IPO 2.0
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IPO 2.0

Potential Climate-Tech Disruptors

Here is a list of potential climate change disruptors that can help us to reduce GHG-emissions dramatically.

Chamath Palihapitiya has recently posted on Twitter areas of the climate change investing landscape that he is following closely. I’ll present few contenders that can become category winners or leaders of each area.

“Here are some areas of the climate change investing landscape that I am following closely:

1. Materials and Mining — getting the raw inputs we need for battery and electric motor manufacturing

2. Batteries — building new cathode materials and batteries themselves

3. Electrification — using electric alternatives for transport, manufacturing etc.

4. Grid level storage — self explanatory

5. Resiliency — resi solar, potable water, local energy storage etc.

6. Project finance/lending/enablement for all the above

7. Recycling — recapture as much of #1 and feed back into #2 with minimal emissions and water If there are any particular non obvious companies in these areas that you love, please let us all know…” — Chamath Palihapitiya

1. Materials & Mining

1.1 Lilac Solutions

Year founded: 2015

Description: Lilac Solutions is transforming lithium extraction. Its unique ion exchange technology enables lithium producers to accelerate project development, boost lithium recovery, streamline operations, and unlock new resources.

Total funding: $23.6M

Notable investors: Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prime Impact Fund

1.2 KoBold Metals

Year founded: 2018

Description: KoBold Metals is a mineral exploration company that uses machine learning and other scientific computing techniques to increase the ethical supply of critical materials (i.e., Ni, Co, Cu, Li, Pt, and Pd) needed to build electric vehicles and personal electronics. Many new mines will be needed if electric vehicles are to become widespread, but before new ore deposits can be mined, they must be found.

Total funding: $20M

Notable investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Equinor

2. Batteries

2.1 Northvolt

Year founded: 2016

Description: Northvolt is a Swedish battery developer and manufacturer, specialized in lithium-ion technology for electric vehicles.

Total funding: $3.3B

Notable investors: Baillie Gifford, Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, Volkswagen Group, European Investment Bank, Siemens

2.2 ESS Battery

Year founded: 2011

Description: ESS manufactures low-cost, long-duration iron flow batteries for commercial and utility-scale energy storage applications requiring 6+ hours of flexible energy capacity. Its long-duration energy storage platforms, the Energy Warehouse™ (EW) and Energy Center™(EC), use iron, salt, and water for the electrolyte, and deliver an environmentally safe, long-life energy storage solution for the world’s renewable energy infrastructure.

Total funding: $47M

Notable investors: Breakthrough Energy Ventures, SB Energy, BASF, Pangaea Ventures

3. Electrification

3.1 Boston Metal

Year founded: 2012

Description: Boston Metal is a leading metals technology solutions company that is commercializing Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE), a patented tonnage and emission-free metals production platform.

Total funding: $70M

Notable investors: Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, The Engine, Devonshire Investors, Fidelity, Piva Capital

4. Grid-level Storage

4.1 AutoGrid

Year founded: 2011

Description: AutoGrid’s suite of Energy Internet applications allows utilities, electricity retailers, renewable energy project developers, and energy service providers to deliver cheap, clean, and reliable energy by managing networked distributed energy resources (DERS) in real-time and at scale. AutoGrid works with a range of different companies, from Google Nest to Tesla, and recently partnered with the rooftop solar giant Sunrun.

Total funding: $73.8M

Investors: Schneider Electric, National Grid Partners, Shell Ventures, Orsted, E.ON, Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures, and Energy Impact Partners

4.2 Form Energy

Year founded: 2017

Description: Form Energy is developing a brand new class of cost-effective, multi-day energy storage systems. With these new systems, renewables can be made fully firm and dispatchable year-round, and transmission capacity can be expanded without the need for new wires.

Total funding: $123M

Notable investors: Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, and oil giant Eni, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, Energy Impact Partners, Temasek, The Engine, Capricorn, and Macquarie

4.3 Ambri

Year founded: 2010

Description: Ambri’s liquid metal battery is comprised of a liquid calcium-alloy anode (1), a molten salt electrolyte (2), and a cathode comprised of solid particles of antimony (3), enabling the use of low-cost materials and a low number of steps in the cell assembly process. With these unique operating characteristics, Ambri’s liquid metal battery technology avoids common degradation mechanisms that cause capacity fade in other chemistries. Ambri’s batteries are based on patented technology developed by MIT Professor Donald Sadoway and his GroupSadoway MIT Lab for more than a decade. Ambri has more than 50 issued patents that cover cell chemistry, cell components, cell construction, cell-to-cell interconnects, system designs, battery management system designs, and manufacturing processes.

Total funding: $70M

Notable investors: Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, Total, KLP Enterprises, and Building Insurance Bern

5. Resiliency

5.1 Arnergy

Year founded: 2013

Description: Full-service IoT enabled distributed utility developing rooftop solar energy solutions for economic clusters in emerging markets.

Total funding: $9M

Notable investors: Breakthrough Energy Ventures

6. Project Finance

5.1 Breakthrough Energy Ventures

Year founded: 2016

Description: Breakthrough Energy Ventures is an investor-led fund that aims to build new, cutting-edge companies that will lead the world to net-zero emissions. Its strategy links government-funded research and patient (20 years), risk-tolerant capital to bring transformative clean energy innovations to market as quickly as possible. BEV sets one major criteria: companies needed to show a path to scaling up that would cut at least 500 million metric tons of annual CO₂ emissions — about 1% of global emissions.

Total funding: $2B

Notable investors: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mukesh Ambani, Richard Branson, Jack Ma, Chris Hohn, and Michael Bloomberg

7. Recycling

7.1 AMP Robotics

Year founded: 2014

Description: AMP Robotics develops intelligent robots that sort through waste “to extract maximum value for businesses that recycle municipal solid waste, e-waste and construction and demolition,” the company says.

Total funding: $23 million

Notable investors: Sequoia Capital, Congruent Ventures, and Closed Loop Partners

7.2 Redwood Materials

Year founded: 2017

Description: Founded by Tesla co-founder and former Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel, Redwood Materials recycles batteries for the electric-vehicle industry.

Total funding: $40 million

Notable investors: Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Amazon, and Capricorn Investment Group

Other categories (that are also relevant):

8. Synthetic Biology

8.1 Ginkgo Bioworks

Year founded: 2009

Description: Ginkgo is going to replace factories with biological “foundries” that can produce everything we need better, faster, cheaper, and more sustainably using organisms to replace environmentally-unfriendly manufacturing processes. As a general-purpose provider for synthetic biology, Ginkgo Bioworks will create the next “AWS”-infrastructure for companies building products with biology.

Total funding: $789.1M

Notable investors: T. Rowe Price, Viking Global Investors, Cascade Investment, General Atlantic

8.2 Zymergen

Year founded: 2013

Description: Zymergen uses robotics and artificial intelligence to build synthetic organisms — biological machines manufactured to specification. Zymergen has some of the largest metagenomic data libraries that can be applied to products like industrial chemicals, coatings and films, pesticides, and new ways to deliver nutrients to consumers.

Total funding: $874.1M

Notable investors: Baillie Gifford, SoftBank Vision Fund, Data Collective DCVC, Genoa Ventures

9. Nutrition

9.1 Eat Just

Year founded: 2011

Description: Eat Just develops plant- and cell-based protein alternatives to offer tastier, healthier, and more sustainable food.

Total funding: $220 million

Notable investors: Horizons Ventures, Khosla Ventures

9.2 Meati Foods

Year founded: 2019

Description: Meati Foods is developing a fungi-based alternative to chicken and other meats.

Total funding: $40 million

Notable investors: Congruent Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Acre Venture Partners, Tao Capital, and Sweetgreen cofounders Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman

10. Carbon Removal

10.1 Carbon Engineering

Year founded: 2009

What it is: Carbon Engineering is among the buzziest startups that are developing a technology to pull carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, out of ambient air. The gas can then be turned into other products such as fuel.

Total funding: $95M (including $11M in government funding)

Notable investors: Bill Gates, BHP, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures

10.2 LanzaTech

Year founded: 2005

Description: LanzaTech developed a technology to turn waste emissions, such as from steelmaking, into fuels and chemicals. The company recently spun out LanzaJet, which produces sustainable jet fuel.

Total funding: $400M

Notable investors: Khosla Ventures, BASF, Suncor Energy, Petronas, Indian Oil, and Mitsui

11. Buildings

11.1 Mighty Buildings

Year founded: 2017 (the company was in stealth mode before this summer)

Description: Mighty Buildings is a construction company that manufactures modular homes using 3-D printing. “Our 3D-printing technology allows us to produce modular houses and building components much faster than traditional construction,” the company says.

Total funding: $30M

Notable investors: Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator

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