We think deeply about the different types of money our startups need to scale their world-changing solutions with speed: project finance, venture capital, and other flavors of debt and equity.
We are excited to share that a handful of our companies — Carbon Lighthouse, Zero Mass Water, CarbonCure, and FreeWire Technologies — all closed major deals in the last few weeks. That’s excellent news for making buildings more energy efficient, accelerating the adoption of autonomous water technologies, permanently storing carbon in concrete, and easing the adoption of electric vehicles.
Carbon Lighthouse Closes $65 Million Fund with Generate Capital
The fund will be used to finance new commercial energy efficiency projects. Carbon Lighthouse — which deploys sensors and software to help businesses cut energy costs and carbon emissions — is already working in more than 500 buildings from Manhattan to Honolulu. The company deployed its own sensors and enhanced its machine learning algorithms through our Demonstration Track in three Alexander & Baldwin commercial properties in Honolulu, which is expected to render a 10-30% energy efficiency cost savings. They’re now scaling their solution in Hawaii and beyond.
Project finance has played a crucial role in the deployment of clean technologies by reducing the up-front and out-of-pocket costs for customers. First in solar, then in energy storage (to date our portfolio company Stem has raised more than $650 million of project finance for their energy storage systems, also working with Generate Capital and others), and now in energy efficiency. Read more about the structure of this fund from Carbon Lighthouse.
Volvo Invests in a Fully Electric Future with FreeWire Technologies
Also this week, Swedish carmaker Volvo acquired a stake in Elemental portfolio company FreeWire Technologies, the leader in flexible, fast-charging technology for electric cars. FreeWire specializes in both stationary and mobile charging stations that can be widely deployed without the upfront capital expense of establishing a high-voltage connection to the main electrical grid. Through our Demonstration Track, FreeWire partnered with Hawaiian Electric to deploy two mobile EV chargers at Honolulu’s Airport Trade Center.
The company’s solution is an ideal fit for Volvo, which has one of the most ambitious electrification strategies in the automotive industry. The automaker has committed that starting in 2019 every new car launched will be electric. And by 2025, the company wants fully electric cars to make up 50% of global sales. Learn more about how FreeWire is enabling Volvo to double down on their vision for electrification in this article and video interview with FreeWire founder Arcady Sosinov.
FreeWire’s technology has applications beyond electric vehicles. Their investors also include Stanley Ventures, a division of Stanley Black & Decker, and BP.
Breakthrough Ventures Places Bets on Zero Mass Water and CarbonCure
The $1 billion fund — backed by billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Richard Branson, Masayoshi Son, and Michael Bloomberg — recently announced its second round of investments, including two companies in our newest cohort. CarbonCure, which deploys technology to inject CO2 into concrete, and Zero Mass Water, which produces rooftop Hydropanels that make drinking water from the air, were among the seven companies selected by Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures is notable for investing in companies that have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Read more in Greentech Media.
What Else Is New in the Elemental Portfolio?
- kWh Analytics won a $1.25 million Department of Energy award to quantify solar degradation rates.
- In one of the first deployments of Volkswagen Settlement Funds, Rhode Island Transit Authority leases three of Proterra’s heavy-duty electric buses.
- Scoot Networks launches in Latin America! The shared electric vehicle startup will deploy 500 electric scooters in Santiago, Chile, to offer citizens a more sustainable mobility option.
What Does It All Add Up To?
We are seeing a clear uptick in capital deployment for clean technology companies that are compelling commercial businesses and will have a significant positive impact on the planet. If you would like to have early access to opportunities like these through our quarterly Dealflow Digest, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.