Today we are excited to announce the 30 companies (and 4 fellows) chosen to join Net Zero 1.0. The Net Zero growth programme is the very first in the world to focus on sustainable, carbon conscious companies that are helping the UK work towards achieving its goal to be net zero by 2050.
The announcement of our cohort coincides with the release of our Net Zero Report, which takes a closer look at the state of net zero tech within the UK, and within the global context.
Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said: “As part of our plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050, we are funding green startups and unleashing the talent and creativity of entrepreneurs across the country.
“Innovative companies like these will help us to create green jobs and build back better as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Gerard Grech, Chief Executive, Tech Nation, comments: “The UK’s net zero sector already leads Europe for VC investment, at £336mn, and is home to 323 tech companies that are working hard to reduce carbon emissions globally. Scaling such businesses can be hard, which is why we are delighted to launch a new programme focused on businesses at this stage of growth from all over the UK, especially given the impact they will have on climate change and their drive towards a net zero economy.”
We are also delighted to announce that BNP Paribas will be supporting Net Zero 1.0 as the headline sponsor.
Anne Marie Verstraeten, UK Country Head, BNP Paribas, commented “Supporting Net Zero in the UK requires collective mobilisation, and clean tech solutions are a vital part of accelerating the energy transition. As a bank supporting the transition to a low carbon economy, we have a responsibility to connect our ecosystem of clients and innovative scaling companies at the forefront of developing technologies that tackle environmental challenges. This partnership with Tech Nation highlights the power of coalitions that is essential to scaling up climate action and creating a fairer, greener and more resilient world.”
The Net Zero Report
If the UK is to achieve net zero by 2050, a lot of the work already needs to be underway. Released today, The Net Zero Report shows that the UK already plays a leading role in tackling climate change through innovative technology. In 2019, the UK led Europe for VC investment in net zero companies at £336mn in VC investment. This was 55% more than France which received £216mn, and 18% more than Germany with £283mn. VC investment in net zero in the UK has grown by 28% from 2018 to 2019.
The report has identified 323 net zero companies in the UK, a notable amount when compared to 207 in France (35% less) and 150 in Germany (53% less). Furthermore, 37% of UK net zero companies are at an early stage, which shows an impressive pipeline. 26% of UK net zero companies are late-stage, which highlights the immense growth already happening to meet emission targets. However, while big strides are being made, there is much to be done.
The Cohort Stats
Net zero in itself is an incredibly broad category within tech. Sustainability and environmental impact needs to be considered by every single industry in order for net zero to be achieved.
The companies selected to be on our Net Zero programme represent a rich variety, with the most prominent subsectors being associated with some of the most pressing industries when it comes to climate: energy and electricity (23%) and electric vehicle ecosystems (23%). Other subsectors featured are sustainable buildings (13%), waste management and circularity (13%), agriculture and food systems (10%), environmental footprinting, smart cities, supply chain and offsetting.
Susannah McClintock, Investment Director, Sustainable Ventures, Judge for the Net Zero programme, said: “It is fantastic to see how these exciting UK companies are contributing to the enormous challenge of achieving net zero; the applications showed the depth of innovation and talent in start-ups and early stage working to address climate change through commercial solutions”
The first Net Zero cohort is also evidence of how net zero efforts are coming from every part of the UK, with 57% of the companies being headquartered outside of London. A healthy 13% of our cohort are based in Scotland, with another 13% are based in the South West of England. 10% of our cohort are Welsh, with Yorkshire, the North West, the Midlands and East of England also being represented.
Zheela Qaiser, Programme Lead, Net Zero Programme, comments: “All 149 applications we received for the Net Zero programme were excellent, showcasing the richness of solutions that small teams of innovators are working on to help us make monumental changes to the way our human world and systems impact our planet. I’m so impressed with our final cohort, and am looking forward to helping them work through the unique challenges that net zero companies face.”
In addition to the 30 companies in our Net Zero cohort, we are excited to announce that we also have four additional ‘Fellows’ who will join our programme. The Fellows we selected are net zero companies at a slightly later stage or are alumni of other Tech Nation growth programmes. The Fellows will have access to the Net Zero coaching sessions, the peer-to-peer learning, and we also hope they will be able to share some of their wisdom as net zero companies who already have experience in scaling within this unique space.
Mark Hodgson, Chief Business Officer, Cervest, Judge for the Net Zero programme, said: “I was hugely impressed by the high standard of submissions for Tech Nation’s Net Zero Programme. These inspiring, growing companies are creating a more resilient economy and I look forward to working with them to drive the UK’s Net Zero ambitions forward.”
Meet the Net Zero cohort
Airex has a mission to end fuel poverty. Aiming to reduce home energy consumption, Airex is an IoT-enabled smart ventilation control that helps reduce heat demand in homes, whilst managing indoor air quality. The system’s in-built smart sensors monitor and analyse environmental conditions, while its cloud based algorithms automatically regulate air flow. Airex is approved by UK energy regulator Ofgem to be adopted under the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) scheme.
The road freight market is worth £2.5 trillion, but it’s a big culprit when it comes to carbon emissions. Antonym is tackling the issue with smarter, safer, cleaner and greener logistics. Using proprietary in-house EV technology and advanced manufacturing techniques like Metal 3D printing, Antonym offers a bolt-in plug and play solution to electrify existing diesel trucks to make them electric, zero-emissions, and noiseless.
Dairy farming emits over 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year, more than five times the global aviation industry. Better Dairy is building the future of food by developing completely animal-free dairy products that are molecularly identical to traditional dairy, using a similar process to beer brewing. Removing animals from dairy production isn’t only great for animals and the environment, but gives consumers better food options and food manufacturers better ingredients.
The best way to drive adoption of clean energy is to lower the cost. Boxergy’s mission is to provide home energy cheaper, greener and smarter by selling it, and the hardware required, as a service. Their Hero platform brings together existing low carbon technologies to maximize efficiency and integrates them with their smart tariff. This allows customers to buy energy when it’s cheap and green, and use it when they want.
Manufacturing and recycling supply chains are complex, global and often involve dealing with human rights or environmental issues. Circulor empowers businesses to fully manage their supply chains and drive responsible sourcing and recycling. Circulor creates an immutable record of the chain of custody of materials, linking the end products to their source. This traceability data also enables organisations to make informed decisions to reduce their carbon footprint.
Moving to electric vehicles en masse is impossible without the corresponding infrastructure. Connect Kerb’s EV charging and smart cities infrastructure champions sustainability, connectivity and flexibility. Connected Kerb are innovating and developing an entirely new, environmentally sensitive combined infrastructure that has the potential to enable everyone to transition to electric vehicles, while providing an interoperable platform for current and future technologies.
CupClub is a platform for brands and retailers to manage and track consumer reusable packaging for the Food and Beverage industry. On a mission to reduce single-use plastics from circulation, CupClub enables customers to halve CO2 consumption by switching to reusable packaging. CupClub manages its end-to-end reuse system by charging customers a flat per order fee to collect, sanitise and redistribute their packaging.
Earthly is a tech platform giving businesses a new way to lead the fight against climate change. Focused on natural carbon removal, Earthly helps businesses invest in natural climate solutions that take them beyond carbon-neutrality to become climate-positive. Investments support projects that protect, restore and re-establish crucial ecosystems like forests, peatlands, mangroves and seabeds. Each project is vetted by an independent scientific board, monitored by satellite, and visualised on a shareable immersive platform.
Ecologi (formerly Offset Earth)
Bristol, South West
Ecologi is a subscription service for your carbon consumption, kind of like Netflix for the planet. With the overarching aim to avoid 2/3rds of all carbon emissions, individuals and businesses can remove their carbon footprints by subscribing to grow their own forests or contribute to other carbon reducing activities. Customers have complete transparency to where their money goes each month, and can set themselves personalised eco goals.
Current top-down energy management tools are unable to accommodate increasing renewable energy generation or distributed energy assets on the grid, resulting in costlier grid constraints and missed opportunities for consumers to use zero carbon power. Electron is creating a next generation market platform for low-carbon electricity systems and networks. It enables multiple market operators to interact with thousands of distributed energy resources and create incentives to use renewable generation and network capacity more efficiently.
elmo is a carbon neutral electric car subscription service providing flexible and affordable EV ‘usership’. The platform offers fully-integrated, personal e-mobility, with insurance, maintenance, breakdown, road tax and a carbon offset donation included as standard. On top of this, elmo is the world’s first MaaS (mobility-as-a-service) platform to include a home charge point, discounted renewable energy and public charging access – all wrapped into a single monthly bill.
Ember is the world’s first 100% electric intercity bus operator and is building its own ultra rapid charging network. Ember’s mission is to make a zero-carbon, zero-traffic world a reality. Its tech led approach delivers an integrated platform for managing vehicles, chargers, routes and drivers – allowing them to operate EVs at a higher utilisation than anyone else. Ember’s technology improves the passenger experience, supporting a modal shift away from cars and improving social inclusion.
Tyres are the automotive industry’s big dirty secret, contributing enormously to carbon-emissions, air-pollution and micro-plastic pollution. Despite electric vehicles (EVs) accelerating towards a carbon-neutral future, tyres have thus far been neglected. EVs are heavier and have higher torque, wearing tyres faster and creating more harmful tyre pollution than normal cars. ENSO addresses this problem by developing more efficient, durable and sustainable tyres for EVs.
Giki Social Enterprise
The average UK carbon footprint is 9 tonnes per person per year. To help people live more sustainably, Giki’s mobile app enables people to find more sustainable and healthy products in UK supermarkets. Giki Zero is an interactive, step by step guide to a sustainable life, which helps people to understand, track and reduce their environmental footprint, drive change through their own actions and set their own personal path towards net zero.
How businesses and big buildings consume energy needs to change if we’re going to hit net zero in 2050. Hark is tackling this issue by helping enterprises increase efficiency, maximise yield and reduce waste. Hark provides energy analytics and industrial IoT for enterprises, allowing Energy Managers and Asset Operators to easily connect to, monitor and control their buildings, energy meters and industrial process assets.
Bristol, South West
LettUs Grow design the farms of the future. Their aeroponic farming technology and farm management software for indoor and vertical farms delivers higher crop yields, reduces the environmental impact of agriculture and makes farmers’ lives easier. The products also enable people to grow produce nearer to the point of consumption, which reduces the carbon footprint left by fresh produce.
Tackling the issue of unsustainable materials, Lixea’s BioFlex process takes any type of woody biomass that normally would be unrecyclable and separates the components to make them usable by converting them to products, such as high-quality fine and bulk chemicals, bioplastics, renewable fibres and biofuels once again. It does this by using low-cost, environmentally friendly solvents, called liquid salts or ionic liquids.
Naked Energy is redefining solar energy solutions and tackling the global challenge of decarbonising heating and cooling. Their product ‘Virtu’ is 44% more efficient than existing solutions and takes up 40% less space. Virtu combines solar heat and power, saves the customer money and saves the planet – all within a single elegant product that is easy to install and maintain.
Petalite wants to reinvent the electric vehicle industry by creating a charging technology that’s cost efficient and more reliable. Their patented SDC charging technology lowers charger costs, increases reliability and lengthens lifetime – all whilst keeping similar efficiency to existing competition. Petalite’s goal is to be a key player in the adoption of electric vehicles over the next 5 years.
Poole, South West
Pivot has created a living building energy model designed to attract more development for eco-friendly houses in the UK’s social housing sector. The platform uses machine learning and AI to generate an energy efficiency projection that is 90% + accurate. Once a project is designed, Pivot’s industry-leading performance insurance guarantees the results, de-risking investment decisions.
The true extent of the environmental and climatic impact of our throwaway culture is becoming worryingly clear. Reath enables businesses to break the pattern and transition away from single-use, by applying track and trace technology to solve the data problems inherent in reuse models. They are currently developing the world’s first global Open Data Standard for reusable packaging.
Route Konnect makes traffic more predictable and more eco-friendly by making smarter junctions and predicting the amount of vehicles and people. By using real-time automated insights from their combined camera and LiDAR traffic sensors, they’re able to produce a dashboard giving the ability to see the road network at any time during the day, enabling people to make smarter choices that avoids traffic jams and causes unnecessary pollution and burning of fossil fuels.
Cardiff, Wales – Buildings
Changing the focus of the housing industry to decarbonisation, Sero supports housing providers and their residents to reach net zero by sitting at the intersection of home comfort, construction and energy. Sero develops homes that complement changing energy systems using their energy platform, expertise, optimised design, construction and the new commissioning process of new and existing homes. This saves residents money, effort and it’s more planet-friendly.
Small Robot Company
Salisbury, South West
Small Robot Company is reimagining farming to make food production sustainable. By using robotics and artificial intelligence to maximise the yield from crops, they offer a brand new model for sustainable, efficient and profitable farming called Per Plant Farming. It involves their farmbots individually caring and farming each plant. This increases yields, soil quality, biodiversity, and reduces carbon emissions and chemicals by up to 90%.
Spark EV Technology
Newmarket, East of England
Spark EV Technology develops and supplies personalised journey prediction and map display software for electric vehicles of all sizes. By combining data (such as vehicle size, driver experience, weather predictions) with Machine Learning algorithms, it significantly improves journey prediction accuracy compared to existing vehicle systems. Their goal is to accelerate EV adoption by providing their automotive customers a trusted on board system to remove range and time anxiety for drivers.
Surple helps businesses make smarter energy decisions through their energy management software. They pull data from buildings into their cloud-based software, which runs analytics to provide actionable insights to their users, helping them to reduce energy use, carbon emissions and ultimately their costs. Businesses in the UK have an opportunity to collectively save £6bn through energy efficiency and Surple is making this process easier to manage.
Maidenhead, South East
Tepeo tackles the UK’s biggest challenge to achieving it’s Net Zero target: rapid and low cost decarbonisation of domestic heating. Their product combines electric resistive heating with ultra-high density dry core thermal storage (40kWh) to deliver the performance of a fossil fuel boiler without the associated emissions. In parallel, the enormous amount of flexibility it provides supports self-consumption of renewables and supports balancing of the electricity grid.
Topolytics analyses waste at scale and generates invaluable insights for the recycling industry and waste management sector, preventing more materials from ending up in landfills or seeping out into nature. By using data science, they make the world’s waste visible, verifiable and valuable. Analysing data on commercial, industrial and post-consumer waste from multiple sources and systems, they use machine learning and mapping to make sense of this complex combination of materials.
Manchester, North West
Creating intelligent homes for a sustainable future, Wondrwall is a technology company dedicated to changing the way we live and how we use energy. Combining intelligent AI powered home automation with clean energy production and super efficient heating systems, Wondrwall helps the world’s homes save money, time and the environment.
Zeigo uses machine learning to reduce the complexity surrounding renewable energy procurement, making it easier for corporations, renewable energy developers and suppliers to switch to, or offer, renewable energy solutions. It’s a one-stop-shop for stakeholders to transition to clean energy through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and short-term contracts. Zeigo uses data insights to increase market transparency.
Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Artemis Technologies is an applied technologies spin-off from the successful America’s Cup team, Artemis Racing. The company provides design and engineering services to both high-performance and commercial clients, as well as developing unique hardware and software products. They are leading a Belfast based consortium developing new hydrofoil high-speed vessels and propulsion systems.
Waste composition information is key to increase recycling/recovery rates, give quality guarantee to buyers, mitigate against risks and waste crime, and understand the carbon footprint of the products and waste we generate end-to-end. Greyparrot provides AI-powered computer vision software to increase transparency and automation in recycling. Their “Automated Waste Monitoring System” is currently deployed on moving conveyor belts in recycling facilities to analyse large waste flows.
OLIO is an app that connects neighbours to give away surplus food and other household items, for free. Via their Food Waste Heroes Programme they also connect over 8,500 volunteers with local shops to collect and redistribute their unsold food at the end of the day. There are currently 2 million OLIOers who have together shared over 5 million portions of food.
Project Etopia combines energy, construction and intelligent technologies (Ecitech) to build the homes of the future, pioneering Eco-MMC (Modern Methods of Construction). MMC no longer refers solely to the construction method used, it is the thought process and harmonising of these three key industries that ensures the end product is not only modern today but for years to come, whilst also satisfying as many UN Sustainable Development Goals as possible to help build the Smart Eco Net Zero Cities of the Future.
Interested in joining the next Net Zero programme? If you run a net zero tech company and think you’d be eligible for our next cohort, you can pre-register your interest here.
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