Recent Deals – 27 June 2023
Omeat emerges from stealth and KoBold Metals is officially a unicorn – Recent deals worth looking at:
Agriculture & Food
Omeat (2019) is a cultivated meat start-up that spun out of the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation. The company collects cow plasma from free-roaming herd cows at its California-based regenerative farm, which is then developed into the growth media. The media can be used to grow all kinds of meat, and to begin, Omeat will focus on growing beef. The founder, Ali Khademhosseini, studied at MIT and prior to launching Omeat was focusing on the growth of human tissues for medical applications.
Omeat has officially emerged from stealth this month with the announcement of $36M in Series A funding. This round was led by S2G Ventures, GV, BOLD Capital Partners, Tyson Ventures, Rethink Food, Trailhead Capital, and Cavallo Ventures.
The funding will be used to continue its patent-pending technology offering a scalable approach to growing cultivated meat in a way that is ‘orders-of-magnitude’ more sustainable and humane than the conventional approach.
Energy & Power
Focused Energy (2021) enables secure energy harvesting from direct and inertial confinement, through its laser-driven fusion energy solution, alongside fusion power plants which cater to three forms of energy output: electricity, industrial/district heat, and hydrogen. The company’s fusion energy is paired with a completely novel range of non-destructive testing in its demonstration facility for industry technologies with the same base. These high-repetition-rate laser-driven systems provide increased reliability and reduce overall costs by mass manufacturability.
Focused Energy has announced an additional $11M in Series A funding along with its recent government grant of $50M from the German Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation SPRIN-D award, for the development of laser fusion infrastructure over the next five years. The Series A finance will go towards continued research and commercialisation steps for nuclear fusion as a reliable, climate-neutral, and essentially inexhaustible energy source.
Materials & Chemicals
Carbon Recycling International (2006) is using its wate-to-fuel technology to turn waste carbon dioxide into methanol. The technology captures carbon dioxide from industrial emissions and combines it with green or recovered hydrogen to convert the carbon dioxide into renewable methanol, a clean fuel that can be added to different blends of gasoline to meet renewable energy directives.
Carbon Recycling International has announced the closing of a $30M Growth Equity round led by Equinor Ventures with participation from Sjova and Lífeyrissjóður Vestmannaeyja.
This fresh capital will go towards pursuing an aggressive commercialization strategy. Its technology has been used in partnership projects with companies including Statkraft, Europe’s largest renewable energy generator, to create a capacity for 100,000 tons of menthol per year with 146,000 tons of CO2 recycled per year.
Resources & Environment
KoBold Metals (2018) is the product of rare earth mining meeting artificial intelligence, and a digital mineral exploration company with its machine prospector software to discover new ethical sources of cobalt. The metals (cobalt, lithium, copper, etc.) can be used across a variety of cleantech applications, including battery materials for electric vehicles. Along with its exploration services, the startup has built a database of the Earth’s layers, using predictive algorithms to call out potential mineral deposits around the world.
KoBold Metals has landed a sizeable $195M Series B round including notable investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Other investors include BHP Ventures, Bond, Earthshot Ventures, Equinor Ventures, July Fund, Mitsubishi Corporation, Standard Investments, and T. Rowe Price.
This round of funding has elevated KoBold Metals to unicorn status, with the fresh capital going towards developing its copper reserves in Zambia.
Transportation & Logistics
Fernride (2019) is a platform for autonomous electric trucking through its teleoperated yard truck technology so that drivers can control electric trucks without having to step a foot inside them. The idea is to encourage a climate-neutral alternative to diesel-powered trucks by making convenience its middle name. Currently, trucks transport 75% of Europe’s freight by volume with 85% of it perishable high-value goods (vaccines, food, etc.), but there is a severe driver shortage with many aging out of the profession; the current shortage of 400,000 drivers in Europe is expected to increase to 2,000,000 by 2026. This is where Fernride steps in: Driver shortages? Covered. Multiple, simultaneous requests? Covered. Anti-emissions? Covered. The yard trucks are designed to operate on private sites, moving cargo at a one- to two-kilometre distance 100 times a day.
The company has recently secured $31M in Series A funding from 10x Founders, Promus Ventures, Fly Ventures, Speedinvest, Push Ventures, DB Schenker, and HHLA Next.
The fresh capital will support its plan to scale operations and grow its global customer base.
Percepto (2013) provides autonomous, on-site multi-mission drone technology for enterprise solutions. The services offered include inspection and monitoring for sites. As Percepto recently received an unprecedented Beyond Line of Sight (BVLOS) waiver from the FAA, this allows its drones to provide any U.S. critical infrastructure site with monitoring and inspection services without requiring site-specific approvals from the FAA. This waiver is an unheard-of gamechanger which will allow Percepto’s automated drone services to remove logistical and cost barriers, including radars and ground personnel costs, while tackling key challenges within heavy industries including operational efficiency, reliability of critical infrastructure, and high productivity matched by high-level safety despite hazardous and aging infrastructure assets.
The company has further secured a total sum of $67M in combined debt and Series C funding with undisclosed amounts of each. This round of funding was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), alongside new investors Zimmer Partners, Delek U.S. Holdings, Atento Capital, Spider Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, and Arkin Holdings.