero secured $16 million Series A funding, in a round led by Fifth Wall. Since its inception in 2021, it’s worked with corporate, agriculture and government entities globally to help them understand their carbon impact and develop financially efficient and sustainable emissions reductions plans.

Food x Climate

🦗 French insect farming startup Ÿnsect raised €160 million and plans to devote more of its resources to the higher-value pet food ingredients category. It is also planning to reduce its workforce by roughly 20%, as part of a wider strategy shift.

🍄 Finland-based EniferBio secured €11 million Series A funding, in a round led by AquaSpark, for its fungal mycoprotein made from the by-products of food and agricultural processes.

🇩🇪 Germany-based Nosh raised €3.2 million in seed funding led by Earlybird VC. The startup is using fungi to replace meat and will use the capital for R&D, mass prodcution and commercialiation.

🌾 Pivot Bio’s pilot program, which saw growers replacing synthetic nitrogen with its microbe-based nitrogen-fixing product on nearly one million acres of farmland, resulted in a reduction of more than 80,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

🌱 Synbio startup Ginkgo Bioworks announced a research partnership with leading agritech company Syngenta Seeds. The partnership will focus on screening a targeted genetic library for novel trait discovery, in order to inform future seed trait development so that farmers can grow healthier and more resilient crops.

🍄 Good Read: How this former farmer is unlocking mycelium’s potential to transform the future of food, beauty, fashion and materials.

Energy x Climate

☀️ Solarmente, based in Barcelona, secured €50 million from private equity firm GNE Finance, marking the first time a Spanish startup in the sector has secured such a significant amount of funding. Solarmente offers a solar energy subscription model, which removes the ​​initial investment barrier for consumers and allows them to immediately benefit from the economic and environmental advantages of solar energy.

🔌 British startup myenergi secured £30 million from HSBC UK to scale production of its smart home device technology, which includes an electric vehicle charger, energy monitoring sensor and modular battery storage system.

🔋 Netherlands-based E-magy raised €20.5 million to scale production of its silicon material for EV batteries. The material has a nanoscale porous structure, preventing batteries from swelling and breaking, and delivers 40% higher energy density and enables faster charging than graphite.

📊 Dexter Energy, also in the Netherlands, raised €10.5 million Series B funding for its AI-based renewable power generation forecasting for short-term energy trading platform, described as a “category-defining solution”.

💡 Spanish startup Plexigrid secured €4.5 million seed funding to scale its AI software solution which helps electric grid operators to avoid energy “bottlenecks” by automatically adjusting energy production to meet consumption.

🔋 Gaussion, a UCL spinout based in the UK, raised £2.85 million seed funding in a round led by BGF and UCL Technology Fund. Its patent-pending fast battery charging technology is designed to unlock maximum power from electric vehicle batteries, while minimising degradation.

🪨 New Zealand-based Bspkl raised NZ$2.5 million seed funding to help produce green hydrogen. Its technology reduces the amount of the precious metals required by a factor of up to 25 times to produce a catalyst coated membrane for the hydrogen industry.

Materials x Climate

⛏ German startup Tvarit raised €5 million to scale its AI-powered solution, designed to provide waste-free and energy-efficient metal manufacturing in processes such as casting, hot forming, and welding.

🔬 Scientists from Shinshu University in Japan have developed a novel device for collecting microplastics. The device is a high-enrichment microfluidic system that uses acoustic focusing to collect and remove 10–200 μm MPs from wastewater without recirculation.

Transport x Climate

🚗 French startup Kate secured €7 million to create its next electric micro-car. The Kate K1 will be a lightweight car that can reach a top speed of 90 km/h, designed for everyday use.

🏭 Volkswagen is set to invest one billion Euros in a new China-based center for the development, innovation and procurement of fully connected electric cars.

🇦🇺 Australia released its first National Electric Vehicle Strategy, important because transport is Australia’s third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

🤝 Swedish electric and autonomous transport company Einride is expanding to the UK in partnership with PepsiCo, in a bid to target the 1.6 billion tonnes of goods that are transported by road freight in the UK each year.

Funds x Climate

🌎 UK-based Zero Carbon Capital closed the first £10 million of its £30 million fund, which will support pre-seed and seed startups solving “half-gigaton scale problems” in decarbonisation.

💰 Congruent Ventures, based in California, raised more than $300 million for a “Continuity Fund”, designed to support existing portfolio companies into full commercialisation. These include Fervo Energy, which is developing geothermal power plants, and Meati Foods, focused on mycelium-based alternative protein.

💡 Good Read: Conversation with Tomer Strikovsky, Partner at ETF Partners on what a downturn in fundraising means for climate founders, and whats the new normal for startups that want to go out and raise their Series A.

Resources x Climate

🔮 Earth Day Predictions: We asked 30 still-active climate VC's and Angels what sectors they're looking to deploy into next, and any advice for founders currently fundraising.

From their predictions on whats hot - like efficient approaches to hydrogen electrolysis, generative AI for biological intelligence, alternatives to traditional feedstock, verification of carbon credits and much more.

As well as advice on how founders should be navigating the fundraising market downturn (tldr; raise a reasonable amount, its a numbers game, don't rely solely on fundraising, build relations early, look at non-dilutive options..)

The full list is absolutely jam-packed with valuable insights.

Events x Climate

🇫🇷 Thursday in Paris: We have a stacked lineup for our first ever ClimateHack Paris Meetup on the 27th of April co-hosted with our friends at Marble and Serena. We'll deep dive into the climate capital stack with a room full of exciting deep tech founders and investors in France. It's free, but first come first serve.

Three weeks out from the HackSummit in May and its shaping up to be one of the largest gatherings of climate focussed founders and investors in Europe. The team have pulled out all the stops to design an incredible event experience for our 2023 attendees including:- 100+ speakers- 65+ exhibitors - 5 side events- 1 interactive floorplan:

Memes x Climate

🌳 If it worked last year, let's do it again this year!

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend ahead.

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Editorial by Arman, Curation by Nicola.