5 greentech startups that could chip away at the climate problem

The data: After raising $40 billion last year, per Insider, climate tech startups raised $13.7 billion in VC investment from 369 deals so far this year, per Pitchbook.

Startups to watch: The world of greentech is increasingly covering new territory far beyond solar and wind as startups push the needle on sustainable innovation.

EcoLocked: Launched last year, this startup is incorporating biochar as an ingredient in concrete to help sequester carbon in buildings.

  • In addition to being the most ubiquitous material used by the construction industry, concrete has a formidable carbon footprint, amounting to at least 8% of global carbon emissions, per Nature.
  • The startup is one of several companies, including HeidelbergCement and Blue Planet Systems, developing greener concrete alternatives.

Arcimoto: Based in Eugene, Oregon, Arcimoto is zeroing in on an untapped market in the US—small, cheap EVs.

  • The startup is building EVs suited for urbanites and priced at under $20,000, like its three-wheeled Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV), as well as specialty EVs like the Rapid Responder for emergency personnel and the Cameo for the film industry, per Inc.
  • Arcimoto recently partnered with JOCO on a three-wheel EV-sharing pilot program for last-mile delivery in Manhattan.

Ÿnsect: Called “Europe’s best-funded insect farming startup,” the company is valued at $625 million and has raised $425 million since its founding in 2011, including $372 million in 2020, per Sifted.

  • The Paris-based company produces mealworms in its vertical farming facilities for use as ingredients in pet, plant, and fish feed as well as sports and human nutrition products.
  • Requiring less land for production and with lower carbon emissions, mealworms are considered more sustainable than other animal protein sources.

Beta Technologies: This Burlington, Vermont-based electric aerospace company is developing vertical take-off and landing aircraft and associated charging infrastructure.

  • The startup’s electric aircraft, Alia, with its single propeller and two electric motors, recently took a 1,403-mile journey from New York to Arkansas, making seven stops along the way, per PopSci.
  • Like other electric aviation companies—such as Wisk, Joby, Kitty Hawk, and Archer—that are showing potential for local taxi transport, Beta also wants to show its potential for longer haul flights.

Juicy Marbles: Founded in 2020 in Slovenia, this startup wants to make plant-based meat alternatives more appealing to foodies with discerning tastes.

  • The company has developed a line of meatless cuts, including filet mignon, that it claims has a texture and taste on par with choice cuts of real beef.
  • At $8 a steak, per Insider, taste will be a major deciding factor behind the product’s success.

The big takeaway: Although the world’s greentech billionaires have lost $141 billion over the past seven months, per Bloomberg, their startup counterparts appear to be faring much better, since their fate isn’t as tethered to stock market turmoil.

  • As worsening climate change and high gas prices hold steady, investors will likely continue flocking to climate tech.
  • Success of any sustainable innovation will be a balancing act between appealing to eco-conscious consumers’ sensibilities and the amount they’re willing to pay to be green.

Meatless filet mignon (Source: Juicy Marbles)

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