In the aftermath of Silicon Valley Bank’s failure, Elemental Excelerator, a nonprofit investor in climate-tech businesses such as BlocPower and ChargerHelp, says it is “doubling down.”
Elemental plans to invest an additional $43 million in climate-tech firms, of which $13 million will go toward the launch of its twelfth accelerator program in October. According to a spokeswoman for the investor, it is still “in the process of raising the funds” and has not yet secured all of the capital.
Elemental said it plans to use the money to “address financing gaps” and “accelerate climate solutions with deep community impact,” a nod to both the slowdown in venture capital funding and the run on SVB. Climate tech avoided the 2022 funding crunch, but the collapse of SVB—given that the bank had previously worked with companies in the field—seems to have alarmed the industry.
Elemental’s research interests are roughly as diverse as climate technology itself, including composting, seaweed farming, electric vehicles, energy storage, recycling technology, and cement decarbonization.
The company’s funding goal is an improvement over previous years. It invested $8 million in 17 climate businesses in 2022, giving them between $300,000 and $600,000 each. Elemental plans to invest between $350,000 and $1 million in up to 20 projects this time.
According to Elemental CEO Dawn Lippert, the nonprofit would “invest an extra $30 million in catalytic project funding for three to six scale-up projects” with the remaining funds. According to the company, startup-run projects must demonstrate that they will have a “deep impact,” which it defines as “substantial positive community impact” and “demonstrable” greenhouse gas reductions.
For its investments, Elemental accepts equity. The foundation “invests any upside from these investments into supporting future entrepreneurs,” according to Lippert, who spoke to TechCrunch. According to the nonprofit, it has so far raised $57M.