🌎 A Swell of funding for VPPs #128

Swell raises $120M for VPPs and Morgan Stanley launches $1B decarb fund


Happy Monday!

This shorter newsletter comes courtesy of the COP news hangover, turkey tryptophan, and FIFA distractions.

But that’s not enough to slow the funding for climate innovation. In this week’s deals, $120m for Swell’s virtual power plants, and $62m for Volta’s electric trucks. Also, Morgan Stanley raises $1B to fund decarbonization and SPACs continue to scoop up climate cos.

In news this week, the longest-ever LNG contract contrasts with $1B for the extension of Diablo nuclear plant and $3B for a Tennessee cathode factory. Plus thundersnow, bee vaccines, and carbon-sucking seagrass.

Grateful for all 40,000 of you. Thanks for reading!

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Deals of the Week (11/21-11/27)

Venture Fundings

☀️ Swell Energy, a Santa Monica, CA-based virtual power plant company, raised $120m in Series B funding from SoftBank and Greenbacker Development Opportunities.

🚗 Volta Trucks, a Sweden-based commercial electric vehicle manufacturer, raised $62m in Series C funding.

♻️ Modern Milkman, a UK-based company providing return and reuse grocery services, raised $60m in Series C funding from Insight Partners, ETF Partners, Praetura Ventures, and Avery Dennison.

💨 Fairmat, a Italy-based company converting carbon composite into new materials, raised $35m in Series A funding from Temasek, CNP, Pictet Group, Singular, and the Friedkin Group International.

🛵 Ultraviolette Automotive, an India-based electric two-wheeler vehicle developer, raised $24m in Series D funding from Qualcomm Ventures and EXOR N.V.

⚡ UgoWork, a Canada-based provider of Energy-as-a-service solutions for industrial vehicles, raised $23m in Series B financing from Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Export Development Canada, Desjardins Capital and Investissement Québec.

⛏️ I-Rox, a France-based company developing pulsed power applications for mining, raised $13m in Series A funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

💨 Enriched Ag, a Pittsburgh, PA-based grazing and carbon insights platform for farmers, raised $9m in Seed funding from Radical Ventures and Future Ventures.

🛵 Dat Bike, a Vietnam-based electric motorbike manufacturer, raised $8m in funding from Jungle Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, InnoVen Capital, GSR Ventures, and Delivery Hero Ventures.

⚡ Sympower, a Netherlands-based company providing grid-balancing services, raised $3m in additional Series B funding from Activate Capital Partners, Rubio Impact Ventures, and PDENH.

⚡ Clean Electric, a India-based provider of energy storage solutions, raised $2m in Seed funding from Climate Angels, Kalaari Capital, LV Fund, 7Square Ventures, and CIIE Regional Innovation Foundation.

🔋 Currents, a Portland, OR-based provider of a recycled EV battery marketplace, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from HG Ventures.

Other Fundings

♻️ Continuum, a Los Gatos, CA-based metal recycling and supply company, raised $36m in funding from Ara Partners.

Exits & New Funds:

Morgan Stanley Investment Management launched a $1B private equity fund focused on decarbonization, aiming to remove 1 gigaton of Co2 emissions by 2050.

Pact, a London-based all-female VC launched its first $36m seed fund to back early-stage startups in inclusion, personal and professional well-being, and climate tech.

Zapp Electric Vehicles, a UK-based electric scooter manufacturer, is going public with a $573m valuation via SPAC CIIG Capital Partners II.

NEXT Renewable Fuels, an Oregon-based developer of renewable fuels from feedstock, is going public with a $530m valuation via SPAC Industrial Tech Acquisitions II.

In the News

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant gets $1.1b to stay open longer. The preliminary deal with PG&E is the first under a $6b program in the 2021 infrastructure law aimed at extending the life of nuclear plants’ zero-carbon power generation.

With a $3.2b investment, South Korean LG Chem will build a factory in Tennessee to develop cathode material for EV batteries. Once the factory is fully operational in 2025, it’s projected to produce 120,000 tons of cathode battery materials annually – enough to power batteries in 1.2 million EVs.

An OPEC for rainforests. Home to 52% of the world’s remaining rainforests, Brazil, Indonesia and DR Congo signed an agreement to end deforestation and issue joint proposals for climate finance.

The world’s largest power retailer, Enel, launched its retail energy business to sell electricity directly to US businesses for the first time. Starting in deregulated Texas, Enel is building and operating 4 GW of wind and solar in the state.

QatarEnergy signed the longest-term contract in the history of the LNG industry in a 27-year deal with Chinese Sinopec as the global LNG competition intensifies for non-Russian supplies.

An Australian court blocked a proposal for the biggest coal mine in the nation, which would have contributed 1.6B tons of CO2 over its lifespan. The ruling sets a new precedent for blocking coal projects in the region.

🦣 Next up: Biodiversity in Montreal, where the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) will take place from December 7-19. This year’s conference is expected to be the ‘Paris moment for nature’ with the hope that the private sector throws its weight behind biodiversity.


Scientists are working on the world’s first honey-bee vaccine. How to vax a bee? Better than tiny syringes, “candy” for the Queen.

In Iraq, changes from extreme heat means work that starts at 4am, dog walks timed to avoid burnt paws, and worse risk of kidney stones.

What do Paraguay, Ethiopia, Norway, and Iceland have in common? 97% renewables-based grid capacity in 2021. China’s capacity is 44%, nearly double 2000 levels. See more on this dynamic world map.

In The Economist, OG cleantech investor Vinod Khosla argues for more investment in tech innovation that can deliver net zero by 2050, supposing that over-emphasizing deployment of today’s clean tech for a 2030 timeline could get in the way of hitting the long-term goal.

Shoot for the moon, land on the ocean floor. Alphabet X’s moonshot project Tidal, uses camera surveillance and machine learning to optimize carbon-sucking seagrass.

“There's lots of people telling me that we're not taking enough risk.” Jigar Shah on how the DoE Loan Program Office’s ~3% loss rate track record is in line with commercial banks, and certainly not represented by 2009 Solyndra.

Wind turbines can trigger “thundersnow”.

Robinson Meyer is #StartingSomethingNew but drops the mic with a final banger in The Atlantic, proposing that we’ve entered the “Climate War” era in which global superpowers race to outcompete each other’s decarbonization and development goals. See: US vs. China.

Opportunities & Events:

🗓️ Carbon Management Day: Register to celebrate the second annual Carbon Management Day with the DoE Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) - aptly at 12:01pm ET on Dec 1 since the atomic mass of carbon is 12.01.

🗓️ Climatebase Live: Register for this Energy & Transportation hiring event on Dec 2. Based off projections, over 50 job seekers are expected to get hired from this event with presenting companies including Raptor Maps, BlocPower, SPAN, Terawatt Infrastructure, and Scale Microgrid Solutions.

💡 AirMiners Launchpad: Carbon removal founders can apply to the 7th accelerator batch by Dec 16 for this program running from Jan 10 to Feb 17.

💡 LACI Incubation Program: Southern CA cleantech founders are welcome to apply by Jan 6 to The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s Cohort 6 for hands-on coaching, strategic support, and pitch opportunities to propel startup growth.


Co-Founder, Carbon Capture & Sequestration @Deep Science Ventures

Associated Director of Carbon Capture @Earth Partners + OCED

Senior Associate @Princeville Capital

Senior Software Engineer- Perception/Autonomy @Aigen

Executive Assistant @Verne

Special Projects Lead @Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement R&D Program

Climate Strategy Director @Lego

Feel free to 📩 send us new ideas, recent fundings, events & opportunities, or general curiosities. Have a great week ahead!

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