Elemental aims to pump $43M into climate startups with ‘deep community impact’

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Elemental Excelerator, a nonprofit investor in climate-tech startups including BlocPower and ChargerHelp, says it’s “doubling down” in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank‘s collapse.

Elemental intends to pump $43 million more into climate-tech startups — $13 million of which will be set aside for its twelfth accelerator program, beginning in October. The investor hasn’t secured all of the money yet; it is “in the process of raising the funds,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch.

In a nod to both the VC slowdown and the run on SVB, Elemental said it intends for the cash to “fill funding gaps” and “accelerate climate solutions with deep community impact.” Climate tech evaded the funding drought of 2022, but the fall of SVB seems to have rattled the sector, given the bank’s longtime work with climate tech startups. 

Elemental’s interests are about as broad as climate tech itself — spanning electric vehicles, energy storage, recycling tech, cement decarbonization, seaweed cultivation, and composting.

The firm’s funding target represents a step up from prior years. In 2022, it put up $8 million for 17 climate startups, offering them between $300,000 and $600,000 apiece. This time around, Elemental wants to pump between $350,000 and $1 million into up to 20 ventures.

As for the remaining $30 million, Elemental chief executive Dawn Lippert told TechCrunch that the nonprofit will “invest in an additional $30 million in catalytic project funding for three to six scale-up projects.” The firm said the startup-run projects must show they’ll have “deep impact,” which it defines as “demonstrable” greenhouse gas cuts and “significant positive community impact.” 

Elemental takes equity in exchange for its investments. Lippert told TechCrunch that the nonprofit “invests any upside from these investments into supporting future entrepreneurs.”

To date, Elemental says it has invested $43 million into climate-tech businesses.