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Third Derivative: mega accelerator for positive impact start-ups

Mega-accelerator steps hard on the gas for climate-focused start-up funding


Rocky Mountain Institute (a leading clean energy think-and-do tanks and New Energy Nexus (an entrepreneur support organization) together founded D3 in early 2020. Motivated by the need for a healthy global innovation engine to identify and massively scale new solutions that speed the clean energy transition, D3 aims to create a network that includes venture funding and corporate partners seamlessly integrated from the beginning.


An influential consortium of founding partners is composed of: Microsoft, BP, Wells Fargo, Berkshire Hathaway Energy; while strategic partners include: Shell, FedEx, Engie, AT&T, Envision.


The partners working in the D3 network are involved in the selection and coaching of startups during the accelerator program, increasing their odds to attract follow-on investment and forge strategic partnerships on sales, development, and manufacturing.

"Third Derivative’s pragmatic, integrative way of deploying innovative climate technologies faster perpetuates the ‘applied hope’ that the world needs more of right now."

Amory B Lovins, Co-Founder & Chairma Emeritus, Rocky Mountain Institute


Third Derivative's cohort, comprising some 50 promising companies from around the globe, makes them the largest climate tech innovation cohort to date.


The first group of 50 start-ups include:


Silvia Terra (USA)

Using satellite imagery and AI technology, Silvia Terra has developed base-map of every hectare of forest carbon in the USA, to power an innovative brand of data-driven "carbon marketplace". Going beyond the price of timber, the Silvia Terra marketplace allows us to place a price on the true value of forests: their ability to sequester carbon. Silvia Terra uses a one-year deferral system to invite each landowner to use their forest as a climate-positive opportunity.

The idea is simple but brilliant: by reimagining forest carbon credits, Silvia Terra unlocks millions of acres of land that were previously excluded from carbon marketplaces creating a significant climate solution.


Celadyne Technology (USA)

Originating in University of Austin, Texas, Celadyne Technologies, Inc. is re-envisioning a new proton exchange membrane (PEM) to reduce the cost of hydrogen-generated electricity and facilitate its use as an alternative to fossil fuels. In comparison to its competitors, their technology allows a doubling of the operational temperature. Uses include heavy duty trucking, marine, and manufacturing.

Whereas traditional technology is like a sponge, Celadyne incorporate a new ceramic to move the protons around more efficiently.


Iris Light Technologies (USA)

An Argonne National Lab spinout part of the Chain Reaction Innovations Incubator, Iris Light Technologies is developing a modifiable laser that can be printed directly onto semiconductor chips for improved data center efficiency. Thanks to a manufacturing process compatible with existing chipfab, multiple lasers can be integrated directly onto the chip at a low cost.

These lasers are used for fiber optic data transfer, which improves energy efficiency compared with copper interconnects and allows better utilization of memory, storage, computation, and other data center components.


Applications to be considered in the next round of supported start-ups can be made here.


Source: Third Derivative, Hello Tomorrow Summit