Record year for EnergyLab alumni as climate tech startups raise $289m

Record year for EnergyLab alumni as climate tech startups raise $289m

The EnergyLab team

Alumni of climate tech startup accelerator EnergyLab raised a record $289 million in 2023, with Australian-based startups accounting for $124 million of that total, despite a challenging year for capital raises.

According to EnergyLab’s inaugural Decarb Debrief, which reviews the accelerator’s impact over the year, the capital inflows came on the heels of an expansion of programs being offered by the accelerator from three to seven. This led to the number of startups taking part more than tripling from 21 to 67 in 2023.

EnergyLab was founded in 2017 by James Tilbury and Piers Grove, the entrepreneurs behind private equity group Impact Ventures, to support climate tech startups at various stages of growth, including early-stage and international scaling.

Established to support climate tech founders and startups dedicated to decarbonising the planet, EnergyLab’s ecosystem now comprises 310 startup and founder alumni, 380 mentors and 180 angel investors who play a vital role in nurturing and propelling the growth of climate tech startups.

"Over the last year, we faced a range of local and global challenges in the global decarbonisation race, including hitting temperature records, community engagement issues and a reduction in the investment capital available for innovation efforts,” says EnergyLab CEO Megan Fisher.

“Despite these headwinds, 2023 proved to be a successful year for EnergyLab and many of the startups that we support.

“In 2023, EnergyLab more than doubled our programs supporting climate tech founders and startups that are focused on helping to decarbonise the planet.”

Among the successes for the year noted in the Decarb Debrief are:

Sicona, alumni of EnergyLab's 2023 Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge, which secured $22 million in funding. Sicona develops low-cost, scalable next-generation battery materials technology used in lithium-ion batteries.

Renewable Metals, alumni of EnergyLab's 2023 Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge and 2023 Climate Solutions Accelerator which closed an $8 million funding round. Renewable Metals is a battery recycling company that recovers critical minerals from batteries including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese for reuse.

Infravision, alumni of EnergyLab’s 2021 Climate Solutions Accelerator and the 2020 Scaleup Program, which raised $36 million. Infravision specialises in drone-enabled line stringing services for transmission, distribution, and emergency response.

"Infravision is on a mission to decarbonise the electric grid globally and we're grateful for the support from EnergyLab which has helped us get to where we are today,” says Infravision CEO Cameron Van Der Berg.

“Startups represent the heart of innovation, and accelerators play an important role in fostering growth by providing opportunities for research and development and the continuous improvements of technology solutions.

"At Infravision, we're leveraging our drone technology to deploy electric power transmission infrastructure like never before. This funding will enable us to scale our operations and enhance our services, making a global impact from Australia to the world."

Decarb Debrief also notes that Impact Ventures, established by Tilbury and Grove to directly invest in some of the startups in EnergyLab programs, participated in several of last year’s capital raises.

Among EnergyLab’s flagship programs is the Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship which was established in 2019 to help women launch climate tech startups and aims to address the funding gap faced by female founders.

Decarb Debrief reveals that the program had 90 previous alumni join the program and in 2023 saw 16 aspiring founders graduate with 112 mentoring introductions.

Fisher says while 2023 was “another record year for the climate crisis”, she notes that “there is so much more to do”.

“We are focused on ensuring we play our part,” she says.

“In 2024, we’re aiming to support even more high-potential founders and startups on their journey to launch and scale global climate tech companies.

“Our ongoing mission is to foster an innovation ecosystem centred on the climate tech revolution and one that prioritises startup and business success, building economic opportunities and environmental stewardship.”

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