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CarbonCure Technologies went fishing for investors this spring and landed a couple of whales.
The Halifax-based tech firm, which injects carbon dioxide into concrete, announced Thursday it has the backing of Amazon’s $2-billion climate pledge fund.
Carboncure CEO and co-founder Robert Niven wouldn't indicate how much the shares-for-cash deal is worth, saying only that it's the biggest in the company's history.
But the value of partnering with Amazon and others -- as investors and customers -- is even bigger.
Today, we're thrilled to announce that Amazon.com and Breakthrough Energy Ventures co-led a strategic investment in...Posted by CarbonCure Technologies on Thursday, September 17, 2020
"To get Amazon and Microsoft in the same round, including BEV and all these other groups, is incredible," Niven said Thursday.
"The amount of strategic value here is worth 10 times as much as the dollar value."
Capturing big clients
CarbonCure's process to inject carbon dioxide into concrete as it's being made is taking off. It was used by 126 concrete producers in January 2019 and by 300 now.
Amazon is already a customer, using CarbonCure technology when it pours foundations for warehouses and data centres across North America.
Niven said the latest group of investors and the money they bring with them will allow the company to go overseas, as well.
“This round of investment is going to drive that same rate of growth,” Niven said in a news release.
“It’s jet fuel for our continuing expansion and the development of new products.”
Niven said the company will be hiring in every department, from salespeople to scientists.
While technology companies have taken to wind and solar, building old-school infrastructure in a way that helps meet climate goals is a game changer, he said.
“This investment . . . signals a broader change for public and private infrastructure projects as industries and governments turn their focus toward the reduction of embodied carbon," Niven said in the release.
He said this is the fifth time the company has sought outside capital. It decided to do so just before the pandemic lockdown and the results beat all expectations, he said.
The latest batch of funding comes from an all-star lineup: Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Breakthrough, Microsoft, BDC Capital, 2150, Thistledown Capital, Taronga Ventures and GreenSoil Investments.
Breakthrough includes billionaires Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, who invested in CarbonCure in 2018.
CarbonCure developed a technology that introduces recycled carbon dioxide into fresh concrete to reduce its carbon footprint without compromising performance. Once injected, the CO2 is said to undergo a mineralization process and become permanently embedded, increasing the concrete’s compressive strength, resulting in economic and climate benefits for concrete producers, according to the company.
Other firms to receive funding were electric vehicle maker Rivian; Pachama, a climate technology company that verifies the impact of carbon capture in the world's forests; Redwood Materials, which is developing a process for recycling end-of-life lithium-ion batteries and e-waste into high value metals and chemicals; and Turntide Technology, whose motors reduce energy use by up to 64 per cent.