🍃 Clean tech is back


August 24, 2021

The Hustle

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Today’s rundown:

  • Clean tech: US climate tech funding could reach $60B this year
  • Food waste: The $2B startup using food to preserve food
  • Meet HTeaO: A drive-through chain that only sells iced tea

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Earth on fire

The $60B clean tech comeback

Remember Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth”?

It was released in 2006, coinciding with a period of rising interest in climate change and huge funding into clean tech.

According to The Economist, VCs put $25B into the industry between 2006 and 2011…

… but lost more than half of that investment

While this experience left scar tissue for many investors, the industry is booming again. From 2013 to 2020, climate tech investing outpaced all startup funding by 5x.

This year alone, US climate tech funding may reach $60B, up significantly from $36B in 2020, per The Economist.

Public market success stories are bringing investors back

  • Tesla, the EV maker, went public in 2010 at a $1.7B valuation (now worth $700B)
  • Beyond Meat, which produces faux meat, went public in 2019 at a $1.5B valuation (now worth ~$8B)

More broadly, the S&P Global Clean Energy Index has averaged annual returns of 40%+ over the past 3 years (2x the benchmark S&P 500 index).

Recognizing the urgency of the climate situation…

… clean tech investing now has significant support from:

  • US government: The Department of Energy partnered with Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst on a $1.5B initiative
  • EU government: The European Commision has also partnered with Gates to spend $1B building large-scale clean tech “demonstration projects”
  • Family offices: Uber-rich families are chipping in 10% of climate tech venture capital (2x the rate 10 years ago)
  • Wall Street: JPMorgan Chase — America’s biggest bank — says it will “commit $2.5T to sustainable investing over 10 years”
  • Big Tech: Microsoft ($1B) and Amazon ($2B) each have 9-figure climate tech funds

While money is important, increased cooperation between private and public players makes tackling climate change a bit more convenient and more likely to succeed.

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SNIPPETS

Lots of carats: Tiffany & Co. announced Beyoncé and Jay-Z will headline a new campaign for the luxury jewelry brand. #ecommerce-retail

First drops: It rained for the 1st time at the Summit of Greenland, a sign of the Arctic transforming. #clean-energy

Big-time punks: Visa bought a CryptoPunk for ~$150k, its 1st foray into NFT commerce. #emerging-tech

Signal for crypto: MobileCoin, a cryptocurrency focused on privacy, raised $66m. The firm’s 1st technical adviser is Moxie Marlinspike, the co-founder of Signal. #privacy

The bulls are back: PayPal announced plans to launch its crypto service in the UK this week. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Inequality at Apple: Employees claim there’s a 6% pay gap between men and women. #big-tech

food tech
Apeel fruits and vegetables

The anti-food waste startup now valued at $2B

Avocados go bad so quickly that they’ve become a meme, but 1 company is using a special coating to change that.

Apeel Sciences is a California-based startup founded in 2012 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It just raised $250m in Series E, bringing its valuation to $2B, per TechCrunch.

Founder James Rogers says Apeel uses “food to preserve food” in the hopes of reducing food waste — which the USDA estimates affects 30%-40% of food in the US.

But what is this coating?

It’s an invisible, odorless, tasteless “peel” made from ingredients already found in peels, pulp, and seeds.

Produce can be sprayed, brushed, or dipped in it.

The peel:

  • Seals in moisture
  • Keeps oxygen out
  • Helps food last 2x longer

Since 2019 Apeel has saved 42m pieces of produce from going to waste, conserving ~4.7B liters of water.

The new funding will help Apeel expand its supply and retail networks.

Currently, Apeel distributes produce through 40 retail partners, including Kroger, which announced it would sell Apeel avocados nationally in 2019.

Sounds pretty… Apeeling.

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Fast Food (and Beverage)
HTeaO drinks

Meet the iced tea drive-through chain taking over Texas

In 2009, Justin Howe noticed an increase in sales at his parents’ restaurant, Buns Over Texas, after adding multiple iced tea flavors to the menu.

Shortly after this realization, he opened Texas Tea in Amarillo — a joint that solely sells high-quality iced teas.

Business is booming

After growing to 3 locations by 2018, he changed the names to HTeaO and decided to pursue a franchise model with the brand.

He ended up licensing 22 franchise locations within the first 30 days — and the growth has only escalated from there.

As it stands, HTeaO counts:

  • 32 existing locations
  • 37 stores in the construction phase
  • 150 stores in development

And now Howe’s crazy idea has competition

Tea2Go TeaN’ergy is another iced tea drive-through chain from Texas, with scattered locations and plans to open more across the state.

If you want to check out HTeaO for yourself, your best bet is still West Texas (though the company has expanded in-state and has a handful of out-of-state locations).

You also may want to check the menu in advance to prepare for the 500 flavor combinations to choose from.

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AROUND THE WEB

💃 Haha: Hydraulic press videos were already in, but comedian Smac McCreanor takes them to another level. Via interpretive dance, she

imitates items getting completely obliterated.

😮 Whoa: Swedish band Rymdreglage spent 9 years making a trippy 8-bit Lego stop-motion animation video that pays tribute to classic video games.

🏊‍♂️ On this day: In 1875, Captain Matthew Webb became the 1st person to swim across the English Channel without help.

🗣 How to: NPR has 5 tips to help give your co-workers great feedback.

🔭 That’s cool: This is what it looks like if you fix your telescope on Jupiter for 6 straight hours.

🚇 Good job: Boston public transit enthusiast Maya Jonas-Silver says she broke the world record for the fastest trip to every Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority subway station. It took her 7 hours, 4 minutes, and 29 seconds.

JPEG of the day
rocks

Yep, 7-figure rocks (Source: EtherRock)

The NFT craze enters the latest chapter. JPEGs of cartoon rocks called EtherRock are selling for millions. Per CNBC, these crypto collectibles were created in 2017.

As recently as 2 weeks ago, the minimum price for one of these rocks was $97k. Yesterday, the new minimum price for an EtherRock is above $1m.

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