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VCs are investing in these hot areas of climate tech

"'Climate is like the internet in that it's going to disrupt every corner of the global economy,' said Andrew Beebe, the managing director of Obvious Ventures, which has more than $1 billion in assets under management. "It might be like a dirty little secret in Silicon Valley that some of the best targets for venture capital are where governments will regulate the fastest.

'Support from policymakers can help offset rising interest rates that might make investors reluctant to back big industrial projects, said Veery Maxwell, a partner at Galvanize Climate Solutions, a global investment firm focused on climate, which declined to provide its assets under management.'

Venture-capital and private-equity funds searching for the next big climate solution raised piles of cash last year, and now it's time to spend it.

About $64 billion flowed into these funds in the fiscal year that ended in November, more than double the previous year's total, an analysis by Climate Tech VC found. That means tens of billions of dollars are up for grabs for startups trying to solve the climate crisis.

Several venture capitalists told Insider that a new era is underway because of the passage last year of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes some $370 billion in federal subsidies over a decade aimed at expanding renewable energy and boosting manufacturing in the US. Industries known to be big polluters, such as agriculture, utilities, and commercial shipping, are ripe for change, the VCs said.

Here are three industries where climate VCs are placing bets in 2023.

Regenerative agriculture

The global food system accounts for one-third of greenhouse-gas emissions, according to UN-backed study. Maxwell said that while practices that reduce emissions on farms are well known, such as planting cover crops that help the soil store more carbon or using less fertilizer, there isn't a market that incentivizes that behavior, though some startups are trying to change that.

Galvanize led a Series B funding round for the startup Regrow Ag, a technology platform that works with food companies and farmers to track their greenhouse-gas footprints and invest in practices to reduce them.

Beebe told Insider that he's excited about innovations in cutting methane emissions from livestock. There are additives for the food cows eat that can reduce the amount of methane they burp by up to 90%. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so sizable reductions could be a climate win.

Energy analytics for companies and consumers

As more people buy electric cars and install solar panels, and as utilities bring more renewable energy and battery storage online, tools are needed to manage how all these elements interact with the power grid. Consumers want to know the best time to charge their car or use electricity at home to avoid high rates. Utilities need to make sure there's enough electricity to go around, especially as seasons change and extreme weather events become more frequent.

Commercial shipping

The European Union is cracking down on emissions from the diesel-powered cargo ships that enable our collective consumerism. Maritime shipping was exempted from the EU's carbon market, the bloc's key climate policy, but that dispensation is coming to end in 2024."

Excerpts from story by Catherine Boudreau, Business Insider

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