Battling global warming with seaweed — Our investment in Volta Greentech
Only a month after Volta Greentech won the Open Minds -award in Stockholm, they closed their first round of funding. Having led the round, we at Wave are proud to back the team on their mission to reduce methane emissions from cattle across the globe — using seaweed.
How does seaweed help?
Globally, the cattle industry is responsible for around 4% of all greenhouse gas emissions. That equals to more than double the carbon footprint of all the aeroplanes in the world. This 4% includes only the methane originating from cows’ digestive systems. This may seem quite insane — but there are over 1.5 billion cattle on our planet. Bill Gates put it this way: “if cattle were a country, the Republic of Cattle would rank third highest in greenhouse gas emissions globally”. For other sources of emissions, we have for many years leveraged technology to lower our carbon footprint e.g. by electrifying the transport sector and improving the production of green electricity. As for the Republic of Cattle, we find the lack of large scale sustainable solutions for reducing our carbon footprint quite mind-boggling. Until now, the only way to reduce emissions from cattle has been to reduce the number of cattle itself.
However, there is still hope for the Republic of Cattle. Several recently published studies have shown that feeding cattle a certain species of seaweed, namely Asparagopsis Taxiformis, can drastically reduce their methane emissions. By supplementing a cow’s daily feed with 1% of Asparagopsis Taxiformis, a fermentation process starts in its stomach, reducing the amount of methane emissions by up to 80%. Volta Greentech was founded on the vision to enable the production of environmentally friendly cattle products, helping tackle climate change.
What got us so excited?
Being a student-run VC fund, we at Wave are always looking to back our peers working towards making a positive impact on our world. We truly believe that the team at Volta is working on a problem worth solving — with a potentially enormous positive impact on the future of our generation. 1,5 billion cattle worldwide make up a huge market, and Volta has found a unique opportunity to impact the dairy and meat industry as a whole.
Dairy products are included in almost every shopping list. At the same time, consumers’ awareness of how their purchases affect our planet is increasing, leading them to seek alternatives to traditional dairy products. This trend has allowed several new brands to rapidly emerge, such as the Swedish oat-product company Oatly. Furthermore, the meat industry has become the target of strong criticism during the last few years due to its harmful impact on the environment. Lowering the consumption of beef and dairy products is inevitably a solid solution. However, at a large scale, that transition in consumer behaviour will take more time than we have. This is where Volta comes in, well suited to ride along with the trend of increasing customer awareness.
With their roots in Stockholm’s core startup ecosystem, Volta’s founders Fredrik, Leo, & Angelo immediately caught our attention. A team of ambitious students with diverse backgrounds — a perfect match for Wave! We had the privilege to lead the funding round, accompanied by several credible co-investors such as NorthVolt’s CEO Peter Carlsson. Focusing on seaweed Volta faces two main challenges:
- Economic incentives need to be developed for farmers to use this feed supplement
- The production of the seaweed needs to be industrialized in order to meet demand. This is a clear challenge, as Asparagopsis Taxiformis has never been commercially produced anywhere in the world before.
We strongly believe that Volta will find credible solutions to face these challenges, and couldn’t be more excited to help them on their way!
Wave Ventures is dedicated to supporting the boldest founders across the Nordics. Working on a startup? Read more at wave.ventures and get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.