We are pleased to welcome a new crew of ground-breakers and market-makers from the 19 companies in Elemental’s Cohort 9.
It seems fitting that we cross the 100-company threshold for our portfolio here at the outset of what must be a decade of climate action. Because the price of keeping the status quo grows steeper every year, from the human and economic toll of climate-related disasters, fires, heatwaves, and other environmental stresses to the jobs left on the table by not accelerating towards a carbon-free, regenerative economy.
We’re grateful to partner with this latest group of innovators and, with a portfolio that’s now 117 companies strong, work together to commercialize an abundance of solutions to reverse climate change — starting today. In total, we’re funding Cohort 9 with over $7M to anchor $15M of projects, which are designed to scale 10x within two years.
“These are technologies that are primed for deployment and growth. We love investing at these meaningful, and highly dynamic, moments in a company’s growth cycle because they are where the ideal becomes real,” says our CEO Dawn Lippert. “Cohort 9 has strong momentum toward climate impact, with significant annual revenues and an average of $7M raised. Their cap tables indicate that new investors are entering climate-tech, and we’re seeing a ramp toward a new inflection point for the market.”
What makes this cohort special?
It begins with our due diligence process — where we started with nearly 800 applicants from 54 countries around the world. We select a subset of companies to go through technical and financial due diligence, product evaluation, reference checks, commercial analysis, and most importantly getting to know the founding teams on a deeper level. We go through this effort to ensure the entrepreneurs are positioned to make significant impact, can add value to each other along the journey, and are set up to reach new commercial inflection points through our work together.
Cohort 9 is our most diverse to date. Half of the companies have a female founder. And nearly half have a founder who identifies as a person of color, with a third founded by someone who identifies as Black or indigenous. We know that when teams are more reflective of the communities and customers they serve, they are much more likely to achieve the equitable outcomes that are critical to solving climate change.
As always, equity and access is at the forefront of our mission to fund critical solutions for climate change, particularly in communities affected by the compounding effects of pollution, vulnerable infrastructure, and limited economic opportunities. To meet this challenge climate solutions must include both technology and community expertise. Entrepreneurs may have half the solution, and communities often have the other half. Together they can be transformative.
“Startups are at an advantage in that they are early in their business’ lifecycle and can focus on equity both in their workforces (equity in) and in how they deploy their products or services (equity out) and scale those practices as they grow,” says Sara Chandler, our Managing Director of Equity and Access. “We’re looking forward to partnering deeply with Cohort 9 companies and their community partners to help improve existing water, food, circular economy, energy and mobility systems.”
And finally, the twin threats of a pandemic and economic calamity made this a year unlike any other in memory. We emphasized COVID resiliency when selecting companies, weighing the ability to thrive (or pivot) during the pandemic as well as the ability to help respond and recover from it. We believe that Cohort 9 companies and projects collectively present a massive job creation opportunity, especially for people in frontline communities.
“Across different industries and in the minds of consumers, we’re finally seeing circular technologies and practices getting the recognition they deserve. The companies in our latest cohort are creating carbon-negative materials, extending the lifecycle of products already in use, reducing food waste, and putting an end to fast fashion. We are eager to help them bend our linear, extractive system to one that is more circular — a critical and often overlooked step in combatting climate change.” — Danya Hakeem, Director of Innovation, Agriculture & Circular Economy.
Why do we love them?
If you’ve ever hated to part with that tattered pair of jeans because you know there’s still good life left in them somewhere, Evrnu’s got a far better solution than the trash heap. The company’s regenerative NuCycl™ technologies upcycle textile and apparel waste by dissolving cotton and regenerating the molecules into a new, even stronger fiber. Beyond giving your jeans a second chance at life, this opens up an entirely new, sustainable garment recycling supply chain. Since textiles are dumped in landfills at a rate of one garbage-truck full every single second and the carbon footprint of making a pair of jeans is similar to driving 80 miles (not to mention the fact that every year people throw away roughly $400 billion worth of clothing), the environmental benefits are evident. With decades’ worth of technical and industry experience on the team, and customers such as Adidas, Stella McCartney, Levis, and Target, Evrnu is poised to heal the environmental damage caused by decades of fast fashion.
What’s next for Cohort 9?
Over the next couple weeks we’ll be introducing these companies to our ecosystem of partners, investors, coaches, and community leaders. And just as importantly, they’ll begin teaching and learning from each other to create deeper connections, stronger businesses, and greater collective impact.
Be sure to tune into TEDxElemental on October 28 to meet Cohort 9 here at the beginning of their journey with us at Elemental. We couldn’t be more excited for you to meet them.