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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The VC firm Brown Venture Group has agreed to invest seed funding in Ecolution kWh, a startup looking to commercialize tech that stores and dispatches kinetic energy from vehicle motion, the companies said Wednesday.

Driving the news: The amount of Brown Venture Group's financing was not disclosed, but the firm will be the lead investor in a seed round that's targeting at least $3 million, according to Ecolution.

How it works: Ecolution says it can help reduce emissions in a couple ways: ending the need for diesel-fueled refrigeration on trucks and trains, and cutting hauling weight, which burns less fuel.

The energy storage system creates a "rolling micro-grid" that can dispatch power for mobile or stationary uses, the company said.

Why it matters: Transportation is the nation's biggest source of carbon emissions.

It's also the first investment from Brown Venture Group, which formed in 2018 to fund startups led by Black, Latino and Native American executives.

  • "This is an exciting way for Brown Venture Group to launch our fund with transformational technology that will benefit our environment by significantly reducing carbon emissions," said Brown Venture Group CEO Paul Campbell.
  • Ecolution was "founded by Latin American technology entrepreneurs," the funding announcement states.

The big picture: There's a lack of Black and Latino people both in startups and the VC world.

  • Axios' Dan Primack reported earlier this year that Black men are woefully underrepresented within VC firms at just 2%. Black women don't even rank a percentage point.
  • And only 1% of VC-backed founders between 2013 and 2018 were Black people.

What's next: Ecolution, which says it's focusing on cutting CO2 from food and medicine distribution, tells Axios it is having conversations with other potential funders.

  • The company also says it's in discussions with electric truck companies to partner with in the U.S., Japan, China and Germany.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that the amount of seed funding Brown Venture Group will provide to Ecolution has not been disclosed.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

GM plans to end sales of gasoline powered cars by 2035

GM CEO Mary Barra at the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles in Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors is setting a worldwide target to end sales of gasoline and diesel powered cars, pickups and SUVs by 2035, the automaker said Thursday.

Why it matters: GM's plan marks one of the auto industry's most aggressive steps to transform their portfolio to electric models that currently represent a tiny fraction of overall sales.

Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will finally allow advertisers to resume running political and social issue ads in the U.S. on Thursday, according to a company update.

The big picture: Facebook and rival Google instituted political ad bans to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around the presidential election and its aftermath.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
10 mins ago - Technology

AI is industrializing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.

Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.