Announcing Our Investment in Carbo Culture

We are excited to announce our investment in Carbo Culture, a startup that turns waste into high-value carbon products.

Our climate is changing and becoming more extreme due to human actions. Despite decades of scientific evidence of rising carbon concentration in the atmosphere, climate change altering ecosystems and global warming eroding the planet — global leadership, investments and the will to tackle the vicious cycle have been lacking. The need for carbon-neutral has shifted to carbon-negative, and the world needs bold tech pioneers to tackle the issue.

What is Carbo Culture?

Carbo Culture turns methane-emitting local waste biomass into high carbon content charcoal. The company aims to make a change in the way charcoal is sourced for industry and agriculture use today, and make the chain more transparent, scientific, efficient and carbon negative.

Carbo Culture’s process has been proven to capture the maximum amount of carbon from the waste. The US patented technology utilizes residual waste as a feedstock, placing less demand on forest resources and bringing down the emissions that would otherwise occur in natural decomposition or burning of the waste. The application of the charcoal to soils may be the key to sustainability, as the carbon in the soil-applied charcoal is removed from the atmosphere and sequestered for thousands of years — a win-win scenario that simultaneously captures nutrients and retains water and permanently sequesters carbon.

At the moment, Carbo Culture is selling to agriculturers and looking for industrial partners. Later on, the startup aims to also make the highest value carbon products, such as activated carbon for water filtration or graphene for novel outputs.

What Made Us Invest

Once again the team proved to be the decisive factor behind our investment. We first met one of the three co-founders and CEO, Pia Henrietta Kekäläinen, in order to hear about her experiences at Singularity University. Sharing her experiences from the Silicon Valley based think tank, we inadvertently ended up learning about her latest venture Carbo Culture. As a definite doer and not a don’ter, Henrietta has previously scaled up Rails Girls, founded Mehackit and started the tech movement Pioneers Festival in Austria.

Carbo Culture has been working its way through the universe since Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program held in 2013 at NASA Ames Research Center in California. The Finnish-Californian, multidisciplinary team has been put together after 2013, and together they have over three decades of experience in carbon research, engineering, patents, science scale-up and ventures.

The company’s mission to combine and integrate environmentally sustainable solutions with economic growth follows along and is supported by the current megatrends of sustainability, the adoption of clean energy solutions and the divestments present in fossil fuels. A positive-impact project with clear and well thought-out business metrics seemed to us like a no-brainer of an investment.

As to the product Carbo Culture is building, our inner engineers could barely contain themselves; a patented process to carbonise, using biomass waste exclusively as its feedstock, utilizing a cleaner and more efficient carbonization technology than competitors and producing high-quality carbon suitable for many applications as the end product — what’s not to love?

We’re excited to invest in our first hardware startup, and are looking forward to further strengthening our relationship with the SF startup community as well!

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