Scoop: Vesta raising Series A to bring carbon removal to the beach
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.
- Carbon removal heavyweights Charm Industrial and Climeworks peg their prices at $600 and $500 per ton, respectively, though both envision cost declines.
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.