#DealMonitor – Ageras Group kauft Kontist – VoltStorage bekommt 24 Millionen – helu sammelt 10 Millionen ein


Im #DealMonitor für den 28. Juli werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

VoltStorage
+++ Das US-Unternehmen Cummins investiert 24 Millionen Euro in VoltStorage. Das Münchner Startup, das 2016 von Jakob Bitner, Michael Peither und Felix Kiefl gegründet wurde, entwickelt und produziert Solarstromspeicher auf Basis der “umwelt- und ressourcenschonenden Vanadium-Redox-Flow (VRF) Technologie”. “Das Kapital wird für die Entwicklung neuer Batteriespeichersysteme und das Wachstum des Unternehmens genutzt”, teilt das Startup mit. Mehr über VoltStorage

helu
+++ CommerzVentures, Iris Capital und Speedinvest investieren 10 Millionen US-Dollar in helu. Das Wiener FinTech, 2020 von Franz Salzmann gegründet, verspricht seinen Nutzern einen “einfachen Zugang” zu ihren Finanzdaten. Die Jungfirma schreibt dazu: “Helu hilft dir mit Deinen Ad-hoc Suchen rund um Kosten oder Umsätzen. Ohne lange auf das Feedback vom Steuerberater zu warten, hast Du alle Daten selbst im Griff”. Mehr über helu

Numbat
+++ eCAPITAL investiert gemeinsam mit Altinvestoren wie sonnen-Gründer Christoph Ostermann einen zweistellige Millionensumme in Numbat. Das GreenTech aus Kempten, das 2021 von Maximilian Wegener und Martin Schall gegründet wurde, möchte mit einen Stromspeicher und einer Schnellladesäule die E-Mobilität weiter nach vorne bringen, indem man E-Autos schneller laden kann. Dazu kombiniert das Jungunternehmen einen Batteriespeicher mit einem sogenannten “High-Power Charger”. Mehr über Numbat

Bunch 
+++ Cherry Ventures, Embedded Capital, Discovery Ventures sowie Business Angels wie Cristina Stenbek, Philipp Klöckner und Alexander Argyros von Moonfare investieren 7,3 Millionen Euro in Bunch – siehe FinanceFWD. Das Berliner FinTech, das von Enrico Ohnemüller, zuletzt Innovationschef bei Finleap, und Levent Altunel, zuvor Paua Ventures, gegründet wurde, möchte Privat-Investments digitalisieren. Mehr über Bunch

node.energy
+++ BitStone Capital, 10x Group, BonVenture und Helen Ventures sowie Altinvestoren wie der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) investieren 7 Millionen Euro in node.energy. Das Frankfurter Startup, 2016 von Matthias Karger und Lars Rinn gegründet, vereinfacht das Management von Wind- und Solaranlagen. Das frische Kapital soll in die “Weiterentwicklung der Software” fließen. “Ziel ist der Aufbau einer Software-Plattform, die es Anlagenbetreibern ermöglicht, neue Geschäftsmodelle mühelos umzusetzen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über node.energy

Lumiform
+++ Capnamic Ventures, 42CAP, Equitypitcher, Westtech Ventures und das Unternehmen Exxeta sowie Business Angels wie Christoph Gerber, Kai Hansen, Christian Henschel, Paul Müller, Christophe Folschette, Thibaut Britz und Stefan Tietze investieren 6,4 Millionen Euro in Lumiform. Das Startup, das von Lukas Roelen-Blasberg und Philip Roelen-Blasberg gegründet wurde, digitalisiert Sicherheitsprüfungen. Anfangs war die Jungfirma als Zyp.One unterwegs. Mehr über Lumiform

Monkee 
+++ Der European Super Angels Club, das Startup Wise Guys, Business Angel Zaid Al-Aifari und Altinvestoren investieren 1,5 Millionen Euro in Monkee. Zudem erhält das Unternehmen eine sechsstellige Förderung von der Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft FFG. Das FinTech aus Rum (Österreich), das 2018 von Martin Granig, Christian Schneider und Jean-Yves Bitterlich gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine App, “die finanzielle Gewohnheiten und individuelle Sparziele verbindet”. Mehr über Monkee

Urbify
+++ Ralf Huep, der ehemalige Co-Investor von Advent International, investiert 2 Millionen in Urbify. Das Berliner Startup, das 2019 von Benedikt Stolze gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “Premium Anbieter für schnelle Lieferlösungen am selben und nächsten Tag”. Unternehmen wie REWE, ASOS und The Hut Group setzen derzeit auf Urbify. “Urbify strebt bereits nach nur zwei Jahren einen zweistelligen Millionenumsatz an und ist EBITDA positiv”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Kontist
+++ Die Kopenhagener Ageras Group, die eine Finanz- und Buchhaltungssoftware anbietet, übernimmt das Berliner FinTech Kontist. Mit dem Kauf von Kontist setzt Ageras seine Buy-and-Build Strategie fort, um ein Finanz-Ökosystem rund um Buchhaltungs-, Banking- und Admin-Features für kleine Unternehmen in Europa und den USA aufzubauen. Durch die Übernahme von Kontist steigt der Umsatz von Ageras um ca. 40 % und nähert sich dem Meilenstein von 30 Millionen Euro”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das Berliner Unternehmen Kontist, 2016 von Christopher Plantener gegründet, positioniert sich als “Neo-Bank mit klarem Fokus auf Freelancern und Selbstständigen”. Mehr über Kontist

Penta
+++ Die französische Neobank Qonto übernimmt – wie erwartet – seinen Wettbewerber Penta. “Der Deal, der in den nächsten Wochen abgeschlossen werden soll, erfolgt inmitten des kontinuierlichen Wachstums beider Unternehmen. Für Qonto ist es der nächste logische Schritt und zahlt auf sein langfristiges Ziel ein: bis 2025 die bevorzugte Finanzlösung für eine Million europäische KMU und Selbstständige zu werden”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Über Penta, 2014 von Luka Ivicevic und Lav Odorovic gegründet, können Unternehmen ein Geschäftskonto beantragen.  Mehr über Penta

Rebelle
+++ Die litauische Second-Hand-Plattform Vinted (in Deutschland früher als Kleiderkreisel bekannt) steht vor der Übernahme von Rebelle. “The shareholders of Rebelle are offered SEK 14.10 in cash per share in Rebelle, corresponding to a total value of the Offer, based on all 22,356,934 outstanding shares in Rebelle, of approximately SEK 315 million”, tielt das Unternehmen mit. Der Kaufpreis wäre somit rund  30,2 Millionen Euro. Das Hamburger Unternehmen Rebelle, ein Marktplatz für Secondhand Designermode, ging erst im Februar in Schweden an die Börse. Mehr über Rebelle

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#10x-group, #aktuell, #berlin, #bitstone-capital, #bonventure, #bunch, #cherry-ventures, #commerzventures, #cummins, #discovery-ventures, #ecapital, #embedded-capital, #fintech, #frankfurt-am-main, #greentech, #helen-ventures, #helu, #iris-capital, #kempten, #kontist, #lumiform, #monkee, #munchen, #node-energy, #numbat, #penta, #qonto, #rebelle, #speedinvest, #super-angels-club, #urbify, #venture-capital, #vinted, #voltstorage, #wien, #wise-guys

#Interview – “Die Wahrheit ist: Da steckt verdammt viel Arbeit drin”


Das Kölner Startup Planted , das 2021 von Jan Borchert, Heinrich Rauh, Cindy Schüller und Wilhelm Hammes gegründet wurde, möchte seinen “Kund:innen die Möglichkeit geben, aktiv etwas gegen die globale Erwärmung zu unternehmen”. Dazu pflanzt das Unternehmen Mischwälder und kompensiert so CO2-Emissionen. neoteq ventures, Smart Infrastructure Ventures, Rivus Capital und Angel-Investoren wie Julius Göllner, Jochen Berger und Friedrich Neumann investierten zuletzt 1 Millionen Euro in die Jungfirma.

Im Interview mit deutsche-startups.de spricht Planted-Gründerin Cindy Schüller über Abomodelle, den Pivot der Jungfirma und Wind.

Wie würdest Du Deiner Großmutter Planted erklären?
Wir ermöglichen Unternehmen auf einfache und schnelle Art, aktive Klimaretter zu werden. Mithilfe unseres transparenten Abomodells kann die komplette Belegschaft einen Beitrag für einen enkeltauglichen Planeten leisten. Hierfür berechnen wir die durchschnittlichen CO?-Fußabdrücke der Mitarbeiter:innen auf Basis ihrer Reise-Emissionen. Die angefallenen Emissionen gleichen wir dann über globale Klimaschutzprojekte aus. Unter Regie unseres hauseigenen Klimaförsters und Mit-Gründers Jan Borchert pflanzen wir zusätzlich für jedes Teammitglied klimastabile Bäume. So entstehen in ganz Deutschland neue Firmenwälder!

Was waren die größten Herausforderungen, die Ihr bisher überwinden musstet?
Unseren Pivot! Wir haben uns im Dezember dafür entschieden, unseren Fokus von Privatpersonen auf Unternehmen umzulenken – hier sehen wir den größten Hebel. Unsere Mission bleibt, die Klimakrise zu bekämpfen und das geht nur wenn alle, Privatmenschen und Firmen, mitziehen. Wir sehen, dass die Unternehmen bereit sind, aktiv Verantwortung zu übernehmen und sich zu engagieren. Das macht uns Hoffnung auf eine grüne Zukunft.

Wo steht Planted derzeit, welche Zahlen, Daten und Fakten kannst Du mit uns teilen?
Noch ganz am Anfang – und doch schon auf der Überholspur: Innerhalb eines Jahres hat Planted das Vertrauen von mehr als 1.000 klimapositiven Mitarbeiter:innen aus über 100 tollen Unternehmen wie Gerry Weber, XtraFit, Vivawest, MegaBad oder Electronic Sports League gewonnen. So konnten wir über 100.000 klimastabile Bäume in ganz Deutschland pflanzen und sieben globale Klimaschutzprojekte realisieren. Kurz zur Einordnung: Damit konnten wir die CO?-Emissionen von über 60.000 Flügen zwischen Köln und Barcelona ausgleichen. Mittlerweile sind wir ein 10-köpfiges Team und arbeiten auf Hochtouren am next step: einer eigenen Dekabonisierungs-Software. Damit wird der Klimaschutz noch leichter zugänglich für Unternehmen und noch spielerischer für ihre Mitarbeiter*innen. Diese können nämlich durch individuelle Challenges aktiv CO? reduzieren. Das Ziel: Netto-Null-Emissionen! Dass wir jüngst im Mai mit dem Gründer-Award des Jahres 2022 ausgezeichnet wurden, motiviert uns alle zusätzlich und bestärkt uns enorm.

Gerade konntet ihr 1 Million Euro einsammeln. Wie seid ihr mit euren Investor:innen in Kontakt gekommen?
Um ehrlich zu sein, stellt man sich das von Außen immer ganz leicht vor. Gerade jetzt, wo Green-Tech-Startups hoch im Kurs stehen. Die Wahrheit ist: Da steckt verdammt viel Arbeit drin. Was definitiv geholfen hat, war der Gewinn des Climate Founder Accelerators (2021) und die Teilnahme am SpinLab HHL Accelerator Programms in Leipzig. Dadurch haben wir an Bekanntheit gewonnen und konnten gute Kontakte in die VC-Szene aufbauen. Wichtig ist auch immer das private Netzwerk, dass jeder von uns seit Jahren fleißig pflegt.

Welchen generellen Tipp gibst Du anderen Gründer:innen mit auf den Weg?
Fokus! Es ist verlockend hier und da Opportunitäten mitzunehmen, aber ihr dürft nie das übergeordnete Ziel aus den Augen verlieren. Alles, was dich ablenkt und zu viel Zeit in Anspruch nimmt, muss gecuttet werden.

Wo steht Planted in einem Jahr?
Im Sommer 2023 soll unsere Dekarbonisierungs-Software etabliert sein. Hier wollen wir einen echten Mehrwert für den “unternehmerischen Umweltschutz” leisten – unter anderem durch lokale Klimaschutzmaßnahmen, wie die Wiederbewaldung klimastabiler Mischwälder in Deutschland. Dabei soll jede Mitarbeiterin und jeder Mitarbeiter eine aktive Rolle einnehmen und Verantwortung für ein zukunftsfähiges Morgen übernehmen. Unsere Software wird die Unternehmen auch bei der Auseinandersetzung mit ESG („Environment, Social, Governance“) unterstützen. Unternehmen müssen ihre ESG-Aktivitäten verbessern und transparent reporten. Mit uns an ihrer Seite werden sie dies noch leichter und sichtbarer schaffen.

Reden wir über den Standort Köln. Wenn es um Startups in Deutschland geht, richtet sich der Blick sofort nach Berlin. Was spricht für Köln als Startup-Standort?
Gute Frage. Berlin sieht sich oft als Nabel der Startup-Welt, was sicherlich auch in vielerlei Hinsicht gerechtfertigt ist – viele sehr gute Talente sitzen in Berlin. Die Startups sind sehr präsent und vor allem stärker im Fokus der VCs, die dort auch mehr vertreten sind. Für Köln spricht: Hier kannst du eine gewisse Zeit unter dem Radar fliegen. Du entwickelst Ideen, nimmst du ausreichend Zeit für die Ausarbeitung und musst nichts schnell übers Knie brechen, um der erste im Markt zu sein. So kannst du die ersten Fehler beseitigen, ohne dass viel Wind darum herrscht.

Was ist in Köln einfacher als im Rest der Republik?
Ganz ehrlich: Da fällt mir spontan leider nicht viel zu ein. Außer, wer es in Köln schafft, hat auf jeden Fall alles richtig gemacht. Köln begreift sich nicht gerade als Startup-Metropole, was bei den Potenzialen und Möglichkeiten sehr schade und ausbaufähig ist. Aber die kölsche Art, frei und offen miteinander umzugehen, wird uns dabei sicherlich helfen.

Zum Schluss hast Du drei Wünsche frei: Was wünschst Du Dir für den Startup-Standort Köln?
Erstens: Unsere Startup-Szene soll weiter wachsen und gedeihen. Ich wünsche mir einen regen Austausch unter den Startups! Der zweite Wunsch geht an das Land NRW: schnellere und einfachere Fördermittel für Gründende! Wir sind die Glücklichen, die sich über das Gründerstipendium freuen durften. Das Stipendium ist eins der wenigen Möglichkeiten, Subventionen zu bekommen. Allerdings dauerte es nach Beantragung über ein Jahr bis wir den Zuschuss bekamen. Eine lange Zeit, gerade in der Gründungsphase. In Ostdeutschland gibt es zum Beispiel deutlich attraktivere Förderungen. Mein dritter Wunsch ist persönlicher Natur: Ich war zuletzt öfters auf Events in Berlin, die von oder für Gründerinnen ausgerichtet wurden. Ich habe so viele spannende und inspirierende Frauen kennengelernt. Für viele Frauen ist Netzwerken oft nicht intuitiv und auch ich musste das erst lernen. Wir sollten uns gegenseitig noch mehr die Hand reichen, uns fördern und uns gegenseitig mitziehen. Ich wünsche mir, dass wir in Köln mehr solcher Networking-Events haben. Um Frauen aktiv zu stärken und sichtbar zu machen.

Durchstarten in Köln – #Koelnbusiness

In unserem Themenschwerpunkt Köln werfen wir einen Blick auf das Startup-Ökosystem der Rheinmetropole. Wie sind dort die Voraussetzungen für Gründer:innen, wie sieht es mit Investitionen aus und welche Startups machen von sich reden? Mehr als 550 Startups haben Köln mittlerweile zu ihrer Basis gemacht. Mit zahlreichen potenziellen Investoren, Coworking-Spaces, Messen und Netzwerkevents bietet Köln ein spannendes Umfeld für junge Unternehmen. Diese Rubrik wird unterstützt von der KölnBusiness Wirtschaftsförderung. #Koelnbusiness auf LinkedInFacebook und Instagram.

KoelnBusiness

Foto (oben): Planted

#aktuell, #climatetech, #greentech, #interview, #koln, #pivot, #planted

#DealMonitor – Compredict sammelt 5,5 Millionen ein – Seatti bekommt 3 Millionen – Equivia Partners übernimmt Mycs


Im #DealMonitor für den 4. Juli werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Compredict
+++ Vektor Partners und BlackBerry investieren 5,5 Millionen Euro in Compredict. Hinter Compredict, 2016 von Rafael Fietzek und Stéphane Foulard in Darmstadt gergründet, verbirgt sich eine Softwarelösung, die die Belastung von Fahrzeugteile misst. Zuvor -im Frühjahr 2018 – investierten bereits die Flixbus-Gründer und THI Investments, das Family Office der Familie Hagenmeyer (Getrag), in das Unternehmen. Mehr über Compredict

Seatti 
+++ Acton Capital, Partech und die Altinvestoren Peak und HPI Seed Fund investieren 3 Millionen Euro in Seatti. Das Startup aus München, das 2020 von Christopher Bieri, Johannes Eppler und Dmytro Savin gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “Shared-Desk-Management- und Kollaborations-Software, die hybriden Unternehmen ermöglicht, Büro- und Verwaltungskosten zu minimieren sowie gleichzeitig die Zusammenarbeit von remote Teams zu maximieren”. Mehr über Seatti

Brighter AI
+++ Armilar Venture Partners sowie die Altinvestoren eCapital und Giesecke+Devrient Ventures investieren in Brighter AI. Das DeepTech-Startup aus Berlin, 2017 von Marian Gläser, Patrick Kern und Asaf Birnhack gegründet, entwickelt ein Verfahren, das DSGVO-konforme personenbezogene Merkmale wie Gesichter zwar anonymisiert, die Kameradaten allerdings für Analytics-und Machine-Learning-Ansätze erhalten bleiben. Mehr über Brighter AI

Boomerang
+++ Five Investments sowie Business Angels wie Nikolaus Bayer, Mark Miller, Alf Arnold, Beate Rosenthal und Gregor Heinrich investieren eine sechsstellige Summe in Boomerang. Das Startup aus Hamburg, von Marc Engelmann, Christian Putz und Katharina Kreutzer gegründet, setzt auf Mehrweg-Versandtaschen mit Pfandsystem. Das Motto dabei lautet: “Nie wieder Einwegverpackungen aus Plastik, Pappe oder Papier: Das ist unsere Mission für einen grüneren Planeten.” Mehr über Boomerang

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Mycs 
+++ Die Kölner Private-Equity-Firma Equivia Partners übernimmt das Berliner Unternehmen Mycs, dass Ess-, Schreib und Couchtische sowie Kleiderschränke, Regale, Sideboards und Kommoden anbietet, – siehe Exciting Commerce. Zu Equivia Partners gehört bereits das Unternehmen deinSchrank.de, 2010 in Frechen gegründet. Das gemeinsame Ziel sind weitere Übernahmen im Segment konfigurierbarer Möbel. Global Founders Capital (GFC), Beringea, Zimmerman Investments und Co. investierten in den vergangenen Jahren rund 30 Millionen Euro in Mycs. “Mycs lag zuletzt bei Umsätzen von 50 Mio. Euro. DeinSchrank ist in etwa halb so groß und ist zuletzt von 17,5 Mio. Euro (2019) auf 24,5 Mio. Euro (2020) gewachsen”, schreibt Exciting Commerce zur Übernahme. Mehr über Mycs

Conda
+++ Im Rahmen eines Management-Buyout übernehmen Gründer Daniel Horak, Conda-Deutschland-Chef Dirk Littig, CMO Karin Turki, CTO Michael Gartner und CFO Harald Weiss die Crowdinvesting-Plattform Conda – siehe Der Brutkasten. Zuletzt war das Unternehmen in Besitz von Startup300, das Conda 2018 und 2019 in mehreren Schritten übernommen hatte.

VENTURE CAPITAL

ROI Ventures
+++  Julian Sachs, Patrick Funke, Laura Egg und Marco Raggl starten die Wiener Angel Investor Group ROI Ventures. In der Selbstbeschreibung heißt es: “We are an angel investor group and provide hands-on support with our network and expertise. We invest in pre-seed and seed startups and focus on the areas FinTech & Crypto, EduTech, Lifestyle & Wellness and HrTech” . ROI investiert zwischen 50.000 und 100.000 Euro. ROI Ventures investierte bereits in das Berliner FinTech Tokenstreet.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#acton-capital, #aktuell, #armilar-venture-partners, #berlin, #blackberry, #boomerang, #brighter-ai, #compredict, #conda, #darmstadt, #deeptech, #deinschrank-de, #ecapital, #equivia-partners, #fintech, #five-investments, #gieseckedevrient-ventures, #greentech, #hamburg, #munchen, #mycs, #partech, #roi-ventures, #seatti, #startup300, #tokenstreet, #vektor-partners, #venture-capital, #wien

#DealMonitor – SumUp sammelt 590 Millionen ein – WorkMotion bekommt 50 Millionen – Enviria sammelt 22,5 Millionen


Im #DealMonitor für den 23. Juni werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

SumUp
+++ Jetzt offiziell: Bain Capital, BlackRock, btov Partners, Centerbridge, Crestline, Fin Capital und Sentinel Dome Partners investieren 590 Millionen Euro (Fremd- und Eigenkapital) in SumUp. Die Bewertung steigt auf 8 Milliarden Euro (8,4 Milliarden US-Dollar). Das deutsch-britische FinTech, das 2012 von Daniel Klein, Marc-Alexander Christ, Stefan Jeschonnek und Jan Deepen gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Mobile-Point-of-Sale-Zahlungsdienstleister. Zuletzt wurde das Unternehmen, das Kartenterminals, mit denen man mit Kreditkarte bezahlen kann, vertreibt, mit 4 bis 4,5 Milliarden Euro bewertet. 3.000 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für SumUp. Insgesamt flossen nun bereits 1,5 Milliarden Euro in das FinTech. Das frische Kapital soll in “die Weiterentwicklung von fairen Finanzdienstleistungen und -services für kleine Händler weltweit” fließen. Im Insider-Podcast hatten wir bereits Ende Mai von einer bevorstehenden großen Investmentrunde berichtet. Mehr über SumUp

WorkMotion
+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Canaan, Heliad und GR Capital und sowie die Altinvestoren Activant Capital, XAnge, Picus Capital und Business Angels wie Hanno Renner investieren 50 Millionen Euro in WorkMotion. Das Berliner Startup, das 2020 von Carsten Lebtig, Karim Zaghlou und Felix Steffens gegründet wurde, unterstützt Unternehmen beim HR-Management von Auslandsmitarbeitern. Workmotion managt dabei Dinge wie Gehaltsabrechnung, Sozialleistungen und Steuern. Activant Capital XAnge investierten zuletzt bereits 24 Millionen US-Dollar in Workmotion. “Die Finanzierung soll künftig Lösungsangebote schaffen, um WorkMotion in seiner Position als strategischer HR-Partner für seinen hauptsächlich europäischen Kundenstamm voranzubringen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Rund 250 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für WorkMotion. Mehr über Workmotion

Enviria 
+++ Redalpine, Galileo Green Energy, BNP Paribas Développement und der Impact-Investor Alter Equity investieren 22,5 Millionen Euro in Enviria. Das GreenTech aus Frankfurt am Main, 2017 von Melchior Schulze Brock gegründet, bietet Unternehmen “Zugang zu skalierbaren Energy-as-a-Service-Lösungen und dem ganzen Ökosystem erneuerbarer Energien”. Das junge Unternehmen möchte das frische Kapital nutzen, um “seinen Wachstumskurs fortzusetzen, seine innovativen Solarkonzepte auszubauen und sich zu einem führenden Energieversorger für erneuerbare Energien, speziell für den Business-Sektor weiterzuentwickeln”.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

i-doit
+++ Der Private Equity-Geber Main Capital Partners übernimmt die Mehrheit an i-doit bzw. an der Betreiberfirma synetics. Das Düsseldorfer Unternehmen, 1996 gegründet, bietet CMDB-Software an, “die das Management der IT- sowie der Asset-Landschaft des Kunden unterstützt und das IT-Service-Management erleichtert”. 40 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für  i-doit.

sendhybrid
+++ Die Österreichische Post übernimmt sendhybrid vollständig. Das Grazer Startup, 2013 von Oliver Bernecker gegründet, unterstützt Unternehmen aller Branchen dabei, ihre Geschäfts- und Versandprozesse effizienter und papierlos zu gestalten. Die Österreichische Post übernahm bereits 2016 rund 26 % der Unternehmensanteile und 2018 51 % des Unternehmens. Gründer Bernecker verlässt das Unternehmen nun.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #alter-equity, #bain-capital, #berlin, #blackrock, #bnp-paribas-developpement, #btov-partners, #canaan, #centerbridge, #crestline, #dusseldorf, #enviria, #fin-capital, #fintech, #frankfurt-am-main, #galileo-green-energy, #gr-capital, #graz, #greentech, #heliad, #i-doit, #main-capital-partners, #redalpine, #sendhybrid, #sentinel-dome-partners, #sumup, #venture-capital, #workmotion

#DealMonitor – Great Hill investiert 180 Millionen in Echobot-Leadfeeder-Fusion – Unicorn Omio sammelt 80 Millionen ein


Im #DealMonitor für den 21. Juni werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Omio
+++ Die amerikanische Investmentbank Lazard Asset Management, Stack Capital Group, NEA, Temasek und Co. investieren 80 Millionen US-Dollar in Omio. Über das Berliner Unicorn, 2013 von Naren Shaar gegründet, können Nutzer Bahn-, Bus- sowie Flugtickets vergleichen und auch buchen. Temasek, Kinnevik, Goldman Sachs, NEA und Kleiner Perkins investierten im Sommer 2020 rund 100 Millionen Dollar in das Travel-Startup. Insgesamt flossen nun schon rund 380 Millionen Dollar in Omio. “Aus dem Unternehmensumfeld heißt es jedoch, es habe sich um eine Flat Round gehandelt – die Bewertung ist also im Vergleich zur Vorrunde gleich geblieben”, schreibt Gründerszene zum Investment. “Diese Finanzierung durch eine starke Investorengruppe nach mehr als zwei harten Jahren unterstreicht das enorme Potenzial unseres Geschäftsmodells sowie unsere Überzeugung, dass das menschliche Bedürfnis zu reisen ungebrochen ist. Das eingeworbene Kapital wird umsichtig eingesetzt, um die globalen Expansionsaktivitäten, einschließlich Unternehmenskäufe, wieder voranzutreiben”, teilt Omio mit. Mehr über Omio

Enpal
+++ Prime Capital stellt dem Berliner Unicorn Enpal im Rahmen eines nachrangigen Mezzanine-Darlehen 70 Millionen Euro zur Verfügung. “Diese Finanzierungszusage schließt sich der Finanzierung durch von BlackRock beratene Fonds vom September 2021 von 345 Millionen Euro an”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das 2017 von Mario Kohle (Käuferportal-Gründer), Viktor Wingert und Jochen Ziervogel gegründete Unternehmen, das Solaranlagen vermietet, sammelte nun schon 800 Millionen Euro ein – “davon 500 Millionen Refinanzierungskapital und 300 Millionen Wachstumskapital”. In der Presseaussendung heißt es weiter: “Zugleich arbeitet Enpal daran, mit bestehenden und neuen Geldgebern weitere Finanzierungslinien aufzunehmen, um damit die Fremdkapitalzusagen auf über 1 Milliarde Euro zu steigern”. Mehr über Enpal 

Wingcopter 
+++ Die Rewe Group, Salvia, XAI Techologies, der japanischen Handelskonzern Itochu sowie Altinvestoren wie Futury Capital und Xplorer Capital investieren 42 Millionen Euro in Wingcopter. Das Startup aus Weiterstadt, das Transportdrohnen für humanitäre und zivile Anwendungen entwickelt, wurde 2017 von Tom Plümmer, Jonathan Hesselbarth und Ansgar Kadur gegründet. “Die neue Finanzierung ermöglicht es Wingcopter, seine Drone-Delivery-Dienstleistungen rund um den Globus auszubauen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Xplorer Capital aus dem Silicon Valley und der hessische Geldgeber Futury Regio Growth Fund sowie Futury Ventures und Hessen Kapital investierten zuletzt 22 Millionen US-Dollar in Wingcopter. Mehr über Wingcopter

TradeLink
+++ Insight Partners und die Altinvestoren Point Nine Capital und Fly Ventures investieren 12 Millionen Euro in TradeLink. Das Münchner Startup, das Anfang 2020 von Frederic Krahforst, Tobias Nendel (Outfittery-Mitgründer) und Michael Bücker gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “digitale Lösung für Liefer- und Transportabstimmung rund um das Lager”. Zielgruppe sind insbesondere Logistikleiter, Kontraktlogistiker und Lagerleiter. “The funding will be used to enhance the functionalities of the SaaS platform and scale marketing and sales activities to deliver the simplest and most effective platform to collaborate in logistics and supply chains. We are really excited about the future”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über TradeLink 

Kranus Health
+++ Der französische Investor Karista, Peak Pride, Altinvestoren wie High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) und A Round Capital sowie mehrere Angel-Investoren investieren 6,5 Millionen US-Dollar in Kranus Health. Das Berliner Startup, von Thilo Kleinschmidt und Jens Nörtershäuser gegründet, möchte “Männern durch einen einfachen und unkomplizierten Zugang zu neuester medizinischer Versorgung ein gesünderes und längeres Leben ermöglichen”. “Das Geld investieren wir in den Ausbau des Vertriebs in Deutschland, um möglichst viele Patienten mit unserer Therapie zu erreichen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über Kranus Health

Roq.ad
+++ DNX Ventures, AperiamVentures und OCA Ventures investieren 7 Millionen US-Dollar in Roq.ad. “Roq.ad will use the funding to expand commercial and technology teams, fuel growth in new segments and geographies, and accelerate the distance between its product and competitors”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das Berliner Unternehmen, 2015 vom Ex-madvertise-Macher Carsten Frien in Berlin gegründet, ermöglichte einst Werbetreibenden Storytelling über verschiedene Endgeräte zu betreiben. Inzwischen positioniert sich die Jungfirma als “GDPR/CCPA-compliant, probabilistic, multi-device identity resolution provider”. K – New Media, Astutia Ventures, pd ventures, NWZ Digital, media + more Venture und diverse weitere Investoren setzten in der Anfangszeit auf Roq.ad. Bis Ende 2017 flossen rund 1,7 Millionen in das Startup. Im Rahmen einer Planinsolvenz erfolgte 2019 der Neustart von Roq.ad. Mehr über Roq.ad

Vaeridion 
+++ Jetzt offiziell: Vsquared Ventures, Project A Ventures und Finanzcheck.de-Gründer Andreas Kupke investieren – wie Ende Mai im Insider-Podcast berichtet – in Vaeridion. Im Rahmen der Investmentrunde fließen 3,2 Millionen Euro. Das Startup aus München, das von den ehemaligen Airbus-Mitarbeitern Sebastian Seemann und Ivor van Dartel gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um “Green Air Mobility”. Das elektrische Flugzeug der Jungfirma soll neun Passagiere plus Crew bis zu 500 Kilometer transportieren können. Mehr über Vaeridion

Evy Solutions
+++ “Gesellschafter sowie Bestandsinvestoren” investieren 1,6 Millionen Euro in Evy Solutions. Das Kölner Startup, 2017 von Michael Vogel und Arian Storch gegründet, kümmert sich um KI-gestützte Dokumentenverarbeitung und Prozessautomatisierung. “Wir werden das Geld für den weiteren Ausbau unseres Geschäfts in der DACH-Region nutzen”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.  27 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für Evy Solutions. Mehr über Evy Solutions

TextCortex
+++ btov Partners, Speedinvest, Entrepreneur First sowie Business Angels wie Amar Shah und Holger Hengstler investieren 1,2 Millionen US-Dollar in TextCortex. Das Startup aus Berlin, von Dominik Lambersy und Ceyhun Derinbogaz gegründet, generiert auf Knopfdruck kurze Social-Media-Texte. “Use our AI product description generator tool to create unique, captivating & SEO-optimized content for your Ecommerce store within seconds. Start creating product descriptions that convert”, heißt es auf der Website.

renovido
+++ Nicht genannte Geldgeber investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in renovido. Das Startup aus Mönchengladbach, 2020 von Julian Roth-Schmidt und Willi Rack gegründet, bietet Küchen-Abos an. “Um ein Küchen-Abo mit so niedrigen Preisen realisieren zu können, haben wir die Produktauswahl und den Prozess bis ins letzte Detail optimiert”, heißt es auf der Website. 8 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für renovido.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Echobot
+++ Das Karlsruher Sales-Intelligence-Unternehmen Echobot und das finnische Unternehmen Leadfeeder, das sich um Web-Visitor-Analyse kümmert, fusionieren. Das amerikanische Private-Equity-Unternehmen Great Hill Partners “setzt 180 Millionen Euro ein, um den Zusammenschluss zu unterstützen und dem neu gegründeten Unternehmen dabei zu helfen, seine Produktinnovationen voranzutreiben, seine Vertriebstrukturen zu erweitern und das internationale Wachstum zu beschleunigen”. Weitere 50 Millionen Euro stehen für weitere Übernahmen zur Verfügung. Das neue Unternehmenmit Hauptsitz in Karlsruhe beschäftigt 250 Mitarbeiter:innen. Echobot wurde 2011 von Bastian Karweg gegründet. Leadfeeder ging 2012 an den Start.

VENTURE CAPITAL

G+D Ventures
+++ Die Europäische Investitionsbank (EIB) und G+D Ventures, der Venture Capital-Ableger des Sicherheitsunternehmens Giesecke+Devrient (G+D), gründen eine “Co-Investment-Plattform zur Investition in europäische TrustTech-Startups”. Die beiden Partner stellen dafür jeweils 25 Millionen Euro zur Verfügung. “Ziel des Fonds ist es, in die Entwicklung innovativer Lösungen zu investieren, die dazu beitragen, das Vertrauen (Trust) in eine digitale (Tech) Gesellschaft zu stärken. Dazu zählen unter anderem Lösungen für Cybersecurity, Technologien zum Schutz der Privatsphäre, das Management digitaler Identitäten, sowie sichere Authentifizierungs- und Zahlungssysteme”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #aperiamventures, #berlin, #btov-partners, #dnx-ventures, #e-health, #echobot, #enpal, #entrepreneur-first, #evy-solutions, #fly-ventures, #gd-ventures, #great-hill-partners, #greentech, #insight-partners, #itochu, #karista, #karlsruhe, #koln, #kranus-health, #lazard-asset-management, #leadfeeder, #logistik, #mobility, #monchengladbach, #munchen, #nea, #oca-ventures, #omio, #peak-pride, #point-nine-capital, #prime-capital, #project-a-ventures, #renovido, #rewe-group, #roq-ad, #salvia, #speedinvest, #stack-capital-group, #temasek, #textcortex, #tradelink, #travel, #unicorn, #vaeridion, #venture-capital, #vsquared-ventures, #weiterstadt, #wingcopter, #xai-techologies

#DealMonitor – 1Komma5 sammelt 200 Millionen ein – Superlist bekommt 10 Millionen – Mubadala Capital investiert re:cap.


Im #DealMonitor für den 11. April werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

1Komma5
+++ eCapital, btov Ventures, Porsche Ventures, Eurazeo, Blue Elephant Ventures, die Family Offices Haniel und Schürfeld sowie Jan Klatten investieren 200 Millionen Euro in 1Komma5 – siehe Handelsblatt. Das Hamburger Unternehmen, das 2021 von Phillipp Schröder, ehemals Tesla-Deutschlandchef und ehemals Geschäftsführer des Solar-Batterieherstellers Sonnen, Micha Grüber sowie Jannik Schall gegründet wurde, setzt auf einen “One-Stop-Shop” für Vertrieb, Installations- und Serviceleistungen rund um Solar, Stromspeicher und Ladeinfrastruktur. Das Startup möchte dabei Know How selbst einkaufen, indem es Mehrheitsbeteiligungen an Fachbetrieben erwirbt. Porsche Ventures und mehrere Family Offices investierten zuletzt bereits “bis zu 100 Millionen Euro” in 1Komma5. Insgesamt sammelte der Enpal-Wettbewerber somit bisher rund 300 Millionen ein. In diesem Jahr möchte das Unternehmen einen Umsatz in Höhe von bis zu 200 Millionen Euro einfahren. 420 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für 1Komma5. Die Bewertung von 1Komma5 ist nicht bekannt, dürfte aber dreistelligen Millionenbereich liegen. Mehr über 1Komma5 

Superlist
+++ Jetzt offiziell: EQT Ventures und die Altinvestoren investieren – wie Ende März im Insider-Podcast berichtet –  10 Millionen Euro in Superlist – siehe Linkedin. Die Post-Money-Bewertung liegt nach unseren Informationen bei rund 60 Millionen Euro. Das Berliner Startup Superlist, das von Christian Reber, Steffen Kiedel, Marcel Käding und Ben Kubota gegründet wurde, ist quasi der offizielle Nachfolger der beliebten Wunderlist-App. In der Selbstbeschreibung heißt es zum Konzept: “Supercharged productivity for teams of the future”. Cherry Ventures, der Visionaries Club und Freigeist investierten bereits zuvor in der junge Unternehmen. Mehr über Superlist

re:cap
+++ Mubadala Capital investiert eine siebenstellige Summe in re:cap. “Das neue Kapital wird in den weiteren Ausbau des Teams und des Produktes sowie in die Erschließung neuer europäischer Märkte vom Startpunkt Deutschland aus investiert”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das Berliner Startup, das von Paul Becker und Jonas Tebbe, die zuvor den Vermögensverwalter Liqid aufgebaut haben, positioniert sich ähnlich wie das Vorbild Pipe als “digitale Marktplatzlösung zur Finanzierung von Unternehmen mit regelmäßigen, wiederkehrenden Einnahmeströmen (Recurring Revenues)”. Zuletzt sammelte das Unternehmen 100 Millionen Euro Eigen- und Fremdkapital ein. Mit dem Einstieg von Mubadala Capital steigt der Eigenkapitalanteil in dieser Investmentrunde auf 13,3 Millionen Euro. Mehr über re:cap

Lexital
+++  Der Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS) und Business Angel Michael Atug investieren in Lexital. Das LegalTech aus Leipzig, das von Michael Opre und Tino Kroupa gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine Software, die es Online-Händlern erlaubt, “rechtzeitig zu erkennen und sicher zu bannen”. Zum Konzept heißt es weiter: “Auch bei der Fehlerbehebung lässt dich Lexi nicht allein: Neben juristisch fundierten Handlungsempfehlungen gibt sie dir gratis Rechtstexte mit an die Hand”.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Holmi
+++ Die Wien Taxivermittlung 31300 übernimmt die Mehrheit an Holmi, eine Alternative zu Uber – siehe Trending Topics. “Die beiden Gründer Gunz und Matthias Kalb bleiben mit den restlichen Anteilen an Bord und in der Geschäftsführung”, heißt es im Artikel.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#1komma5, #aktuell, #berlin, #blue-elephant-ventures, #btov-ventures, #climatetech, #ecapital, #eqt-ventures, #eurazeo, #fintech, #greentech, #hamburger, #holmi, #legaltech, #leipzig, #lexital, #mubadala-capital, #porsche-ventures, #recap, #superlist, #technologiegrunderfonds-sachsen, #venture-capital, #wien

#DealMonitor – Ecosia investiert in Zolar – Rewe verkauft Durst.de-Anteile


Im #DealMonitor für den 17. März werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Zolar
+++ Die Berliner Suchmaschine Ecosia investiert in das Solarenergie-Startup Zolar. “By partnering with Zolar, this investment will allow 1.300 households in Germany to power their homes with solar energy. A 20 million investment in renewables is significant, especially given our previous 7 million euro investment into solar parks”, schreibt Ecosia-Gründer Christian Kroll. Das Berliner Startup Zolar , das 2016 von Gregor Loukidis und Alex Melzer gegründet wurde, bietet Photovoltaikanlagen zum Festpreis an, die Eigenheimbesitzer maßgeschneidert online planen, vergleichen und beauftragen können. Zuletzt wanderten 35 Millionen Euro in Zolar – unter anderem von Energy Impact PartnersMehr über Zolar

Payrails 
+++ Andreessen Horowitz, HV Capital und mehrere Business Angels, darunter Delivery Hero-CFO Emmanuel Thomassin, HelloFresh-Gründer Dominik Richter und die Flixbus-Gründer investieren – wie bereits im Dezember im Insider-Podcast berichtet – in Payrails. In der Investmentrunde fließen 6.4 Millionen US-Dollar in das Unternehmen. Das Berliner Startup, das 2021 von den drei Delivery Hero-Mitarbeitern Emre Talay, Nicolas Thouzeau und Orkhan Abdullayev gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “Betriebssystem für die Abwicklung von Zahlungen und den Aufbau von Finanzdienstleistungen”. 30 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für Payrails. Mehr über Payrails

reverse.supply
+++ Der Early-Stage-Geldgeber Capnamic Ventures sowie die Altinvestoren Push Ventures, Dutch Founders Fund und Angel-Investoren wie Julia Bösch (Outfittery) und Marcus Börner (Rebuy) investieren 5 Millionen Euro in reverse.supply. Das Berliner Startup, das 2021 von Max Große Lutermann und Janis Künkler gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als White-Label Plattform in Sachen Re-Commerce. Zielgruppe sind dabei Modemarken. “Die Finanzierungsrunde markiert den offiziellen Marktstart von reverse.supply und wird zum weiteren Aufbau des Teams, der technologischen Plattform und Kundenakquise verwendet werden”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über reverse.supply

Yababa 
+++ Der Logistik-Geldgeber F-LOG Ventures investiert in Yababa – siehe Linkedin. Das Berliner Startup, das von Ralph Hage, Hadi Zaklouta, Javier Gimenez und Kamel Semakieh gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Lieferservice für orientalische Lebensmittel. Creandum, Project A Ventures und FoodLabs investierten zuletzt 15,5 Millionen US-Dollar in Yababa. Mehr über Yababa

BigOmics
+++ Das Life Sciences-Unternehmen Eppendorf investiert in BigOmics. Das Schweizer Startup, das 2018 gegründet wurde, “entwickelt digitale Self-Service-Tools zur Analyse von molekular-biologischen Forschungsergebnissen in der Cloud”.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Durst.de
+++ Das Unternehmen GFGH Direkt, hinter dem Störtebeker Braumanufaktur-Macher Henning Meyer steckt, übernimmt die Rewe-Anteile an Durst.de – siehe Lebensmittel Zeitung. Das 2017 von Simon Biela und Matthias Steinforth gegründete Kölner Unternehmen baute in den vergangenen Jahren eine “Plattform zur Bestellung von Getränken aufgebaut sowie eine technische Infrastruktur für den Auslieferungs-, Logistik- und Abrechnungsprozess im B2C-Getränkehandel” auf. Mehrere Getränkefachhändler nutzen die Plattform derzeit für die digitale Abwicklung ihres Getränkelieferservices. 2020 übernahm der Handelsriese Rewe die Mehrheit an Durst.de. Mehr über Durst.de

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #andreessen-horowitz, #bigomics, #capnamic-ventures, #durst-de, #eppendorf, #f-log-ventures, #greentech, #hv-capital, #payrails, #reverse-supply, #rewe, #venture-capital, #yababa, #zolar

#DealMonitor – Xempus bekommt 70 Millionen – Dixa kauft Solvemate – Swobbee erhält 6 Millionen


Im #DealMonitor für den 10. März werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Xempus
+++ Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) und die Altinvestoren HPE Growth und Cinco Capital investieren 70 Millionen US-Dollar in das Münchner InsurTech Xempus, früher als xbAV bekannt. Hinter dem Unternehmen, das 2007 von Martin Bockelmann gegründet wurde, verbirgt sich eine Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-Plattform, die “alle Akteure der Pensions- und Lebensversicherungsbranche zusammenbringt”. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 125 Millionen in das Unternehmen. “Mit dem frischen Kapital zielt Xempus darauf ab, seine Marktposition in Deutschland weiter auszubauen, neue Produktkategorien wie beispielsweise die betriebliche Krankenversicherung auf seiner Plattform zu integrieren und außerdem die eigenen Software-as-a-Service-Lösungen in weiteren europäischen Ländern zu etablieren”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Über 170 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit bei Xempus in München, Berlin und Saarbrücken.

Swobbee 
+++ EIT InnoEnergy und ein nicht genannter Altinvestor investieren rund 6 Millionen Euro in das GreenTech Swobbee. Das Berliner Startup, 2017 von Thomas Duscha und Tobias Breyer als Greenpack gegründet, positioniert sich als Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS)-Provider bzw.  Akku-Wechselnetzwerk für E-Cargobikes, Elektro-Roller und E-Kickscooter. “Mit dem frischen Kapital plant Swobbee die Weiterentwicklung seiner Batterieplattform und den massiven Ausbau seines Akku-Wechselstationsnetzes für elektrische Mikromobilität in Deutschland und seinen europäischen Nachbarstaaten”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

HelloBetter 
+++ MassMutual Ventures (MMV) und die Altinvestoren HealthCap, Expon Capital und Sparrow Ventures investieren 4 Millionen Euro in HelloBetter. Das Hamburger Startup, das 2015 als Get.on an den Start ging, bietet psychologische Online-Trainings zur Prävention und Behandlung psychischer Erkrankungen an. Expon Capital, Sparrow Ventures und Hevella Capital investierten zuletzt 6 Millionen Euro in HelloBetter. “Mit den zusätzlichen Mitteln aus der Erweiterung der Finanzierungsrunde wird HelloBetter den Vertrieb seiner Produkte auf dem deutschen Markt vorantreiben”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über HelloBetter

Konvi
+++ Der Berliner Frühphasengeldgeber APX und mehrere Angel-Investoren – darunter Claire Valoti – investieren 900.000 US-Dollar in Konvi. Das Berliner FinTech, das 2020 von Lena Sonnen, Ioana Surdu-Bob und Eran Peer gegründet wurde, nennt sich selbst “Crowdinvestment Plattform für alternative Anlageklassen”. Konkret möchte die Jungfirma Kleinanleger:innen es ermöglichen in “Vermögenswerten wie seltenen Uhren, edle Weinen oder Whisky” zu investieren.

heynannyly
+++ Der HR-Company Builder allygatr investiert in heynannyly. Das Startup aus Höchstadt, das 2021 von Anna Schneider und Julia Kahle gegründet wurde, setzt auf “geprüfte und versicherte” Kinderbetreuung. Über die heynannyly-App können berufstätige Eltern “kurzfristig einen Babysitter buchen, auch speziell für die Hausaufgabenbetreuung sowie für Transportdienste”.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Solvemate
+++ Das dänische Kundenservice-Unternehmen Dixa übernimmt den Automatisierungspionier Solvemate und das Analyseunternehmen Miuros. Der Kaupfreis beträgt 43 Millionen US-Dollar. “Die Übernahmen sind ein zentraler Meilenstein in der Vision von Dixa von einem neuen Standard für Customer Experience und datenbasierten sowie dialogorientierten Kundenservice: Marken sollen Lösungen an die Hand bekommen, um Daten in einem neuen Umfang für Automatisierung und zur Analyse zu nutzen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Solvemate, 2015 von Erik Pfannmöller gegründet, ermöglicht durch den virtuellen Assistenten den Kundenservice von Unternehmen zu automatisieren. In der Vergangenheit investierten Picea Capital und Venture Stars rund 6 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen aus Berlin. Venture Stars hielt zuletzt 42,4 % an Solvemate. Miuros aus Lyon ging 2016 an den Start.

Voya
+++ Die VW-Software-Tochter Cariad übernimmt das insolvente Unternehmen Voya – siehe fvw. Das Hamburger Travel-Startup schlitterte im November 2021 in die Insolvenz. Über Voya, das 2015 von Florian Stege, Maximilian Lober und Pepijn Schoen gegründet wurde, können Geschäftsreisende ihre Dienstreisen innerhalb von wenigen Minuten über einen Chat planen und buchen. Motu Ventures, 500 Startups und Global Founders Capital (GFC) investierten bereits früh in das Unternehmen. 2018 stieg dann der tschechische Internetriese Rockaway Capital beim Unternehmen ein. Mehrere Millionen Euro wanderten in den vergangenen Jahren insgesamt in die Jungfirma. 2020 übernahm die VW-Tochter Volkswagen Financial Services Voya.

Meetfox
+++ Der französische E-Mail-Marketing-Anbieter SendinBlue übernimmt das in Wien gestartete Startup Meetfox – siehe Trending Topics. Das 2017 von Susanne Klepsch unter dem Namen Coachfox gegründete Unternehmen kümmert sich um die Terminabwicklung von Kund:innengesprächen – etwa für Berater, Coaches oder Anwälte. Meetfox residiert inzwischen in New York. Das Unternehmen erhielt 2020 ein Investment von Techstars.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #apx, #berlin, #cinco-capital, #coachfox, #dixa, #e-health, #eit-innoenergy, #expon-capital, #fintech, #goldman-sachs-asset-management, #greentech, #hamburg, #healthcap, #hellobetter, #heynannyly, #hpe-growth, #insurtech, #konvi, #massmutual-ventures, #meetfox, #miuros, #sendinblue, #solvemate, #sparrow-ventures, #swobbee, #travel, #venture-capital, #voya, #xbav, #xempus

#GrownupsToWatch – 5 megaspannende Dinge über Enpal, die jeder wissen sollte


Das Berliner Unicorn Enpal ist eines der heißesten deutschen Startups überhaupt. Das 2017 gestartete Unternehmen, das Solaranlagen vermietet, stieg Ende 2021 zum Unicorn auf. Zu den Investoren des GreenTechs gehören unter anderem Softbank, HV Capital, Princeville Climate Technology, Picus Capital und Super Angel Lukasz Gadowski. Ende 2021 lag die Bewertung von Enpal bei 950 Millionen Euro oder 1,1 Milliarden Dollar – damit stieg Enpal zum Unicorn auf. Hier 5 megaspannende Fakten über Enpal.

Ursprung

Das Berlin GreenTech Enpal wurde 2017 von Mario Kohle (Käuferportal-Gründer), Viktor Wingert und Jochen Ziervogel gegründet. Anfangs trat die Jungfirma unter dem Namen Evergreen im Markt auf. 2017 stellten wir die Jungfirma so vor: “Das Startup Evergreen, das von Käuferportal-Mitgründer Mario Kohle geführt wird, kümmert sich um Solarstromlösungen”. In den ersten Jahren flog das Unternehmen aber extrem unter dem Radar.

Status quo

Das Unternehmen beschreibt sich derzeit so: “Enpal bietet Solaranlagen im Abonnement an. Hohe Investitionskosten fallen für Hausbesitzer somit weg. Nach 20 Jahren Laufzeit kann die Anlage für nur einen Euro übernommen werden. Für Interessenten bietet Enpal ein umfangreiches Paket mit Beratung und Planung an. Die Installation übernehmen eigene Monteure oder geprüfte Partner vor Ort. Vom Erstkontakt bis zum Ablauf des Abonnements: Enpal kümmert sich um den gesamten Prozess. Eigenheimbesitzern wird es damit so einfach wie möglich gemacht”. Nach eigenen Angaben verfügt das Unternehmen derzeit über 12.000 Kundinnen und Kunden. “Ziel von Enpal ist es, Ende des Jahrzehnts eine Millionen Haushalte mit einer eigenen Solaranlage zu versorgen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Über 1.000 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für Enpal, “darunter über 400 eigene Solarteure”.

Investoren

Zu den ersten Investoren von Enpal gehörten Picus Capital sowie Seriengründer und Super Angel Lukasz Gadowski in Enpal – damals im Jahren 2017. Gadowski war auch einer der ersten Investoren von Käuferportal, Enpal-Gründer Kohle und Gadowski kannten sich somit schon vor dem Investment in Enpal. Im Oktober 2021 investierte schließlich Softbank beachtliche 150 Millionen Euro in Enpal. In Jahren zuvor investierten insbesondere HV Capital, E.R. Capital, FRIBA Investment, Heliad Equity Partners, Peter Rive, Mitgründer von SolarCity, HelloFresh-Mitgründer Thomas Griesel, Ex-Auto1-COO Christopher Muhr sowie der amerikanische Investmentfonds Princeville Climate Technology in das Unternehmen.

Bewertung

Ende 2021 lag die Bewertung von Enpal bei 950 Millionen Euro oder 1,1 Milliarden Dollar – damit stieg Enpal zum Unicorn auf.

Zahlen

Der letzte Jahresabschluss von Enpal stammt aus dem Jahre 2019, damals erwirtschaftete das Unternehmen einen Jahresfehlbetrag in Höhe von 7,4 Millionen Euro. Insgesamt kostete der Aufbau von Enpal bis Ende 2019 bereits rund 10,6 Millionen. Die Jungfirma nannte zuletzt zumindest aber immer Umsatzzahlen. Zuletzt verkündete das GreenTech-Startup für 2021 “erstmals
deutlich mehr als 100 Millionen Euro Umsatz in einem Jahr”. 2020 erwirtschaftete die Jungfirma nach eigenen Angaben 56 Millionen Euro Umsatz, 2019 gerade einmal 18 Millionen.

Interview #23 – Mario Kohle (Enpal)

Tipp: Noch mehr Grownups to watch findet ihr hier

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Enpal

#aktuell, #berlin, #enpal, #greentech, #grownupstowatch, #unicorn

#DealMonitor – Withings übernimmt Fitness-Star 8fit – 1Komma5 übernimmt Cellsolar


Im #DealMonitor für den 2. Februar werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

8fit
+++ Das französische Fitness-Unternehmen Withings übernimmt 8fit. Das Berliner Fitness-Startup, das 2014 von Pedro Solá und Pablo Villalba gegründet wurde, setzt auf die Trendthemen Ernährung und Sport. Die App der Berliner bietet den Nutzer:innen Tipps für Workouts und Ernährungspläne. Creandum und Eight Roads Ventures investierten zuletzt 8 Millionen Dollar in 8fitInsgesamt sammelte das Berliner Startup rund 10 Millionen Dollar ein. “8fit is the provider of a globally leading digital fitness, mindfulness and nutrition platform.  With a global reach of over 30 million users and market-leading app store ratings, 8fit is one of the leading platforms for ‘fitness for all of us’, heißt es bei Clipperton zum Deal. 8fit refinanziert sich über eine Abogebühr. In den vergangenen Jahren war es sehr ruhig um den Hidden Champions der Berliner Startup-Szene. Vor allem nachdem einer der Gründer das Unternehmen verlassen musste. Mehr über 8fit

Cellsolar
+++ Das Hamburger GreenTech 1Komma5 übernimmt den schwedischen Solarausrüster Cellsolar – siehe Handelsblatt. Hinter dem Unternehmen stecken Phillipp Schröder, ehemals Tesla-Deutschlandchef und ehemals Geschäftsführer des Solar-Batterieherstellers Sonnen, Micha Grüber sowie Jannik Schall. Die drei Gründer setzen mit 1Komma5 auf einen “One-Stop-Shop” für Vertrieb, Installations- und Serviceleistungen rund um Solar, Stromspeicher und Ladeinfrastruktur. Das Startup möchte dabei Know How selbst einkaufen, indem es Mehrheitsbeteiligungen an Fachbetrieben erwirbt. Mehr über 1Komma5

Seneca / Tus Media Gruppe
+++ Das Wiener EdTech GoStudent übernimmt das englische Unternehmen Seneca und die spanische Tus Media Gruppe. “Beide übernommenen Unternehmen bleiben unabhängig voneinander unter ihren derzeitigen Führungsteams und mit ihren etablierten Markennamen bestehen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Tus Media, 2011 gegründet, bietet einen Marktplatz für Nachhilfelehrer:innen an. Hinter Seneca, 2018 gegründet, verbirgt sich eine kostenlose Lernplattformen. Prosus, Telekom Innovation Pool, SoftBank, Tencent, Dragoneer, Left Lane Capital und Coatue investierten zuletzt 300 Millionen Euro in GoStudent. Die Bewertung stieg auf 3 Milliarden EuroMehr über GoStudent

INVESTMENTS

Axinom
+++ Die Bayerische Beteiligungsgesellschaft (BayBG) investiert im Rahmen einer stillen Beteiligung 1,5 Millionen Euro in Axinom. Das Fürther Unternehmen, das 2001 gegründet wurde, entwickelt “modulare Softwarelösungen für Video-Streaming Anwendungen, die eine einfache Verwaltung, sichere Übertragung und effiziente Vermarktung digitaler Inhalte ermöglichen”. 100 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für Axinom.

Happie Haus
+++ Marcus Zanatta, Invincible Brands-Gründer Björn Keune, der Berliner Unternehmer Tomas Lembke und Verena Kirn, Leiterin des Kölner Brustzentrums im Heilig-Geist-Krankenhaus, investieren im Rahmen einer Convertible-Runde eine sechsstellige Summe in Happie Haus. Hinter dem Berliner Unternehmen verbirgt sich eine therapiebegleitende App rund um das Thema Brustkrebs. Das Startup, das 2021 von Stephanie Neumann gegründet wurde, setzt dabei auf “Gruppensessions, Meditationen und Übungen, die Geist und Seele gut tun”.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#1komma5, #360x, #8fit, #aktuell, #axinom, #berlin, #cellsolar, #e-health, #edtech, #fitness, #furth, #gostudent, #greentech, #hamburg, #happie-haus, #venture-capital, #wien, #withings

America’s innovators will solve climate change, not regulators

President Joe Biden has pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. He intends to meet this ambitious target through a wave of new federal spending and government programs.

But our best hope for reducing carbon emissions isn’t new government spending. It’s a technological sea change — one that can only come from the private sector.

In fact, the government is slowing progress against climate change by imposing regulations that prevent emissions-lowering technologies from reaching the market. If our leaders really want to save the planet, they need to get out of the way of entrepreneurs who can actually do so.

One would expect the government to embrace technology with the potential to cut carbon pollution. After all, Biden himself has promised to “spur American technological innovations” as part of his climate agenda.

Unfortunately, some of the most promising green tech breakthroughs face severe headwinds as a result of misguided or antiquated federal policies.

One such technology — profiled in “They Say It Can’t Be Done,” a new documentary on the relationship between innovators and regulations — is an artificial tree developed by Arizona State University physicist and engineer Klaus Lackner. These man-made trees contain a special plastic resin that can absorb carbon dioxide and release it when submerged in water. They’re 1,000 times more effective at taking in carbon dioxide from the air than natural trees. Once captured, this carbon dioxide can then be reclaimed and converted into fuel.

Lackner’s design could be scaled to produce units that each remove a metric ton of carbon dioxide daily. The main stumbling block is the lack of clear regulations surrounding carbon capture technologies — specifically the transport and storage of captured carbon.

Until a uniform federal framework exists, the process of bringing this technology to market will remain impossibly complicated and fraught with risk.

Or consider technologies that could reduce the need for large-scale livestock farming. Raising billions of chickens, pigs and cattle requires vast amounts of water, feed and land. The resulting carbon footprint is massive — about 7.1 gigatons of greenhouse gases a year.

Here too, new technologies could help reduce emissions. Researchers are designing cell-cultured meat — chicken, pork and beef produced in the lab rather than the feedlot. This lab-grown protein is safe, healthy and far less carbon-intensive than traditionally farmed meat.

One startup that makes lab-grown meat, Eat Just, recently obtained approval to sell its cell-cultured chicken in Singapore. But it’s still waiting on the green light from U.S. regulators. According to the firm’s founder, it could be another year — or more — before U.S. approval comes through.

For an industry as capital-intensive as cultured meat production, this sluggish approval process can make it impossible for a startup to launch and get its products to market.

High-tech solutions like these are precisely what’s required to protect our planet from the threat of climate change. While it is impossible to say whether lab-grown meat is the future of sustainable food or if artificial trees are the best solution for sequestering atmospheric carbon, an accessible and level regulatory playing field allows the best innovations to thrive.

Too many Americans believe that when it comes to climate change, only the government is up to the task. The fact is, the main barrier to large-scale adoption of sustainable technologies isn’t a lack of government involvement, but too much — or at least the wrong kind.

In order to make good on his promise to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, the president and his team will need to recognize how government obstructs the development and deployment of technology that can fulfill that promise.

#carbon-capture-technologies, #carbon-sequestration, #column, #cultured-meat, #government, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greentech, #joe-biden, #opinion, #policy, #sustainable-food, #united-states

Salesforce reaches Net Zero energy usage, announces updates to Sustainability Cloud

Salesforce has often preached about responsible capitalism, and today at Dreamforce, the company’s annual customer extravaganza, it announced a notable achievement in the battle against global climate change. The company said that it has achieved effective Net Zero energy usage across its entire value chain with 100% renewable energy, while purchasing carbon offsets when that’s not possible.

At the same time, it announced updates to the Sustainability Cloud, a product that the company sells to other organizations to manage their climate initiatives, proving you can be responsible, and still be capitalists. Suzanne DiBianca, chief impact officer & EVP for corporate relations at Salesforce, speaking at yesterday’s Dreamforce press event says the company is proud to be an example of a large organization taking positive climate action.

“I’m very excited about our commitment to climate action around being a Net Zero company today. And this is not in 2030, not in 2040, not in some other future moment. We know we have to accelerate, and we have gotten to Net Zero today including our entire value chain, which is Scope 1, 2 and 3. Very few companies have gotten here,” she said.

There is a lot of sustainability jargon there, so we spoke to Ari Alexander, GM of Sustainability Cloud to break it down for us. Alexander explained that the sustainability community measures a company’s carbon footprint in three main areas known as Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. “Scope 1 and 2 are what you own, what you operate, what you control and then what energy is procured in order to power your operation,” he said.

Scope 3 is everything else your company touches, which is referred to as ‘up and down the value chain’ in industry parlance. “The vast majority of the emissions that a company is responsible for are actually not in their direct operational control, but relate to their upstream suppliers that they procure goods and services from, or in the case of other industries the downstream use of the product or the life of a product,” he said. A downstream example might be what happens to your phone after you trade it in for a new one.

So when Salesforce says that it’s Net Zero up and down the value chain, it involves everything it controls and every company it interacts with in the act of doing business. Because there are so many variables here outside of Salesforce’s control, Alexander says when the company can’t ensure that a partner or vendor is in compliance with the standard set by the company, it buys what he calls “high quality carbon offsets.”

“Also for where we can’t do that immediately, we are purchasing high quality carbon offsets to make up the difference to be able to be fully Net Zero now, while we continue on that really important journey of reducing to absolute zero across the supply chain [over time],” he said.

In addition, the company announced updates to the Sustainability Cloud, the commercial tool it has developed to sell to other companies, using the same tools and technology that Salesforce is using in-house.

“Sustainability is undergoing a transformation in that it’s going from something that’s a nice to have to something that’s actually at the heart of business transformation itself. That it’s one of the mega trends of our time and growing exponentially every year, and part of what that means is that companies are moving significant resources in order to respond to the climate crisis and moving sustainability to the core of how they do business,” Alexander said.

At the same time, the company published a blueprint based on its own plans to be a more sustainable organization called the Salesforce Climate Action Plan (link to pdf) that it is making available for free online.

The company also announced plans to accelerate its tree planting goals to grow 30 million trees this year. This involves working with other organizations to plant, grow and restore 100 million trees in a 10 year period, a goal that they have been pushing to make happen much sooner.

Company president and COO Bret Taylor speaking at the Dreamforce press event said that the climate crisis has had an impact on everyone, and he believes Salesforce can have a meaningful impact based on its behavior while acting as an example for other organizations.

“We’re showing up at Dreamforce, […] really to recognize that we think business is the greatest platform for change and to paint a picture of this vision for inspiring every organization to become a trusted enterprise and address these crises [like climate],” Taylor said.

#bret-taylor, #cloud, #dreamforce-2021, #enterprise, #greentech, #saas, #salesforce, #sustainability

Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Shaun White, Shawn Mendes get behind Shelf Engine

Shelf Engine’s mission to eliminate food waste in grocery retailers now has some additional celebrity backers. The company brought in a $2 million extension to its $41 million Series B announced in March.

Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Shaun White and Shawn Mendes are the new backers, who came in through a strategic round of funding alongside PLUS Capital to bring the Seattle-based company’s total funding to $60 million since the company’s inception in 2016. This includes a $12 million Series A from 2020.

Shelf Engine’s grocery order automation technology applies advanced statistical models and artificial intelligence to deliver accurate food order volume so that customers can reduce their food waste by as much as 32% while increasing gross margins and sales of more than 50%. The company has already helped retailers divert 1 million pounds of food waste from landfills, Stefan Kalb, co-founder and CEO of Shelf Engine, told TechCrunch.

“We’ve had phenomenal growth last year, some of it from our mid-market customers, but mostly from customers like Target and Kroger,” Kalb said. “Our other big news is that we hired a president (Kane McCord) in the past six weeks, which is cool to have the reinforcement on the leadership side.”

Over the past 12 months, the company, which works with retailers like Kroger, Whole Foods and Compass Group, saw over 540% revenue growth. At the same time, it grew its employees to 200 from 23, Kalb said. He expects to more than double Shelf Engine’s headcount over the next 12 months.

As a result, the new funding will be used to scale with current customers and accelerate further investment in R&D of its AI systems and automation capabilities.

Meanwhile, Amanda Groves, partner at PLUS Capital, said her firm works with about 65 individuals who are in film, television, sports and culture, including the four new investors in Shelf Engine.

She says many of her clients are looking to participate in business as an investor or with sweat equity. Her firm works with them to determine interests and will then source opportunities and invest alongside them.

Shelf Engine fits into one of PLUS Capital’s core investment areas of sustainability. The firm looks across different sectors like food, energy, apparel, packaging and recycling. Shelf Engine’s approach of leveraging technology to aid in sustainability efforts was attractive to all of the investors, as was their method of scaling within grocery clients without affecting consumer behavior.

“When Shelf Engine is installed in the grocery store, they can reduce spoilage by 10% right off the bat — that immediacy of the impact was what got our clients excited,” Groves added.

One of Shelf Engine’s first celebrity investors was Joe Montana, and Kalb said partnering with celebrities enables the company’s mission to eliminate food waste and address the climate crisis to be made more aware.

“B2B software is not as glamorous, but the climate has become a big issue and something many celebrities care about,” he added. “Shawn Mendes has over 60 million followers, so for him to share about this issue is extremely meaningful. Where he invests will lead to his followers knocking on the doors of stores and saying ‘this matters to me.’ That is the strategy shift from B2B to a movement for our community.”

The company is not alone in tackling food waste, which globally each year amounts to $1.3 trillion. For example, Apeel, OLIO, Imperfect Foods, Mori and Phood Solutions are all working to improve the food supply chain and have attracted venture dollars in the past year to go after that mission.

Shelf Engine is already in over 3,000 stores nationwide in the areas of grocery, food service and convenience stores, which “is a large lift from 18 months ago,” Kalb said. Next up, the company is progressing to open new categories and managing more projects. He is specifically looking at what the company can manage in the store and manage for the customer.

“We are getting to the point where we can manage more of the store in complex categories like meat, seafood and deli that are mainly custom,” he added.

#artificial-intelligence, #b2b-software, #compass-group, #ellen-degeneres, #enterprise, #food, #food-service, #food-supply-chain, #food-waste, #funding, #greentech, #grocery-store, #joe-montana, #kroger, #plus-capital, #portia-de-rossi, #recent-funding, #retailers, #shaun-white, #shawn-mendes, #shelf-engine, #startups, #stefan-kalb, #target, #tc, #whole-foods

EarthOptics helps farmers look deep into the soil for big data insights

Farming sustainably and efficiently has gone from a big tractor problem to a big data problem over the last few decades, and startup EarthOptics believes the next frontier of precision agriculture lies deep in the soil. Using high-tech imaging techniques, the company claims to map the physical and chemical composition of fields faster, better, and more cheaply than traditional techniques, and has raised $10M to scale its solution.

“Most of the ways we monitor soil haven’t changed in 50 years,” EarthOptics founder and CEO Lars Dyrud told TechCrunch. “There’s been a tremendous amount of progress around precision data and using modern data methods in agriculture – but a lot of that has focused on the plants and in-season activity — there’s been comparatively little investment in soil.”

While you might think it’s obvious to look deeper into the stuff the plants are growing from, the simple fact is it’s difficult to do. Aerial and satellite imagery and IoT-infused sensors for things like moisture and nitrogen have made surface-level data for fields far richer, but past the first foot or so things get tricky.

Different parts of a field may have very different levels of physical characteristics like soil compaction, which can greatly affect crop outcomes, and chemical characteristics like dissolved nutrients and the microbiome. The best way to check these things, however, involves “putting a really expensive stick in the ground,” said Dyrud. The lab results from these samples affects the decision of which parts of a field need to be tilled and fertilized.

It’s still important, so farms get it done, but having soil sampled every few acres once or twice a year adds up fast when you have 10,000 acres to keep track of. So many just till and fertilize everything for lack of data, sinking a lot of money (Dyrud estimated the U.S. does about $1B in unnecessary tilling) into processes that might have no benefit and in fact might be harmful — it can release tons of carbon that was safely sequestered underground.

EarthOptics aims to make the data collection process better essentially by minimizing the “expensive stick” part. It has built an imaging suite that relies on ground penetrating radar and electromagnetic induction to produce a deep map of the soil that’s easier, cheaper, and more precise than extrapolating acres of data from a single sample.

Machine learning is at the heart of the company’s pair of tools, GroundOwl and C-Mapper (C as in carbon). The team trained a model that reconciles the no-contact data with traditional samples taken at a much lower rate, learning to predict soil characteristics accurately at level of precision far beyond what has traditionally been possible. The imaging hardware can be mounted on ordinary tractors or trucks, and pulls in readings every few feet. Physical sampling still happens, but dozens rather than hundreds of times.

With today’s methods, you might divide your thousands of acres into 50-acre chunks: this one needs more nitrogen, this one needs tilling, this one needs this or that treatment. EarthOptics brings that down to the scale of meters, and the data can be fed directly into roboticized field machinery like a variable depth smart tiller.

Drive it along the fields and it goes only as deep as it needs to. Of course not everyone has a state of the art equipment, so the data can also be put out as a more ordinary map telling the driver in a more general sense when to till or perform other tasks.

If this approach takes off, it could mean major savings for farmers looking to tighten belts, or improved productivity per acre and dollar for those looking to scale up. And ultimately the goal is to enable automated and robotic farming as well. That transition is in an early stage as equipment and practices get hammered out, but one thing they will all need is good data.

Dyrud said he hopes to see the EarthOptics sensor suite on robotic tractors, tillers, and other farm equipment, but that their product is very much the data and the machine learning model they’ve trained up with tens of thousands of ground truth measurements.

The $10.3M A round was led by Leaps by Bayer (the conglomerate’s impact arm), with participation from S2G Ventures, FHB Ventures, Middleland Capital’s VTC Ventures and Route 66 Ventures. The plan for the money is to scale up the two existing products and get to work on the next one: moisture mapping, obviously a major consideration for any farm.

#artificial-intelligence, #food, #funding, #fundings-exits, #greentech, #recent-funding, #robotics, #startups, #tc

Blue Bear Capital raises $150M to fund climate, energy and infrastructure tech

Blue Bear Capital has raised a new $150 million fund that will be used to find and invest in startups developing technology aimed at speeding up the adoption and industrialization of renewable energy.

This is the venture firm’s second fund, which it says is oversubscribed. Blue Bear has already backed nine new companies since 2020. The firm said the fresh cash will be used to fund digital technologies “making an outsized impact” in markets including wind, solar, the electric grid, EV infrastructure, transportation and energy-intensive industries.

“Trillions of dollars will be spent to scale renewable energy, modernize infrastructure and secure sustainable supply chains,” Blue Bear partner Ernst Sack said in a statement. “Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is redefining how data is captured, decisions are mad and relationships are built all around us. Where these two forces converge — applying the power of AI-enabled technologies to the immense challenges of the energy transition — is where Blue Bear sees the greatest investment and impact opportunity of our lifetimes.”

Blue Bear has a two-fold investment strategy. The firm’s investors look for those that “nail a vertical,” which is code for startups that have developed Software as a Service solutions that help industries address operational bottlenecks and handle niche use cases. Blue Bear also looks for startups that have developed software that can scale horizontally across many markets.

The portfolio companies in Blue Bear’s “nail a vertical” bucket include FreeWire Technologies, which developed a suite of mobile EV charging products and Omnidian, a distributed solar asset management company. Horizontal scale companies that BlueBear has backed include Urbint, which is focused on infrastructure safety and Demex, a climate and weather risk management company.

As with Blue Bear’s first fund, this one is aimed at helping early-stage companies scale — and not just by investing capital. The VC touts the expertise of its partners, who have decades of experience in sustainable investments and hands-on work in climate, policy, corporate venture, cloud computing and other related technologies.

“As specialists we believe in a high conviction and relatively concentrated approach to portfolio construction,” said Blue Bear partner Vaughn Blake in a statement, adding that the firm select companies with long-term partnership in mind. Blake also said the firm avoids the high-volume approach to venture, where a handful of companies are expected to make up a fund’s returns while the bulk are left to fall away.”

Investors in Blue Bear’s fund include AIMS Imprint of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the McKnight Foundation, as well as leadership from other private equity firms and energy companies. Advisory Board members include First Reserve President Alex Krueger, former NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, and former BP Chairman and CEO Lord John Browne.  

#artificial-intelligence, #blue-bear-capital, #climate-tech, #greentech, #tc, #transportation, #venture-capital

Tanso nabs $1.9M pre-seed to help industrial manufacturers do sustainability reporting

The climate crisis is creating massive demand for data capture as industries grapple with how to decarbonize. Put simply, you can’t cut your carbon emissions if don’t know what they are in the first place.

This need to gather data is a big opportunity for startups — and a wave of early companies have already been founded to try to plug the sustainability data gap, through things like APIs to assess emissions for carbon offsetting (which in turn has led to other startups trying to tackle the data gap around offsetting projects…).

One thing is clear: Requirements for sustainability reporting are only going to get broader and deeper from here on in.

Munich-based Tanso is an early stage startup (founded this year) that’s building software to support sustainability reporting for a particular sector (industrial manufacturers) — with the goal of creating a data management system that can automate data capture and sustainability reporting geared towards the specific needs of the sector.

The startup says it decided to focus on industrial manufacturing because it’s both an emissions-heavy sector and underserved with supportive digital tech vs many other industries.

The founders met during their studies at universities in Munich and Zurich — where they’d been researching the assessment of organizational climate impact. Their collective expertise crystalized into the realization of a business opportunity to build a data management system for a notoriously polluting sector that’s facing a mandate to change.

In the coming years, European regulations will expand sustainability reporting requirements — with the EU’s ‘Green Deal’ plan setting an overarching goal of Europe becoming the first “climate-neutral” continent by 2050.

Specific (existing) reporting requirements within the bloc include the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which will apply to more than 50,000 companies — requiring they report on their sustainability metrics, starting in 2023.

The UK (now outside the EU) already introduced some reporting requirements for domestic companies, under the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) regulation, which has applied since 2019 and applies to over 12,000 businesses in the UK in varying degrees of detail depending on the size of the company.

So there is a clear direction of travel in the region requiring businesses to gather and report sustainability data.

Tanso has just closed a $1.9 million pre-seed raise with the aim of getting its data management support software to market in time for an expected surge in demand as sustainability regulations like CSRD start to bite.

The raise is led by German early stage b2b fund UVC Partners, with participation from Picus Capital, Possible Ventures, and a number of business angels.

Tanso is still in the R&D/product development phase, with co-founder Gyri Reiersen telling TechCrunch it’s currently working with a number of manufacturers to “figure out the sweet spot” for automating data gathering so it can come to market with a scalable product offering. She says the team raised a relatively large pre-seed exactly to see it through until it’s got something fit to launch (it’s hoping to have something “solid, verified and scalable” by the end of 2022, per Reiersen).

The goal for the product is a single platform that gathers and holds all the customer’s sustainability data and can automate the generation of reports to meet regulatory requirements — including auditing.

From 2025, Reiersen points out that CSRD reporting needs to be “auditable”, meaning that you have to have “some form of transparency and traceability”; and also that the “correctness” of sustainability reporting will be a C-Suite responsibility. So that must concentrate boardroom minds.

“Going beyond that it’s all about how can you use this data and the insights that the data gives you to make predictions and models going forward for how should we develop our products? What makes sense to do going forward to make?” she adds.

“What we’re prototyping currently is to streamline the workflow of information gathering,” Reiersen also tells us, discussing the product dev process. “Also to have really good, fundamental user-flow for the users to use our product. And then doing the deep dives on integrations over time.”

She says the challenge is finding the trade-off between usability and “digging into the data”. “For us it’s very important to have a scalable product, especially having it fully scalable from 2023 when the CSRD are started because then there will be desperation on the market. Companies will need to have something,” she adds.

“We need to have these solutions… that take one step in the right direction for all companies and not just have a couple of carbon neutral companies… So for us it’s more about finding the productizable use-cases in the beginning to make this a scalable product.”

But she also warns over a proliferation of overly “shallow” offerings in the space — driven by marketing-led ‘greenwashing’ (and bogus carbon offsetting) rather than a genuine desire to correctly identify the problem and course-correct which is what’s actually needed for humanity to avert climate disaster.

Reiersen adds that she got really interested in this space through her university work researching the overestimation of carbon offsets through deep learning.

“There is such a need for accountability and making sure that the product that is being developed actually do their job correctly. Because it’s so easy to just have a black box and trust it. We can’t afford having systems that overestimate or underestimate. It needs to be accurate and it needs to be validated,” she says.

“Going forward accuracy will mean more and more and then you need to access the ‘real data’ and not just ‘guestimations’,” she predicts. “And that’s where we see that of course we need to be very front-end/UX-friendly, and making it easy for people to enter the right data and have a very user-friendly, usable product and that people are guided through the process of gathering the right data… but also over time really focusing on how do you integrate and get access to the data at the data-base level?”

 

#artificial-intelligence, #carbon-offset, #early-stage-startup, #environmentalism, #europe, #european-union, #fundings-exits, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greentech, #munich, #picus-capital, #sustainability, #sustainability-reporting, #tanso, #uvc-partners

EnerVenue raises $100M to accelerate clean energy using nickel-hydrogen batteries

In order to support a buildout of renewable energy, which tends to over-generate electricity at certain times of day and under-generate at others, the grid is going to need a lot of batteries. While lithium-ion works fine for consumer electronics and even electric vehicles, battery startup EnerVenue says it developed a breakthrough technology to revolutionize stationary energy storage.

The technology itself – nickel-hydrogen batteries – isn’t actually new. In fact, it’s been used for decades in aerospace applications, to power everything from satellites to the International Space Station and the Hubble Telescope. Nickel-hydrogen had been too expensive to scale for terrestrial applications, until Stanford University professor (and now EnerVenue chairman) Yi Cui determined a way to adapt the materials and bring the costs way, way down.

Nickel-hydrogen has a number of key benefits over lithium-ion, according to EnerVenue: it can withstand super-high and super-low temperatures (so no need for air conditioners or thermal management systems); it requires very little to no maintenance; and it has a far longer lifespan.

The technology has caught the eye of two giants in the oil and gas industry, energy infrastructure company Schlumberger and Saudi Aramco’s VC arm, who together with Stanford University have raised $100 million in Series A funding. The investment comes around a year after EnerVenue raised a $12 million seed. The company is planning on using the funds to scale its nickel-hydrogen battery production, including a Gigafactory in the U.S., and has entered a manufacturing and distribution agreement with Schlumberger for international markets.

“I spent almost three and a half years prior to EnerVenue looking for a battery storage technology that I thought could compete with lithium-ion,” CEO Jorg Heinemann told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “I had essentially given up.” Then he met with Cui, who had managed through his research to bring the cost down from around $20,000 per kilowatt hour to $100 per kilowatt hour within line of sight – a jaw-dropping decrease that puts it on-par with existing energy storage technology today.

EnerVenue CEO Jorg Heinemann Image Credits: EnerVenue (opens in a new window)

Think of a nickel-hydrogen battery as a kind of battery-fuel cell hybrid. It charges by building up hydrogen inside a pressure vessel, and when it discharges, that hydrogen gets reabsorbed in water, Heinemann explained. One of the key differences between the batteries in space and the one’s EnerVenue is developing on Earth is the materials. The nickel-hydrogen batteries in orbit use a platinum electrode, which Heinemann said accounts for as much as 70% of the cost of the battery. The legacy technology also uses a ceramic separator, another high cost. EnerVenue’s key innovation is finding new, low-cost and Earth-abundant materials (though the exact materials they aren’t sharing).

Heinemann also hinted that an advanced team within the company is working on a separate technology breakthrough that could bring the cost down even further, to the range of around $30 per kilowatt hour or less.

Those aren’t the only benefits. EnerVenue’s batteries can charge and discharge at different speeds depending on a customer’s needs. It can go from a 10-minute charge or discharge to as slow as a 10-20 hour charge-discharge cycle, though the company is optimizing for a roughly 2 hour charge and 4-8 hour discharge. EnerVenue’s batteries are also designed for 30,000 cycles without experiencing a decline in performance.

“As renewables get cheaper and cheaper, there’s lots of time of the day where you’ve got, say, a 1-4-hour window of close to free power that can be used to charge something, and then it has to be dispatched fast or slow depending on when the grid needs it,” he said. “And our battery does that really well.”

It’s notable that this round was funded by two companies that loom large in the oil and gas industry. “I think it’s nearly 100% of the oil and gas industry is now pivoting to renewables in a huge way,” Heinemann added. “They all see the future as, the energy mix is shifting. We’re going to be 75% renewable by mid-century, most think it’s going to happen quicker, and those are based on studies that the oil and gas industry did. They see that and they know they need a new play.”

Image Credits: EnerVenue

Don’t expect nickel-hydrogen to start appearing in your iPhone anytime soon. The technology is big and heavy – even scaled down as much as possible, a nickel-hydrogen battery is still around the size of a two-liter water flask, so lithium-ion will definitely still play a major role in the future.

Stationary energy storage may have a different future. EnerVenue is currently in “late-stage” discussions on the site and partner for a United States factory to produce up to one gigawatt-hour of batteries annually, with the goal of eventually scaling even beyond that. Heinemann estimates that the tooling cap-ex per megawatt hour should be just 20% that of lithium ion. Under the partnership with Schlumberger, the infrastructure company will also be separately manufacturing batteries and selling them in Europe and the Middle East.

“It’s a technology that works today,” Heinemann said. “We’re not waiting on a technology breakthrough, there’s no science project in our future that we have to go achieve in order to prove out something. We know it works.”

#batteries, #cleantech, #energy-storage, #enervenue, #funding, #greentech, #recent-funding, #renewable-energy, #startups, #storage, #tc

Index leads $12.2M seed in Sourceful, a data play to make supply chains greener

Supply chains can be a complex logistical challenge. But they pose an even greater environmental challenge. And it’s that latter problem — global supply-chain sustainability — where UK startup Sourceful is fully focused, although it argues its approach can boost efficiency as well as shrink environmental impact. So it’s a win-win, per the pitch.

Early investors look impressed: Sourceful is announcing a $12.2 million seed funding round today, led by Europe’s Index Ventures (partner, Danny Rimer, is joining the board). Eka Ventures, Venrex and Dylan Field (Figma founder), also participated in the chunky raise.

The June 2020-founded startup says it will use the new funding to scale its operations and build out its platform for sustainable sourcing, with a plan to hire more staff across technology, sustainability, marketing and ops.

Its team has already grown fivefold since the start of 2021 — and it’s now aiming to reach 60 employees by the end of the year.

And all this is ahead of a public launch that’s programmed for early next year.

Sourceful’s platform is in pre-launch beta for now, with around 20 customers across a number of categories — such as food & beverages (Foundation Coffee House), fashion and accessories (Fenton), healthcare (Elder), and online marketplaces (Floom and Stitched) — kicking the tyres in the hopes of making better supply chain decisions.

Startup watchers will know that supply chain logistics and freight forwarding has been a hotbed of activity — with entrepreneurs making waves for years now, promising efficiency gains by digitizing legacy (and often still pretty manual) legacy processes.

Sustainability-focused supply chain startups are a bit more of a recent development (with some category-pioneering exceptions) but could be set for major uplift as the world’s attention spins toward decarbonizing. (Just this month we’ve also covered Portcast and Responsibly, for example.)

Sourceful joins the fray with a dual-sided promise to tackle sustainability and efficiency by mapping client requirements to vetted suppliers on its marketplace — handling the buying and shipping logistics piece (including a little warehousing) — and taking a commission on the overall price as its cut of the action.

At first glance it’s a curious choice of name for a sustainability startup, given the fact that sourcing (a whole lot) less is what’s ultimately going to be needed for humanity to cut its global carbon emissions enough to avert climate disaster. But maybe the intended wordplay here is ‘full’ — in the sense of ‘fully optimized’.

The UK startup is attacking the supply chain sustainability problem from the perspective of doing something right now, arguing that making a dent in consumer-driven environmental impacts of sourcing stuff (packaging, merchansize, components etc) is a lot better than letting the same old polluting status quo roll on. 

However, given all the unverifiable ‘eco’ marketing claims being attached to products nowadays — or, indeed, other forms of flagrant ‘greenwashing’ (like bogus carbon offsets) that are cynically trying to convince consumers it’s okay to keep consuming as much as ever — there are clearly pitfalls to avoid too.

If you’re talking about packaging — which is one of the products that Sourceful is deeply focused on, with a forthcoming design capability offering that will help businesses to customize packaging designs, pick materials, size etc based on real-time data, all with the goal of encouraging ‘greener’ choices — less really is more.

Ideally, zero packaging is what your business should be aiming for (where practical, ofc). Yet Sourceful’s service will, inevitably, support demand for packaging supply and manufacture. At least in the first blush. So there’s a bit of a conundrum.

“You can put a carbon footprint score on packaging in general. So you could say packaging overall is this amount so the best thing you could do is not use any packaging. But the reality is, for most brands right now, especially for ecommerce, if you’re trying to deliver your product to the customer there needs to be some packaging — and so if packaging is unavoidable in its current form or in another form then the best thing you can then do is optimize that packaging,” argues CEO and co-founder Wing Chan, when we make the point that zero packaging is the most sustainable option.

“Right now we think the best solution is to help you optimize your packaging — the next wave will be around circular forms of packaging. Packaging that you can return back to your courier, packaging that you can reuse in another form. But we wanted to start with what is the current pain point. And the pain point is: I’m buying packaging, it’s very expensive, it’s very time-consuming and if I try and get it to be ‘green’ I either put a marketing spin on it or I don’t know how to actually make it more sustainable.

“But I definitely agree with you that long term we’ve got to think about how do I get the supply chain number as close to zero and then offset whatever’s remaining.”

For now, then, Sourceful is using data — combined with its marketplace of vetted suppliers (~40 at this stage) in the UK and China — to help companies optimize sourcing logistics and shrink their supply chains’ environmental impact.

It does this by putting a “carbon footprint score” on the product choices its brand clients are making.

This means that instead of only being able to claim “qualitative things” — such as that a product uses less plastic or a different type of plastic — Sourceful’s customers can display an actual benchmarked carbon footprint score (in the form of a number), based on its lifecycle assessment of the stuff involved in making up the finished product.

“It’s a lifecycle view,” says Chan. “For example if you take packaging we look at the box, we look at what is the cardboard material, where does it come from, how far has it travelled, what type of material is it, how much material gets used, how is then transported — for example is it a manufacturer in Asia all the way to the UK — so we get an overall score. So rather than it just being comparing paper and plastic we actually help the brands to see an overall quantitive outcome.”

“We’ve built the [software] engine that allows you to make choices and see the actual output — so, for example, if you make your box bigger what does that actually do to your carbon footprint score?” he adds.

Sourceful has an internal climate science team to do this work. It is also building on publicly available data sources, per Chan — such as ecoinvent (“the market standard based data”) — but he says the public data available isn’t up-to-date, saying it’s also therefore working with researchers to update these key sources with the last five years of data.

It wants the protocol it’s devised for scoring carbon footprint via this lifecycle assessment to become a universal standard. Hence it’s currently going through an ISO certification process — hoping to have that in place before the planned public launch of its platform in Q1 next year.

“There’s two ISO standards for doing a lifecycle assessment and normally you’d get ISO approval for a specific product but we’re getting ISO approval for the whole methodology — essentially the platform that we’ve built,” explains Chan. “There’s an independent panel of people, from universities, from other consultancies, who will be reviewing this as part of that ISO review — that’s why it’s so important to us that we’re doing that.”

The vetting of the suppliers on its marketplace is something Sourceful is doing entirely by itself, though — without any outside help. So its customers still need to trust that it’s doing a proper job of monitoring all the third parties on its marketplace.

But, on this, Chan argues that’s since sustainability is core to its value proposition it is incentivized to do the vetting in a more thorough and comprehensive way than any other individual player would be.

“The key thing for us is we combine both the data capture you would do when you’re understanding a supplier — asking all the questions about how their supply chain works and all of the laws entered by the new country — but we’re coupling that with a human visit as well. So we have a team in the UK as well as a team in Asia who actually go and visit the manufacturers. So it’s an extra layer of comfort for the brands that we’ve actually spent the time to go and meet them,” he suggests.

“The second thing is, as part of our marketplace build, we’re understanding how their supply chain works — in order to build the lifecycle assessment we actually understand each stage of their manufacturing process. So we have a much deeper understanding of their way of operating than all of the other platforms would have. So, yes it’s more involved, but we think that gives better accountability and a more accurate outcome.”

“We’re taking [the vetting process] to another level,” he adds. “We didn’t find anyone that was going into the same level of depth as us — so that’s why we’ve done it ourselves.”

Pressed a little more, Chan also tells TechCrunch: “Supply chain risks never disappear but the thing is how much investment are you making to learn more about it? And for us because we’re capturing this data on lifecycle assessment it’s part of that process of understanding the supplier. So rather than it being another cost that we pay to go visit the manufacturer, we see it as part of our data gathering — a key part of the platform.

“So rather than it being a cost to minimize, which is why a lot of companies end up in trouble because they don’t visit [their suppliers] enough, we’re invested in making sure that data is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. And the manufacturers see that because they want to have a score that’s good, they also want to understand where their footprint could be improved. So it’s a partnership, rather than it just being a bunch of tick boxes to check — which is what a lot of the audits are… We’re here to try and understand their process better.”

Zooming out to look at the driving forces pressing for supply chain sustainability, Chan suggests demand for greener sourcing by businesses is being driven by consumers themselves — who are certainly more aware than ever of environmental concerns. And can, to a degree, vote with their wallet by choosing more eco products (and/or by putting direct reputational pressure on businesses, such as via social media channels).

There is some regulatory pressure, too — such as existing sustainability and carbon reporting requirements (typically for larger businesses). Along with the overarching ‘net zero’ targets which governments in Europe and elsewhere have signed up for. So there should be increasing ‘top down’ pressure on businesses to decarbonize.

Chan also points to another swathe of environmental laws coming in — such as those banning things like single use plastics — which he says are creating further momentum for businesses to re-evaluate their supply chains.

Nonetheless, he believes the biggest source of pressure for companies to decarbonize is coming from consumers themselves. So — the premise is — brands that can present the strongest story to people about what they’re doing to reduce their environmental impact — backed up by a certified lifecycle assessment (assuming Sourceful gets its ISO stamp) — stand to win the business of growing numbers of eco-minded buyers, at the same time as netting cost efficiencies by optimizing their supply chains.

(And, indeed, part of the team’s inspiration for Sourceful’s business was to challenge the idea that consumers are to blame for the world’s environmental problems — given the lack of choice people so often have over what they can buy, not to mention the paucity of information to inform purchasing choices.)

“In the absence of government regulation on [lifecycle assessment] we’re actually saying to the brand, you’ve got existing products, we’ve measured the material, production, transport, all of these things — given you a carbon footprint score, and actually when you go and look at alternatives we can quantitatively assess the difference between those options. So rather than just pandering to the latest marketing buzzword you get a quantitive view on that,” he says.

“So what we’ve been showing is you can move to a more sustainable outcome — from a quantitative point of view — but also save money. So we’re tackling both problems. The supply chain itself is not very efficient so we can save money and the supply chain is not very transparent so we can give them better visibility into their actual carbon footprint.”

“Every brand that we’ve met that has been started in the last two years, their founder or their premise of the brand had sustainability involved — it’s such a hot topic that if you start a fashion brand or a beauty brand or food brand you have to have somewhere in your mission statement/founder story about your commitment to sustainability. So we thought that’s where the market is going to be. But actually we saw more established companies had the same view — that their consumers are also asking for there to be change in how they talk about their products, how they understand their lifecycle journey. So actually I think the government drive on regulation is of course important but it’s still far behind and actually consumers are driving more of a change,” he adds.

Sourceful’s offering includes a warehousing ‘managed service’ component — where it’s using a predictive algorithm to power auto-stocking so that brands can store (non-current) inventory in its warehouses (to save space etc) and have the goods shipped to them as they need them.

Being able to source supplies like components or packaging in bulk obviously reduces purchasing costs. But depending on how it’s done, it may also mean you can optimize things like transportation requirements, which could limit shipping emissions, so there are potentially efficiency and sustainability strands here too.

“Sea freight is several times more energy efficient than air freight so if we can organize more shipments to go via sea freight than air then that’s a major win. The[n] if we can fill the container up with different client orders so that you end up with one very full container, rather than lots of containers with half of it empty, you’re also going to save a lot of energy too. And so that’s another part of the journey that we do,” says Chan. “The other thing is because were aggregating orders with the manufacturer — they actually have better utilization as well, which is more efficient for them. So all of these things are really important to driving the overall cost as well sustainability score down.”

“The more we thought about it, the more there are so many parts of the supply chain which haven’t been optimzied,” he adds. “So many times you order 2,000 boxes it comes in these air freight shipments and someone has to courier it to you in one trip — there’s so many places where aggregating and being smarter about data you can save so much footprint.”

 

#carbon-footprint, #carbon-offset, #danny-rimer, #e-commerce, #eka-ventures, #environmentalism, #europe, #fundings-exits, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greentech, #logistics, #product-management, #sourceful, #supply-chain, #supply-chain-management, #sustainability

Laser-initiated fusion leads the way to safe, affordable clean energy

The quest to make fusion power a reality recently took a massive step forward. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced the results of an experiment with an unprecedented high fusion yield. A single laser shot initiated reactions that released 1.3 megajoules of fusion yield energy with signatures of propagating nuclear burn.

Reaching this milestone indicates just how close fusion actually is to achieving power production. The latest results demonstrate the rapid pace of progress — especially as lasers are evolving at breathtaking speed.

Indeed, the laser is one of the most impactful technological inventions since the end of World War II. Finding widespread use in an incredibly diverse range of applications — including machining, precision surgery and consumer electronics — lasers are an essential part of everyday life. Few know, however, that lasers are also heralding an exciting and entirely new chapter in physics: enabling controlled nuclear fusion with positive energy gain.

After six decades of innovation, lasers are now assisting us in the urgent process of developing clean, dense and efficient fuels, which, in turn, are needed to help solve the world’s energy crisis through large-scale decarbonized energy production. The peak power attainable in a laser pulse has increased every decade by a factor of 1,000.

Physicists recently conducted a fusion experiment that produced 1,500 terawatts of power. For a short period of time, this generated four to five times more energy than what the whole world consumes at a given moment. In other words, we are already able to produce vast amounts of power. Now we also need to produce vast amounts of energy so as to offset the energy expended to drive the igniting lasers.

Beyond lasers, there are also considerable advances on the target side. The recent use of nanostructure targets allows for more efficient absorption of laser energies and ignition of the fuel. This has only been possible for a few years, but here, too, technological innovation is on a steep incline with tremendous advancement from year to year.

In the face of such progress, you may wonder what is still holding us back from making commercial fusion a reality.

There remain two significant challenges: First, we need to bring the pieces together and create an integrated process that satisfies all the physical and technoeconomic requirements. Second, we require sustainable levels of investment from private and public sources to do so. Generally speaking, the field of fusion is woefully underfunded. This is shocking given the potential of fusion, especially in comparison to other energy technologies.

Investments in clean energy amounted to more than $500 billion in 2020. The funds that go into fusion research and development are only a fraction of that. There are countless brilliant scientists working in the sector already, as well as eager students wishing to enter the field. And, of course, we have excellent government research labs. Collectively, researchers and students believe in the power and potential of controlled nuclear fusion. We should ensure financial support for their work to make this vision a reality.

What we need now is an expansion of public and private investment that does justice to the opportunity at hand. Such investments may have a longer time horizon, but their eventual impact is without parallel. I believe that net-energy gain is within reach in the next decade; commercialization, based on early prototypes, will follow in very short order.

But such timelines are heavily dependent on funding and the availability of resources. Considerable investment is being allocated to alternative energy sources — wind, solar, etc. — but fusion must have a place in the global energy equation. This is especially true as we approach the critical breakthrough moment.

If laser-driven nuclear fusion is perfected and commercialized, it has the potential to become the energy source of choice, displacing the many existing, less ideal energy sources. This is because fusion, if done correctly, offers energy that is in equal parts clean, safe and affordable. I am convinced that fusion power plants will eventually replace most conventional power plants and related large-scale energy infrastructure that are still so dominant today. There will be no need for coal or gas.

The ongoing optimization of the fusion process, which results in higher yields and lower costs, promises energy production at much below the current price point. At the limit, this corresponds to a source of unlimited energy. If you have unlimited energy, then you also have unlimited possibilities. What can you do with it? I foresee reversing climate change by taking out the carbon dioxide we have put into the atmosphere over the last 150 years.

With a future empowered by fusion technology, you would also be able to use energy to desalinate water, creating unlimited water resources that would have an enormous impact in arid and desert regions. All in all, fusion enables better societies, keeping them sustainable and clean rather than dependent on destructive, dirty energy sources and related infrastructures.

Through years of dedicated research at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Ignition Facility, I was privileged to witness and lead the first inertial confinement fusion experiments. I saw the seed of something remarkable being planted and taking root. I have never been more excited than I am now to see the fruits of laser technology harvested for the empowerment and advancement of humankind.

My fellow scientists and students are committed to moving fusion from the realm of tangibility into that of reality, but this will require a level of trust and help. A small investment today will have a big impact toward providing a much needed, more welcome energy alternative in the global arena.

I am betting on the side of optimism and science, and I hope that others will have the courage to do so, too.

#clean-energy, #column, #fusion-power, #greentech, #laser, #lawrence-livermore-national-laboratory, #nuclear-fusion, #opinion, #science, #tc

The 4 things needed to reach Biden’s ambitious 2050 solar goal

A report on the future of solar energy from the Department of Energy paints a sunny picture, if you will, of the next three decades, at the end of which nearly half the country’s energy will be provided by the sun. But for that to happen, big pushes need to happen along four major lines: better photovoltaics, more energy storage, lower soft costs, and putting about a million people to work.

Here’s what the report says needs to happen in each of these sectors in order to meet the ambitious goals it sets out.

Better photovoltaics

The solar cells themselves will need to continue to improve in both cost and efficiency in order to achieve the kind of installation volumes hoped for by the DOE. For reference, 2020 saw 15 gigawatts worth of solar installed, the most ever — but we’re going to need to double that installation rate by 2025, then double it again by 2030.

If photovoltaics don’t improve in efficiency, that means these already ambitious numbers need to go even higher to account for that. And if they stay at today’s prices, the costs will be too high to achieve those volumes as well.

Photovoltaics have come a long way, but they also have a long way to go.

Fortunately efficiency is going up and cost is going down already. But it’s not like that just happens naturally. Companies and researchers across the globe have spent millions on new manufacturing processes, new materials, and other improvements, incremental individually but which add up over time. This basic research and advancement of the science and methods around solar must continue at or beyond the pace that they have over the last two decades.

The DOE suggests that research along the lines of making more exotic PVs cheaper, or stacking cells to minimize bandgap-related losses could be crucial. Flexible and tile- or shingle-like substrates or semi-transparent installations that pass light through to crops or building interiors may also figure. Altogether the plan calls for a reduction of the overall cost to drop by almost half from $1.30/watt today on average to $0.70 by 2030 and more after that.

Solar concentrators get their own heading in the report, and many companies are looking into these to replace industrial processes. These will not likely be used to support the grid at large but will nevertheless replace many fossil fuel based processes.

More energy storage

An unavoidable consequence of getting your energy from the sun is that at night you must rely on stored energy in some form or another, originally nuclear or coal but increasingly a form of storage that collects excess power collected during the daytime. With more of peak usage being covered by renewables, cities can safely transition away from carbon-based energy sources.

While we often think of energy storage in terms of batteries, and certainly they will be present, but the amount of energy that must be stored rules out something like lithium-ion batteries as the primary storage mechanism. Instead, the excess energy can be put towards powering energy-hungry renewable fuel production, like hydrogen fuel cells. This fuel can then be used to generate power when solar can’t meet demand.

The diagram shows how demand would normally go (purple) then how it would go with solar (orange) and how energy storage could mitigate that load (solid colors).

That’s just the “off the top of the head” answer. As the report states: “Thermal, chemical, and mechanical storage technologies are under various stages of development, including pumped thermal storage, liquid air energy storage, novel gravity-based technologies, and geological hydrogen storage.”

No doubt there will be a variety of new and old technologies working to provide the various levels of energy redundancy and storage duration needs of the country. These will go a long way towards making solar and other renewable energy sources capable of being relied on for a greater proportion of demand.

Lower soft costs

If we’re going to double and redouble the rate of solar cell deployment, the costs have to come down not just for the cells themselves, but the whole end-to-end process: assessment, accounting, labor, and of course the profit due to the companies that will be doing the actual work.

Lowering non-hardware costs is already the goal of many startups, like Aurora Solar, which clearly saw the writing on the wall and started making it as easy as possible to plan, visualize, and sell solar installations entirely online.

Right now the all-in cost of a solar roof might be twice the cost of the hardware or more. There are several contributors to this, from financing to regulations to markets, and each has its own intricacies beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that if you can shave one percent off the cost of a solar installation by streamlining the time or cost involved in any of these areas, there will be more than enough volume to turn that one point into a major sum. It will take the combined efforts of many organizational and commercial minds to make this happen, just as it takes the efforts of many scientific ones to improve PVs.

A million jobs

Last but certainly not least, someone has to actually do all this work. That means a whole lot of labor — several times the quarter million people currently estimated to be attached to the solar industry in the country today.

Jobs in this sector will run the gamut, from skilled workers with construction experience to energy professionals who’ve managed grids to public-private partnership wizards who connect commerce to the government’s inevitable top-down incentives. The additional half a million to a million jobs will almost certainly comprise many brand new companies and sub-industries, but the general breakdown so far has been about 65 percent installation and project development, 25 percent sales and manufacturing, and the rest in miscellaneous roles.

It is worth noting, however, that energy concerns currently clinging with white knuckles to aging oil and coal infrastructure will need to do right by the tens of thousands they still employ, and the renewable energy sector is a perfect transition space. “Throughout the transition, certain fossil fuel companies may come under increasing financial distress,” the report reads, which is something of an understatement. The authors strongly suggest funding transition programs that cover training, relocation, and guarantees of existing financial benefits like pensions.

The report points out that the solar industry is overwhelmingly white and male, like a few others we could name, so it is probably worth putting in work on that front if the million hires are to be at all equitable.

You can browse the full study here.

#department-of-energy, #doe, #government, #greentech, #hardware, #renewables, #science, #solar, #solar-energy

Forerunner is software for NFIMBYs, or no flooding in my backyard

Mayors have the toughest job in the world, and leading a city is only getting harder. Even as populations swell in urban cores across the world, climate change is constraining the geographies where that growth can happen. Coastal communities which are popular with residents are also taking a gamble when it comes to rising sea levels. How do you tradeoff a need for growth with the requirement for protecting residents from disaster?

In most cases, the pendulum is fully tilted toward growth. Coastal towns continue to allow widespread sprawl and development, chasing ever more property taxes and residents even as sea levels get ever more uncomfortably high. It’s a recipe for disaster — and one that many cities have chosen to bake anyway.

Forerunner wants that pendulum to swing the other way. Its platform allows city planners and building managers to survey, investigate and enforce stricter building codes and land use standards with a focus on mitigating future flood damage. It’s particularly focused on American cities with heavy usage of the federal flood insurance program, and Forerunner helps cities maximize their adherence to that program’s byzantine rules.

The company pulls in data from FEMA and other sources to determine a property’s mandatory lowest floor height requirement, and whether the property conforms to that rule. It also tracks flood zone boundaries and helps with the administrative overhead of processing federal flood insurance documentation, such as creating and managing elevation certificates.

Co-founders JT White and Susanna Pho have been friends for years and worked at the MIT Media Lab before eventually coming together in early 2019 to build out this floodplain management product. “It cannot be underscored enough that a lot of communities just don’t follow [federal flood] regulations,” Pho said. “They will revert their ordinances from something more strict … since they can’t do a lot of day-to-day compliance.”

Coastal cities devastated by floods are protected by federal flood insurance, but that often creates a moral hazard: since damage is paid for, there isn’t much incentive to avoid it in the first place. The federal government is attempting to tighten those standards, and there is also a sense among a new generation of city planners and municipal leaders that the build-devastation-rebuild model of many cities needs to stop given climate change. After flooding, “we want to see communities rebuild to higher standards,” White said. “The sort of cycle of rebuilding and doing the same thing over and over again is infuriating to us.”

Transitioning to a new model isn’t easy of course. “There are a lot of hard decisions that these communities must make,” he said, but “our software makes it a bit easier to do these things.” So far, the company has gotten early traction with 33 communities currently using Forerunner according to the founders.

Although it has customer clusters in Louisiana and northern New Jersey, the company’s largest customer is Harris County, which includes much of the Houston, Texas metro area. The county could potentially save $5 million on their flood insurance premiums with better adherence to federal standards, according to White. “One of the benefits of our product is that we can help you protect and increase this immediate discount to every flood insurance policyholder in your community starting next year,” he said. Ultimately though, FEMA focuses on disincentives rather than incentives. “The biggest stick that FEMA has is that it can suspend communities from the flood insurance program,” he noted.

The company raised an early seed round in 2019, and has been focused on building up the platform’s capabilities and getting the sales flywheel spinning — which can be a tough order in the govtech space.

Even as demand intensifies for more housing and growth, climate change is simultaneously placing its own demands on cities. Mayors and city leaders are increasingly going to have to transition from the growth models of the past to the resilient models of the future.

#climate-change, #emergency-management, #forerunner, #government, #greentech, #startups, #technology-and-disaster-response

Continental’s eco-friendly concept tire includes a renewable tread

Many efforts are underway to reduce the environmental impact of cars, but what about the tires those cars ride on? Continental thinks it might help. Roadshow reports the company has introduced the Conti GreenConcept (yes, a concept tire) where more than half of the materials are “traceable, renewable and recycled.” You can even renew the natural rubber tread with little trouble — not a completely new idea, but refreshable treads have generally been reserved for large commercial trucks. Three renewals would be enough to ensure the material used for casing is cut in half relative to the total mileage.

About 35 percent of the materials are renewables, including dandelion rubber, silicate made from rice husk ash and a string of vegetable oils and resins. Another 17 percent is polyester yarn made from recycled PET bottles, reclaimed steel and recovered carbon black.

The design should improve the efficiency of the cars themselves, Continental added. New casing, sidewall and tread patterns make the GreenConcept about 40 percent lighter than a conventional tire at about 16.5lbs, That, in turn, leads to 25 percent lower rolling resistance than the highest-rated tires in the EU. Continental estimates you’d get six percent more range from an electric vehicle.

While you might not outfit your car with these exact tires any time soon, this is more than just a thought exercise. Continental plans to gradually deploy its recycling technology starting in 2022, including the production of tires using recycled bottles.

Efforts like the Conti GreenConcept are partly meant to burnish Continental’s public image. It wants to be the most environmentally responsible tire company by 2030, and become completely carbon-neutral by 2050 “at the latest.” However, it also hints at a more holistic approach to eco-friendly cars where many components, not just the powertrain, are kinder to the planet.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Engadget.

#column, #green-tech, #greentech, #tc, #tceng, #tires

LastPad is a reusable menstrual pad that does away with disposable towels

Direct to consumer online sales have helped a number of female-focused startups get products to market in recent years — often pitching better designed and generally more thoughtful feminine hygiene products than mainstream staples.

The lack of innovation in the mainstream market for feminine hygiene has certainly created a gap for startups to address. Examples in recent years include companies like Thinx (absorbent panties for menstruation) and Flex (a disc-shaped tampon alternative for wearing during sex). Or Daye — which makes CBD tampons for simultaneously treating period cramps.

Even so, there still hasn’t been a critical mass of product innovation in the category — to the point where alternatives can trickle down (no pun intended) and influence the trajectory of the mainstream market. The core products on shelves are, all too often, depressingly familiar — disposable pads and tampons — even if they may (sometimes) now be made of organic cotton or have some other mild design tweaks.

The most notable change to the available product mix is probably period pants — which have recently started to appear on mainstream shop shelves and seem to be selling well in markets like the UK, as the Guardian reported recently.

In the average drug store, the other non-disposable alternative you’ll most likely see is the menstrual cup. Which is not at all new — but has finally got traction beyond its original (very) niche community of users, which is another signal that consumers are more open to trying different solutions to deal with their monthly bleeding vs the same old throwaway wadding.

While free bleeding — an old movement which has also seen a bit of wider pick up in recent years — can also be seen, at least in part, as a protest against the poor quality of mainstream products for periods.

All of which makes this forthcoming product launch rather interesting: Meet LastPad, a reusable (rather than disposable) sanitary towel.

Image credits: LastPad

The first thing you’ll likely notice is that the pad is black in color — which certainly rings the changes vs the usual white stick-on fodder. The company behind LastPad says it worked with an unnamed “luxury lingerie manufacture” on look and feel — and, well, judging by the product shots alone it shows.

The bigger behind-the-scenes change is that it’s been designed for sustained, repeat usage. So each LastPad comes with its own fabric pouch (in a range of colors) for folding up and storing after use (and until you get a chance to pop it in the wash). The pad can also stay in its pouch for washing so there’s no need for additional handling until you’re getting it out of the washing machine to dry.

LastPad is the brainchild of Danish designer and entrepreneur Isabel Aagaard whose company, LastObject, has — for the past three years — been taking aim at the wastefulness of single use hygiene and beauty products, designing reusable alternatives for what are unlovely but practical items — like Q-Tips and tissues*.

In total, LastObject has sold around 1.5M products so far — across its existing range of beauty, hygiene and travel-focused items. But LastPad marks its first push into a really female-focused product category.

A reusable (washable) sanitary pad is clearly a big step up on the design challenge front vs making reusable (silicone) Q-Tips or (cotton) tissues or makeup rounds — because of the complexity involved with designing a wearable, intimate hygiene product that can handle the variable and often messy nature of periods, and keep doing so, use after use.

It needs to be both comfortable and reliable — as so many disposable pads actually aren’t.

So it’s not too surprising that, per Aagaard, the company has been working on designing and prototyping LastPad for two years. Now they’re finally ready to bring it to market — launching the LastPad on Kickstarter today — with a goal of shipping to early backers next February.

“We’re seeing amazing conversions [for the LastPad pre-campaign],” she says, discussing how much demand they’re expecting. “This is our sixth [crowdfunder] campaign — and it’s looking really good. So I think the demand is bigger than I actually imagined. Because this is also the first product that is only women. And we were very much in doubt that we should put it on Kickstarter because it’s a very male-dominated platform but it’s looking really positive.”

“We already started working on this two years ago so it’s really been a process. And also because we wanted it to be really innovative. Because right now you can see on the market there’ll be pads that are more like home sewn or do it yourself — and we wanted to really make an exclusive, very, very innovative version of that — that has a lot of the benefits that the single use version has.”

Image credits: LastPad

Each LastPad is made up of three layers: A woven top to help keep the pad feeling dry against the skin by quickly funnelling menstrual fluids down into — layer two — a central absorbent section (made of bamboo) — which sits above a TPU base to ensure no risk of leaks.

“The first layer is a woven material that is really, really fine — it has a little bit of silver in it so that the odours will disappear. It’s also woven with small funnels so that the blood disappears very quickly into the middle layer — because it’s so important that you’re not like wet. Because that’s awful. So it dries quite quickly when you’re wearing it,” explains Aagaard. “And then the middle layer is 100% bamboo — it’s absorbent like crazy; 40% more absorbent than, for example, cotton. And it also has anti-bacterial properties. And then the bottom layer is a TPU [Thermoplastic Polyurethane] — which is just a leak proof cover; it’s comfortable, it’s not like a plastic bag but it does make sure that you cannot bleed through it.”

While disposable sanitary towels rely on an adhesive layer to enable the consumer fix the pad to their panties, LastPad has to do that a bit differently too given it’ll be going through the wash. So the pads have wings — which wrap around the gusset of the panties and fix together underneath with a (soft) velcro fastening.

That’s not all: There’s a (sticky) silicone strip running around the back side of the pad which helps prevent it from moving around — and, per Aagaard, will happily survive repeat washing (in fact if it’s not used for a time, she says dust may temporarily reduce the stickiness — but says that immediately resolves just by wetting it again).

“Where I felt that we really made a huge difference is that on the back side of the pad — it has wings [with] a velcro [fastener] that’s completely soft and you don’t feel it; even if you’re biking — that was like the big test — and then it has a silicone strip in the back and at the bottom, like a sticky silicone… so it doesn’t move around in your pants.”

Practically speaking, it won’t be possible for a LastPad user to use just one LastPad to see them through their period — given the need to wash and dry them between uses. So a pack of several reusable pads will be necessary to entirely replace disposable pads and ensure there’s always a clean towel available to swap out the used pad.

But LastObject’s idea is, much like you own several pairs of socks and briefs, you’ll have a set of LastPads to see you through until after laundry day.

The product comes in three different sizes and thicknesses to cater to different flow levels, too. So the consumer may end up owning a range of reusable LastPads — from a panty liner option to a day flow and heavier duty night pads.

Image credits: LastPad

“It wasn’t as simple as I thought it was going to be — but that’s also because you have to understand the viscoses of blood, for example, compared to water,” Aagaard tells TechCrunch. “And also a flow — it’s not just blood. There’s a lot of other stuff that come out. So it’s taking all of these things into consideration.”

“We’ve been testing it for so long,” she goes on. “That was our main thing with this product. A lot of the other [LastObject products] were very much about printing it, looking at it. Using it of course — but it took us long before we had it in actually a silicone form. Because that is also expensive. Whereas [LastPad] we could sew quite quickly just here at the office and [test it]… So we’ve just been testing it constantly — how’s the feeling? Getting it out to a lot of different women that wear different panties that have different cycles. So it’s really been about testing.”

Pricing for LastPad will be around $60 for three pads — so around $20 per pad. Which is obviously a lot more expensive than the per unit cost of disposable towels. But LastObject says it will offer packs so if a consumer buys more pads it should shrink the per pad cost a little.

Aagaard says the product has been tested to withstand at least 240 washes — which she suggests will mean it’s able to last at least a couple of years, saving likely hundreds of disposable pads from being consumed in its stead.

Although it’s maybe less likely to save consumers money — depending on which disposable pads you’d buy and how many you’d used per cycle (basic disposable pads can cost as little as ~20c each) — as LastObject recommends owning nine of its LastPads which could cost around $80 or more). But the target user is evidently someone with enough disposable income to be able to pay a premium for an eco alternative.

Given the price-point, it does also look more expensive than the menstrual cup — an existing and highly practical alternative to disposable menstrual products — which can cost around $30 (for one reusable cup; and you can get away with owning just one) and, typically, a cup will also last for years as it’s made of silicone.

However the menstrual cup won’t suit every woman — and does require access to clean water to rinse and sanitize — so having more non-disposable alternatives for periods is great.

Aagaard says she’s a fan of the menstrual cup but suggests LastPad can still be useful for its users as a back-up to catch any leaks and/or provide an added layer of reassurance.

While, with period pants, she says the issue she finds unpleasant is the feeling of wetness when wearing them.

On LastPad’s environmental credentials, the washing process required to keep reusing the pad does obviously require some resources (water, soap etc) but — as is the case with other LastObject products — the company’s claim is that it’s still substantially greener to wash and reuse its non-disposable products vs consuming and binning single use items that have to be continually produced and shipped out (generating ongoing CO2). Such products can also pollute the environment after they’ve been thrown away — and plastic waste is of course a huge global problem (including from thrown away sanitary products).

LastObject will be publishing a third party LCA (lifecycle assessment) for LastPad to back up its eco claims for the reusable product — comparing it to using disposable sanitary pads. But Aagaard is confident it will be substantially better when compared against most disposable alternatives.

“You’ll be putting a wash on anyway; [LastPads] don’t take up that much space; you’re not going to wash them just them; it is with your other laundry; and if you wash them at a cold wash I think that the LCA report will look really good,” she suggests when we ask about the eco credentials.

“We’re doing this with all our products where we’re taking them through a third party who’s testing everything and putting them up against [alternatives] and having these considerations with CO2, with water, with chemicals — with the whole pack… So we’ll be doing that more specifically; right now… the alternative of a [disposable] pad — they are so differently produced. It’s crazy. So I could say the worst [for comparative purposes] or I could say the best — and ours is about 12x better than that.”

“When we got the LCA report for the LastTissue and LastSwab they were so much better than I have imagined,” she adds.

From this year the European Union has started banning the sale of some single use plastic items (such as Q-tips and disposable cutlery) as reducing plastic waste is one of the goals for regional lawmakers. And — globally — regulators are increasingly looking for quick wins to shrink the environmental impact of the fast moving consumer goods market’s long standing love affair with plastic.

But some disposable product categories are simply more essential than others — which makes it hard for lawmakers to just ban plenty of wasteful, polluting products. So developing innovative, reusable alternatives is one way to help lighten the usage load.

“The most sustainable pad that you can ever have is actually the one that you don’t produce but that would just be free bleeding — and I think that 99% of women are not ready for that,” adds Aagaard. “So can we make some solutions on some of the things that we actually have to take care of?”

While LastObject is sticking with Kickstarter to get LastPad to market, Aagaard confirms that once they see how much early adopter demand it’s getting they plan to produce enough to also sell via some of the other outlets where they currently sell their products — such as ecommerce sites like Amazon and of course their own web shop.

So far, the US has been the main market for LastObject’s reusable wares, per Aagaard — which she attributes to mostly using Kickstarter to build a community of users. But she adds that the company is starting to see more traction in Europe as it’s increased the number of regional distributors it works with.

So what’s next for the company after LastPad? The product direction they’ll take is an active discussion, she says.

“We can keep going the beauty way, we can go more personal care but we have to also [not] go in too many directions. I personally have a lot of fun things I want to do in the bathroom still, because I feel like it’s a space where not a lot of designers have actually really been investigating some of the products that we’re using. Both in beauty but also in personal care. Like in the floss and toothbrush but also in diapers and wipes and all of that. So I think that there’s some innovation that could be really fun. But… this one took two years and I’m so happy about the result and I couldn’t have spent two months less on it. Then we wouldn’t have had the solutions that we’ve gotten to. So that feels very important.”

Image credits: LastPad

*Washable tissues are also of course not new. Indeed, Wikipedia credits the invention of pocket squares to wipe the nose to King Richard II of England who reigned in the 14th century. But the traditional (fabric) handkerchief — which was used, laundered and reused — became yet another casualty of the switch to single-use, disposable, cheap consumer goods that’s since been shown to have such high environmental costs. So perhaps reversing this damaging default will bring more ‘historical product innovation’ back into fashion as societies look to apply a modern ‘circular economy’ lens

 

#europe, #femtech, #greentech, #hygiene, #kickstarter, #lastobject, #lastpad, #menstrual-cup, #menstruation, #sanitary-pad, #tampon, #tc, #thinx