Kerry visits Silicon Valley climate tech #93

New climate technologies are key to meeting the climate challenge’

Happy Monday! In this week’s issue, Climate Envoy Kerry visits Silicon Valley and heralds climate tech’s criticality in solving climate’s woes.

As deals go, an efficient electronic switch, smart energy and a protective silk coating to extend perishables’ shelf-life lead.

In the news, EU pledged energy independence from Russia by 2027, US banned Russian energy imports, and the EPA cut 90% of NOx emissions on medium and heavy duty vehicles (alongside a big new $5.5b bus and school bus order!)

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From Pennsylvania Avenue to Sand Hill Road

Field Trip! John Kerry and the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate team took a climate tech tour through Silicon Valley this past week to meet with scientists and entrepreneurs developing net zero technologies. The agenda included stops (and photoshoots) at…

🚀 NASA Ames, meeting with climate scientists investigating climate change’s impacts on ocean and air currents - complete with a tour of the world’s largest wind tunnel

🌙 Alphabet’s X, speaking with teams advancing climate moonshots like a electricity grid visibility and sustainable agriculture

👩🏽‍🏫 Stanford University, learning from faculty about a new school of climate and sustainability and from researchers in Professor Yi Cui’s lab working on battery innovations

🔬 SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, gathering with scientists around an x-ray laser to discuss the translation of basic physics research into climate innovations

🌱 Climate startups and investors, discussing in roundtable sessions the landscape of climate innovation and the role of startups internationally

John Kerry told Climate Tech VC about the Silicon Valley visit:

New climate technologies and companies are key to meeting the climate challenge; from IEA research, we know around half of the technologies we need to reach net-zero still need to scale. Over the past several days, I spoke with scientists and entrepreneurs working on those needed technologies, including critical innovations in energy storage, heavy industry, and data analysis. These climate startups and breakthroughs enhance our collective ability to accelerate solutions to many of our most pressing challenges.”

DC and the land of VC have historically been ideologically (and physically) far apart. Zuck’s 4 simple words - ‘Senator, we run ads’ - sum up the felt distance between technologists and those supposed to regulate it. The Envoy’s trip represents a much-needed effort to bridge the coastal gap and embrace policy and innovation as tools in our kit for addressing climate.

Hopefully, Washington continues to stay close to climate tech. We’ll surely be tracking Kerry and his team for what’s to come 👀.

Deals of the Week (3/7-3/13)

⚡ Menlo Microsystems, an Irvine, CA-based manufacturer of an efficient electronic switch, raised $150m in Series C funding from Vertical Venture Partners, Future Shape, Fidelity, DBL Partners, Adage Capital Management, Standard Investments, Paladin Capital Group, Piva Capital, and PeopleFund.

⚡ Tibber, a Norway-based residential smart energy startup, raised $100m in Series C funding from Summa Equity,  Balderton, Eight Roads, and Schibsted Ventures.

🍎 Mori, a Boston, MA-based developer of a protective silk coating product that extends the shelf life of perishable foods, raised $50m in Series B funding from Prelude Ventures, The Drawdown Fund, Acre Venture Partners, The Engine, Refactor Capital, Blindspot, Closed Loop Partners, Knollwood Investment Advisory, Collaborative Fund, and Thia Ventures.

🚲 Fifteen, a France-based shared e-bike services startup, raised $44.3m in funding from Eiffel Essentiel, 2050, Mobivia, Daphni, CDC, C4 Ventures, BNP Paribas Développement, and others.

🦐 Finless Foods, an Emeryville, CA-based cell-cultured seafood company, raised $34m in Series B funding from Hanwha Solutions, Dainichi Corp, At One Ventures, Olive Tree Capital, Justin Kan, Humboldt, Gaingels, Draper Associates, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, and SOSV.

⚡ JET Charge, an Australia-based EV charging startup, raised $17.8m in Series B funding from The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, The Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Claremont Capital, and others.

☀️ Sunvigo, a Germany-based solar-as-a-service startup, raised $11m in Series A funding from Eneco Ventures, Sparta Capital, Übermorgen Ventures, Ecosummit, and High-Tech Gründerfonds.

🔋 Swobbee, a Germany-based micromobility battery swapping startup, raised $6.5m in Series A funding from EIT InnoEnergy.

🌱 Clean Crop Technologies, a Holyoke, MA-based startup using cold plasma technology to increased crop yields, improve food safety, and reduce food waste, raised $6m in Series A funding from ReGen Ventures, Trailhead Capital, MassMutual Catalyst Fund, Prime Impact Fund, Innova Memphis, Bread & Butter Ventures, the Alchemy Fund, Active Impact, DC Thomson Capital, and VTC Ventures.

🌱 Provenance, a UK-based startup digitally verifying corporate sustainability claims, raised $5m in funding from Working Capital Innovation Fund, Nordic Eye, The Brandtech Group, Digital Currency Group, and angel investors.

🚀 Interstellar Lab, a Los Angeles, CA and Paris-based startup developing controlled-environment pods for crop cultivation on Earth and life-support in Space, raised $5m in a Seed funding from Urania Ventures, Auxxo, 7percent Ventures, Seldor Capital, E2MC, Kima Ventures, and BPI.

💨 Optera, Boulder, CO-based software platform for tracking corporate emissions, raised $4.2m in Series Seed-2 funding from Next Frontier Capital, Blackhorn Ventures, Mucker Capital, Valo Ventures, SaaS VC, and Stout Street Capital.

🍎 Minus Global, a Canada-based food waste recycling technology company, raised $3.5m in funding from Kensington Capital Partners.

🌱 Packaly, a Netherlands-based climate neutral last-mile delivery service, raised $2.7m in Seed funding from Fairtree Elevant Ventures.

🔋 Ligna Energy, a Sweden-based provider of wood-based batteries, raised $1.4m in funding from Klimatet Invest AB.

⚡ Wattnow, a Tunisia-basd IoT energy management solutions provider, raised $1.3m in pre-Series A funding from Katapult Climate, 216 Capital, Launch Africa Venture, Cross Boundary, Oman Technology Fund, and others.

☀️ Encore Renewable Energy, a Burlington, VT-based startup reclaiming undervalued real estate for community-scale solar PV systems, raised $1m in funding from The Flexible Capital Fund, Coastal Enterprises of Maine, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

🛍️ SustainKart, an India-based ecommerce marketplace for sustainable products, raised an undisclosed amount in Seed funding from Samantha Ruth Prabhu.

Exits & New Funds:

LanzaTech, a Skokie, IL-based waste carbon recycling company, is going public via merger with SPAC AMCI Acquisition Corp. II , valuing the company at an implied $2.2b., a Boston, MA-based hyper-local weather forecasting company, abandoned  plans to go public via merger Pine Technology Acquisition Corp, which would have valued the company at an implied $1.2b.

Hedera’s HBAR Foundation launched its Sustainable Impact Fund, dedicating $100m to projects helping address the climate crisis.

In the News

The European Union drew up plans to break their reliance on Russian oil for good by 2027, a herculean effort given current import levels at ~3-4m barrels a day (or $300-400m daily). If the European bloc can turn off reliance in 5 years, this leaves a huge gap to fill - hopefully by clean energy tech, climate tech, and some of these ideas.

Meanwhile, the U.S. banned any imports of Russian oil, gas and coal. In response, the federal government called on the US oil industry to pick up production and replace the imported Russian oil. Going against any pro-climate agenda, Jennifer Granholm spread the message to the hesitant oil industry to drill, drill, drill.

Last year, the EPA tightened allowable emissions from passenger vehicles. Now it’s medium and heavy duty vehicles’ turn. EPA’s proposed rule would force trucks to cut 90% of NOx emissions by 2031. Alongside the proposal, VP Kamala Harris announced $5.5b to purchase government-owned low- or zero-emission buses and school buses. Though, it’s worth the reminder that agriculture not transportation is the biggest NOx emitting culprit, producing 74% of US’s NOx.

America is back, baby! Well, at least in grid-scale battery investments. The US invested more in grid-scale batteries than other countries. With declining battery costs, expanding grid decarbonization policies, and increasing grid reliability concerns, storage emerges as an obvious resource to hit multiple birds with one stone.

Democrats are itching to resurrect the Build Back Better act because, quite frankly, things aren’t looking great for them with midterms coming. If Dems can cut a deal with BBB-killer Joe Manchin, this could save at-risk House members, kickstart Biden’s domestic agenda again, and bring us closer to 50% by 2030 (see Jesse Jenkins’ analysis in Pop-up!). Here's an outline of Manchin’s demands to win his vote for the legislation.

With commodities markets in flux, soon the metals needed for EV batteries may be more expensive than the car itself. Last week, nickel prices doubled to $100,000 a ton causing trading to be suspended on the London Metal Exchange.


Fire sale. $500 million-worth of luxury electric Porsches and Lamborghinis sank and made a fire in the Atlantic Ocean.

Though wildlife experts emphasize that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, the animals in the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards deserve some recognition.

Calling all energy modeling nerds. Jesse Jenkins publishes new research and sits down with Jon Stewart to explain how Build Back Better could get us close to meeting our clean energy goals.

Electric truck hydropower pushes the limits of creativity in clean energy.

Fast Company profiles Nan Ransohoff of Stripe Climate, outlining the company’s support of carbon removal technology.

Bill McKibben proposes “heat pumps for peace” to reduce demand for Russian fossil fuels.

Ministry for the… present? The Global Carbon Reward initiative proposes a “carbon coin” to compensate those who reduce emissions.

Opportunities & Events:

💡 Elemental Excelerator: Applications for Cohort 11 are now open! Elemental is looking for changemakers daring to create innovative solutions for some of the toughest problems affecting our planet and people. Apply by April 8th.

💡 Startup Basecamp Competition: Apply by Mar 19th to join a community of international founders pitching to win access to high-profile visibility & critical feedback from world-class climate tech investors.

💡 Transit Tech Lab: Apply by Mar 25th with an innovative transportation technology that can help build a more resilient and sustainable mobility system to be eligible for Transit Innovation’s 8-week accelerator.

💡 TotalEnergies Accelerator: Apply by Mar 31st to engage in TotalEnergies’ accelerator comprised of startups breaking into the electricity and renewables sector.

🗓️ Economist Sustainability Week: Join virtually from Mar 21st-24th to hear from professionals including keynote, António Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, and speakers discussing topics ranging from investing in the green transition to the feasibility and necessity for hydrogen in a renewable future.

🗓️ Giving Green: Join Effective Environmentalism on Mar 25th to hear from Dan Stein, founder of Giving Green, talk about methods to make climate finance more effective, including recommendations to businesses on how to achieve net-zero.


Carbon Capture Analyst @BloombergNEF

Managing Director @Evergy Ventures

Analyst/Senior Analyst @Salesforce Ventures

Associate/Senior Associate @Powerhouse Ventures

Global Community Lead @Celo

VP of Enterprise Sales @Raptor Maps

Head of Investment @Rewiring America

Head of Policy & Market Transformation @Rewiring America

Sr Associate, Climate & Manufacturing @SecondMuse

Commercial Strategy Manager @Invaio Sciences

Sr Business Development Manager @Pano

Marketing Director @Nth Cycle

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

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