🦜 ClimateHack Vol. 64: VC Meets Biodiversity

PLUS: That Apple Ad.

Hey There,

There’s a ton of exciting things happening in climate tech right now - like breakthroughs in nuclear fusion, innovations in green metals, trials of open ocean carbon removal, and much much more.

For those that want to dig a little deeper than these weekly newsletters to really start understanding the specific climate technologies and their markets - we’ve built HackTrends.

Each week, our analysts and writers research complex to understand topics and speak to industry experts - distilling their findings into 5-minute climate reports. There are 170+ reports live today.

Smart folks at Mckinsey, J.P. Morgan, BCG, Google, Revent, ECBF, are already reading HackTrends each week - use this link to join them.

In Today’s Edition;

🦜 Superorganism launches as “the first” VC dedicated to biodiversity.
🛰 Open Cosmos raised $50M for sustainable low-earth orbit satellites.
⌚️ The Apple x Mother Nature ad: Big step forward or greenwashing?

Digest x Climate

📈 What’s up? Beavers driven into the Arctic tundra by climate change are causing the release of more methane into the atmosphere.

🌡 Last month was the hottest August ever recorded since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s records began 174 years ago.

📉 What’s down? UK-based EV subscription company Onto has entered administration, citing rising interest rates and a “squeeze” on disposable income.

Carbon x Climate

Image Credits: Accenta

🌡 French low carbon heating company Accenta raised €108 million, in a round led by Eren Groupe S.A., to expand its intelligent network that enables heat production and air conditioning to be shared between several buildings.

🌳 Treefera, based in the UK, secured £1.8 million to expand its forest-mapping platform, which uses AI algorithms to map trees globally, collecting data that can be used to measure, report and verify carbon credits.

📊 CarbonBright, based in London and San Francisco, secured funding from FortyTwo.VC for its AI-powered solution, designed to empower CPG brands to accurately report their products’ environmental footprint.

Food x Climate

Image Credits: Toopi Organics

🌾 French startup Toopi Organics raised a total of €16 million - €11 million in a Series A round led by VisVires New Protein and €5 in non-dilutive funds from the French government and Bpifrance - for its crop biostimulant made from urine collected at motorway rest areas and other public locations.

🏭 Israeli startup BioBetter opened its first food-grade pilot facility, where it will produce cultivated meat growth factors in tobacco plants using molecular farming.

🐓 Barcelona-based Libre Foods is set to commercialise the EU’s first mycelium-based whole-muscle chicken breast by early next year, as the strain of fungi used isn’t considered a novel food and so doesn’t require regulatory approval.

🌿 Researchers from the University of South Australia have designed a self-sustaining, solar-driven vertical sea farm that evaporates seawater and recycles it into freshwater, growing crops without any human involvement.

💰 Mars released its $1 billion ‘Net Zero Roadmap’, an action plan for achieving net zero emissions across its full value chain by 2050, including a new target to cut emissions by 50% by 2030.

☕️ Netherlands-based startup Northern Wonder has made its retail debut, launching four beanless coffee products, made from ingredients such as lupin beans, barley, rye, chickpeas, chicory and blackcurrant, into supermarket chain Albert Heijn.

🔎 Just Eat for Business is carrying out a carbon labelling trial, in partnership with food carbon rating developers My Emissions, to raise awareness of the environmental impact of corporate food delivery.

Energy x Climate

Image Credits: Verkor

🔋 French low-carbon battery manufacturer Verkor secured over €2 billion Series C funding to finance the launch of a Dunkirk-based gigafactory, expected to go live in 2025 and have an initial production capacity of 16 GWh/year.

♻️ Battery recycling startup Ascend Elements raised $542 million Series D funding to build a manufacturing facility in Kentucky, where it will refine black mass into sustainable, battery-ready materials.

🤖 London-based Q-Bot raised €4 million for its suite of intelligent tools which use robotics and AI to inspect, monitor and maintain the health of buildings and infrastructure, helping to improve energy efficiency.

☀️ Scottish startup SolarisKit received £150,000 from the British Design Fund to continue developing a flat-pack solar water heater that can be assembled in 20 minutes.

🛢 Good Read: The US’ dependence on oil has long influenced its domestic and foreign policies. TechCrunch asks: should we expect the same with the future of batteries? 

Construction x Climate

Image Credits: H2 Green Steel

🏭 Stockholm-based H2 Green Steel secured €1.5 billion in equity funding to continue to build the world’s first large-scale green steel plant, powered by Europe’s first giga-scale electrolyser, which will deliver steel with ‘up to 95 percent less CO2 emissions compared to steel produced with traditional blast furnace technology’.

🏢 Mighty Buildings raised $52 million in a funding round co-led by Waed Ventures and Bold Capital to build 3D-printed prefabricated homes using its proprietary printed material, made of 60% recycled glass, which is five times the strength of concrete, 70% the weight and produces fewer carbon emissions during manufacturing.

Transport x Climate

Image Credits: Bloomberg

🔋 EV battery startup Lyten secured $200 million in a Series B funding round led by Prime Movers Labs. It will use the funds to launch an “automated pilot line” for its lithium-sulphur batteries, which won’t include some of the key minerals in lithium-ion batteries - nickel, manganese, cobalt, and graphite.

🔌 Tap Electric, based in Amsterdam, secured €1 million in a seed funding round led by LUMO Labs. It will use the funds to expand its charging platform that prioritises driver experience and streamlines payments to make charging electric vehicles easy and affordable.

🚙 Wheel suspension startup Zak Mobility, based in the UK, raised £520,000 to reinvent the wheel. Its prototype combines an electric hub motor with suspension inside the wheel, making vehicles lighter, reducing road vibrations, and increasing range for EVs.

⛴ UK-based SEA-KIT International has won funding from the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition to build a hydrogen-fuelled Uncrewed Surface Vessel and refilling station on the Thames.

⚖️ The European Commission is considering imposing punitive tariffs against Chinese EV companies, to protect EU automakers against cheaper Chinese electric vehicle imports, which it says benefit from state subsidies.

🛵 Cool: Check out Honda’s new e-scooter, the Motocompacto.

Materials x Climate

Image Credits: Raylo

📱 UK-based sustainable tech platform Raylo secured £5.2 million in a funding round led by Macquarie and Channel 4 Ventures. It offers leasing options for electronics, and provides a facility where customers can hand in unused electronics to be refurbished.

Biodiversity x Climate

Image Credits: Coral Maker

🐚 A new startup called Coral Maker is partnering with San Francisco-based engineering software firm Autodesk to train an artificial intelligence to control collaborative robots which work closely alongside humans in reviving coral reefs.

Space x Climate

Image Credits: Open Cosmos

🛰 British startup Open Cosmos raised $50 million Series B funding. It’s building what it describes as “sustainable” low-earth orbit satellites and an end-to-end system for managing the data gathered through them, and will use the funds to expand internationally.

🌪 The world's leading weather intelligence and climate adaptation platform, Tomorrow.io, closed its Series E funding round led by Activate Capital. It will use the funds to place weather satellites into orbit, which will open up new possibilities for weather forecasting and climate observation accuracy.

🗺 Geospatial software provider VIDA raised €3 million in funding to expand its map-based interface, which allows infrastructure investors to manage impact sustainably in real time.

Fintech x Climate

Image Credits: ClimateAligned

💡 London-based ClimateAligned raised £1.5 million from investors including Pale blue dot and Frontline Ventures to further develop the “first AI platform designed to integrate end-to-end sustainability, ESG and climate factors and data applicable to debt investment decisions in a single application”, which will help investors to avoid greenwashing risks while making financial decisions.

Funds x Climate

Image Credits: NordicNinja

🥷 Europe’s largest Japanese-backed VC, NordicNinja, launched a €200 million fund to support climate tech and deeptech startups, particularly those working on “facilitating a digitalisation transformation”.

🇶🇦 The UK’s climate tech sector could receive a £4 billion investment from Qatar, funded by the Qatar Foundation, as the Middle Eastern nation looks to establish a green energy research facility in southern England. The project is described as the “MIT for UK energy transition”, with the goal of creating new climate unicorns.

🦜 New VC Superorganism launched this week, claiming to be the “first venture capital firm dedicated to addressing the global biodiversity crisis”, and will exclusively support nature-related companies - having already invested into the rounds of Funga, Planet A Foods, Rosy Soil and more.

🇸🇬 The US International Development Finance Corporation invested $15 million in Singapore-based climate tech VC Wavemaker Impact, to support its portfolio expansion to 16 companies by the end of 2024.

👀 Good Read: Yahoo Finance shared its top 13 seed stage climate tech VCs to watch.

Trends x Climate: Leather alternatives

👜 What; What do pineapple leaves, beer, coffee grounds and cactus all have in common? Answer: they’re all being used to make leather alternatives in 2023. While the leather goods market is still going strong (predicted to hit $738B by 2030), its production has major environmental impacts. So startups are developing bio-based materials or upcycling resources to create new, sustainable alternatives.

📈 The Brief;
- Cause: The fast fashion industry is huge - and hugely polluting. Over 70% of a fashion brand’s environmental impact comes from the raw materials used in their designs.
- Driver: The fashion industry is under enormous pressure to reduce its environmental impact plus demand for sustainable textiles, especially animal and synthetic leather alternatives, is growing - from consumers and given increasing regulation from governments.
- Valuation: The worldwide plant-based leather market was valued at $67.6M in 2022 and is expected to reach $139.2M by 2032.

🤔 Who; There are over 15+ companies globally working on leather alternatives, including US-based Uncaged Innovations who recently raised $2.3M to replace bovine and exotic leathers, VitroLabs a startups developing lab grown leather, and UK’s Arda Biomaterials transforming waste feedstocks into smarter, circular biomaterials.

💡 Learn more; Deep dive into the world of alternative leathers, the 15+ companies working in this space along with expert insights in our latest climate deep dive.

Controversy x Climate

💻 Apple & Mother Nature: The internet is pretty divided about Apple’s latest ad with Mother Nature (aka: Octavia Spencer):

Some are saying this is an important move that fellow corporates should follow, others are calling it out for greenwashing and a fair few are saying it’s just pure cringe.

We’ll let readers here decide:

Apple x Mother Nature's Ad was:

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

p.s. thanks to everyone who voted and replied to last weeks survey “What's your opinion on carbon capture & storage as as a climate solution?” - here’s the results:

How did you like today's email?

Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

Editorial by Arman, Curation by Nicola.