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Climate tech investment pouring in 2022: 10 unicorns living to fulfill the Bill Gates dream!

Climate tech unicorns

Climate tech is the new sector that is gaining momentum and Bill Gates is excited about the storming number of such startups that have mushroomed in recent years. He also believes that many of these climate tech companies might not last for long.

As per Gates, one of the major challenges is to get the governments and large corporations to adopt new clean technologies to save fossil fuels. Though this transition is one of the hardest things, it is worth doing.

When it comes to saving fossil fuels, EVs are the first things that many might think of as this is one of the building blocks of climate tech. Say electric vehicles, people think of Tesla founded by Elon Musk with the main purpose to accelerate the use of sustainable energy. However, climate tech comprises various aspects including electric vehicles, solar power, energy management, energy storage, plant-based meat and more.

In the past decade, investments in the climate tech sector have drastically increased. As many as 3,000 startups were launched in this industry between 2013 and 2021 and the investments in this industry is now a whopping $222 billion during this time period, reports PwC.

Just yesterday, the news was out that Silicon Valley investor Y Combinator invested in German climate-tech startup Pina Earth, an early-stage climate tech startup, that enables forest owners to start high-quality carbon projects through a suite of digital data collection, monitoring, and certification services. The backing by Y Combinator included a pre-seed investment of $500,000.

Today, TFN has curated a list of 10 unicorns via dealroom in the climate tech industry that are living up to Bill Gates dream.

Rivian
Image credits: Rivian

Rivian Automotive (US)

Founder/s: Robert J. Scaringe
Founded year: 2009
Total funding: $11.5B

US-based Rivian is an automotive technology company that develops products and services to advance the shift to sustainable mobility. The company manufactures autonomous electric vehicles to offer a comfortable and eco-friendly drive experience. It launched the rugged electric truck, Rivian RT. Last year, Rivian bagged $2.65 billion in a round led by T. Rowe Price Associates, reaching a valuation of $50 million.

Lucid Motors
Image credits: Lucid Motors

Lucid Motors (US)

Founder/s: Andrew Burns, Sam Weng
Founded year: 2007
Total funding: $3.6B

An automotive company from the US specialising in electric cars is Lucid Motors. The company wants to create a car that is designed to redefine the way people get around. Lucid’s first car, The Air, hit the roads in 2016. It is a fully electric sedan that competes against the existing brands in the EV industry such as the Tesla Model S.

Back in February 2021, Lucid Motors agreed to go public by merging with blank-check firm Churchill Capital IV Corp in a deal. This deal comprises a transaction equity value of $11.75 billion including a $2.1 billion cash contribution from CCIV and a PIPE investment of $2.5 billion.

Faraday Future
Image credits: Faraday Future

Faraday Future (US)

Founder/s: YT Jia
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: $3.6B

Yet another US-based company is Faraday Future, which designs and engineers next-generation smart electric connected vehicles. The global intelligent mobility ecosystem company focuses on empowering people everywhere to live, move, connect, and breathe freely. In 2021, Faraday Future raised $100 million in debt financing led by Ares and existing lender Birch Lake and others.

Image credits: Sono Motors

Sono Motors (Germany)

Founder/s: Jona Christians, Laurin Hahn, Navina Pernsteiner.
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $119M

Sono Motors wants to become an established provider of sustainable mobility by focusing on manufacturing electric vehicles with alternative power technologies and innovative sharing services. Its first electric car Sion has a range of 250 km.

In 2020, Sono Motors completed €45 million ($51.5 million) in a Series C financing round led by a collection of renowned European institutional investors, including Swedbank and DNCA

NIO
Image credits: NIO

NIO (China)

Founder/s: William Li
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: $3.1B

Shanghai-based NIO is a pioneer in the Chinese premium smart electric vehicle market. Its mission is to offer premium smart electric vehicles that deliver the best user enterprise. NIO designs, jointly manufactures and sells smart and connected premium electric vehicles. Its portfolio includes ES8, a 7-seater high-performance premium electric SUV and its six-seater variant ES8.

In 2020, the Chinese electric vehicle startup NIO secured $1 billion investment from several state-owned companies in Hefei where it operates a factory.

Image credits: Infarm

Infarm (Germany)

Founder/s: Erez Galonska, Guy Galonska, Osnat Michaeli
Founded year: 2013
Total funding: $119M

Berlin-based Infarm is an agritech unicorn that builds and distributes efficient vertical farms throughout cities. It combines efficient vertical farms with IoT technologies and machine learning to offer an alternative food system that is resilient, transparent, and affordable. The company distributes its smart modular farms throughout the urban environment to grow fresh produce for the city’s inhabitants.

In December 2021, Infarm picked up $200M in a Series D funding round and reached unicorn status. The fund came from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Partners in Equity, Hanaco, Atomico, Lightrock, and Bonnier.

Image credits: Xiaopeng Motors/Twitter

Xiaopeng Motors (China)

Founder/s: Xiaopeng He, Xia Heng, Tao He
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: $2.4B

Yet another Chinese EV maker is Xpeng Motors which designs and manufactures intelligent vehicles that are integrated with the internet and use the latest advances in artificial intelligence. In 2021, Xiaopeng Motors received 500 million yuan ($76.9 million) funding from Guangdong Yuecai Investment Holdings Co., the province’s investment arm, to accelerate the company’s business expansion.

Joby Aviation
Image credits: Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation (US)

Founder/s: JoeBen Bevirt
Founded year: 2009
Total funding: $2.3B

Joby Aviation from the US is developing a fully electric air taxi aka electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL). It has completed 1,000 test flights of its S4 aircraft and is in the process of gaining FAA approval to operate the world’s first eVTOL airline. Joby intends to launch the first aerial ridesharing service in 2024. In 2021, Joby Aviation raised $835 million from BlackRock, Fidelity, Baillie Gifford and The Baupost Group.

Impossible Foods
Image credits: Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods (US)

Founder/s: Patrick Brown
Founded year: 2011
Total funding: $1.9B

California-based Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products from plants with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The fast-growing plant-based meat company picked up $500 million in its latest funding round in late 2021. The round was led by existing investor Mirae Asset Global Investments with participation from other existing Impossible Foods investors.

Ecoflow
Image credits: Ecoflow

EcoFlow (US)

Founder/s: Eli Harris, Fan Zheng, Hannah Sieber, Lei Wang
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $473M

A revolutionary mobile power company from the US, EcoFlow reinvents the way the world accesses energy. As makers of industry-first, smart and powerful mobile power products, EcoFlow’s mission is to harness new technologies to foster inclusion and help raise standards of living in areas of the world where power shortages stunt economic growth and development.

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