34 climate tech companies from across the UK have been accepted into the third iteration of Tech Nation’s Net Zero programme – Europe’s first programme dedicated to supporting the UK’s most promising climate tech companies.
The UK is leading the way for climate tech investment in Europe, with 249 climate tech rounds raising $2.6bn in total in 2021 – a 63% increase on the $1.6bn raised in 2020.
Climate tech companies join Net Zero programme
2022 looks set to be a record year for climate tech investment. With $2.1bn raised so far, compared to $2.6bn for the whole of 2021, the UK climate tech sector’s growth is showing no signs of being affected by the economic downturn.
The companies joining Net Zero 3.0 are revolutionising the UK’s approach to combating climate change across industries – including agriculture, transport, energy and construction.
Algae engineering is an emerging theme this year, with 3 of this year’s companies utilising the plant to create biofuel, bioplastics and carbon sequestration.
Exactly half (17) of the Net Zero 3.0 companies are working in the energy sector, helping to tackle the UK’s current energy and cost of living crisis.
Half (17) of the Net Zero 3.0 cohort are headquartered outside of London, with companies innovating across regions and countries, including Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Tech Nation, the UK’s leading growth platform for tech scaleups, today announces the 34 climate tech companies who have been accepted into Net Zero 3.0 – the third iteration of the Net Zero growth programme.
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Net Zero 3.0 is the first government-backed programme designed to support the most promising climate tech companies to accelerate the UK’s path to net zero. This year’s successful companies were assessed by over 50 judges across key industries, including climate specialists, investors and senior representatives from companies such as Google for Startups, Sage and BNP Paribas.
Companies were judged based on their scalability and potential to help the UK reach its high-priority net zero goal. The chosen companies are actively decarbonising key sectors, from energy and transport to construction and agriculture.
This year’s Net Zero cohort demonstrates that tackling climate change is a priority across all parts of the UK, as 51% of the cohort are headquartered outside of London, with companies based in Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the North and the East of England.
The UK leads the way in Europe for its number of climate tech companies and investment
New data from Tech Nation and Net Zero Insights has revealed there are over 4,400 climate tech startups and scaleups in the UK; 60% more than the number in France (2,793) and 43% more than in Germany (3,100).
The UK is also leading the way for climate tech investment in Europe, with 249 climate tech rounds raising $2.6bn in total in 2021 – a 63% increase on the $1.6bn raised in 2020. This year looks set to be a record year for climate tech investment, with $2.1bn raised in 2022 so far, compared to $2.6bn for the whole of 2021. The UK climate tech sector’s growth is showing no signs of being affected by the economic downturn.
With its first two iterations of the Net Zero programme, Tech Nation has previously supported the growth of 62 of the UK’s leading climate tech companies. Together with the Net Zero 3.0 cohort, these companies have collectively raised over £500mn in VC investment.
The majority of Net Zero 3.0 companies are working in the energy sector
As the UK finds itself in the midst of an energy crisis, exactly half (17) of the companies joining Net Zero 3.0 are working to make UK energy consumption both cleaner and more affordable for customers.
Joining this year’s Net Zero 3.0 cohort, Filia brings solar power to urban homes by integrating solar technology into the fabric of blackout/security blinds and garage doors, while Electric Miles has developed algorithms that profile, aggregate and shift energy demand from electric vehicles in real time to balance supply and demand for grid stability, sustainability and energy security, and Equiwatt are focussed on reducing energy bills while supporting the transition to renewables.
Engineering algae to reach net zero
With scientists recently determining algae to be a ‘climate superpower’, due to the fact that microalgae grows 10 times faster than plants on land, and can absorb 10-50 times more CO2, UK climate tech companies are increasingly looking at how they can use algae to help the UK reach its net zero goals.
For the first time, Tech Nation’s Net Zero programme is welcoming 3 algae engineering companies into the Net Zero 3.0 cohort, which demonstrate the versatility of the plant through the different ways they are using it to drive sustainability.
Kelpi is using algae to create bioplastics that will reinvent packaging by making it fully biodegradable, Phycobloom are engineering algae to create sustainable biofuels, and Phycoworks are utilising synthetic biology and machine learning to produce algae at scale which will significantly increase levels of carbon sequestration.
Net Zero 3.0’s mission
Empowering all of these climate tech scaleups is at the core of Tech Nation’s mission to support UK tech companies who are shaping our world for the better. With 40% of emissions reductions reliant on technologies not yet at mass-market scale, it is imperative to support the growth of these companies, and the Net Zero programme aims to help realise their potential to drastically reduce global emissions. Over the last two programmes, companies part of the net zero programme have grown almost three times as much as the rest of the climate tech ecosystem, outlining the value the programme provides.
Over the next 6 months, every company in Net Zero 3.0 will be given unparalleled access to long-term investment opportunities, education, talent, exposure and a platform with which to influence green policies and create the optimum conditions for growth.
Tech Nation is proud to be a founding member of Tech Zero (an official partner to the UN Race to Zero), the organisation for tech companies of all sizes and stages committed to climate action, whose Tech Zero Pledge has recently surpassed 345 signatories. Tech Nation has also committed to reducing, measuring and publishing their own carbon emissions in an annual Sustainability Report.
Tech Nation is also delighted to announce that this year’s Net Zero programme will again be supported by headline partner BNP Paribas and programme partner Sage. These organisations will provide invaluable support, expertise and insights to the Net Zero 3.0 cohort.
Sammy Fry, Net Zero Programme Lead at Tech Nation, said: “In order to shift the trajectory of global emissions, climate innovations are required across every key industry, and we are proud to have companies disrupting each critical area on our net zero programme. We are also delighted to see climate tech continuing to reach new heights, in spite of the challenging economic context, outlining the resilience and faith in the sector. Through our net zero programme, now in its third year, we are looking forward to continuing to safeguard the growth of climate tech and to provide the support needed to help these companies scale and drive down global emissions.
Pippa Gawley, Founding Partner at Zero Carbon Capital and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “The Tech Nation Net Zero programme gives valuable support to UK climate tech companies looking for constructive advice, strings-free mentorship and a safe space to share with fellow founders as they face the challenges of growing their companies. I’m excited to work with this year’s awesome line up.”
Mayank Girdhar, Co-Founder of UpSpark and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “The Net Zero 3.0 programme this year has brought together the best of the UK’s climate tech talent. These 34 startups are truly expanding the global frontiers of business and technology innovation on the path to net zero. I am excited to see their tremendous potential being unleashed and accelerated through the fantastic resources and invaluable network of peers, partners, advisors and investors curated by Tech Nation. It is an honour to be part of the Tech Nation community supporting such important work and such incredible founders on their journeys to help solve the climate challenge.”
Natasha Jones, Investor at Octopus Ventures and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: , said: “Tech Nation’s Net Zero 3.0 programme is at the heart of the UK’s Climate Tech community. It brings together founders in multiple verticals, united by one central mission of fighting climate change. It’s an exciting and inspiring programme to be part of and I can’t wait to see these businesses grow from strength to strength over the course of the next six months.”
Jon Coker, General Partner and Founder at Eka Ventures and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “This is my third year of being involved in the Net Zero programme and it is fantastic to see the continued quality of the amazing entrepreneurs in each cohort, who are building inspiring technology companies that are focussed on tackling one of the biggest challenges facing society today.”
Shân Millie, Founder of Bright Blue Hare and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “Why does Tech Nation’s Net Zero programme matter? It’s not just the practical mechanics of the growth programme – it’s the visibility all applicant firms get with a diverse group of advisors but importantly from being part of a nationally and internationally-known initiative. The individual firms benefit, but the whole climate tech sector – and society – does too.”
Jamie Rowles, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Planet Fund and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “I was extremely impressed by the calibre of climate tech startups developing new science and technology to go after the once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-tool across every industry towards Net Zero. It’s exciting to have a front row seat to watch this next cohort of companies building!”
Cansu Deniz Bayrak, Senior Partner at Bethnal Green Ventures and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “I’ve been a Net Zero programme judge since the very beginning. It is very encouraging to see the scope of applicants widen year on year, which to me signals the growing entrepreneurial appetite to contribute to Net Zero and hopefully help move to Net Positive as a society. The climate crisis is a complex issue that requires collaboration from all sorts of sectors, not just the usual suspects like energy.”
Jeffrey Krogh, Managing Director at BNP Paribas (Tech Nation’s headline partner for Net Zero 3.0) and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “Startups play a crucial role in accelerating change and fostering innovation towards net zero. I have been extremely impressed by the quality of this year’s candidates, their impact, and potential to scale. Prior cohort companies rate the programme highly, and we are delighted to support the common goal of making this upcoming Tech Nation Net Zero 3.0 initiative a success.”
Mathias Karady, VP Product Strategy at Sage and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “Sage is committed to taking action to address our environmental impact and support SMBs to break down barriers to a more sustainable future. We have stepped in to support the Net Zero 3.0 programme once again as the next generation of fast-paced and innovative companies are key to ensuring the UK takes a lead in tackling the climate crisis. It was a real privilege to be a Tech Nation Net Zero judge and I am really excited to be able to continue to support them throughout the programme.”
Savitri Tan, Investment Associate at Isomer Capital and Net Zero 3.0 Judge, said: “I was impressed by the calibre of candidates applying to join the Future Fifty and delighted to see that the new cohort members are working towards transforming the world as we know it; from bringing leading science researchers into industry, to influencing drug discovery and changing to how we shop for our daily essentials. I am sure that being part of Future Fifty will help them achieve these aims even faster.”