D3 Announces Its First Cohort of 2023
Our most selective cohort so far spans five countries and new technology categories for D3.
After a landmark year in 2022 for global momentum in climate commitments, legislation, and investments, Third Derivative (D3) is excited to start 2023 by welcoming 15 impactful startups to join our new Cohort 23-1.
This may constitute the smallest of D3’s cohorts to date, but the impact potential and technological innovation across the group far exceeds its size. We recognize these startups as the leading climate stewards of tomorrow, who are already poised to capitalize on current momentum in the space—and add to it with their groundbreaking solutions and world-class leadership teams.
Highlights from D3’s Latest Cohort
The 15 startups onboarded with Cohort 23-1 were selected from a pool of nearly 450 applicants, representing a <4% acceptance rate and proving D3’s most selective cohort to date.
Like our other cohorts, this one continues to raise the bar on innovation, and brings the benefit of more diverse voices to the table. We are proud that two-thirds of the teams feature BIPOC executive leaders, and one-third have a female founder.
And because geographic diversity is critical to success, it’s also notable that Cohort 23-1 startups are headquartered across four continents and five countries, including Australia, Germany, India, Israel, and the United States. By bringing these initiatives into our ecosystem, we’re also deepening D3’s existing networks in these locations and around the world.
As they begin the program, Cohort 23-1 has already raised a collective >$37.3M in external funding (both debt + equity), and created 314 rewarding climate jobs on their teams worldwide. With such impressive numbers right out of the gate, we can’t wait to see their impact climb throughout the next 18 months of D3’s program.
Lastly, the startups in this high-quality group were chosen for their uniquely promising approach to bringing down carbon emissions in longstanding sectors—as well as for breakthroughs in mitigating climate impact from newer markets.
A few of the important themes they’re tackling include:
Carbon Markets Powering Solutions to New and (Very) Old Problems: Several cohort members are bringing fresh strategy to carbon credit use, from leveraging credits to finance carbon sequestration and developing a trustworthy carbon credit tracking system, to incentivizing climate-friendly building materials and helping households replace unhealthy wood and charcoal stoves with electric devices.
Decarbonizing the Built Environment: Other startups in Cohort 23-1 turn their sights to the buildings consuming so much of our carbon footprint. Their solutions include a mix of low-carbon materials made with fiber-based organic materials, novel manufacturing processes, geothermal power for heating/cooling, and modeling software to find the most cost-effective climate-friendly building solutions.
Industry On The Mind: Considering many of the hardest-to-abate challenges fall in the industrial sector, we’re also excited that one-third of the cohort is tackling various challenges in battery chemistry and rare earth metal usage, as well as power electronics and electric motors, and biofuels made from the carbon byproducts of industrial processes.
Now, we proudly invite you to learn more about the individual startups themselves—which you can also explore on our portfolio page. 🚀
Meet the startups of Cohort 23-1
- ATEC Global is decarbonizing cooking globally for the ~4 billion people worldwide who still cook with biomass (e.g. wood, charcoal), which not only produces 1.2 gigatons of annual emissions but also causes substantial health impacts through smoke inhalation. Their end-to-end, automated, full-stack solution seamlessly connects Base of Pyramid households with global buyers seeking high quality, high impact carbon credits—and helps to install clean IoT stove products along the way.
- Why we're excited: Non-renewable biomass use in cooking is one of the leading causes of mortality in underprivileged communities globally. ATEC Global's smart induction- and biogas-powered clean cookstoves provide an alternative, enabling the generation and real-time monitoring of liquid carbon credits that help reduce affordability barriers and improve clean cookstove usage.
Aureus Earth (Boulder, CO, US)
Aureus Earth offers new economic tools for monetizing the carbon reduction and storage capacity of the built environment. AE’s platform integrates construction design software and embodied carbon accounting tools with a carbon offset exchange platform to facilitate the monetization of carbon storage and reduction in the built environment. Proceeds from these carbon offsets reduce the green premium associated with climate-friendly building materials.
- Why we're excited: Global building stock is expected to at least double by 2060 and will utilize 60% of the world's remaining carbon budget without mitigation measures. Aureus Earth's solution intends to monetize the built environment by rewarding the use of green/carbon storing building materials such as mass timber and ready-mix concrete with carbon credits. Use of these materials would allow for the built environment to serve as a long-term carbon storage solution, and AE's carbon offsets will incentivize builders to use materials which were previously economically infeasible.
HVAC for large buildings is challenging to decarbonize without also driving up power demand and electricity bills. Geothermal heating/cooling is the most efficient form of all-electric HVAC, reducing energy costs up to 50%, but has minimal adoption due to cost, time, space, and reliability barriers. Bedrock Energy is building autonomous drilling technology and advanced subsurface algorithms to address these barriers while ensuring predictable, durable performance for decades. The company's goal is to unlock geothermal HVAC as a scalable, affordable, and financeable asset class for the clean energy transition.
- Why we're excited: HVAC for large buildings emits an estimated 2 GTs of greenhouse gasses per year, and is responsible for one-quarter of new power demand. A geothermal solution is the primary way to electrify HVAC in buildings while simultaneously reducing electricity usage. Bedrock's autonomous drilling platform brings geothermal HVAC to the majority by addressing the key barriers to this technology, ie time to design and install, area requirements, cost, and energy efficiency. Their system is 2-5x more efficient than traditional HVAC, and can be deployed for any building size in any location.
CalWave.energy (Oakland, CA, US)
- Wave power is more consistent, predictable, and energy-dense than solar and wind, and can satisfy over 30% of global electricity demand as the world’s largest unused renewable resource. CalWave’s xWave technology unlocks the power of ocean waves to equip coastal communities with baseload clean electricity, achieving the highest efficiency by operating fully autonomously and fully submerged to protect from swells while permitting energy capture from multiple degrees of freedom. Designed for integration with island microgrids and offshore wind farms, the xWave offers potential for reducing cost and increasing grid reliability.
- Why we're excited: Wave energy is critically underused in today's clean energy shift with an estimated generation capacity of 2,300 TWh/year along the US coasts alone. It is very consistent, predictable, and significantly more energy-dense than many other renewable energy sources. CalWave's innovative solution is simple to deploy, has very little operational and maintenance costs, and has already exhibited 99.8% uptime over a pilot period over >1 year while being robust enough to survive anomalous storm events. Their technology will also piggyback off of offshore wind in the longer term to increase its capacity factor from 40-50% to 90%.
Carbonfuture (San Francisco, CA, US / Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany)
- Carbonfuture is the carbon tracking system you can trust, from physical carbon to retired carbon credit. This transparent system takes the uncertainty out of removal credits for companies like Microsoft, Swiss Re, Klarna, and South Pole with digitally-implemented auditing and third-party standards. For climate-relevant scale, Carbonfuture actively supports rapid ecosystem growth with marketplace services, financing tools, and Catalyst, a program for removal ventures.
- Why We’re Excited: Compliance-based carbon markets have been riddled with many issues for decades—lack of trust, transparency, and accountability to name a few. Voluntary carbon markets have been on the rise and have 12x in the last decade alone, driven by companies needing credible climate strategies as regulatory pressure mounts. Carbonfuture is providing an all-in-one blockchain-based marketplace solution for high quality voluntary carbon credits. These are scientifically defensible, independently certified, and tracked throughout the life cycle of the project. They are focusing efforts on biochar-based removals because it is cost-effective and scalable, as well as persistent and measurable.
Cella (New York, NY, US)
- The IPCC estimates we'll need 10 gigatons of negative emissions by 2050, which means capturing and permanently storing or removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Cella accelerates a natural process to transform CO2 into rock, harnessing the planet’s own powers to combat climate change. The company injects CO2 captured from the atmosphere or hard-to-abate sectors underground, where the mineralization process removes it permanently. By creating the most efficient injection process, Cella lowers cost and environmental impact, while creating opportunity for carbon removal in new geological contexts to grow the industry around the world.
- Why We’re Excited: Carbon capture is widely seen as the largest and most significant mitigation measure in moving towards global climate targets. Direct Air Capture, BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage), and source capture all rely on access to permanent carbon storage solutions to work as effectively as possible, but are currently outnumbering said solutions by almost 5x. Cella Mineral Storage is working with carbon capture companies to provide them with safe and permanent storage of carbon dioxide by accelerating the natural chemical process that turns carbon dioxide into rock. Their solution is simple, built on proven peer-reviewed science, and can rapidly scale to accommodate and advance this industry, which is projected to be worth upwards of $50 billion a year by 2030.
- CM Materials offers a novel electromagnetic material for electric motors and power electronics for a range of products. Its award-winning patent-pending technology provides 500% more electrical resistivity than legacy solutions, which improves magnetic efficiency by 50%. Additionally, this technology can reduce machine size by 25-50% and manufacturing cost by ~25%, meaning that EVs can run longer and cooler, or a data center runs cooler with their technology innovation.
- Why We’re Excited: Electromagnets are at the center of any motor, transformer, or power convertor. As we accelerate to an increasingly electrified world, these dated technologies need revitalization to keep up with the pace of climate mitigation action. CM Materials has developed a new type of electromagnetic material with higher electrical resistivity and magnetic induction, resulting in up to 50% reduction in component size while being up to 50% more efficient. This will allow for more efficient, cheaper, cooler, more reliable, and smaller power electronics in key technologies such as EVs and power transmission, as well as enabling other renewable energy technologies like more efficient electrolyzers for green hydrogen.
Criaterra (Holon, Israel)
- Criattera targets one of the biggest and most urgent climate challenges in the building industry: the process of kiln firing of materials, a process that is required in the manufacture of cement and ceramic products that makes the building industry one of the biggest carbon emitters globally. Their low-temperature process for manufacturing construction products enables low-carbon precast materials, including tiles and masonry blocks. These products meet or exceed the constructive properties of widely used products including cement blocks and ceramic tiles, without containing any synthetic binder or cement.
- Why We’re Excited: Concrete is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, emitting nearly 3 GT of carbon dioxide on a yearly basis. Criaterra has developed a bio-composite based building material which maintains the strength of concrete, while being 600% more thermally resistant, and 80% less carbon dioxide intensive, creating an ecological, functional, and economical product. Their process upcycles 70% of materials used in construction, cutting energy usage in manufacturing by 90%, while maintaining 100% recyclability and biodegradability. This presents a unique opportunity for a green building material with no green premium.
Dimensional Energy (Ithaca, NY, US)
- Certain sectors of the economy—such as aviation, heavy trucking, maritime freight, or cement—are next to impossible to decarbonize through electrification alone. Dimensional Energy transitions these hard-to-decarbonize industries to carbon neutrality with its patented, proprietary reactor and catalyst that transforms carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, a component of syngas. The technology integrates all upstream feedstocks, aka green hydrogen and carbon emissions, with downstream hydrocarbon synthesis to provide the fuels and feedstocks they need made from renewable energy and carbon dioxide.
- Why We’re Excited: The yearly fuel consumption of aviation, heavy trucking, and maritime freight services account for over 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The market for sustainable aviation fuels alone is a $100 billion dollar opportunity that shows no signs of slowing down. Dimensional Energy has developed a proprietary reverse water-gas-shift reactor and accompanying catalyst to generate high-purity syngas for various e-fuels from carbon dioxide capture. They have a solution which works today, and is scalable thanks to their multi-year stability catalyst.
ElectricFish (Fremont, CA, US)
- ElectricFish builds and deploys resilient and flexible EV infrastructure to accelerate decarbonization and support community adaptation to climate risks. Aging grid infrastructure makes it difficult to quickly deploy high-powered, future-proofed DC fast charging without site upgrades, an estimated $24.2B problem. Once installed, EV infrastructure faces high operating costs from peak loads and severe resiliency challenges from climate-induced outages. ElectricFish’s containerized, battery-integrated charging solution integrates with a site’s existing electrical infrastructure, accelerating interconnection of hyperfast EV charging in grid-constrained locations without trenching or grid transformer upgrades.
- Why We’re Excited: Expanding fast charging infrastructure will require billions of dollars of grid upgrades, and can be unprofitable while EV adoption is still ramping up. ElectricFish's proprietary siting algorithms help smooth deployment by identifying high potential locations and enabling highly efficient deployment of their proprietary, battery-integrated, flexible fast charging solutions, which can defray grid upgrades, while providing community-level resilience and grid scale energy management services.
Flexodes (Sugar Land, TX, USA)
- Flexodes’ patented, proven Lithium-Sulfur battery technology achieves 50% higher watt-hours per kilogram (with pathway to 100%+) at a 20-40% lower cost per kilowatt hour compared to lithium ion technology. The company's innovation also reduces the need for rare earth metals and eliminates oxides that exacerbate fires. In addition, Flexodes' cathode fabrication process eliminates slurry coating, reducing environmental impact and simplifying cathode manufacturing.
- Why We’re Excited: Lithium sulfur is an exciting next-generation battery chemistry, promising potentially >50% higher gravimetric energy density, high safety, ~30% lower cost per kWh than today's lithium ion cells, making it an excellent enabler of electrification in areas such as aviation and heavy-duty transport. Flexodes' unique CNT foam cathodes and proprietary technologies solve for the biggest challenges with lithium-sulfur cells, cyclability, and have already demonstrated market leading cycle life— all the while being manufacturable in an environmentally benign, cost saving process.
GODI (Hyderabad, India)
- Lithium-ion cell manufacturers use electrode fabrication processes that involve toxic solvents, and require high-temperature processes, which require large energy inputs. GODI has developed unique battery materials and new cell chemistries to bring down cost and environmental impact, while producing higher energy/power density batteries. The company's dry coating technology can manufacture electrodes at room temperature, reducing the risk of thermal degradation of electrode materials and consuming less electricity.
- Why We’re Excited: India is one of the world's largest automotive markets, undergoing rapid electrification. However, cell manufacturing—crucial for a healthy and secure EV industry—is largely nascent to India and there's very little domestic capacity today. At the same time, the industry is looking for innovations that can reduce cost and the highly toxic materials used in manufacturing, especially NMP (an environmentally-harmful solvent). Godi is one of the first entirely indigenous cell manufacturers in India, and has developed a solvent-free aqueous electrode manufacturing process for LFP cells that decreases cost by 20-30% and reduces complexity of process equipment—while being NMP-free.
Radiant Labs (Boulder, CO, US)
- Radiant Labs models the entire climate opportunity space, including interactions among technologies such as building upgrades, EVs, grid interactions, and land solutions. The platform then creates cost-benefit optimized solutions for every individual decision-maker, from the house and land owner to the federal government. This bottom-up modeling helps users know who, when, what, and where to focus to find the most profitable solutions with the greatest climate impact.
- Why We’re Excited: One of the trickiest decisions with any new clean energy technology is deployment and scale. Cost benefit analysis for new technologies can take a lot of time and resources as the financial investments are often large. Radiant Labs has built a software platform that can help property owners and policy makers make financially beneficial carbon-cutting decisions. Their software tools accurately simulate market conditions and allow decision makers to see a forecast prior to making the decision.
Sheru (Delhi, India)
- India produces 25% of its energy from renewable sources like solar, but renewable developers experience 30-50% revenue loss due to a mismatch in timing between peak grid demand and solar availability. Energy storage infrastructure averages 20% utilization, leading to thin margins in new projects. Sheru offers an energy storage marketplace for utilities and independent power producers (IPPs), as well as digital infrastructure from e-mobility businesses to scale faster and unlock revenue from idle time.
- Why We’re Excited: As Indian mobility electrifies rapidly, innovative solutions are needed to keep up with the demand for electrified mobility. Sheru offers one of the fastest growing battery-swapping networks in India, a solution that both reduces the upfront cost of EV ownership, as well as reduces "refueling" time to a few minutes, in line with gasoline vehicles. Their unique innovation on top of this network is a pioneering "energy storage as a service" product—when not in use for mobility, idle battery capacity will serve as clean energy storage which can be utilized by utilities, IPPs and others through an online marketplace built by Sheru. A unique, first-of-its-kind solution in India.
Strawcture (New Delhi, India)
- Strawcture looks to nature to build low-carbon building materials, using natural fibers that sequester carbon and are 40% more insulating than synthetic fibers. The company's growing product offerings includes 96% crop residue fiber-based panels for drywall and ceilings, 100% organic fiber-based insulation, and recycled cellulose-based Honeycomb Framing. Together, these provide a complete solution for non-load bearing construction applications, and store up to 3 kgs CO2/s.f. by replacing traditional, carbon-intensive materials like steel, aluminum, and brick.
- Why We’re Excited: 500 MMT of straw is produced annually in India, however 40% is burned resulting in significant emissions as well as a $30 billion loss. Strawcture has developed a straw-based building material to not only offset emissions from burning, but also embody carbon in the built environment. Their product is carbon-negative, fire-resistant, moisture-resistant, and acoustically insulative. This makes it ideal for a variety of applications such as drywall, doors, flooring, and various bulk furniture categories, all while storing carbon for long periods of time in these solutions.
Accelerate Your Impact
We’re always on the lookout for the next big idea. Are you a world-changing climate tech startup addressing billion-dollar markets in the areas of hard science, hardware, software, and business model innovation?
Leverage our network of mentors, investors, market experts, and corporate partners: Apply today for our 18-month accelerator program. We are accepting applications for our next General Cohort (Cohort 23-2) as well as the second cohort for our First Gigaton Captured initiative, a program focused specifically on supporting startups in the Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) space (Cohort 23-3). Deadline is March 21, 2023.
Let’s change the world together.
➡️ Know a great startup for D3's portfolio? Refer them here.