Meet the Founder of Leko Labs
Our new interview series: Meet the Founders
Welcome to our Meet the Founders series — where I put the leading innovators from our portfolio companies in the spotlight. This month, I sat down with Remo Gerber, CEO at LEKO LABS. We discussed:
- How does LEKO LABS fight climate change?
- Are you going to live in a LEKO LABS building yourself?
- Would you invest your own money in climate tech venture capital?
- and much more!
New blog: why and how to invest in startups
97% of companies are privately held but investing in them is notoriously hard to access and get right. We founded Carbon Equity to change that. Check out this investor guide to get a clear overview of how and why you can start investing in startups today.
📚 Interesting reads (and one listen)
Down rounds, structured terms and focus on profitability are making a comeback
In short: PitchBook states that the current market turmoil is reviving Venture Capital deal terms that are in favor of investors.
Blue carbon: The potential of coastal and oceanic climate action
In short: Climate solutions in the world's oceans will play an important role in carbon abatement efforts worldwide. Oceans already have absorbed around 40% of carbon emitted by human activities since 1850.
In short: Industrial heat represents a big chunk of GHG emissions (~10% globally). This article breaks down how our portfolio company, Rondo Energy, can serve 90% of industrial heat with renewable energy.
In short: The First Movers Coalition is a global initiative harnessing the purchasing power of industry titans to decarbonize “hard to abate” industrial sectors. Check out the specific commitments by sector.
NextEra Energy sets industry-leading Real Zero™ goal
In short: This utility company plans to eliminate all carbon emissions without relying on offsets by expanding its portfolio of solar, batteries, nuclear, RNG, and convert more than ⅔ of its natural gas power plants to hydrogen.
Startup Series: Electric Hydrogen
In short: Another portfolio company, Electric Hydrogen, just completed a $198M funding round. Raffi Garabedian, its Co-Founder and CEO, recently did a podcast discussing the company’s journey and the future of hydrogen.
💡 4 awesome innovations + 2 huge funding updates
Planetary: provides high-quality facilities to fungi fermentation front-runners to bring their alternative protein products to scale
Mainspring: connects energy demand and renewable production tracking to its generators that operate multiple fuel types and turn on/off as needed
Heaten: makes industrial heat pumps for heavy industry at a low cost while being completely independent from fossil fuels
SpinLaunch: a space technology company that has created an alternative method for putting 200 kilogram class satellites into low earth orbit
Electric Hydrogen: develops a high-throughput electrolyzer technology to produce low-cost, green hydrogen — it just raised $198M in funding
Zap Energy: builds a low-cost, compact and scalable fusion energy system, which just raised a follow on funding round of $160M
🔬 Show me the data
Why are we showing data on air conditioning?
Well, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA warns that: "Growing demand for air conditioners is one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate".
Global warming results in more electricity demand as previously moderate heat regions require air conditioning to minimize heat stress. At the same time, unseasonably cold weather will increase electricity demand in warmer regions.
Note: Our current trajectory is headed for 3.2 degrees average warming. This means an increase in extreme weather events, varying temperatures, areas of the earth becoming uninhabitable and sea level rises.***
The infographic forecasts that air conditioning will demand an energy increase of 37%, and heating will demand 12.4%.
How do we manage this increased demand for heating and cooling? The answer is twofold: better home insulation, and more sustainable heating and cooling technologies.
According to LEKO LABS, its engineered wood can yield superior insulation properties for its buildings — meaning both better heating/cooling performance, which it says its can reduce heating/cooling needs by up to 87% versus traditionally constructed buildings. LEKO LABS says its approach to construction has “one of the lowest carbon footprints possible from the moment the building is completed and throughout the lifetime with low heating and cooling emissions”.
The World Economic Forum noted four trends in building designs to achieve zero carbon performance: (1) electrify (or hydrogenize) heating, (2) using on-site and/or off-site renewable energy, (3) reducing the use of high global warming potential refrigerants, and (4) using low-carbon, reused or recycled materials in construction.*
LEKO LABS does well on 1 and 4, and there are many other companies working on 2 and 3.