20 Surging Climate Tech Startups (2021)

by Josh Howarth - June 8, 2021

With climate change becoming a pressing issue, there’s a dire need for sustainable solutions.

Certain ventures are trying to fill these gaps to create a cleaner future with climate-friendly technology.

By 2023, total investment in the climate and cleantech sectors is expected to reach $6.4 trillion.

Every year, several new companies are joining this ever-expanding sector.

We’ve gathered 20 of the fastest-growing climate tech startups to keep an eye on in 2021.

1. AMP Robotics

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5-year search growth: 3200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Louisville, CO

Funding: $74.5M (Series B)

What they do: AMP Robotics is a tech startup that’s created an AI-powered robotic system that can recycle waste. The technology they’re using can reportedly identify recyclable materials with an accuracy rate of 99%. This year, AMP Robotics made it to the CNBC Disruptor 50 list.

2. Form Energy

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5-year search growth: 480%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2017

Location: Somerville, MA

Funding: $125M (Series C)

What they do: Form Energy develops and commercializes a low-cost renewable energy storage system. Their batteries are designed to store solar and wind energy for extended periods of time. According to their website, the startup's battery technology will enable the global electricity system to run on 100% renewable energy. It is estimated that Form Energy earns $25M in annual revenue.

3. Carbon Engineering

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5-year search growth: 600%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2009

Location: Squamish, Canada

Funding: $110.4M (Grant)

What they do: A clean energy company, Carbon Engineering is on a mission to reduce emitted carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They use “direct air capture” (DAC) technology to catch CO2 from the air to convert into fuel. In 2017, Carbon Engineering successfully converted captured CO2 into liquid fuel for the first time.

4. Power Ledger

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5-year search growth: 200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Perth, Australia

Funding: $35 (Grant)

What they do: Power Ledger offers a blockchain for energy commodity tracking and trading. The platform is designed to enable clients to engage in P2P solar energy trading, sell to commercial power grids, and buy carbon credits. Today, the company’s clientele extends across more than 9 countries.

5. Rad Power Bikes

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5-year search growth: 2075%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2007

Location: Seattle, WA

Funding: $175.3M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Rad Power Bikes manufactures and sells e-bikes and related accessories. Through their electric bikes, the company hopes to revolutionize the future of transport. Between 2019 and 2020, Rad Power Bike almost tripled its sales revenue.

6. Pachama

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5-year search growth: 122%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $24.3M (Series A)

What they do: A cleantech company, Pachama offers a marketplace where organizations can purchase carbon credits. They employ AI and machine learning to identify and verify forest projects for carbon offsetting. More than 1,000 companies currently purchase carbon credits from Pachama’s marketplace.

7. Proterra

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5-year search growth: 583%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2004

Location: Burlingame, CA

Funding: $679.8M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Proterra develops electric-powered vehicles for bus fleet operators. Their aim is to help reduce the carbon impact of public transportation. According to their website, Proterra vehicles have been driven for more than 19 million miles in North America.

8. Redwood Materials

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5-year search growth: 2600%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Carson City, NV

Funding: $42M (Undisclosed)

What they do: Redwood Materials uses technology to reuse, recycle, and remanufacture end-of-life products. Specifically, they process electric vehicles, consumer electronics, grids/storage systems, and waste produced from manufacturing processes. Redwood Materials has several customers, including Amazon and Panasonic.

9. Universal Hydrogen

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5-year search growth: 400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2020

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $20.5M (Series A)

What they do: Universal Hydrogen is a cleantech company that’s working on developing an infrastructure for hydrogen-powered aviation. The startup’s goal is to make carbon-free aviation more accessible. So far, Universal Hydrogen has received investments from Airbus Ventures and JetBlue Technologies Ventures.

10. Volta Charging

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5-year search growth: 1966%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2010

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $275.4M (Series D)

What they do: A marketing and advertising company, Volta Charging installs brand-sponsored EV charging stations. Their network of stations is designed to provide charging stations at the places they’re needed the most. Volta Charging has helped offset around 42 million pounds of CO2 so far with their charging stations.

11. ZeroAvia

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5-year search growth: 2300%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Hollister, CA

Funding: $62M (Series A)

What they do: ZeroAvia offers a zero-emission hydrogen powertrain for airplanes. Their goal is to make aviation more sustainable by cutting down on costs and CO2 emissions. According to their website, a 100,000+ unit demand for their powertrain is expected over the next 10 years.

12. GreyParrot

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5-year search growth: 100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: London, UK

Funding: $5.3M (Seed)

What they do: An AI company, GreyParrot offers waste analysis technology. Their computer vision-powered robotics systems are designed to identify, sort, and recover waste at scale. The startup has been backed by many leading accelerators and VC firms, including the Plug and Play Tech Center, Creative Destruction Lab, and Candy Ventures.

13. Carbon Lighthouse

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5-year search growth: 5300%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2010

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $67.1M (Convertible Note)

What they do: A climate tech company, Carbon Lighthouse provides building owners with a platform to optimize energy usage. Their services can potentially help identify operational efficiencies, improve indoor air quality, and carbon offsetting. Carbon Lighthouse partners report 10-30% whole-building savings.

14. Freewire Technologies

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5-year search growth: 100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: San Leandro, CA

Funding: $105.2M (Series C)

What they do: Freewire Technologies develops and sells a range of EV charging solutions. Specifically, they offer stationary charging stations, portable charging units (called “Mobi EV”), and clean power generators (called “Mobi Gen”). The company claims that its solutions can provide 10-20x more power outputs than other charging units.

15. Aclima

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5-year search growth: 105%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2007

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $64M (Series B)

What they do: Aclima offers a software solution that helps governments and enterprises track greenhouse emissions and air quality. The platform is designed to visualize crucial air quality data and provide insights, which could help protect public health. As of now, more than 100 local governments use Aclima to measure and analyze air quality.

16. Skeleton Technologies

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5-year search growth: 800%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2009

Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Funding: $168.9M (Grant)

What they do: An ultracapacitor manufacturer, Skeleton Technologies caters to a wide range of verticals. Their product line includes cells, modules, and systems. In 2019, Skeleton Technologies recorded 3x revenue growth with over 100 million euros in orders.

17. Northvolt

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5-year search growth: 5200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Funding: $3.3B (Corporate Round)

What they do: Northvolt is a manufacturer of sustainable lithium-ion batteries. The company manufactures its products by recovering and recycling used-up batteries. Since its launch, Northvolt has grown into a team of more than 1,400 employees.

18. Heliogen

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5-year search growth: 200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2013

Location: Pasadena, CA

Funding: $90M (Series B)

What they do: Heliogen offers sustainable solar energy solutions to industrial and power companies. Their concentrated solar technology can produce energy through sunlight, along with green hydrogen. In 2020, Heliogen won the Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award in the energy category.

19. Aurora Solar

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5-year search growth: 240%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2013

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $323.5M (Series C)

What they do: A SaaS company, Aurora Solar offers remote shade analysis for solar designs. Through aerial imagery, they help solar energy companies determine the financial returns of their designs and create sales proposals. According to their website, over 40,000 solar projects are made using Aurora’s platform every week.

20. Ekotrope

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5-year search growth: 6400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2010

Location: Boston, MA

Funding: $4M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Ekotrope is a software company that offers a home energy rating system (HERS) platform called “RATER.” The software helps determine the overall efficiency of homes in terms of energy usage. Today, 1 in every 6 homes built in the US are analyzed with Ekotrope.

conclusion

That wraps up our list of the fastest-growing climate tech startups for 2021.

Though these ventures differ a lot in terms of what they do, they’re all working towards preserving the global climate, whether by helping to decrease our carbon footprint, improving waste management, or creating energy-efficient solutions.

The potential success of these innovative startups certainly gives hope for a brighter future.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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