5 agtech deals & 2 climate CEO podcasts

Plus 2 investor tools to measure GHGs, "soiling your pants" for microbiome health, and beef gets "epi-canceled."

Agtech is essential to a future-friendly climate.

First, a quick refresher on why agricultural innovation is so important to addressing climate change.

  • Food production generates an estimated 25% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. (WRI)

  • Roughly 50% of the world’s vegetated land is dedicated to agriculture. (NPR)

OK, now for the fun stuff. Here are five recent agtech deals.

Benson Hill raised a $225M PIPE.

  • Summary — Provides agricultural genomics and crop sustainability solutions

  • CEO — Matthew Crisp

  • Sample investors — Lazard, BlackRock

Inari raised a $208M Series D.

Plastomics raised a $3.2M Series A.

Ecto raised a $2.95M convertible debt financing.

Nowadays raised a $1.5M Seed.

And if those whet your appetite, then you’ll become obsessed with reading Agfunder News. Here are examples of their juicy headlines.

  • “ESG-stacked Oatly debuts on Nasdaq at $13bn valuation but plant-based industry “still has work to do” say execs (link)

  • Terviva raises $54m and partners with Danone on regenerative plant proteins from pongamia (link)

  • Eat Just scores $170m for cell-cultured chicken unit GOOD Meat (link)

2 Climate CEO Interviews — Electric vehicle charging + Virtual power plants

Each week, I chat with climate founders, CEOs, and investors tackling climate change via The Climate Torch podcast. Here are two recent interviews.

Heather Hochrein, CEO of EVMatch

EVMatch provides a software platform that enables both a peer-to-peer EV charging system — think “Airbnb for electric vehicle chargers” — and facilitates apartment building charging sessions through automatic scheduling and access control.

Matt Duesterberg, Co-Founder and CRO of Ohm Connect

Ohm Connect delivers the benefits of distributed energy demand management to consumers and grid operators in order to increase grid reliability and reduce the cost of electricity. Over the last six years, they’ve paid customers $13 million to reduce their energy use. They also recently raised $100M from Alphabet-backed Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners to build the largest distributed clean power plant in North America.

Epi-canceled: No beef about it.

In case you just eat to live (uh, peanut butter is my best friend) instead of living to eat, then you may not know that Epicurious is an award-winning magazine focused on great food and good cooking, founded in 1995 and complete with 33,000+ recipes.

But recently they made a moove so bold, one they had never made beefore.

No, those are not misspellings; they are just very sad puns.

Here’s the headline…

The Planet on the Plate: Why Epicurious Left Beef Behind

And I quote…

“For any person—or publication—wanting to envision a more sustainable way to cook, cutting out beef is a worthwhile first step. Almost 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally come from livestock (and everything involved in raising it); 61 percent of those emissions can be traced back to beef.”

“Cows are 20 times less efficient to raise than beans and roughly three times less efficient than poultry and pork. It might not feel like much, but cutting out just a single ingredient—beef—can have an outsize impact on making a person’s cooking more environmentally friendly.”

“Today Epicurious announces that we’ve done just that: We’ve cut out beef. Beef won’t appear in new Epicurious recipes, articles, or newsletters. It will not show up on our homepage. It will be absent from our Instagram feed.”

Perhaps even more than billion-dollar investments in solar and wind power projects, deep down in one of my four stomachs (oh yeah, I did it again), this feels like a real symbol of the mainstreaming of climate change.

2 free tools — How can investors and startups measure their carbon emissions?

If you want to prove that you startup venture or investment portfolio is contributing to climate change mitigation, it helps to measure it. #RocketScience

To that end, here are two free tools to help. Both are created by climate tech and cleantech investors.

#1: Simple Emissions Reduction Calculator (SERC)

Created by Clean Energy Ventures (CEV), with 15+ years of experience investing in 40+ climate tech companies.

Shout out to Shanbor Gupta, Investment Manager, who led the creation of this tool.

  • “The potential of an investment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a core element of Clean Energy Ventures’ investment criteria. This calculator acts as a simple test of whether a prospective investment’s GHG reduction potential could align with our investment criteria. After passing this calculator, more aggressive modeling and testing of assumptions is always performed during a detailed due diligence process. Clean Energy Ventures investments must demonstrate the potential to mitigate multiple gigatons of CO2e between initial investment and 2050.”


Created by Prime (parent of Prime Impact Fund) in collaboration with NYSERDA, the MacArthur Foundation, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Greenometry, Rho AI, and Clean Energy Trust.

  • “CRANE was built for anyone assessing the [GHG] emissions reduction potential of their investments — early-stage investors, incubators, accelerators, government agencies, large corporations, philanthropists and more. It aggregates data for you so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you want to assess climate impact for a new technology. CRANE also provides a summary of every single calculation and data source that goes into making its helpful data visuals.”

Soil your paints. (No, not like that.)

Every once in a while, an NPR story in the morning gets a little risqué.

Not often, but sometimes.

And here it was:

How Healthy Is The Soil On Your Farm? 'Soil Your Undies' To Find Out

Apparently, the good folks in the land down under — no, that down under, I’m talking about Australia — designed a test and a national challenge to see who has the best soil.

So, what was the test?

Just bury your pants five centimeters deep in the soil and come back later. If the cotton fibers are mostly degraded, then you’re in luck: Great soil, plus fashionable new garments.

I want to hear from 20 readers.

I draft these newsletters on email-free Fridays to help you start and scale world changing companies, supercharge your personal productivity, and become the leaders that our kids need.

To help me frame content for future issues, I have a quick question for you:

  • If you could push a magic button to solve your biggest challenge right now — business, finance, or personal development — what would that look like?

You can just respond directly to this email with 1-2 bullets before your next coffee break.(Caveman or cavewoman brevity is totally acceptable.)

Or connect on LinkedIn and drop me a note there.

Can you forward ZERO to 1 person today?

It takes a village and all that jazz.

If you’ve found anything in ZERO to be helpful, I’d like to ask you to share it with 1 friend (or enemy) this morning.

And as always, I appreciate the many shares, sign ups, and emails. Keep ’em coming.

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Make it a great week (because it’s usually a choice).

— Chris


Have you ever considered joining a CEO Mastermind (Peer) Group led by a former private equity investor, a founder, a professor, a podcaster, a long-haired “monk,” a rainforest researcher, an impact investment banker, an author, and an ax throwing champion?

Well, if so, I’m your guy!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention humble, too. :)

Here’s a list of our current [freakin’ awesome] Climate Mastermind members.

We’re building our second invite-only cohort which kicks off this summer.

It’s capped at just 11 executive members — founders, developers, or investors.

Drop me a line if that’s worth a 15-minute call.

Dr. Chris Wedding
Founder and Chief Catalyst, Entrepreneurs for Impact
Peer-to-Peer Advisory Groups + Executive Coaching + Investor Intel for Climate CEOs

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