This is ZERO #9

50 early stage impact companies to watch. 4 climate finance trends. 2 climate CEO interviews. Carbon upcycling market overview. Living on purpose. 2 funny stories for kiddos.

4 Climate Finance Trends from November.

This is an excerpt from the Climate Change Investment Brief that we produce each month. I’ll share the full document next week.

Capital raises and/or SPAC merger value are in parenthesis.

  1. Transportation electrification investments continue their acceleration, building off of the Tesla Effect: Ecolution Kwh ($3M), Witricity ($34M), AddEnergie ($53M), Nuvve ($132M, planned SPAC merger), Lion ($1.5B, planned SPAC merger), MP Materials ($1.7B SPAC merger), Arrival ($4.5B, planned SPAC merger), and Volkswagen ($86B over 5 years).

  2. Distributed energy solutions — including smart grid, demand response, and residential solar — get more ammunition to fight the good fight: Heila Technologies ($2.5M), Voltus ($25M), Aurora Solar ($50M), Tibber ($65M), and Solar Max ($300M planned SPAC merger).

  3. ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) investment inertia is active at all levels — big and small companies, as well as public and private markets: YvesBlue ($2M seed investment), Clear Capital (new $121M fund focused for activist investing in ESG laggards), Lombard Odier (new $400M ESG, natural capital, and climate tech fund), and big tech and fossil fuel company commitments to purchase renewable energy expected to drive $100B of new clean energy infrastructure investments by 2030.

  4. Three materials innovators get big investments: MycoWorks develops fungal-based solutions for sustainable luxury fashion ($45M); Form Energy is inventing a long-duration aqueous air battery system that “leverage some of the safest, cheapest, most abundant materials on the planet” ($76M); and PureCycle Technologies, developed by Procter & Gamble, recycles waste plastic back into valuable supply chain inputs ($826M planned SPAC merger).

Climate CEO Interviews.

Here are the latest interviews of growth stage climate CEOs and investors in our series called THE TORCH from Entrepreneurs for Impact.

Our Kettle: Link to interview

  • Smarter re/insurance — Using deep learning to mitigate financial risks due to climate change (est. $3 trillion over the last decade), with a focus on wildfires for now

  • Cofounders — Andrew Engler and Nat Manning

One Concern: Link to interview

  • Resilience software — “Integrating next-gen AI and machine learning with human-centric hazard science helps predict impact so you can take real action when it matters most”

  • CEO — Ahmad Wani

Top 50 Impact Companies to Watch.

The Cleantech Group released their first ever report to track 50 early stage ventures in the impact space. In addition, this list was vetted by a majority-female Expert Panel. Love this.

Their categories included the following, with sample companies listed for each:

How we grow and eat food

  • Planetarians, Sesi Technologies, Whywaste, Carbo Culture, Futurepump

How we consume

  • Genecis, Pivot Materials, AlgiKnit, BlockTexx

How we power our lives

  • Rebound Technologies,, Blixt, Station A, e-Zn

How we build and maintain

  • Fentrend, Inovues, Backacia

How we move

  • Envoy Technologies, Havelaar

How we interact with nature

  • Open Ocean Robotics, Land Life Company, Pachama

Circular Carbon Market 2020.

This first-of-a-kind report is published by the Circular Carbon Network — “a non-profit initiative that connects the global community of leaders working to transform waste CO2 into a valuable asset for society.”

The document is loaded with useful figures and notes the following:

  • 333 carbon capture or upcycling companies (that have collectively raised $2.2B)

  • 122 investors (managing $195B of assets under management)

  • 61 corporate investors (with $4.4T of aggregate revenue)

  • $6T total addressable market globally for carbon-to-value products (e.g., fuels, building materials, plastics)

They are laying the groundwork for answering this question posted by The Economist this year, “What if carbon removal becomes the new Big Oil?”

Living Lives of Purpose.

“What if you just had 5-10 years left to live? What would you stop doing?”

— Jim Collins, author of Built to Last and other bestselling business books, via the Tim Ferriss podcast


“But my glory, it doesn’t happen in front of a crowd. It doesn’t happen in a stadium or on a stage. There are no medals handed out. It happens in the darkness of the early morning. In solitude. Where I try. And I try. And I try again. With everything I have, to be the best that I can possibly be.”

— Jocko Willink, retired U.S. naval officer, Navy SEAL, podcaster, author, and overall badass


13TH: Documentary

— This Oscar-nominated film Netflix film should shock you. It’s about the history and current implementation of structural racism. Our work for equality is far from over.


“What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you. You are always a slave to what you’re not aware of. When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it.”

— Anthony de Mello, an Indian Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and writer, via his book Awareness

[Funny] Holiday Banter with the Kids in Your Lives.

Dialogue #1

  • You: Hey, little Timmy, did you know that turtles can breathe out of their butts?

  • Little Timmy: You’re crazy. Is that like some kind of dad (or uncle) joke?

  • You: No, seriously, National Geographic says that painted turtles breathe through their butts during winter hibernation in a process called — wait for it, here are your words of the day — cloacal respiration.

  • Little Timmy: Woah, cool. Also, you’re a little crazy.

Dialogue #2

  • You: Hey, little Suzie, did you know that some adults drink coffee that is made from weasel poop?

  • Little Suzie: OMG. Like go drink some eggnog or something. That’s gross.

  • You: I swear. National Geographic says that civets — weasel-like animals in Southeast Asia and Africa — eat coffee beans but only partially digest them. Then farmers pick the beans out of their poop, clean them, and make the “world’s most expensive coffee.” And if you thought this wasn’t wild enough, listen to this: A single cup of this coffee, known as Kopi luwak, can sell for $80.

  • Little Suzie: Adults are weird.

New to ZERO? Subscribe below.

Who is 1 friend who might enjoy ZERO?

Share ZERO

That’s all, folks.

Three cheers for the Covid vaccines! Now fingers crossed that enough people actually get them so we can move beyond this year of suck.

Keep on fightin’ the good fight y’all.



P.S. If you’re curious, here’s where the name ZERO comes from.

P.S.S. At Entrepreneurs for Impact, we recently kicked off the Founding Member cohort for our Executive Mastermind for climate CEOs and investors. Collectively catalyzing over $900M of value in low carbon sectors, it’s a heck of a group. If you want to learn more, check us out here.

Dr. Chris Wedding
Entrepreneurs for Impact, Founder
Executive Masterminds for entrepreneurs and investors tackling climate change
Invite-only peer groups. Executive coaching. Investor data. Leadership development.
(919) 274-7988