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Cohort X gives us 17 reasons to be hopeful

September 29, 2021

· 7 min read
Ian Chipman Editorial Director

Join us in welcoming Cohort X. It’s a special one.

Selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants from over 50 countries, these 17 companies join one of the largest climate tech portfolios in the world at Elemental. And they couldn’t join us at a more opportune moment as we scale our work to reset the trajectory of climate change. Because as we’ve seen from wildfires consuming one end of the U.S. while hurricanes drown the other, the crisis is here.

And that’s why this year’s companies are some of the boldest bets we’ve made to date. From zero-emissions jet fuel to carbon-sequestering robots to a solution for the world’s most potent greenhouse gas, these are not incremental steps. After months of gathering community wisdom from nonprofits, community-based organizations, and government agencies, assessing the companies’ potential to reverse our most pressing environmental and social challenges, and listening to their visions of the future, we are confident these 17 companies are poised to unlock massive shifts in our collective ability to redesign the systems at the root of climate change.

“While technology has half the solution, the community brings the other half. If we invest with this knowledge, we will be able to decarbonize faster, center equitable solutions, and be better investors,” said our CEO Dawn Lippert. “Our goal is to back the companies that address climate change today and over the next 10 years, giving policymakers and corporations proof points to act on climate now.”

Cohort X also represents an inflection point at the end of Elemental’s first decade of investing in climate solutions, and the beginning of the next. As much as we like to reflect on everything we’ve learned and celebrated from our first 10 years, there’s never been a better moment to look ahead.

The remarkable entrepreneurs in Cohort X help paint a picture of what we can expect. This👇🏽 will make you smile today 😀

What will be different?

Success is a continuous journey, rather than a destination. When these companies succeed, the air in our kids’ classrooms will be free of wildfire smoke, viruses, and other contaminants. We will eliminate lead in every household’s water supply. We will switch to electric vehicles in huge numbers. We will fly without wondering if the price of exploring the worlds’ beautiful places is the destruction of those places. We will bear witness as the massive climate-action energy gathering strength in city halls, schools, and boardrooms turns kinetic and steers markets away from extraction and toward life-sustaining systems.

While it’s rarely wise to predict the future, one thing we know for sure is that every ounce of effort we pour into this work will be worth it and more.

With that, here are the incredible entrepreneurs in Cohort X that are working to change everything all around us.

Electrify and decarbonize everything

We already have many of the tools we need to push fossil fuels out of the system and reduce emissions at a rapid pace. Rapid decarbonization through electrification can eliminate 70-80% of emissions by 2035 with the technologies we have today. It’s a matter of enabling and orchestrating their widespread deployment. These companies help us do just that.

  • Dimensional Energy gives CO2 new life as a building block for products traditionally made with fossil fuels
  • EnergyRM provides the software and financial structure to monetize energy efficiency in buildings
  • SHYFT is a smart platform to monitor, manage and control distributed energy systems and services
  • WeaveGrid enables widescale electric vehicle adoption on the grid

Net zero infrastructure

The bipartisan infrastructure bill and budget resolution working through Congress present an opportunity for the U.S. to build an innovation economy and meet our national climate commitments. Elemental is backing entrepreneurs who are creating good jobs of the future, while decarbonizing our economy.

  • Courial connects consumers and businesses with a curated fleet of on-demand gig workers to deliver anything locally
  • Nuventura is helping eliminate the world’s strongest greenhouse gas from the energy industry
  • Rally enhances mass mobility with its bus rideshare service
  • TradeLanes is a digital supply chain platform for the future of global trade

Build regenerative land and food systems

Heatwaves, drought, and extreme weather are increasing in frequency and intensity. Preserving our soils, forests, and ecosystems is vital to sequestering carbon and feeding a growing population. These companies are helping to enhance food security, revitalize land stewardship, and support communities by working with nature to provide a habitable planet for all.

  • Climate Robotics is developing advanced robotics to sequester carbon and improve soils
  • Vibrant Planet harnesses adaptive planning and market incentives to help land managers more rapidly flip forests back to being massive carbon sinks

Design out waste

While food is the most common form of waste worldwide and annual plastic waste is estimated to be equal to the weight of the entire human population, e-waste is the fastest growing portion of global waste each year. It’s clear that we must shift from a flawed linear economy (make, take, dispose) to one that is more circular, and these companies are redesigning waste management systems, establishing platforms for reuse, and evolving single use products into closed loop solutions.

  • The Better Packaging Co. manufactures and commercializes solutions that displace traditional single-use packaging
  • Nth Cycle’s electro-extraction technology helps recyclers and miners upgrade battery waste into production-grade critical minerals
  • Reath is building the digital infrastructure for businesses to shift to the circular economy
  • WEEE Centre collects and dismantles e-waste to recover raw materials for recycling into new electronic products

Clean water, clean air

At the intersection of climate change and equity lies human health. COVID-19 has underscored the need for innovation across all systems that impact human health, including water and wastewater infrastructure and indoor air quality.

  • enVerid Systems develops air cleaning technologies for healthy and efficient buildings
  • Matter is pioneering ways to capture, harvest, and recycle microplastics in wastewater
  • SENTRY‘s biological sensor provides real-time water quality monitoring at the treatment plant

What’s next for Cohort X?

These 19 companies will receive between $200,000 and $500,000 to deploy their technology to address real-world challenges. Seven of the 18 companies will be the first to receive funding for global technology deployment through Elemental’s newly launched Global Track. All of them will be among the first to gain access to Equity Is Dynamic, an interactive and introspective web app designed to help entrepreneurs create effective equity strategies in their companies.

And they join one of the most active entrepreneur ecosystems — now 135 companies strong in the Elemental portfolio — to share hard-won wisdom and find unexpected ways to collaborate. Over the past decade we’ve learned so much about about what it takes to build a climate tech company. One of the biggest lessons is that it takes a village of not just founders, teams, investors, and partners — but also fellow CEOs and company builders who are traveling the same path.

And, it takes you. Please support our mission, scout job opportunities at our companies, sign up for our newsletter, share the stories of Cohort X, and find ways to take climate action wherever your influence, energy, and passion lead you.