In his book Sustainability: What It Is and How to Measure It, Gilbert S. Hedstrom states that “sustainability – and the associated circular economy – represents the greatest business opportunity in over 100 years.” It all boils down to supply and demand.
The world’s middle class is expected to grow from 2 billion people in 2010 to 5 billion in 2030. But earth’s limited supply won’t be able to satisfy their new buying power. The resources of land, water, and energy cannot be indefinitely stretched, and their overuse will damage the balance of our ecosystems. The economy has no choice but to evolve. If we do not change the economy now, the global gross domestic product (GDP) will decrease by 18% and the US GDP by 10%.
Consumption as we know it will have to change. There is no other solution but to provide the growing middle class with sustainable, durable, and low-carbon goods and services.
Customers are aware of the earth’s limits and their demands are changing — they are asking for sustainable solutions.
The US government is also pushing businesses to embrace sustainability. The new Inflation Reduction Act dedicates $370 billion to climate-related provisions. It is the most ambitious action to fight climate change in the history of the country and will surely impact the agriculture and clean energy industries.
Impact investors are betting on the opportunities that sustainability offers. At KingsCrowd, we recently refined our impact investing criteria to better fit investors’ thesis. We will now include the following in our articles:
- Startups with core products or services diminishing the impact of human activity on the environment. These startups are either creating environmentally-friendly products or championing practices that fight against environmental damages.
- Startups with core products or services that address social injustice, inequality, and related challenges.
- Startups giving part of their revenue to nonprofits in the “Donation” section.
Medical companies will still be available through our company search page by selecting the “Healthcare and Pharmaceutical” industry.
In July 2022, we identified 13 startups with positive social and environmental impact that started raising capital online. Keep reading to learn more about these impact-driven startups.
Airthium – Deal to Watch
Electricity and heat production are two of the most energy-intensive and pollution-heavy human activities due to their reliance on fossil fuels. Airthium has built a revolutionary engine that can transform electricity into heat and vice versa up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a cheaper alternative to the use of natural gas in industrial heating and is an ideal solution to seasonal electricity storage on renewable energy farms. Though still in the prototype stage, Airthium’s product could dramatically cut carbon dioxide emissions and pollution from heat and electricity production.
Revel Energy – Neutral Deal
Revel Energy develops custom renewable energy systems for businesses. Specializing in commercial rooftop solar systems, Revel also offers energy storage solutions, carport solar systems, LED lighting installation, and other energy-related services. Revel’s services are currently based in southern California.
Athyna – Neutral Deal
Athyna has developed a global employment platform allowing businesses to hire, manage, and retain global talent — while offsetting carbon. The platform is a one-stop shop to hire, manage, and retain global talent as well as manage payroll, benefits, taxes, and team sustainability. Athyna gives its users the ability to calculate their carbon footprint and directly buy carbon credits to offset their negative environmental impact.
Food and Agriculture
Uncooked is a plant-based food company that is offering raw healthy food. The business sells a variety of foods and beverages, including bowls, sushi, overnight oats, smoothies, muffins, donuts, cake cups, coffee, and zero-proof cocktails. The family business combines in-store retail with one-day online deliveries.
GACW created the patented Air Suspension Wheel. The wheel is an airless mechanism made of steel with an in-wheel pneumatic suspension. GACW’s technology provides a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to pollutive rubber tires. Its wheels are less likely to explode and diminish the risk of accidents.
LPPFusion is developing the densest form of fusion energy by recreating the power of the Sun on the earth. The company is dedicated to developing focused, safe, clean, and cheap fusion power. It claims to have the highest fusion energy output per unit energy input compared to any private fusion experiment.
EnergyX has developed next-generation direct lithium extraction technology with its Lithium-ion Transport and Separation (LiTAS) technology. The company has partnered with four of the top worldwide 10 lithium producers and plans to improve lithium recovery rates from 30% to 90%.
Baby Vend establishes vending machines to make baby supplies easily available on the go. The company’s vending machines will provide customized baby products to traveling families and will lead to economic opportunities for people who want to run their own machines in their communities.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
AnyOneUp is an online community for victims of bullying, stalking, and harassment. The community also allows users to get feedback from their peers, form communities, and engage in social networking in the fields of stalking, bullying, harassment, and suicide prevention.
Alcohol & Drinks
The Fast Penny Spirits distillery makes high-quality amaro using organic and wild-crafted ingredients. Fast Penny Spirits sells under the brand name Amaricano and makes its drink by blending more than 45 organic ingredients and botanicals. The company has earned certification as a B Corporation due to its commitment to sustainable ingredient sourcing and its support for women and non-binary business leaders.
Fourth & Pride is a dedicated LGBTQ+ spirit brand that makes extremely smooth vodka. The vodka is gluten-free and made with a proprietary blend of white corn and grape. The business is focused on giving back to the community and donates 5% of its proceeds to two charity partners, SAGE and DIFFA.
Gabar is a mind and body fragrance brand that caters to a new and inclusive generation of fragrance buyers. The brand comes from Myanmar and gives 10% of its profits to the restoration of the country.
Aqua Equity Water is a bottled water brand that uses 100% recyclable aluminum bottles for its water. The business offers both mountain spring water and mineral-rich electrolyte-enhanced water in its sustainable bottles and serves the community through education and giving back to socially disadvantaged communities.
Wall Street has Morningstar, S&P, and Bloomberg
The equity crowdfunding market has KingsCrowd.
About: Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau
Léa is passionate about impact investing and sustainability. Prior to KingsCrowd, she worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, helping to select the most promising entrepreneurs. She also led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. In her free-time, she volunteers to help entrepreneurs in Cameroon, Brazil and Colombia. Léa holds a degree in Anthropology from France and is currently enrolled in the UC Davis MBA program.