The level of energy consumption and carbon emissions that can be attributed to the world’s cities is astronomical. It is estimated that cities are responsible for 70% of all carbon emissions and consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy. Given that an increasing amount of the global population is moving to cities, and it’s clear to see that this is a trend that will get worse before it gets better, unless it is addressed. The new VC fund 2150 recognizes that if the carbon footprint of cities can be reduced, then the knock-on effects will be huge. To this effect, it has launched the fund with $240 million in starting capital and a mission to clean up global cities.
2150 has offices in London, Berlin, and Copenhagen and is aiming to find and fund startups that have the power to make cities more sustainable and resilient and that can improve city planning and the construction industry. The investment strategy around these areas is broad and can include any tech that makes construction more efficient, such as new materials and automation, as well as city infrastructure projects, like micromobility. To begin with, 2150 is looking at investing around 20 companies to the tune of around $5-6 million in Series A funding.
The funds backers include Denmark’s Green Future Fund and Danish biotech investor Novo Holdings, and it will be overseen by a strong advisory board. Members of the board include renowned architect Bjarke Ingels; Christine Harada, the former chief sustainability office in the Obama administration; and Dr Lynn Loo, the director of Princeton’s Center for Energy and the Environment.
One of the early investments of 2150 is in CarbonCure Technologies, a Canadian company that is working to lower the CO2 footprint of concrete. As an initial investment, CarbonCure Technologies show the 2150 strategy at work — concrete is a major contributor to global CO2 emissions and is the most frequently used material in city construction. A reduction in concrete’s CO2 footprint will have a large measurable impact.
The measurement of impact is also key to the 2150 strategy, with the fund planning to hire an environmental scientist who will be able to make accurate assessments of the CO2 reductions. The fund is also aiming to report on two key metrics when assessing the impact of the fund and its investments — how many millions of tons of waste have been saved, upcycled and recycled, and how much CO2 has been captured, used or mitigated.
By 2050, it is predicted that two-thirds of the world population will be living in cities, making 2150’s fund goal of reducing the carbon footprint of these global centers even more vital.
Image credit: CarbonCure