All-star fellows join Carbon180
Entrepreneur in Residence Fellowship supercharges carbon removal startup pipeline
by Noah Deich, executive director
It’s getting to be old news that climate experts see carbon removal as essential for meeting climate goals. But while the message on carbon removal is starting to make its way into the climate plans of companies (e.g. Microsoft, Stripe, BP, Delta) and governments (e.g. California, Sweden), the pace of the action on carbon removal lags far behind what’s required to meet climate goals.
One essential-but-missing ingredient holding back carbon removal today is the lack of a robust startup ecosystem dedicated to the topic. Startups are leading the clean energy and transportation revolutions, and could do the same for carbon removal across forestry, agriculture, and heavy industry. It’s encouraging to see many pieces of the ecosystem necessary for carbon removal startups to thrive are falling into place: legislators in DC are increasing applied research and development funding for carbon removal and it feels like every day we hear from new investors who are ready and willing to finance this vision of the future. But only a handful of entrepreneurs have had success launching new companies in this space.
So how exactly can we supercharge the carbon removal startup pipeline? Enter: Carbon180’s Entrepreneur in Residence Fellowship.
In Carbon180’s newest effort, we will be supporting six experienced entrepreneurs to develop “moonshot” carbon removal businesses. Carbon180 will provide each fellow with a $100,000 grant and set the fellows off on a quest of the highest ambition: to launch a carbon removal business with a detailed plan for scaling it to billion-ton CO2 removal/year level by 2030 so that the business can attract outside funding after the year-long program.
This fellowship program is uniquely tailored to the challenges carbon removal startups will face. Having convened workshops and spoken individually to hundreds of investors, companies, and entrepreneurs working in the broader carbon management field over the last year, our team at Carbon180 has learned that entrepreneurs will need to overcome significant hurdles and prove their vision: the steep technical learning curve, long commercialization timelines, and convoluted go-to-market strategies in an ever-changing policy environment (to name just a few).
Over the course of the year, the fellows will work closely with Carbon180 team and partners to achieve their missions. The curriculum for the program is designed to accelerate learning of carbon removal technologies and opportunities, and help fellows connect with industry and technical leaders. The Carbon180 team will also be a thought partner to help the fellows navigate carbon removal policy, business, and technology ecosystem to find product-market fit for their companies.
And our team at Carbon180 couldn’t be more excited about the first cohort of fellows:
Aaron started his career as a US Senate staffer promoting policies to improve the daily lives of the Americans. Following politics, he founded three startups including one that’s developing climate change solutions for Fortune 500s, small businesses and governments.
Andy is an entrepreneur currently exploring new business ideas in agroforestry and mass timber. He has spent the last year investing in early-stage startups as a Partner at Vas Ventures. Previously, he started YC-backed SunFarmer, a social enterprise focused on bringing solar energy to the developing world.
Kristin Ellis is a biologist, community builder, and open-source enthusiast who believes that everyone is a stakeholder in technology. She has more than a decade of wide-ranging professional experience in biotechnology, open-source hardware and software, open science, systems thinking, community building, high-growth startups, and strategic management.
After 10 years in biomedicine, Jeremey switched his focus to work on climate change, finding ways to leverage his skills towards this urgent problem. He’s passionate about open source and open science, and bringing cross-disciplinary teams together to tackle big problems. Jeremy received a PhD in neuroscience at NYU and helped grow science and engineering efforts at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Jannice is a student at the University of Michigan soon to complete her Master’s in conservation ecology. She is the Rackham Merit Fellow through UM’s graduate school, President of People of the Global Majority for the Environment, and Social Media Chair of the UM Society of Wetland Scientists.
Nana is a Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan studying molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Before her master’s program, she studied plant science and agricultural science at Cornell University. She has been inspired to lead a revolution of sustainable food production that is environmentally sound and dreams of developing salt and drought tolerant crops for developing countries.