Chris Sacca, Founder of Lowercase Capital LLC, speaks during the 2017 South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, USA on Saturday, March 11, 2017. The SXSW Interactive Festival features a variety of tracks that allow participants to explore the next steps in the worlds of entertainment, culture and technology. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Chris Sacca’s climate investment firm, Lowercarbon Capital, announced Thursday that it has raised a $350 million fund specifically to invest in carbon removal startups.
“There has never been a better time to start a carbon removal business,” Sacca wrote in its fund announcement.
Sacca said he wants to invest in start-up entrepreneurs looking to scale their carbon removal technology, and he’s open to a number of solutions ranging from biological enhancements and manipulations to electrochemical solutions to bury carbon deep beneath. earth.
“So come to us with your craziest ideas. They don’t need to be completely baked in, and we have no preconceived notions of what might work,” Sacca wrote. “There are whole categories of carbon removal approaches with enormous potential that haven’t even been discovered yet.”
On Tuesday, online payment technology provider Stripe announced that it had teamed up with Google parent company Alphabet, Facebook parent company Meta, e-commerce platform Shopify and consulting giant McKinsey to commit to buying $925 million worth of permanent carbon removal from companies developing the technology over the next nine years. The companies jointly announced the investment with the creation of Frontier, an advanced market engagement funding model that was originally developed to drive demand for pneumococcal vaccine development for low-income countries in 2009.
Stripe is also an investor in Lowercarbon’s $350 million fund and proceeds from their investments will be reinvested in purchasing more carbon disposal, Sacca said.
Overall, the nearly $1 billion commitment is a way to lock in demand for the still-nascent industry.
Lack of demand for carbon removal means science has been mostly relegated to lab projects.
“In terms of the demand for carbon removal, consider that two years ago the amount of money trying to buy it was rounded to $0. The few companies that were trying to remove were basically small demonstrations without a clear path to full-scale commercialization,” Sacca wrote. “Fast forward to today, and we’re seeing major buyers across the spectrum simply getting it. It’s not just lip service. We’re talking about calling your bluff, show me the ‘money, money on the barrel lined up to buy carbon disposal.’
There are other recent signs of market demand coming from governments.
In the United States, a bipartisan infrastructure bill included $3.5 billion in direct federal government investment in carbon capture technologies, while the United Kingdom and the European Union pledged to capture 5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Swiss carbon sequestration company Climeworks, a frontrunner in commercializing the technology, raised $650 million in funding on April 5.
Investing in carbon removal technologies goes hand in hand with decarbonization efforts.
“We can, and will, eliminate new emissions, even in industries like steel and fertilizers that are notoriously difficult to decarbonize. Our current carbon reduction portfolio leaves us confident,” Sacca said. “Carbon is expensive and taking it out of energy, services, goods, etc. ultimately translates into profits. Companies love profits. So it all works. It’s just going to take time. Sadly, we’ve spent the better part of the past 50 years chasing the time it takes to gorge on an all-you-can-eat petrochemical buffet.”
And that’s why, Sacca said, removing carbon from the atmosphere must also be part of the development of climate technologies.
“Removing means removing. It means mopping up the 170 years of mining sludge milk that we have already spilled,” Sacca wrote. “Elimination means that we are already capturing carbon dioxide pollution and removing it permanently. As others have described quite eloquently: when you only have one swimming pool, you have to fish out the droppings that are already floating around while convincing people to stop dropping new turds.”