Contemporary Offers – 7 February

Nyx the Greek Goddess and a space vehicle; decarbonised steel production; a smart phone which is actually smart; alternative chemical pesticides –  find all the insight you need on the latest cleantech deals here.  

Agriculture & Food

Enko Chem (2017), is a crop health company which finds solutions and new modes of action which are alternatives to chemical pesticides and fertilizers. These solutions sit in the nexus of drug discovery and technological advancements, utilising proprietary screening and leveraging both artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer the most effective treatment for each pest. The company has raised a further $10M on top of the initial close of $70M in July 2022, bringing the closed Series C round to $80M, led by Eight Roads Ventures, Nuafarm, and Endeavor8.

These funds will go towards advancing its pipeline of fresh crop protection chemistries to tackle and provide solutions for critical global food security challenges. As Enko mentions, the importance of crop protection acts as a domino effect to improve yields, reduce crop and resource wastage and build a food system which can meet the demands of our growing population. There is an entire network of problems which depend on technological solutions that are formed with the understanding that being both efficient and conscious is a priority, and not a mutually exclusive situation.

Energy & Power

Our Next Energy (2020), otherwise known as ONE, is opening up the space for an electric future through its transformative battery technology which lowers the cost of battery and electric propulsion systems while extending the range. ONE leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop these high-energy-density batteries to clear the hurdles between our current habits and the adoption of global clean energy. The company has closed a significant Series B round of $300M, led by Fifth Wall and Franklin Templeton with participation from Temasek Holdings, Riverstone Holdings, Coatue, AI Capital, Sente Foundry, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Assembly Ventures, BMW i Ventures, and Volta Energy Technologies.

The important addition to this round is Franklin Templeton as it represents its shift from a venture round to the inclusion of growth equity with Templeton gaining a seat on ONE’s board. The founder and CEO of ONE, Mujeeb Ijaz, clarified that this transition is the beginning of a “long-term relationship that will go past Series B into Series C and potentially as we go public.” The funds from this round will primarily be used to support the building of domestic supply chains for battery production through a larger effort to get its $1.6B gigafactory running, with the first 2 gigawatt-hours of capacity coming online by the end of next year, while the remaining 18 gigawatt-hours will follow across the next three years.

Materials & Chemicals

Boston Metal (2012), is a metal solutions company which is commercialising a Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE) technology for steel making, and production of other metals and alloys. The technology works to decarbonise high-volume steel production by using renewable electricity to efficiently convert iron ore grades into steel. Boston Metal has recently announced the first close of its $120M Series C round led by ArcelorMittal with participation from Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, SiteGround Capital, and OGCI Climate Investments.

This fresh capital will allow Boston Metal to expand the production of green steel at its pilot facility and to initiate the selection and design process of its first green steel plant. Further, a portion of the funding will support its Brazilian subsidiary, Boston Metal do Brasil, in constructing a manufacturing facility for high-value metals. Steel is one of our most relied on resources as a society, with around 2B tons produced each year; the process of decarbonising this carbon-intensive manufacturing sector which contributes roughly 10% of global emissions will be a leap forward in our overarching goal to reduce global emissions.

Resources & Environment

Fairphone (2013), is changing the smartphone landscape by developing a phone using transparent manufacturing techniques which support environmentally-conscious practices across the relevant mining, design, manufacturing and life-cycle supply chains; otherwise understood as a smart phone which is truly smart in its function and production. The B Corp-certified smartphone is machined from aluminium from ASI-certified vendors, with 100% recycled back covers and the integration of fairer cobalt and lithium batteries. The company has raised $53M in its recent Growth Equity round led by Invest-NL and supported by Quadia, PDENH, DOEN Participaties, DALHAP, and the ABN Amro Fund.

The capital from this round will be directed towards strengthening the position of its brand and to stimulate awareness around sustainable electronics within the industry. The idea is to accelerate the integration of recycled materials into its full product portfolio, which would include extending projects like its mining value chain programs in Africa and South America, and fair wage programs in Asia. Finally, a portion of the funding will be used to settle its existing loans (debt funding), with a partial exit of existing shareholders, including PYMWYMIC and over 1,000 crowdfunders.

Transportation & Logistics

The Exploration Company (2021), is championing the democratisation and sustainability of space exploration by developing, producing and operating a modular and reusable orbital vehicle at the minimum price of the International Space Station. The combination of reusable and affordable will change the dynamics of space exploration, allowing new-comers to participate in this growing industry.

The Exploration Company has raised $44M in a Series A funding round led by EQT Ventures and Red River West, with the funds being used to support the expansion of its team; the commercialization its first voyage, Nyx Mission Odyssey, and the completion of a second vehicle. Its first vehicle, Nyx, named after the Greek Goddess of the night (Roman Nox) and representative of the cosmos, will be utilised by private and public operators to ship cargo or human transport into space.

Enabling Technologies

Pasqal (2019), has built programmable quantum simulators and computers made from 2D and 3D atomic arrays with a neutral atom’s approach to quantum computing. The company has recently raised $108M in a Series B round led by Temasek and with participation from the European Innovation Council (EIC), Wa’ed, BPIFrance, Quantonation, Defense Innovation Hub, Daphni, and Eni Next.

The aim is to plug this fresh capital into furthering its research and development efforts to build a 1,000-qubit quantum computer in the short term while developing fault-tolerant architectures within the long term; to scale-up production of quantum systems for on-site installations; expand its team and market footprint to bring its offices into the Middle East and Asia while continuing to grow its existing operations in North America and Europe; and finally to develop its proprietary algorithms.

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