BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Activate, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers scientists to reinvent the world by bringing their research to market, and Stripe, a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet, have forged a landmark partnership to support Activate Fellows whose technology innovations promise to permanently remove and store atmospheric CO2.
Through its Stripe Climate program, which directs resources to frontier carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies, Stripe will purchase carbon removal from Activate Fellows' startups with promising carbon removal technologies through $500,000 procurement contracts.
These contracts will be the first sale for the researchers, who will also receive two years of funding and other benefits through the Activate Fellowship, which will connect them with the resources, knowledge, and networks they need to transform from scientists into high-impact entrepreneurs.
"In order for CDR technologies to scale, we need to get a critical mass of startups to the starting line," says Ryan Orbuch, procurement lead for Stripe Climate. "Activate is already providing a deep well of support for science entrepreneurs, and we see our partnership as a powerful multiplier of that support for fellows developing promising CDR technology."
Stripe's procurement contracts will be transformational to Activate Fellows and their startups, providing immediate traction and validating their technologies in the market, and likely triggering a cascade of follow-on benefits, from additional fundraising to attracting top talent.
"Carbon dioxide removal is already limited by human capital. Activate is extraordinary and is building the skills and experience that this new global enterprise requires," says Julio Friedmann, senior research scholar at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy. "Their partnership with Stripe provides the highest value possible to the CDR ecosystem today."
Since its founding in 2015, Activate has supported 103 fellows on a mission to address climate change and other global challenges by bringing their science innovations to market. Their startups have introduced breakthrough clean energy technologies aimed at decarbonizing the energy grid, manufacturing—including hard-to-decarbonize products such as cement, buildings, and transportation.
Building on these successes and growing demand for decarbonization across sectors Activate launched the CDR Imperative, an initiative to identify, fund, and support fellows developing technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere at volumes, timescales, and efficiencies adequate to meet aggressive climate goals.
"This is a groundbreaking partnership for Activate and a remarkable opportunity for science entrepreneurs to gain early traction for their startups in the emerging CDR industry," says Karin Lion, chief growth officer at Activate. "Identifying that first customer is one of the major challenges our fellows face. Stripe's industry-leading initiative addresses that very problem. We are thrilled to be able to facilitate this onramp to Activate Fellows who are launching CDR startups so they can focus on technology development."
With the help of more than a dozen scientists and advisors from around the world, Stripe and its ~5,000 users in 37 countries have committed a total of $9M to ten carbon removal projects. And there is evidence that Stripe's early support spurred progress: Charm Industrial delivered Stripe's purchase months ahead of schedule; Climeworks recently opened a new facility with 80x the capacity of its previous plant; and, in April 2021, CarbonCure and CarbonBuilt won the Carbon XPRIZE. These startups went on to attract additional customers and investors including Microsoft, Shopify, Lowercarbon Capital, and others.
Stripe Climate will offer procurement contracts to Cohort 2022 fellows whose products, when scaled, will meet the CDR Imperative selection criteria, which requires that proposed technology could store CO2 for 1000 years and sets thresholds around the amount and per-ton price of carbon dioxide to be removed and permanently stored.
Activate developed the CDR Imperative with guidance from Carbon180, which develops and advocates for federal policy to scale the nascent carbon removal industry and will support fellows in engaging with lawmakers and advocating for new initiatives that will benefit the growth of their businesses.
Confronting the climate crisis requires broad collaboration across sectors, and Activate is uniquely positioned to galvanize those connections by working across government, academia, industry, and philanthropic partners. Activate relies on a range of partners to fund the fellowship, and is grateful for a coalition of supporters, including Climate Pathfinders Foundation, the Grantham Environmental Trust, and Additional Ventures, that made it possible to launch the CDR Imperative.
Applications for Cohort 2022 Activate Fellowship open October 15 and will close November 30. To learn more about the fellowship and how to apply, and to register for upcoming webinars and office hours with Carbon180's director of science and innovation Peter Minor and Stripe Climate's procurement lead Ryan Orbuch, go to activate.org/cdr.
Founded in 2015, Activate is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that empowers scientists to reinvent the world by bringing their research to market to address climate change and other global challenges. Activate works between government and the private sector, transforming scientists into high-impact entrepreneurs through a fellowship that guides them along every step of the journey. The Activate Fellowship provides two years of funding and connects fellows with the resources, knowledge, and networks they need to succeed. The fellowship does not take equity in fellows' startups. Activate's entrepreneurial fellowship model originated at Cyclotron Road, a division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and founding Activate partner. Today, Activate supports 20-30 new Activate Fellows each year with plans to expand to 100 new fellows, across the United States, each year. For more information, go to Activate.org.
Stripe is a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet. Businesses of every size—from new startups to public companies like Salesforce and Facebook—use the company's software to accept online payments and run technically sophisticated financial operations in more than 100 countries. Stripe helps new companies get started and grow their revenues, and established businesses accelerate into new markets and launch new business models. Over the long term, Stripe aims to increase the GDP of the internet.
Stripe Climate makes it easy for any business to help counteract climate change. In under a minute, Stripe businesses can direct a fraction of their revenue toward initiatives that permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. For more information, visit stripe.com/climate.