Impact Startup Investing: September 2022 - KingsCrowd

October 25, 2022

Impact Startup Investing: September 2022

Introduction

I recently started teaching a group of UC Davis students about impact investing. What I like the most about it is answering their questions, and they quickly asked if investing in hydrogen could help the transition to a more sustainable economy. We often hear that hydrogen is an opportunity to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and a few investment opportunities pop up occasionally on crowdfunding platforms. But before considering hydrogen-related investments, it’s important to understand a little more about its production and potential use.

Hydrogen Today

Hydrogen is a gas that has high energy content for its weight. One pound of hydrogen can deliver close to three times more energy than one pound of gasoline. As a result, it’s extremely valuable for energy use and storage. The petroleum, metal, and food industries use hydrogen as a source of energy, and NASA launches rockets and powers spacecrafts with it. 

The problem is that most of the production of hydrogen in the current $135.9 billion global market is unsustainable. Creating hydrogen is an energy intensive process, and with current methods, the amount of energy needed to produce hydrogen is more than the energy that hydrogen can provide. Fossil fuels power 96% of current hydrogen energy production, with the remaining 4% coming from renewable sources. This process produces what is called grey hydrogen, and it releases enormous amounts of carbon dioxide which contributes to global climate change.

Hydrogen Tomorrow

The sustainable future of hydrogen lies in green hydrogen, which is produced by biomass or other renewable energies such as solar and wind. This method of production would radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make it much easier and more sustainable for hydrogen to be widely utilized. 

Green hydrogen has strong potential to decarbonize high emission sectors such as shipping, aviation, and long-distance trucking. It could be used on renewable energy farms to store energy and fill the gap left by wind and solar. It could also replace gasoline cars without releasing harmful byproducts into the air or relying on lithium the way battery-fueled cars do. The many applications of green hydrogen are a major driver of the market’s expected growth from $1 billion in 2021 to $72 billion in 2030. That kind of rapid growth will provide plenty of opportunity for investors. But change won’t happen overnight. 

I think it’s going to be a while before we see streets filled with hydrogen-fueled cars. The technology and the use of hydrogen as a fuel is still too expensive. We’re also far from having the necessary infrastructure to produce enough hydrogen for wide scale adoption. It’s going to take efforts from both governments and industry leaders to create a future where hydrogen’s use is widely viable. But that also represents a market opportunity. A shift from the use of fossil fuels to green hydrogen is a massive moment of disruption. And disruption is one of the things startups do best. I think innovative companies will be central to establishing a hydrogen-powered economy.

I’m excited to see a future where green hydrogen and other sustainable practices are the norm. And being an impact investor is a way to be directly involved in the creation of that future. So for investors who don’t want to wait for hydrogen to take off, here’s the latest impact startup investing opportunities in the online private market.

 

Top Companies

Vulcan Augmetics

Robotics prosthetics make amputees’ lives easier but they can be incredibly expensive. Vulcan Augmetics makes affordable robotic prosthetics that are efficient, practical, and accessible. The prosthetics are modular, easily click together, and are connected to a network so they can be maintained wirelessly. The company has 18 clinics in its network with 80% conversion and 90% retention. 

 

HEVO Founder Profile 

Drivers are increasingly adopting electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States, but charging infrastructure is lagging behind. Not only is the charging network underdeveloped compared to the growth of EV sales, but charger plugs also differ across car models. HEVO has developed wireless EV charging technology that meets universal safety and performance standards. The company is building a wireless charging standard for EVs to make EV charging simple and universal with its widely adaptable chargers and integrated EV transportation app. HEVO has done successful pilots with major auto and energy companies and has a robust intellectual property portfolio.

 

Global Composite Piping Solutions – Top Deal

Pipes in steel and concrete are energy intensive to manufacture. Concrete pipes can crack, and steel pipes are corrosive. They can lead to the waste of large amounts of water. Global Composite Piping Solutions has developed and patented large diameter, high-pressure pipelines without steel or concrete. The company’s innovative thermoplastic composite pipe technology reduces weight and increases pressure capabilities of pipes. Global Composite Piping Solutions has signed a letter of intent for a $150 million international pipeline project.

 

Energy

Iterum Energy

Iterum Energy aims to manufacture and market modular power generation systems to convert waste heat into low-cost and environment-friendly electric power. Its clean, renewable energy solution could help prevent business disruptions during natural disasters.

StorEn Technologies

StorEn Technologies has developed patent-pending all-vanadium battery technology that promises to provide affordable and long-lasting energy storage. The batteries are efficient, cost-effective, and durable. The company has secured its first order of $500,000 from an Australian partner, and the first battery was delivered to Brisbane in the first quarter of 2020.

Stellaris

Stellaris is developing a fully-transparent and smart photovoltaic window. The electricity-generating window, ClearPower, is designed to meet the urgent need of buildings to generate their own green electricity. 

Kilowatts For A Cause

Kilowatts For A Cause is bringing a new approach to installing solar energy systems. It will originate, build, and maintain solar energy, energy storage, and EV charging assets for commercial and industrial building owners and will share operational savings with the energy purchaser and the local community.

 

Small Business

LocalBuzz

LocalBuzz has developed a platform that uses social media and online marketplaces to create a new future for local economies. The platform helps users to venture out into their communities, find interesting things to do, and meet new people. The app has had more than 8,000 downloads and generated more than 10,000 videos and 880,000 views.

GreenDropShip

GreenDropShip has developed an ecommerce app for Shopify that enables merchants to sell groceries. It is an automated and scalable marketplace that connects emerging natural product brands with online resellers. GreenDropShip has more than 2,000 registered users, has fulfilled more than 95,000 orders, and generated $7 million in revenue in 2021.

 

Health & Medicine

Addiction Cure Therapeutic Sciences

Addiction Cure Therapeutic Sciences is a biotech firm aiming to treat and cure drug and alcohol addiction. The company is using a unique approach to cure addiction through erasing epigenetic bookmarks and rearranging them to support new behavior. 

TomBot

TomBot has created a lifelike robotic dog for mental health treatment. The robotic dog offers safe and joyful companionship to people struggling with dementia, autism, and depression and aims to treat the symptoms of these mental health illnesses. The company collaborated with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in the design of the robot.

 

Affordable Housing

Apis Cor

Apis Cor is a construction technology company that created a robot to 3D-print full-scale houses. The company aims to provide structural 3D printing robotics to developers and homebuilders to reduce the cost and time of building.

 

Education

Transizion

Transizion is an ed-tech mentorship platform that connects students and professionals for better college and career outcomes. The platform, CollegeRize, caters to students’ academic and career needs and helps young professionals monetize their career expertise. Transizion wants to help bridge discriminatory gaps in accessing college.

 

Transportation

bluShift Aerospace

bluShift Aerospace is a commercial rocket company that uses carbon-neutral and bio-derived fuel to provide space launch services. The company works as an Uber to space with its suborbital and orbital launch services and reusable rockets.

Panhwar Jet

Panhwar Jet is developing the world’s first all-electric long-range jet. The Panhwar Jet requires only a small battery pack to fly for many hours. The design and simulation of Panhwar Jet are completed, and fuselage production started in June 2022. 

 

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Megafono Corporation

Megafono Corporation has developed a platform that makes government easily and effectively accessible to everyone. The app will enable users to participate in tracking legislation, providing legislative feedback, crowdfunded lobbying, and polls. 


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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.

View Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau's articles

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