20 Cool sustainability startups
Written in support of Techstars Startup Weekend Moscow.

Predislava Derugin | February 20, 2020
20 Cool sustainability startups
Written in support of Techstars
Startup Weekend Moscow.

Predislava Derugin
February 20, 2020

As awareness continues to increase around the problems of global sustainability, more and more entrepreneurs and socially responsible investors rise up to meet the challenge and make a positive impact.

Last year we observed with fascination the flow of new ideas from contest participants at Techstars Global Startup Weekend Sustainability Revolution. But what does an already-formed and, in a certain sense, successful sustainbility startup look like?

Let the 20 startups listed below serve as inspiration.
Agriculture
Impossible Foods Inc. This unicorn developed a new generation of lab-made and authentic-tasting meats and cheeses using proteins and nutrients from plants. It significantly reduces land and soil depletion, methane emissions, and often inhumane practices caused by traditional cattle raising. As of February 2020, Impossible Foods had raised a total of $687.5 million in funding over seven rounds.

Solar Foods. The Helsinki-based startup creates "food out of thin air" by producing an entirely new kind of nutrient-rich protein using only air, water, and electricity. Its product is not dependent on agriculture, the weather, or the climate, thereby potentially preserving land and water resources. The company was just founded in 2017 and has already raised $2.8 million.

Freight Farms. The startup develops shipping containers turned into high-volume crop production units to support farming in any climate. It uses LEDs, hydroponics, and a high-tech ConnectTM app for remote monitoring and controlling humidity and temperature. The company has raised a total of $26.4 million in funding.

AquaSpy. This Australia-based startup improves crop yields of up to 40% by provided a soil-monitoring system that measures moisture, temperature, and electrical conductivity, telling farmers specifically where to apply fertilizer. It raised a total of $10.8 million in funding.

Energy
Choose Energy. The Texas-based startup is a marketplace for clean technology and services, simplifying shopping for electricity and natural gas rates, plan terms and renewable energy options for the average consumer and small business. As of October 2018 had raised a total of $25.7 million. In 2017, Choose Energy was acquired by Red Ventures.

DEPsys. The Swiss startup provides evolutive solutions enabling traditional low-voltage electricity networks to cope with the new constraints of decentralized production from renewable energy sources. The startup raised €11.6 million in Series B funding in February 2019.

Solarkiosk. The company designs solar-powered technology for rural communities across Africa and Asia, providing access to sustainable energy, refrigeration, water purification, charging, communication, technology, information and business opportunities. As of October 2018, Solarkiosk annual revenue was $4.4 million.

Arctic Sand. This technology significantly improves power conversion efficiency and aims to save 80% of all energy that is lost in the form of heat worldwide. Arctic Sand recently raised a total investment of $28.6 million in two funding rounds.

Skeleton Technologies. Europe's biggest developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage. Customers include the European Space Agency, which uses the product to recapture the energy and providing peak and backup power. The startup received €46.4 million in six funding rounds.
Transportation
Lilium. The German startup is developing an on-demand electric jet, to be deployed commercially as an air taxi that can be booked through an app. The jet will be emission-free, more energy efficienct than an electric car, and with prices that rival traditional car services. The company raised a total of $101.4 million.

WM Motor. The Shanghai-based EV company is one of the few that targets the mainstream market with a well-designed, 100% electric vehicle. It raised $1.6 billion and is led by a former Volvo executive, Freemen Shen.

Bolt. The Estonia-based ride-sharing unicorn has swept across Europe and Africa and is challenging Uber. The company has a total of $300.1 million in funding.

Lime. The Silicon Valley startup is pivoting from from its original stake in the bike-sharing market and turning to electric scooters. The company has a total of $765 million in funding.
Waste management
Olio. Downloaded over 180,000 times, this app allows communities, businesses, and stores to share their food to reduce food waste. The London-based startup has raised over $10.1 million in funding.

Rubicon Global. The first ever tech unicorn in the garbage industry, Rubicon provides businesses with an affordable on-demand trash-hauling service and helping to divert trash out of landfills. The company has raised $296.1 million over five rounds.

ZenRobotics. Based in Helsinki, this leading waste-sorting robot can sort a wide range of waste types and objects, reducing the need for recycling centers to pre-process waste, which is costly and increases processing time. The company has €14.4 million in funding.

WISErg. The technology transforms food waste into high-quality, high-nutrient liquid fertilizer that can be converted to organic lawn care products. The startup raised a total of $69.8 million in funding.

The Ocean Cleanup. This Rotterdam startup has taken on the goal of cleansing the oceans of 90% of their plastic waste by 2040. The solution consists of tube barriers that act as an artificial coastline, passively catching and collecting ocean debris, placed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located between California and Hawaii. The startup has raised $35.4 million to date.
Construction materials
Solidia. New Jersey-based cement production startup replaces limestone with a synthetic material that requires lower temperatures and less energy than traditional methods. The cement absorbs CO2 as it hardens, all of which amounts to a production process with a 70 percent smaller carbon footprint. It raised $27 million in funding.
Made on
Tilda