Eight Women Tackling The Climate Crisis
Spotlighting Founders In Climate Tech
Showcasing female founders
Over the past year, I have been writing startup deep-dives, and just last Fall, I had a moment of self-awareness... I have only showcased one female founder (s/o to Haya at Replit). Sadly, the world is dominated by men. Only ~25% of companies have a female co-founder, and some estimate ~90% of total funding went to men.
Regardless of the data point you use, I have under-represented. As someone raised by a strong mother and two brilliant older sisters, I had to change this, so today, I want to showcase eight female founders building amazing companies!
Focusing on climate & sustainability
Understanding there are many amazing female founders, for today, I decided to focus on a few that I admire for their work in climate & sustainability. There are, of course, many more amazing female founders, but here is some information on eight!
Magi Richani, Nobell foods: Say Cheese. Think Plants.
Cattle are the largest source of emissions in agriculture. They are resource intensive and produce large amounts of methane. In addition, they are often treated inhumanely. Companies like Beyond Meat are trying to replace meat production with plant-based alternatives. But what about cheese? Milk? Dairy products obviously have a cattle dependency.
Nobell Foods is designing plant-based dairy products. Rather than create different products altogether (e.g., Oat Milk), Richani has been solving ways to produce the same cheese & dairy products using alternative methods.
The solution: genetically modified soybeans.
Richani has designed soybeans that produce dairy products with almost identical look, smell, and taste as traditional dairy products. By using a soybean substitute, dairy production would become much more humane, scalable, and eco-friendly.
Lisa Dyson, Air Protein: Meat Made From Air
In addition to producing significant emissions, protein production is extremely size intensive. Inspired by astronauts, Lisa Dyson and team have created a way to generate protein... from thin air! How does it work?
Culture farm leverages air fermentation to build protein with common air elements
Basic culinary practices (e.g., spices)
Because the protein is 'harvested' from the air via cultures, it can scale vertically. Compared to a sprawling cattle or soybean farm the size of Texas, Air Protein can produce the same amount of protein in a space the size of Disney World!!!
Dr. Jasmin Hume, Shiru: Creating The Next Generation of Sustainable Ingredients
Similar to Air Protein & Nobell, Shiru is trying to crack the code of protein production without climate inefficient, traditional means (e.g., cattle). Uniquely, however, Shiru is focused on the ingredients. What does this mean?
With all of the rush for food companies / suppliers to be more environmentally conscious, Shiru is positioning themselves as the supplier to each. Leveraging sophisticated technology, Shiru will reverse engineer key ingredients, develop an alternative, and then produce it for the food supplier.
It is the pickaxe company in the gold rush!
Leah Ellis, Sublime Systems: Emission Free Cement
At ~$463B by 2026, the cement industry is a cornerstone of both the construction industry and global economy. The cement industry, however, produces a lot of CO2, generating ~8% of global emissions. How does this happen?
In cement production, limestone and clay are placed into a large kiln. The kiln heats to ~1500 degrees, rotates the clay, and produces cement. There are two generators of CO2:
The decomposition of lime
The heating of the kiln
Leah Ellis, founder of Sublime Systems, is solving both of these by creating a method that decomposes the lime at room temperature. Great. This removes the carbon emissions from #2, but what about #1?
At 1500 degrees, the gases mix, and carbon capture is a challenge, but when the lime breaks down at room temperature, the CO2 emissions are much cleaner and can be captured. By solving for #2, Sublime Systems can solve for #1.
Tegan Nock, LoamBio: Using The World's Smallest Organisms to Solve The World's Largest Problems
Carbon levels in our atmosphere have been increasing at alarming rates. In parallel, organic carbon levels within cropping soils are down ~60%.
Plants are, of course, quite good at capturing carbon. What if we could leverage them to capture CO2 and improve stable carbon levels at the same time? it would be a win-win.
LoamBio chief product officer & co-founder, Tegan Nock, and team are designing a fungi to solve this. The fungi covers the crop seeds, and as a result, it A) improves crop yield and B) stores stable carbon in the soil. Not only will this increase crop revenues, but given the carbon trading markets, farmers can sell carbon credits and increase profits.
Etosha Cave, Twelve: Carbon Transformation for a Climate Positive World
Twelve is developing a bolt on device & machinery that can take CO2 emissions & repurpose the carbon into commonly used chemicals like Carbon Monoxide. Rather than leverage fossil fuels to create these products, Twelve enables a closed loop system that can produce similar quality chemicals with no additional carbon being released.
With Twelve's solution, they can produce almost 20 different carbon-based chemicals and address ~10% of global emissions. Built for industrial scale, their solution is like "37,000 trees in a suitcase."
The approach is already delivering. With partners like Mercedes-Benz, Procter & Gamble, & NASA (heard of them?), Twelve's solution to carbon transformation is already turning the heads up of some of the biggest companies out there.
Sonia Kastner, PanoAI; Actionable Intelligence For Wildfire Management
By some estimates, wildfire season in 2021 was expected to cost $70-80B in damages. This is, of course, just a number. Then consider the non-monetary impact. The emotional impact on families & businesses. The environmental toll from both a wildlife and CO2 emissions standpoint. Even the distant changes in air quality.
Everyone is searching for answers, and Sonia Kastner, founder and CEO at Pano is answering the call.
One of the largest determinants for the fire ignition size is response time. Every moment the fire builds without emergency personnel actively fighting, it becomes exponentially stronger!
PanoAI has developed a unified intelligence platform that fire professionals can leverage to detect, confirm, and disseminate response information. Deep learning and computer vision models can identify potential fires early and alert professionals in real-time.
Davida Herzl, Aclima: Hyperlocal Pollution Measurement
Unsurprisingly, air pollution has extremely adverse impacts on health. Combatting it, however, presumes we can actually understand & identify it. You may think about a Carbon Monoxide monitor in your house, but what do you do outside? Within communities?
Aclima is building a hyperlocal, precise network to measure block-by-block air quality, identifying many different types of pollutants (e.g., carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ethane). All of the measurements are tied back to a unified platform that delivers a holistic picture and insights.
With this platform, users could potentially track the air quality of their neighborhood or community. Municipalities can city plan to avoid over-pollution of specific areas, and they could identify natural gas leaks quickly. There are many applications of the platform Herzl is building.
The mission is summed up perfectly in their Series B announcement: "An Investment In Clean Air For All."