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Scoop: Vesta raising Series A to bring carbon removal to the beach

Illustration of a shoreline on a beach washing away the word CO2 while a seagull looks on

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Climate tech startup Vesta is pursuing as much as $25 million for a Series A aimed at turning American coastlines and marshes into carbon sinks, Axios has learned exclusively.

Why it matters: The startup says its approach to carbon removal is among the cheapest and easiest to develop.

Details: Vesta is seeking between $15 million and $25 million, president Kelly Erhart tells Axios.

  • The San Francisco-based company started raising in March and aims to close the all-equity round in June.
  • Vesta hasn't yet closed on a lead investor, but is "in advanced due diligence" and expects to close on a lead next week, Erhart says.

Of note: Vesta previously raised $6.25 million in equity and $10 million in grants.

How it works: The company is built around olivine, a magnesium-based mineral that's used in steel making.

  • The mineral dissolves in seawater. As it does, it converts carbon dioxide from the air into a harmless alkalinity in the ocean.
  • Vesta buys the olivine, grinds it, then spreads it on beaches or marshes that are being restored. It makes money by selling the resulting carbon credits.

State of play: The idea is similar to agriculture-based removal startups such as Lithos, which spread minerals like basalt across soil to stimulate carbon removal.

  • Moving minerals around can get expensive. Investors have told Axios that this is a source of some hesitancy in the space; Vesta says its shipping costs are low.

The intrigue: Vesta expects to remove carbon at a fire-sale price of $21 per metric ton at commercial scale.

What's next: Vesta has completed a coastal pilot in Southampton, N.Y., and a salt marsh pilot in Massachusetts. It's planning a larger project on the East Coast next year.

  • It's planning to license both its mineral process and the software it uses to measure carbon removal.

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