Carbon13’s second cohort showcases ingenuity for reduction of CO2 at Cambridge Union
Carbon13, ‘the venture builder for the climate emergency’, hosted a demo day for its second cohort last week.
The accelerator, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 400 million tonnes or one per cent of global emissions every year, was founded in 2019 by CEO Chris Coleridge, senior faculty in management practice at Cambridge Judge Business School. The other co-founders were Dr Nicky Dee, Michael Langguth, Katy Ford and Frank Knowles, who has sadly since passed.
The business scale-up accelerator – which was a finalist in the Cleantech Company of the Year category at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards last month – is unique because some companies are created during the programme.
Having been inducted, they work to come up with a business model with other individuals. The first intake, in March 2021, consisted of 59 people: by that July, 10 teams – developing a mix of pre-formed ideas and new business teams and models – were selected to go forward.
“The history of entrepreneurship tells us that good ideas often come from a fresh perspective, from outsiders,” said Chris Coleridge of the rationale.
“The selected companies are from across the board – buildings, food and agriculture, energy, mobility, manufacturing and finance.”
Cohort 2 showcase day took place at Cambridge Union last week (May 24).
“Breakthroughs come from community,” said Chris, introducing.
“We’re in this room because finally the economy is catching up with climate change,” said co-founder Nicky Dee.
The 11 start-ups in Cohort 2 are:
- Kita, an insurtech start-up with the vision to become the world’s first “carbon insurer”
- Emeralga Biotech, which employs novel biotechnology to produce the most sustainably sourced nutrition
- Insenti, which is developing a software platform to enable business to decarbonise its supply chains
- Shanti, offering a safety information-based navigation system to help you move around the city more safely
- Phoenix Carbon, which has a disruptive composite recycling process to enable a composite circular economy across aero, auto, marine and leisure sectors
- Food Squared upcycles byproducts from food manufacturing into sustainable plant-based ingredients for the alternative protein industry
- Limetrack, which optimises the collection and compliance of SMEs’ food waste recycling via a digitally tracked commercial food waste collection service
- Croptimise, which is building a network of computer vision-enabled smart traps to track pests and provide pest forecasts, for growers and agronomists
- Bluemethane is developing new technology to capture methane emissions from water, as a new source of data, power and revenue
- Paradigm, which “sits at the intersection of art and philanthropy to create valuable digital assets with everlasting environmental impact”
- BioZeroc, which is advancing the integration of biotech with material science to create carbon-negative construction materials.
One of the investors at the showcase made the following notes.
“The first pitch is from Kita Earth with CEO Natalia Dorfman. Kita is the world’s first carbon insurer, insuring carbon removal deliverers around the world. ‘We’re ambitious, the climate risk demands nothing less’, they say.
“Emeralga Biotech provide nutrition and bio-stimulants from microalgae-based technology, without using arable land or fresh water. The presentation is led by Aditi Mahajan and Rubén Ramos Guerra and Constantin Sahm. Those with sharp eyes can see the water and beer needed for their demo.
“BioZeroc are building the zero carbon future, literally. Liv Andersson introduces their cementless concrete technology with John Somerville – ‘we’re not here for incremental change, we’re after breakthrough innovation around the world’.
“‘It’s time to modernise impact fundraising,’ said Jerome Maas and Terrence Chan, who present Paradigm, the first NFT [non-fungible token] platform designed from the ground up to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals. [NFT is a way of providing digital security using assets such as digital art, digital collectible items, or pieces of audio/video content.]
“Paradigm’s solution is designed so that creating one NFT on their platform is equivalent to sending just one email with two or three photos.
“Bluemethane are measuring, capturing and monetising methane from water in reservoirs and dams – the only venture in the world currently doing this.
“Louise Parlons’ Bentata presents their breakthrough solution with co-founder Nestor Rueda-Vallejo.
“£1billion is lost by farmers to pests in the UK alone. Amit Dodhia and Tauseef Ali have founded Croptimise AI to leverage data to forecast, monitor and prevent pests.
“Limetrack’s Andy King is pitching: the team is tackling the mountain of food waste through their digital platform which will segregate, aggregate and track food waste using blockchain. As an appetiser, barely 10 per cent of food waste produced by independent caterers is recycled, leaving plenty of opportunity.
“Andrew Dunn presents Insenti, the nature-based in-setting platform which enables large corporates to ‘fix the problem at source’ rather than rely on off-sets with their increasing costs.
“By 2030 the plant protein market is due to grow 428 per cent: Food Squared are the B2B venture who aim to meet that demand. With Frankie Fox Wesley Yland and Abi Aspen Glencross presenting.
“Luca Frondoni and Rick Stuart take the dais to showcase their game-changing composite recycling solution to expanding the plant protein ingredient landscape beyond the current range of virgin wheat, pea, and soy and tell the audience: ‘Our customers need this today, not tomorrow’.”
Chris Coleridge commented this week: “As I said in my introductory remarks, Carbon13 is a community – because in order to achieve breakthroughs, you need cross-disciplinary working, connections and structure and you can only get these factors working properly when people feel part of something bigger than themselves.
“The day was a well-deserved opportunity for the community to come together and share the progress we have made, together.
“We are delighted to see C2 have quite a bit more – 60 per cent –Cambridge-style hard tech than was the case for C1 and we see the trend likely to continue for the new Cohort 3, which started five weeks ago and have their showcase day in December.
“Software has its place but many of the solutions the climate needs arise from atoms rather than bits.
“Those interested in an early glimpse at what C3 comes up with can subscribe to our newsletter and will then be invited to a virtual ‘first look’ event which will run July 20-21.”
Regarding progress for the first cohort, Chris says: “C1 has continued strongly, all eight teams are making good progress and seven have raised again, one is looking already at an eight-figure valuation and four have picked up large clients, two of them FTSE100.
“We continue to informally mentor them and they are providing material support and inspiration to C2 as well.”