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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A group aimed at helping startups bring climate-friendly tech to market announced this morning its first funding recipients and partnership with venture capital firms and corporate giants including Microsoft and BP.

Why it matters: Third Derivative, an accelerator from New Energy Nexus and Rocky Mountain Institute unveiled months ago, aims to speed the timeline from lab innovation to real commercial deployment — and avoid problems that thwart many researchers, especially in hardware.

Driving the news: Third Derivative divulged a whole bunch of specifics, including news of...

1. Funding commitments from a global network of VC firms, such as U.S.-based Imperative Ventures, China's Tsing Capital, and Factor[e] Ventures, which focuses on Africa and India.

2. A suite of big corporate partners including Microsoft, BP, Wells Fargo, power giant Engie, FedEx, Shell, and AT&T.

3. Nearly 50 startups spanning about a dozen nations and four continents that receiving funding have been unveiled, such as...

  • Lithium company Summit Nanotech.
  • Gricd, which focuses on cold-chain logistics.
  • Cooling company M2 Thermal Solutions.
  • Iris Light Technologies, which has tech for creating efficient data centers.
  • Sustainable packaging company LimeLoop.
  • Power electronics company Switched Source.

Zoom in: The goal is to shepherd startups across the various "valleys of death" — meaning the perilous terrain between startup formation and product development or between tech validation and commercial scale.

  • "The traditional Silicon Valley VC model is not well suited towards hard climate tech. The capex is too high, the development and sales cycles too long, and the markets too complicated," Cyril Yee, co-founder and head of research and investments, said in a press release.

How it works: They aim to be a "global, vertically integrated engine for climate innovation."

  • The Third Derivative structure provides startups with access to tech and policy experts, VC money, and corporate giants interested in using the startups' tech, helping them build it, or even buying the companies outright.
  • They're especially interested in startups creating technologies for sectors where it's difficult to cut emissions, such as steel production and other heavy industry, cooling and more.

The bottom line: Massively cutting emissions in coming decades will require new and evolving technologies for power, fuels, buildings, agriculture and more — even as much wider deployment of existing solutions is vital.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Technology

Tech's latest bid for influence in the Biden administration

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Trade groups representing major tech firms are moving aggressively to push their ideas in front of the Biden administration, urging action on policy areas including privacy and broadband.

Why it matters: After a tumultuous few years under the Trump administration, the tech industry is hoping for a reset.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.