VCs are investing big in climate tech! We tell you which climate tech startups to look out for and why.
Climate tech is a hot ticket for VC investors – companies in this sector raised $19b in venture capital across 500 deals in the first half of 2022.
While economic conditions have slowed investment in the past year – down from a $40b peak in 2021 – capital and talent continue to flow into the fast-growing sector, with more organisations launching dedicated funds and initiatives to support climate-conscious entrepreneurs.
Founders Factory launched its £100m Planet Fund for climate tech startups focused on issues like decarbonisation and the circular economy this year, while its Sustainability Seed Program, delivered in partnership with G-Force, is offering early-stage green tech startups €250k in funding and six months of bespoke support.
Founders Pledge created its own Climate Change Fund, a philanthropic co-funding vehicle that awards grants to startups with innovative solutions to the emissions crisis. And ClimateTech is working to bring the global climate tech community together, hosting regular events and councils to boost collaboration between founders, investors, corporate leaders, and academics.
This growing ecosystem is a breeding ground for exciting innovations in climate tech and established founders are tapping into the space – like Square/Invisibly’s Jim McKelvey, who is researching biodegradable fibres suitable for nappies.
Who will be the next climate tech success story? Here’s 16 climate tech companies from the FF community we’re excited to tell you about:
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Founder/s: Aleksander Konior, Michal Misiek & Wiktor Warchałowski
Stage: Series A
Total funding raised: $11.9m (£10m)
Why we’re excited: AI-driven air pollution monitoring!
More than 10 million people die each year from air pollution. Backed by firstminute capital, Airly does hyperlocal air quality monitoring, helping over 600 local governments, cities like Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Oslo, and corporates like Philips, Virgin, and PwC reduce their emissions and protect public health.
Airly’s AI-driven algorithms predict air pollution for the next 24 hours with a verifiability of up to 95%. The goal is to democratise air quality information and build the world’s biggest air quality monitoring network. Airly raised $5.5m (£4.7m) in its Series A funding round in November 2022.
Founder/s: Cecilia Yu, Farid Haque, Frank Meehan, Harry MacKenzie & Jay McCarthy
Total funding raised: Undisclosed
Why we’re excited: A simpler way to invest in climate tech.
BraveNewDAO is building a new, decentralised, blockchain-based web3 platform designed to allow anyone to invest in high-performance climate tech companies and infrastructure projects via senior secured asset-backed loans.
The team is bringing together a global community of founders, investors and scientists that are passionate about using web3 and modern forms of financing to scale climate tech business and infrastructure. The BraveNewDAO platform then connects this community to high yield, asset-backed loans in high impact climate investments.
Founder/s: David Wakerley & Sarah Lamaison
Total funding raised: Undisclosed
Why we’re excited: Turning CO2 emissions into chemical assets.
Dioxycle converts CO2 emissions into valuable chemical products through low-temperature electrolysis. The climate tech startup’s versatile technology has the potential to turn waste CO2 into various chemicals including jet fuel and plastic precursors with a cumulative carbon reduction potential of over 600 MtCO2/year by 2050.
Dioxycle is committed to creating fully integrated systems and making the transformation process as cost and energy efficient as possible so it can turn its breakthrough technology into an economic and environmental decarbonisation asset for hard-to-abate sectors.
Eco Wave Power
Founder/s: David Leb & Inna Braverman
Country: Israel & Sweden
Stage: Publicly traded on Nasdaq
Total funding raised: $27m (£24m)
Why we’re excited: Grid-connected wave energy!
In the past few months, Eco Wave Power started test runs to connect its wave energy pilot project to Israel’s energy grid in a historic first and announced the opening of its first wave energy array in the Port of Long Angeles’ AltaSea, marking the company’s first move into the US.
Eco Wave Power produces clean electricity from ocean and sea waves by attaching its energy-converting floaters to existing structures like piers, breakwaters, and jetties. The company operated the world’s only onshore grid-connected wave energy power station for six years in Gibraltar, and is currently planning for the opening of its second and third power stations in Israel and the US.
For Co-Founder, Inna Braverman, the commercialisation of wave energy is a personal journey. At just two weeks old, she suffered respiratory arrest due to pollution from the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Her mother saved her life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She’s devoted her life to clean energy ever since and won the UN Global Climate Action Award in 2020.
First Light Fusion
Founder/s: Nicholas Hawker & Yiannis Ventikos
Stage: Series C
Total funding raised: £77m
Why we’re excited: A revolutionary route to fusion power.
Fusion is a process where two light atomic nuclei combine to release huge amounts of low-carbon, low-radiation energy.
While others have used high-energy-consuming lasers, First Light Fusion achieved fusion for the first time in 2021 by firing a high-velocity projectile at a pellet containing deuterium fuel – a faster, cheaper and more energy-efficient route to commercial fusion power.
Born out of the University of Oxford, First Light Fusion closed a $45m (£40m) Series C funding round in February this year.
Founder/s: Ed Steele & Max Jamilly
Stage: Series A
Total funding raised: $25.6m (£22.7m)
Why we’re excited: Animal fat without the animals.
Meat production is the biggest cause of deforestation. To make space for grazing pastures, trees are chopped down, natural forests destroyed, and billions of tonnes of CO2 released in the process.
But you can’t beat a juicy steak right? Hoxton Farms believes cultivated animal fat is the key to great-tasting alternative meat. The food tech firm combine cell biology and mathematical modelling to grow real animal fat in bioreactors.
Hoxton Farms has just raised $22m in its Series A funding round to build a new pilot facility in London. The round was led by Collaborative Fund (an early backer of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat) and Fidelity’s deep tech fund, Fine Structure Ventures.
Founder/s: Jon Pillow, Jonathan Bean, Nic Stirk & Robert Forrest
Total funding raised: £700k
Why we’re excited: Revolutionising materials R&D!
The Materials Nexus team dream of green cities powered by green energy, but the materials required for this vision are running out and the only way forward is to find new alternatives.
Backed by Founders Factory, G-Force, Katapult, InnovateUK, Google, Carbon13 and Rocky Mountain Institute, Materials Nexus is the modern day alchemist replacing precious metals (such as rare earths) required for the sustainability revolution with cheaper, more readily available alternatives.
Using AI and quantum, the firm has successfully completed projects with two FTSE350 companies and recently received funding from InnovateUK to develop a new magnetic material to replace permanent magnets used in wind turbines and electric vehicles.
Founder: Adam Root
Stage: Series A
Total funding raised: $5m
Why we’re excited: Stopping microplastic pollution at source.
Matter is an innovation company pioneering technology solutions for capturing, harvesting, and recycling microplastics. It has just launched its first domestic product Gulp, an innovative filtration system that captures microplastics shed by synthetic textiles in washing machines.
On a mission to change our relationship with water and the environment, Adam Root left a product innovation job at Dyson to launch Matter in 2018. His aim: to provide solutions to the colossal challenge of microplastic pollution.
Founder/s: Federico Trotta, George Wang & Patrizia De Santis
Total funding raised: £410k
Why we’re excited: Green nanotechnology helps keep food fresh for longer.
Backed by Founders Factory and G-Force, Metalchemy technology can be applied in various packaging materials such as bioplastics to make biodegradable, biocompatible food packaging that keeps food fresh for longer.
The firm replaces traditional toxic nanotechnologies with its green patented production process for metallic nanoparticles and, together with leading academics, is researching various exciting applications for its core technology.
Metalchemy plans to go to market by the end of 2023/2024. If Metalchemy technology was implemented across businesses, the company claims that up to 35% of global food waste could be cut, equivalent to millions of pounds and greenhouse gas emissions saved!
Founder/s: Jeanny Yao & Miranda Wang
Stage: Series A
Total funding raised: $25.9m (£23.5m)
Why we’re excited: Upcycling tech could curb plastic pollution.
Of the seven billion tonnes of plastic waste generated globally so far, only 9% has been recycled. Upcycling startup, Novoloop, is looking to change that, creating chemicals and materials made from plastic waste through its patented, low-carbon upcycling process.
Novoloop recently partnered with sports brand, On, to create the world’s first running shoe with an outsole made from upcycled carbon emissions.
Founder/s: Saasha Celestial-One & Tessa Clarke
Stage: Series B
Total funding raised: $53.1m (£48m)
Why we’re excited: Reducing food waste will help solve the climate crisis.
Over a third of all food produced globally goes to waste. That means huge amounts of land and water wasted and plumes of methane gas released into the atmosphere as food decomposes in landfills. If food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
OLIO fights food waste by connecting neighbours with each other and local businesses to share surplus food. The food sharing app has over six million users across 62 countries. Over 65 million portions of food have been shared using OLIO.
One of the more established climate tech companies on our list, we’re excited about what OLIO can do next. OLIO raised $6m in its Series A funding round and $43m in its Series B in September 2021. Co-Founder, Tessa Clarke, grew up on a dairy farm in North Yorkshire, England. “There is enormous amounts of capital and talent coming into climate tech,” she says.
Founder/s: Miroslava Duma
Stage: Series A
Total funding raised: Undisclosed
Why we’re excited: Sustainability across the supply chain.
While most fashion firms outsource their manufacturing, Mira Duma’s Pangaia boasts its own research and development facility and creates its own-brand fashion collections in partnership with sustainability-conscious artists and designers.
Pangaia makes everyday garments from lab-grown, bio-engineered, regenerative materials. Its latest innovations include CO2 sunglasses, created in a San Francisco lab with captured and removed CO2 from the atmosphere, the Spider Silk Hoodie, created in partnership with a Japanese biotech unicorn, and 100% plant-based leather. Using a pre-order zero waste model, Pangaia ended 2020 with just 1% of dead stock.
Founder/s: Joanna Parker Swift
Total funding raised: £6.2m
Why we’re excited: A practical alternative to solar panels.
Backed by Founders Factory and G-Force, Solivus replaces traditional solar panels with an ultra-thin solar film that can be wrapped around rooftops, warehouses, and stadiums.
Solivus is helping Cotswold Airport decarbonise its operations, installing its organic thin-film solar on top of its hangars to power hydrogen-electric aircraft. It’s also launched the portable Solvius Arc to help homeowners transition to solar.
If Solivus’ solar film was fitted to the 2.5b square metres of roof space available in the UK, it could supply over half of the country’s electricity demand, the company claims.
Founder/s: Jonas Nyvang & Tue Beijer
Total funding raised: €8.1m (£7.1m)
Why we’re excited: Climate-neutral cars!
STILRIDE does origami on an industrial scale; devising a new, environmentally-friendly method of production, which involves robots folding sheets of steel.
STILRIDE showcased its range of cutting-edge electric scooters in our Tech Hub at Founders Forum London this year and recently partnered with Polestar, working to produce the world’s first climate-neutral car by 2030.
Founder/s: Andreas Wallendahl, Alexander Liegl & Paul Sebexen
Total funding raised: $18m (£16.5m)
Why we’re excited: Making electric vehicles affordable.
Affordability is still the biggest hurdle to electric vehicle adoption. With regular software upgrades and lower maintenance costs, EVs retain value better than petrol cars, but traditional auto financing options don’t account for that.
Backed by firstminute capital, Tenet facilitates consumer loans designed specifically for the financing of green consumer products like electric vehicles. Tenet loans are 0.25% cheaper than banks and EV drivers can defer up to 25% of their loan. Plus, drivers can track their financial and CO2 savings, and learn how to optimise their EV’s efficiency, with the Tenet dashboard.
Founder/s: Avi Itskovich, Christian Andersonn & Taylor Francis
Stage: Series B
Total funding raised: $70m (£64m)
Why we’re excited: Driving decarbonisation at corporate level.
“Climate decarbonisation is going to be the economic megatrend of the next 30 years,” says Watershed’s Taylor Francis. Increasingly, the world’s biggest companies are actively looking to track and reduce their carbon emissions.
Another later-stage climate tech company, Watershed offers an enterprise climate platform for measuring, reducing, and reporting CO2 emissions, helping companies – like Airbnb, Spotify, Walmart, and more – do just that.
Watershed has set itself an ambitious goal: to help its customers reduce their carbon emissions by 500+ megatonnes of CO2 per year by 2030 – that’s around 1% of global emissions. Watch this space!
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*Data on total funding is sourced from Crunchbase or directly from startups. Main photo by Jason Baxter.