Carbontech Labs announces $10M public-private partnership

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By Matt Lucas

Building a new carbon economy — an economy that grows while simultaneously reversing climate change — will require big and ambitious partnerships across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Last week, I had the privilege of joining Governor Mark Gordon of Wyoming to announce such a partnership. The Wyoming Infrastructure Authority (WIA) and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust have joined Carbon180’s Carbontech Labs in a public-private partnership worth up to $9.75 million.

This partnership marks an important first step in kick-starting the carbontech sector. The promise of which Governor Gordon captured at the launch event:

“We know markets are changing and that we need new industries… What if we could turn carbon emissions into a commercial product, find better ways to sequester the carbon we capture at the source while using nearby biomass thereby providing an elegant solution to the atmospheric carbon removal advocated in the most recent IPCC 1.5 report?”

The commitment from these two partners includes funding for the first cohort of Carbontech Labs, our accelerator program for startups turning waste carbon into valuable products. Transitioning hard science innovations like carbontech from the lab to the market is challenging, and Carbontech Labs is the first and only accelerator working to pave the way. (By the way, applications for our first cohort are open now! Apply here.) It also includes the opportunity for startups graduating from Carbontech Labs to receive pre-seed equity investments. Historically, lack of capital at the critical early stages of commercialization has been a major impediment to carbontech businesses reaching scale. In contrast to most investors who seek later-stage deal flow, this partnership will invest high-impact capital in carbontech innovators before others normally would invest.

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Governor Mark Gordon of Wyoming, Jason Begger of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, and Matt Lucas of Carbon180 came together in March 2019 to announce a public-private partnership to support the carbontech sector. Photo: Brantley Sydnor

Finally, this partnership goes beyond dollars. It relies on our partners for the important expertise, resources, and thought leadership needed for the carbontech sector to thrive. WIA brings a wealth of in-state connections and access to the Integrated Test Center, a one-of-a-kind testbed for CO2-to-value process demonstrations. And according to Governor Gordon, his state plays a critical role in helping carbontech products reaching scale: “Wyoming is the nation’s leader in advancing carbon-to-products technologies — we have the testing facilities, the access to supply, access to markets, responsive regulations, and policy frameworks. We will continue to focus on finding innovative solutions to carbon.” By combining philanthropy and impact investing, the Grantham Trust will not only support the development of high-quality startups in Carbontech Labs but also send an important market signal to other investors in this space that carbontech is an emerging sector worth tracking.

I couldn’t be more proud to join our revolutionary partners in putting this $10M to good use. Together, we are taking the first steps to make our vision for a new carbon economy a reality.

Want to read more about this partnership? Check out the coverage from the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority and the New York Times. You can find out more about the program by emailing us at carbontechlabs@carbon180.org.

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