2030 Finance | May 27, 2020

Better climate-impact due diligence: There’s an app for that

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, May 27CRANE, for “Carbon Reduction Assessment of New Enterprises,” can assess the potential future climate impact of more than 200 technology solution areas (see, “Catalyzing capital to develop carbontech for gigaton-scale CO2 removal).

Case in point: Prime Coalition backed Lilac Solutions after an analysis showed the Oakland-based company’s lithium mining technology could reduce carbon emissions by at least a gigaton by 2050, as the world’s transition to electric vehicles drives demand for lithium-ion batteries.

In February, Lilac raised a $20 million follow-on round led by the billionaire-backed climate fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which is among 500 investors, accelerators and entrepreneurs now using CRANE.

Prime, along with Rho AI, Greenometry, Clean Energy Trust and Project Drawdown, has made the online diligence tool for assessing the future carbon reduction potential of new technologies available to all investors (and everyone, really).

  • Climate impact. Breakthrough has now invested in three of Prime Impact Fund’s 16 portfolio companies. Other investors using the tool include The Roda Group, Elemental Excelerator and Grantham Environmental Trust. “In our diligence, there’s always surprises of companies that heuristically you would not have assumed would make such a big difference on greenhouse gas emissions,” Prime’s Sarah Kearney told ImpactAlpha, “and likewise things that you might assume would make a big difference that are on the margin.”
  • Early stage. The tool promises to ease climate impact measurement and management for early-stage ventures. Last week, Prime led a $2.5 million round in Clean Crop Technologies to combat pathogens and pests that lead to 500 million tons of food waste each year. In April, Prime backed Sublime Systems to reduce emissions from cement-making, which accounts for 8% of global emissions. Elemental Excelerator’s Dawn Lippert says the clean-tech accelerator uses CRANE as a ‘common app’ for startups “to calculate their climate impact without specialized consultants or bespoke analyses.”