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Photo: Planet FWD

Agriculture startup Planet FWD has raised $2.5 million in additional seed funding, and is debuting its first product: a snack cracker that the company says boasts a fully carbon-neutral manufacturing process.

Why it matters: About 25-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the food production system, according to research from the United Nations.

Background: Planet FWD focuses on regenerative agriculture, a set of practices that offset carbon emissions.

What’s new: Moonshot, the company's fancy cracker, will be sold directly online and via Zero Grocery for $5.99 a box.

  • Planet FWD has partnered with environmental consulting firm Native Energy to offset whatever carbon it couldn't eliminate from its production.
  • Much of those emissions come from third parties it works with, so the company can't directly control them.

The big picture: The company aims to make software tools it built to develop Moonshot crackers available to other companies looking to produce carbon-neutral foods, founder and CEO Julia Collins, who previously co-founded pizza robotics company Zume, told Axios.

  • “It was so hard to create this first product," says Collins of having to source every ingredient and process and ensure it's all carbon-neutral, which led her to the broader idea of making tools for other companies.
  • And getting into the software business meant she'd need venture capital, she adds.

What's next: The company is currently providing a small number of initial customers some tools to assess their manufacturing. It will kick off a pilot program in February or March with tools focused on sourcing ingredients.

  • Emerson Collective led Planet FWD's new financing, with Concrete Rose, MCJ Collective, Arlan Hamilton, BBG Ventures, January Ventures, Kapor Capital and others also participating.

Note: Emerson Collective is an Axios investor.

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The race to find Planet X heats up

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Teams of scientists are vying to be the first to spot a large, hypothetical planet that might be lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system.

Why it matters: Astronomers have found thousands of planets orbiting other stars, but the hunt for this possible planet orbiting our own Sun — called Planet X or Planet 9 by some — is showing just how little we know about our solar system.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 16, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Bill Gates, Amazon buy stake in clean aviation startup ZeroAvia

Photo: Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

ZeroAvia, a startup looking to commercialize hydrogen fuel cell-powered aviation, secured over $21 million from backers including the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Amazon and Shell.

Why it matters: Aviation is a substantial source of carbon emissions and finding ways to wring emissions from the sector is a big challenge, so these efforts are worth watching.

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.