You might remember the first startup climate tech wave of the early 2000s. Between 2006 and 2011, startups offering solutions to solve the climate crisis received $25 billion in investments. But the Great Recession hit, and the turbulent economy resulted in the failure of many of those startups. However, the 2008 financial crisis wasn’t the only contributing factor to this sudden downturn. The general market just wasn’t ready to welcome sustainable products, which were often expensive. Most customers were choosing more affordable products for commodities such as electricity, especially since the price of solar power was 3x more expensive than coal or gas back in 2009.
Today, it looks like history could repeat itself. In the last three years, $100 billion has been invested into climate tech startups, creating the second climate tech wave. And in the last few months, the stock market lost a lot of its value — the Nasdaq is down 33.4% and the DOW is down 10.3% year-to-date. Fears of a looming recession remain strong. If that were to happen, would the second climate tech wave crash too?
I can’t see the future, but I know that a lot of things are different in 2022. The increasing demand for greener energy and transportation is supporting the second climate tech wave. For example, solar power is now cheaper than any other energy source.
The world is also more aware of the climate crisis than it was a decade ago. Following the Paris Agreement — which 34% of the world’s biggest companies have already committed to — corporations and governments alike are aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The U.S. government just passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest climate bill in American history which directly supports climate tech startups. James Wagoner, founder and CEO of Joule Case, a portable and stackable battery startup currently raising online, told us that its clients could be benefiting from a 30% tax rebate on its products thanks to the IRA.
Put simply, whether the economy is healthy in 2023 or not, there’s no better time than now to invest in climate tech. And here are the latest impact startups that began raising capital in November!
As the world turns away from fossil fuel and embraces renewable power, one element is essential to ensure reliable electricity: batteries. There are numerous companies offering them in the market. But Joule Case has developed a uniquely practical and sustainable battery. Its patented technology provides portable and scalable power to the event, EV charging, and food truck industries. The batteries provide green, clean, highly functional, and economical energy for a variety of uses.
Unused equipment is both an opportunity cost for corporations and an ecological nightmare. This equipment could be repurposed or sold to generate income and prevent the unnecessary production of new items. REUZEit is a surplus asset management company for life science and pharmaceutical companies. The company’s platform offers its asset lifecycle service and helps in reselling and redeploying equipment from upstream clients to downstream customers in the industry. Its goal is to reduce waste, save money, improve sustainability, and increase organic productivity.
Construction is one of the most polluting industries, especially because of its heavy use of concrete. Green Canopy NODE helps developers build healthier and more sustainable homes faster by using prebuilt modules that can be added quickly during construction. The company is vertically integrated for construction technology, real estate development, and fund management and has created an innovative ecosystem for all the services. The company’s products are already in use and have been installed in residential communities in the Pacific Northwest.
Brite is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education platform that helps educators teach, run, and grow a STEM academy. The platform contains a catalog of curated STEM courses, education management tools and resources, and turnkey solutions to run and grow an academy. The company is focused on empowering non-technical educators.
African Small Business
Aladdin is a digital banking ecosystem specifically for Nigerian individuals, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. The company’s services include savings accounts, lending, e-payment, and a marketplace to buy and sell goods.
Hydro Wind Energy has developed two highly innovative technologies for inexpensive and clean desalination: SubSea RO Wind and QuenchSea. The company’s other technology, OceanHydro Omni, harnesses offshore wind and subsea oceanic pressure to provide reliable, clean, and continuous electricity.
VoltWALL is making renewable energy reliable with its replaceable and transportable energy storage modules. The renewable energy storage system, xBlade, extends the life of batteries through its patented active thermal management and lowers the risk of fire.
Indie Power Systems has developed a cutting-edge solution for the EV charging market. Its two products, IndieCharger and Indie Multiflex, are designed for EV fleets and streamlining energy storage integration. IndieCharger enables energy optimization, alternative energy, and energy savings and is contributing to the net-zero emission goal.
This App Saves Lives is an app-based platform that gamifies and rewards safe driving behavior. The app uses a rewards-based approach to replace distracted driving with safe driving. This App Saves Lives works on a multi-stakeholder business model and is helpful for consumers, brands, employers, and insurance companies.
Encore Artistic Solutions has developed a patent-pending process that transforms discarded paint into high-quality fine art paint. Its first product is a premium fine art paint named Tomorrow’s Artist that aims to make sustainability a part of artistic practices.
Azure Printed Homes makes 3D-printed homes using recycled materials. The business uses recycled polymers and 3D printing to prefabricate modern backyard studios, accessory dwelling units, and homes faster and more affordably. The business has generated more than $3 million in revenue in the past 12 months and grown its pre-sales from $3.5 million in June 2022 to $19 million in October 2022.
AlgenAir has developed living technology that uses algae to remove carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds from indoor air. The business has created The Aerium as the first home air purifier that removes carbon dioxide and adds oxygen, along with maintaining harmony with the existing plants. AlgenAir’s Aerium is 25 times more efficient than the average house plant and also lives symbiotically with existing plants by producing natural fertilizer.
Parker Clay Global makes and sells premium and long-lasting leather bags. It employs primarily women in its Ethiopian factory. As a B-Corporation, it puts an emphasis on paying its employees good wages and producing through the principles of fair trade.
Food and Agriculture
Philosopher Foods makes craft nut butters that are made in small batches for enhanced texture, flavor, and nutrition. The business is scaling regenerative agriculture and creating its regenerative organic certified and glyphosate residue free certified almond and coconut butters.
Cann-Ade is a USDA-certified company that makes organic cannabis-infused beverages. The company sells its products in eco-friendly bottles and uses sustainable sourcing in procuring ingredients.
Rightstars has developed a platform to make basic legal services affordable for everyone. The company’s platform connects people with legal problems to a community of lawyers so that finding a lawyer is easy, and it will use financial technology to make legal services more affordable for underserved communities.
Markid is a circular marketplace specially designed for parents to buy and sell new, used, and refurbished kids’ items. The platform has integrated peer-to-peer and brand-resale channels to help parents sell their kids’ unused and outgrown items and buy more new and used products.
IX Water uses its proprietary and environment-friendly technology to recycle industrially contaminated water. The patented technology is at least 50% less costly than traditional methods and environmentally feasible. The system also removes 99.8% of the contaminants in water.
EarthGrid has designed tunnel-boring technology to create an underground network of tunnels. The tunnels can be used to transport clean energy and offer ultra-high-speed Internet, sustainable clean water, transportation, and delivery services.
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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.