Friday, April 12, 2024

What’s getting funded in climate tech: Managing ESG data, supplying fusion startups and removing carbon

Despite hints of a slowdown, investors still appear to be enamored with the climate tech world. Just ask those of us who cover the sector here at TechCrunch+: Our inboxes are constantly being bombarded with funding announcements. Here’s a quick rundown of three that caught our attention.

ESG data management startup Novisto logs $15M Series B

Executives might be backing away from their companies’ ESG commitments, and conservatives might be agitating for a backlash, but a new funding round suggests that the principles are far from disappearing.

“The backlash we’ve seen is a symptom of ESG and sustainability in general having gone mainstream,” said Charles Assaf, co-founder and CEO of Novisto, an ESG data management startup.

As if to underline the point, Novisto is announcing a $20 million Series B round Wednesday, TechCrunch+ has exclusively learned. The round was led by Inovia Capital with participation from Portage Ventures, SCOR Ventures and existing investors White Star Capital and Diagram Ventures.

The company was founded in 2019 on the belief that companies will eventually develop ESG tech stacks, Assaf said, “and ESG data management will be a core piece of that.” Novisto has already landed a few major clients, including workflow management company Asana, financial services group Manulife and pharma giant Sanofi.

ESG data presents companies with a range of challenges. While some is structured, much of it is not, and it runs the gamut from easily crunchable numbers to more narrative-style qualitative data. Companies are finding that they need ESG-specific solutions for complying with regulations, producing reports and preparing for audits. The field, which is still relatively new, is changing rapidly, meaning that companies have to ensure their ESG practices remain up to date.

But one of the biggest challenges Novisto’s customers have faced, Assaf said, was creating the tools and frameworks to identify and collect the data. “Companies are missing the right processes, the right system, the right governance of data,” he said. The startup hopes that by giving companies the right boxes to fill, they’ll start seeking out the data they need to give ESG-hungry investors the information they’re demanding.

Kyoto Fusioneering nets $79M Series C to make parts for fusion startups

Commercial fusion power has never felt closer. It’s not going to happen next year or the year after, but plenty of investors think it’ll be sooner than later. Even Microsoft has placed a bet, inking a deal with Helion that requires the startup to bring a plant online by 2028.

There are at least half a dozen other companies vying with Helion to supply fusion power to the grid. Many of them are developing a significant fraction of their technology in house, but Kyoto Fusioneering is betting that there’s plenty of stuff that plasma-focused startups would rather not think about.

What’s getting funded in climate tech: Managing ESG data, supplying fusion startups and removing carbon by Tim De Chant originally published on TechCrunch

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