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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

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

Venture capital's record-smashing year

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Just weeks into the pandemic, we reported that venture capitalists were still doing deals, even though their offices were closed and their flights were canceled. But we didn't quite foresee the WFH gusto.

Driving the news: U.S.-based venture capital hit an all-time record in 2020.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.