Feb 23, 2023

12 ClimateTech Startups to Watch in 2023

Bram Berkowitz

iven the threats from global warming and climate change, the world needs real solutions now. That’s why the venture capital industry has greatly stepped up its focus on ClimateTech. From startups that can produce clean energy or aid in carbon capture, in 2022, global VC investment in the sector exceeded $70 billion, which is more than what was invested in the five years from 2006 to 2011.

Expect ClimateTech to become an even greater focus for VC in the years to come. Here are 12 ClimateTech startups to watch in 2023.

1. Redwood Materials 

With demand for lithium-ion batteries only expected to grow as the world turns to electric power, Redwood Materials wants to make these batteries easier to source by recycling anode and cathode materials from existing used batteries. Redwood Materials estimates that only 5% of lithium-ion containing devices are recycled and Americans are discarding 150 million cellphones every year. The company has a ton of traction. In 2021, Redwood raised a $700 million external investment round. The company this year received a $2 billion loan from the U.S.Department of Energy to build out one of its facilities in Nevada. 

2. Form Energy

Form Energy is working to make the power grid more sustainable and energy-efficient, with the ultimate goal to make renewable energy available where and when it’s needed. The company uses iron-air technology to store electricity for 100 hours at costs comparable to legacy power plants. That’s even more than many long-duration energy storage systems, which are defined as those that can store energy for more than 10 hours. The company has also developed a modeling toolkit to help power grids map out the process of multi-day energy storage. In October, Form Energy closed another $450 million funding round, bringing total funding to over $800 million. 

3. Zap Energy 

Nuclear energy can be a controversial topic when it comes to whether or not it should be a key energy source for the future. But the company Zap Energy, which was founded by a couple of professors from the University of Washington, thinks they are onto a commercially-viable solution. Zap Energy has created a cheaper, more compact device that harnesses electric current, which is different than more traditional approaches to nuclear energy such as using magnetic fields or lasers. In June, Zap closed a $160 million series C round and has raised more than $200 million in total funding.

4. Climavision

Predicting the weather has never been an easy business, just ask your local weather reporter. While weather forecasts have gotten more reliable over the years, Climavision thinks it can do even better. The company leverages artificial intelligence to process weather data in a more timely manner, which makes it more accurate. The company uses automated cloud-based infrastructure to manage its network of polarization radars. Climavision can use more than 20% of the observational data it collects opposed to just 3% by the National Weather Service. In June of 2021, the Rise Fund announced a $100 million strategic investment in Climavision.

5. Pachama

With the world’s forests currently shrinking and hence releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Pachama’s goal is to not only slow this process but to also restore forests globally. The company leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to use satellite imaging to identify carbon in forests all over the world and then monitor how carbon storage levels are changing. This is way quicker and more cost efficient than manual efforts and Pachama also makes it easy for individuals, businesses, and large corporations to buy carbon credits and invest in forestry projects that help conserve and restore forests. Pachama projects have assisted in funding, restoring, or protecting more than 1 million hectares of land in 15 different countries. According to Crunchbase, Pachama has raised more than $79 million of funding through a series B round.

6. ZeroAvia

A commercial Boeing 747 airplane can burn 36,000 gallons over the course of a 10-hour trip, so needless to say, aviation is not exactly the best thing for the environment. ZeroAvia wants to change this by replacing traditional airplane engines on existing aircrafts with hydrogen-electric powertrains. These are supposed to offer more range, lower maintenance costs, and giving off zero carbon emissions. In July of 2022, the company raised $30 million, bringing its series B round to $68 million. Strategic investors include the International Airlines Group, and Alaska Airlines. 

7. AMP Robotics 

Recycling rates are subpar at best but AMP Robotics can greatly improve these with artificial intelligence and robots. The company partners with businesses, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations to boost recycling rates and also help repurpose garbage for recycling. For example, AMP Robotics applied its solutions to a factory owned by Recycling and Disposal Solutions of Virginia to better sort PET, HDPE, plastic film, cups, and metals. Earlier this year, the company announced that it had raised $55 million in a series B round.

8. Atomo Coffee

Americans drink 146 billion cups of coffee annually, and similarly to meat or dairy the amount of coffee consumed takes a toll on the environment, specifically related to the amount of resources and the supply chain required to manufacture and deliver all of the coffee beans. Atomo Coffee has reverse engineered the coffee bean to make a beanless cold brew coffee. The company uses upcycled date seeds, grape, chicory, and caffeine from tea to make coffee that is brewed in the same way as traditional coffee. However, Atomo’s coffee produces 93% less carbon and uses 94% less water to make. In June of last year, Atomo announced that it had closed a $40 million series A round.

9. Living Carbon

Just as the removal of trees can harm the environment by releasing carbon, the addition of trees can help capture carbon. Living Carbon has developed genetically-engineered trees that grow faster, take up more space, and capture more carbon from the environment. The technology also includes a metal accumulation trait so these trees can store and suck up more metal in their roots. Earlier this year, the company announced that it has completed a series A funding round and has raised $36 million since launching. 

10. Powerledger

Using Powerledger’s blockchain-based platform, people can track, trade, and trace renewable energy so individuals and business owners can get renewable energy when they need it and sell it if they have an abundance. American PowerNet uses Powerledger’s technology to trade solar energy with other businesses in the office park it is located in. The company has raised $35 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.

11. Nitricity

Fertilizer is a key component in making soil more conducive for the growth of crops. But the way lots of fertilizer is manufactured and transported to farms is not so great for the environment. Nitricity has developed renewable energy technology that can artificially create lightning, which helps create fertilizer using air and water. This can then be injected into existing irrigation systems, which essentially decarbonizes the creation of fertilizer. The company recently raised a $20 million series A round.

12. Greyparrot

Greyparrot is an artificial-intelligence powered analytics platform, which provides better data for waste management companies, allowing them to better sort materials at their facilities. The technology can be integrated to conveyor belts at materials recovery facilities and plastics recycling facilities so they can monitor, audit, and sort vast amounts of waste at scale. The systems allow facilities to track all of the waste that goes through the facility, gather a real-time look of waste composition, and spot trends that will ultimately help facilities make better decisions and improve profitability. Greyparrot closed an $11 million series Around in May of 2022.

ClimateTech startups are becoming increasingly important as the world faces the growing threats of global warming and climate change. Venture capital investment in ClimateTech is expected to continue as a focus for venture capitalists in the coming years. By supporting these innovative ClimateTech startups, investors have the opportunity to make a significant impact on climate change.

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