Eka’s Weekly Roundup (26 May 2023)
Issue 33 l Innovation Zero
The Eka team was on the road this week with Jon at Climb23, Camilla going to Iceland’s Innovation Week, Hamish attending multiple Impact demo days, Alicia going to the BVCA ESG Conference, and Estia going to Innovation Zero.
Innovation Zero is climate and clean tech conference bringing together over 11,000 attendees, 200 exhibitors, and 400 speakers for two days in London. Panels range from green investment trends to decarbonising heavy industry. Here are our key learnings from the event.
The UK’s Climate Conference 🗞️
Optimism about the UK’s green investment, though some reforms required to go further
Former Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who is hosting the Innovation Zero conference, was optimistic around the UK's competitiveness in green investment. He acknowledged that regulatory reform is necessary to unlock private finance for clean technology start-ups. The UK remains the third top destination in the world for FDI, and leading universities, a predictable legal system, stable regulatory frameworks, and labor market flexibility make the UK an attractive place for green businesses to locate. However, ministers have faced mounting calls to publish a revamped Green Industrial Strategy in response to the generous subsidy programs launched by the US and EU in the last 12 months, and concerns remain over the UK's ability to match the level of subsidy and policy support on offer to low carbon industries in the US and EU.
UK policymakers can do more around home decarbonisation
The ‘10 Years to Change the System’ panel included Sarah Hunter from the Advanced Research and Invention Agency, and Ravi Gurumuthy from Nesta. While over 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from residential energy usage, the Green Homes Grant scheme has been plagued by various issues since its creation in late 2020. The panelists concluded that the UK should follow in the footsteps of other countries such as Finland with “15% of energy coming from heat pumps”. Competition could be important in supporting the energy transition and helping various technologies to “take off”.
Showcasing a variety of innovative solutions across climate
The National News published three products which they thought were some of the most exciting at the conference. Among these was Low Carbon Materials' Osto, a carbon-negative building aggregate that can be added to concrete mix, making the resulting concrete neutral. The company's CEO and co-founder, Dr Natasha Boulding, emphasized the need for continuous innovation in the fight against climate change.
The second product was Power Roll, which uses microgrooves to create ultra-thin solar panels that can be rolled up and installed on surfaces that might be deemed unsuitable for heavy traditional solar panels. The company's business development manager, Steve Quinn, explained that the thin-film replaces the conventional solar panel and can go places conventional solar panels can't go.
Finally, the Congress also showcased Char.gy's charging units that attach to lampposts, thus tapping into the already existing power supply. The charging units can provide up to five kilowatts of charging power and are ideal for overnight charging. The company provides the software and technical teams that maintain the units, making it easier for local councils to put charge points in the streets where people don't have driveways.
Week in Impact Articles ✍🏽
Monday: 40% of Gen Z would switch jobs over climate concerns
Tuesday: Morgan Stanley raises $500m for a Climate Growth Fund
Wednesday: Pupils who used foodbanks during the pandemic achieved lower GCSE grades
Thursday: Europe creates ECAT, the European Center for Algorithmic Transparency
Friday: Expert AI as a Health Superpower (podcast)
3 Key Charts 📊
1. Heat pumps overtake gas furnaces in 2022
2. Looking at wealth across generations in the United States
3. Seed valuations across industries, including food, healthtech, and biotech
Deal Capture 💰
Deals in the impact space across the UK and Europe
Impact software business Dayrise raises £3.5m. Led by Gresham House Ventures.
Clinical co-pilot tool Dem DX raised a <£1m round. Led by angels.
Hybrid doctor Patient21 raises €100m. Led by Pitango.
Satellite energy monitoring platform Satellite Vu raises £13m Series A. Led by Molten.
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