Meet Elemental’s 17 Earthshot Companies in Cohort 8

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As the climate change clock ticks faster and faster, we know that every moment counts in taking action.

As Greta Thunberg reminded us during the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, “To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.”

Thanks to the 17 startups in our new Cohort 8, we now have 99 companies in our portfolio that are working to address the world’s most urgent environmental issues. Much like the Moonshot, this Earthshot is a vision for collective, collaborative, changemaking solutions, helping ensure that communities and the environment can thrive into the future.

Fortunately, peering into the future is exactly what our new entrepreneurs do best. They’re looking around corners to build a better way forward for our energy, water, mobility, and food systems. We are so excited to share their visions with you today, and help bring their work to fruition in the months and years to come.

We are also delighted and encouraged by the 800 talented entrepreneurs that applied to participate in the accelerator this year, and believe more than ever that startups will play a major role in bringing the optimism, technologies, and business models needed to meet the scale of the challenge. As this cohort came into focus, a few trends emerged:

 Unlike the energy sector, which is increasingly distributed, water infrastructure remains highly centralized. As water crises increase both in the U.S. and globally, we’re targeting technologies, such as the ones developed by Kando and FREDsense, that offer opportunities for improvement in the water system beyond traditional centralized treatment plants. These decentralized tools will help municipalities and utilities reduce pollution and improve operations to provide clean water for all communities.

 Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others illustrate the global food system’s significant contribution to climate change. This year, we’re funding food and agriculture companies whose innovations span the entire food value chain from farm to fork. And we’re placing bets on technologies that can put a dent in methane by targeting organic waste and … cow emissions!

 As ever, we were dazzled by the volume and variety of energy companies in our applicant pool. This year we’re funding diverse technologies that range from predicting climate risk for critical assets to democratizing access to renewable energy and the green economy. The collective theme is that these startups further enable people and businesses to take control of their energy use, empower them to make impactful changes, and participate in wholesale markets in ways that haven’t been possible before.

 With the transportation sector accounting for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. (at nearly 29%), we are keenly focused on technologies that help us kick our internal-combustion engine habit. We’re doubling-down on new data infrastructure and urban design technologies and supporting low-carbon mobility options such as bikeshare and vehicle electrification.

And so, please help us welcome Cohort 8:

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DEMONSTRATION

AMPLY Power | MOBILITY
Fleet charging, simplified
Why do we love them?
One of the fastest ways to kickstart the number of electric vehicles is to convert municipal and commercial fleets. But even if every fleet operator decided to switch to EVs tomorrow, they’d have to do it in spite of persistent barriers like volatile electricity prices and underdeveloped charging infrastructure. That’s where AMPLY Power’s Charging-as-a-Service technology comes in. It addresses the many pain points around fleet electrification with a single turnkey solution, no matter the vehicle type. By providing fleet operators with the ability to design, operate, and maintain low-cost charging services, we believe the company has a strong ability to help accelerate the number of electric buses, trucks, and passenger vehicles on the road.

FREDsense | WATER
Portable water quality sensors for rapid contaminant analysis
Why do we love them?
FREDsense’s portable water quality sensors make it possible to test for contaminants right in the field, upending the status quo of collecting and sending samples to a lab for analysis. The company’s platform technology tests for a variety of contaminants including chemicals like arsenic, which has been linked to nearly 50% of California’s drinking-water related cancer cases. And while collecting contaminant data is important, it’s only really helpful if that data is actionable when it can be most useful. FREDsense does just that through water-quality analysis that is simple, cheap, and accurate, helping customers like water utilities make better decisions on the spot.

Jupiter Intelligence | GRID & EFFICIENCY
The data analytics platform to predict and assess asset-level climate risks
Why do we love them?
When 100-year floods become an every other year occurrence, it’s clear that we’re living in a new “normal.” What’s less clear is how that normal will evolve in the years and decades to come. As the frequency and severity of fires, floods, storms, and other climate-related catastrophes increases, we need to rethink the assumptions that go into risk forecasting. That’s where Jupiter Intelligence comes in. Jupiter’s modeling — created by a team, including a Nobel Prize winner, that has dedicated their careers to climate study and technology — allows cities, businesses, and landowners to essentially peer into the future and predict how our changing climate will threaten their assets, enabling informed and actionable measures to protect critical infrastructure and investments.

Numina | MOBILITY
Providing urban ecosystems unprecedented intelligence without surveillance
Why do we love them?
If our cities are going to truly become “smart,” they need eyes to see what’s happening on their streets, sidewalks, and curbs. Numina’s smart sensors, which can be mounted on lightpoles, capture the complex movements and interactions between cars, pedestrians, buses, cyclists and everything else in our rapidly evolving cityscapes. And  it does it all anonymously, providing cities with unprecedented data granularity to help transform urban environments into more walkable, bikeable, and equitable spaces — without compromising anyone’s privacy.

Span | GRID & EFFICIENCY
Advancing clean energy adoption for the distributed grid
Why do we love them?
Despite the dizzying pace of innovation in nearly every corner of how we generate, distribute, and consume power, the humble electrical panel has remained mostly untouched. Span has built a smart panel capable of acting as the brain in a home full of smart devices, and designed to accommodate the proliferating solar, storage, and EV-charging systems reshaping the grid edge. It’s a single device that can integrate with numerous distributed energy resources, gives people a new level of control over of their home energy management, and can be especially valuable in prioritizing which areas should be powered during outages and backup scenarios.

EQUITY & ACCESS

Allume | SOLAR & STORAGE
Shared solar for multifamily homes
Why do we love them?
In order to transition to a clean energy future, we need solar panels blanketing as many rooftops as possible. But for the millions of households in this country that rent or live in multi-family and affordable housing dwellings, rooftop photovoltaic systems are out of reach. Until now. Allume’s behind-the-meter SolShare system takes power from a single solar system and splits it between different units in a single building. Even better, it requires no changes to standard metering infrastructure or utility billing systems, making it a truly plug-and-play way to democratize solar energy.

Kando | WATER
Situational awareness for the wastewater network
Why do we love them?
Most wastewater technologies are concentrated in water treatment facilities, where they help manage the downstream symptoms of pollution. Imagine being able to locate the precise cause of the problem — as it’s happening, instead of hours or days too late to make a difference. Kando’s technology expands real-time visibility into where pollution is coming from at a granular level, which is in and of itself a big step forward. But it also opens up a whole new world of solutions and can upend the conventional wisdom that wastewater technologies need be confined to treatment facilities. We believe this Israel-born technology can be especially impactful in frontline communities where much of the industrial pollution occurs or ends up.

Leap | GRID & EFFICIENCY
Universal distributed energy exchange
Why do we love them?
Leap works with device manufacturers such as Nest Thermostats to participate in dynamic demand response markets, which is itself a great path to scale. Together, we will work on demonstrating the feasibility of expanding to energy assets in rural and agricultural areas in California, turning agricultural farm equipment and distributed energy resources like solar+storage systems into active energy market participants. This will advance three of the most important priorities we look for in any energy project: reliably saving customers money, helping reduce carbon emissions, and increasing grid resiliency.

Remix | MOBILITY
The leading platform for shaping urban mobility
Why do we love them?
With its goal of building “a more equitable world by expanding access within it,” Remix is exactly the kind of company we had in mind when we created our Equity & Access track. Remix’s software platform, which empowers cities to build the best possible transportation systems, features tools designed for transit, street design, and mobility management. Together, we will focus on ways to improve cities’ ability to plan and design for mobility equity. Take, for instance, a city that has data showing low-income areas are absorbing higher levels of GHGs and is left asking, “What do we do about it?” With Remix’s tools at hand, cities will be empowered to prioritize and design the best projects in response.

OhmConnect | GRID & EFFICIENCY
Making saving energy fun — and rewarding
Why do we love them?
On the surface, OhmConnect offers a clever and empowering way to promote energy efficiency through gamification and giving people cash rewards for using less energy during “OhmHours.” But take a peek under the hood and you’ll find a sophisticated demand response engine. Essentially a software-based power plant, OhmConnect’s proven ability to reduce electricity usage can eliminate the need to fire up a fossil fuel plant in times of peak demand. The result is that consumers pay less on their electricity bills while the entire system gets cleaner and more reliable.

 

GO-TO-MARKET

Bikeshare Hawaii | MOBILITY
Honolulu’s bike share program
Why do we love them?
We’ve seen firsthand that implementing a robust bikeshare program, as Bikeshare Hawaii has done over the past two years in Honolulu, can revitalize how people move about a city, and have fun doing it. Riding a “Biki” quickly became many residents’ (including our team) go-to mode for daily commutes while tourists gained a whole new way to explore the city. With over 100,000 bike trips per month, the Biki service rocketed into the upper echelons of bikeshare programs after being launched in 2017, joining New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., the Bay Area, and Boston (which all launched well earlier) as the top six programs in the nation. And we are particularly excited by the prospect of helping Biki “go electric.”

Blue Ocean Barns | FOOD & AG
The seaweed solution to livestock methane emissions
Why do we love them?
Carbon dioxide is far from the only harmful greenhouse gas. Methane makes up 10% of total emissions, and one of the primary sources of methane emissions is, believe it or not, cow burps. In fact, the digestive processes of livestock including cows and buffalo are responsible for approximately 4% of global GHG emissions. But tackling that problem doesn’t mean we need to eliminate hamburgers from our diets. Dietary supplements like the one created by Blue Ocean Barns, which uses a seaweed-based additive, can help them burp less. How much less? Supplementing the feed of one dairy cow provides the climate benefit equivalent to converting two or more cars from gas to electric.

Farm Link Hawaii | FOOD & AG
Farms at your fingertips
Why do we love them?
In a state that imports 90% of its food, helping local farmers succeed is critical to revitalizing Hawaii’s agricultural ecosystem. Farm Link’s online marketplace and supply chain infrastructure connects local growers and producers with restaurants and retailers, and helps ensure the food meets the quantity, quality, and uniformity standards required to create a reliable and sustainable farm-to-fork system. By helping local farmers create thriving businesses, Farm Link can shrink food imports (and in turn reduce GHG emissions from transport and shipping), incentivize regenerative farming practices that sequester carbon, and reduce the likelihood that agricultural land will be lost to development.

Feasible | SOLAR & STORAGE
Ultrasound and data analytics for better batteries
Why do we love them?
More than anything, cost is the thing that has held back battery technologies. And in order for things like electric vehicles to truly proliferate and compete with internal combustion engine cars, battery costs must come down by around 30%, according to some estimates. Feasible’s ultrasound technology and data analytics offers a novel way to understand battery health and thereby lower production costs. In addition, Feasible’s technology can enter the battery supply chain at different levels to pinpoint where battery failures are happening and precisely which cells need replacing, thereby slashing waste and enabling effective reuse of EV batteries.

Goodr | FOOD & AG
Feed more. Waste less.
Why do we love them?
For many companies, becoming “zero waste” is a difficult endeavor. In many circumstances, that “waste” is really just healthy, delicious food that gets thrown away instead of eaten. But what if instead of ending up in landfills, that food could get easily rerouted to nonprofits or other organizations that don’t have sufficient access to fresh food at an affordable cost? Goodr’s team set out to tackle this challenge because they have firsthand experience with hunger. Goodr provides all the supplies, logistics, and people necessary to connect excess food to those who need it, and is specifically focused on fighting hunger low- to moderate-income communities. And by reducing the amount of food waste in landfills, Goodr also helps reduce harmful methane emissions that are contributing to climate change.

KIGT | MOBILITY
Smart vehicle-to-grid EV charging
Why do we love them?
While the new mobility revolution is well under way in many places, there are many communities where it remains impossible to even find an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. KIGT’s mission is to promote EV adoption in those overlooked areas. It manufactures equipment and develops software specifically designed to increase the availability of low-cost smart charging stations. We believe that KIGT’s community-focused approach will help make EV driving accessible for people of all income levels, and empower them to reap all the benefits that come along with it.

Propagate Ventures | FOOD & AG
Agroforestry simplified
Why do we love them?
To have any hope of mitigating climate change, we will need to fundamentally transform our relationship with the land. Agroforestry — integrating tree growth into existing agricultural systems — can play a big role in that. Propagate helps farmers design symbiotic tree and crop systems, promotes more regenerative agricultural practices, and allows for higher productivity and yields. The company’s software simplifies and de-risks the entire process, helping farmers assess the return on investment, labor, and costs associated with agroforestry so that these farmers can be more profitable on the land they already cultivate.