Maui Nui Venison Receives Global Nonprofit Funding To Accelerate Sustainable Food
* Updated September 29, 12:33 PM
Maui Nui Venison was one of 19 companies selected for the 10th round of funding by Elemental Excelerator, a Hawaiʻi-based global nonprofit that invests in accelerating climate technologies with startup businesses.
Elemental Excelerator said in a press release it chose Maui Nui Vension due to its work to balance Maui’s invasive deer populations while supporting the environment, communities and food systems.
“Its deer management solution helps to mitigate environmental issues ranging from degradation of critical forested watersheds, heavy runoff into waterways harmful to stream and reef health, and devastating crop damage. Overall, wild game produces just ¼ of the emissions of beef, and Maui Nui is curtailing this extra methane from this unsustainable deer population,” the press release stated.
The 19 companies chosen for the 10th round of funding, called Cohort X, will receive between $200,000 and $500,000 to deploy and scale their technologies to address real-world challenges like net zero infrastructure, climate mitigation and greenhouse gases such as SF6, which is known to be thousands of times more toxic than carbon dioxide.
Elemental’s approach to investing in startups is unique. An important part of its due diligence process is gathering community wisdom from nonprofits, community-based organizations and government agencies before making funding decisions.
“What we know from working in Hawaiʻi is that while technology has half the solution, the community brings the other half,” said Dawn Lippert, Elemental founder and CEO. “If we invest with this knowledge, we will be able to decarbonize faster, center equitable solutions, and be better investors. Many companies in this year’s cohort have technologies that can transform business and industry in Hawaiʻi — from shipping to food and agriculture to transportation — and we believe they will positively impact our state for years to come.”
Elemental Excelerator chose the following companies for its 10th round of funding:
Build regenerative land and food systems
Heatwaves, drought and extreme weather are increasing in frequency and intensity. Preserving soils, forests and ecosystems is vital to sequestering carbon and feeding a growing population. Maui Nui Venison, along with the following two companies, are helping to enhance food security; revitalize land stewardship; and support communities by working with nature to provide a habitable planet for all.
- Climate Robotics has developed the world’s first continuous, in-field biochar production system, whose advanced robotics sequester carbon and improve soils. The system allows farmers to convert their waste into a valuable product, while removing up to 2-5 tons of CO2 equivalent per acre — roughly the emissions from driving a car for one year.
- Vibrant Planet is a sci-tech company focused on flipping forests back to mitigate climate change and unlock other benefits of good land management like water security and abundant biodiversity. Its platform will power the restoration of natural systems to store carbon; deliver clean water; and support biodiversity, local economies and recreational habits.
Electrify and decarbonize everything
There already are many tools needed to push fossil fuels out of the system and reduce emissions at a rapid pace. Rapid decarbonization through electrification can eliminate 70-80% of emissions by 2035 with the technologies available today. It’s simply a matter of enabling and orchestrating their widespread deployment. These companies help do that.
- Dimensional Energy gives CO2 new life as a cost-effective building block for products traditionally made with fossil fuels. Dimensional Energy’s drop-in replacement, which uses renewable hydrogen and atmospheric carbon dioxide, could transition the aviation industry — which is expected to account for 5% of all annual global emissions in 2025 — to zero emissions by 2050. Hawaiʻi is the perfect test bed for these types of solutions with the state’s concentration of short-haul flights.
- EnergyRM is an analytics and transaction platform built to solve the landlord-tenant split incentive where building owners rarely invest in energy efficiency when tenants pay for their energy usage. As commercial buildings regularly over-consume energy by 30% or more, EnergyRM’s ability to generate new revenues from large-scale energy efficiency investments can help rapidly decarbonize buildings.
- SHYFT is accelerating the energy transition in emerging markets, where unreliable access to power can hinder adoption of clean-energy solutions. With technology that allows energy service providers and renewable energy companies to monitor, manage and control distributed power systems, SHYFT is helping to leapfrog to a modern energy system.
- WeaveGrid solves one of the most critical emerging electrification challenges — connecting a growing wave of electric vehicles to a grid that was not designed to support the high power needs of widespread charging. WeaveGrid helps utilities monitor and manage EV charging, transforming EVs into flexible assets that support grid resilience and renewable energy growth.
Net zero infrastructure
The bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed in August and complementary budget resolution making its way through Congress now present an opportunity for the United States to build an innovation economy and meet its climate targets. Elemental is backing entrepreneurs who are creating good future jobs, while decarbonizing the economy.
- Courial seamlessly connects consumers and businesses with a curated fleet of on-demand gig workers to deliver anything, from documents and food to dry cleaning and furniture. Courial solves two problems at once: offering gig workers better pay by aggregating multiple delivery options, and aggregating trips to reduce congestion and emissions.
- Nuventura is helping to eliminate the use of the world’s strongest greenhouse gas — sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) — from the energy industry. The company develops gas insulated switchgear technologies that use dry air instead of SF6, which is used as an insulating medium in electric grids worldwide. Each ton of SF6 emissions has 23,900 times the global warming potential of a ton of CO2.
- Rally solves regional transportation challenges and reduces reliance on personal cars for individuals and groups going to the same destination by increasing the use of high-capacity buses. These efforts help lower emissions and encourage the adoption of electric buses while benefiting local communities through contracting with existing bus operators and increasing access to mass mobility.
- Tradelanes brings global trade operations entirely online, into one easy system that allows large and small businesses to transact seamlessly with customers around the world. Tradelanes enables companies to automate manual paperwork, minimize risks, and turn their supply chain into a competitive advantage. As steps in the supply chain decrease, so do their associated emissions.
Design out waste
While food is the most common form of waste worldwide and annual plastic waste is estimated to be equal to the weight of the entire human population, e-waste is the fastest growing portion of global waste each year. It’s clear that we must shift from a flawed linear economy (make, take, dispose) to one that is more circular, and these companies are redesigning waste management systems, establishing platforms for reuse, and evolving single use products into closed loop solutions.
- The Better Packaging Co. manufactures solutions that displace traditional single-use packaging — such as mailers, poly bags and bubble wrap — that generate 141 million tons of plastic waste each year. By making sustainable, customized packaging accessible to businesses of all sizes, Better Packaging reduces the environmental impact of the growing e-commerce industry.
- Nth Cycle developed clean electro-extraction technology that helps recyclers and miners upgrade waste into production-grade critical minerals. Demand for these materials is growing exponentially, leading to deeper and broader mining even as used batteries and other e-waste crowd our landfills. Electro-extraction uses very little energy and reduces 75% of the greenhouse gases currently emitted during the recovery of production-grade critical minerals.
- Reath is building the digital infrastructure required for businesses to shift to the circular economy and create a world where reuse is more common than single use. Its open data standard, reuse.ID, helps businesses adopt reuse and remanufacturing systems while staying compliant, generating insights, creating new revenue opportunities and identifying savings.
- WEEE Centre is a responsible recovery and reuse system for electronic waste that serves some of the largest businesses and institutions in the world. The company collects and dismantles e-waste to recover raw materials for recycling into new electronic products, in the process creating a cleaner environment, and kickstarting technical careers. In 2017, WEEE Centre trained 18 African countries on e-waste management practices, and by 2025, they expect to have created 3,000 jobs, avoided 33,500 tons of CO2, and recovered $35 million in materials from its processes.
Clean air, clean water is about human health
At the intersection of climate change and equity lies human health. COVID-19 has underscored the need for innovation across all systems that impact human health, including water and wastewater infrastructure, and indoor air quality.
- 120Water is the end-to-end solution trusted by water professionals across the United States to manage critical lead and drinking water programs. The company’s team of water, policy and technology experts have impacted more than 10 million lives across 23 US states through water systems and government agencies such as the City of Providence, the City of Asheville and Chicago Public Schools.
- enVerid Systems develops air cleaning technologies for healthy and efficient buildings. By scrubbing indoor air of contaminants rather than constantly replacing it with large volumes of outside air, as conventionally designed HVAC systems do, enVerid delivers healthier indoor air while lowering a building’s carbon footprint with up to 40% HVAC energy savings.
- Matter captures, harvests and recycles microplastics in commercial and industrial contexts. It developed the world’s most advanced technology to filter microplastic emissions in wastewater without the need for disposables, cartridges or replacement components. As textile emissions are responsible for more than a third of oceanic microplastic pollution, Matter’s first commercial application is for domestic washing machines.
- Sentry offers real-time water quality monitoring at treatment plants. Facilities leveraging Sentry for aeration optimization can recognize approximately 15% in total energy savings. With this data and intelligence at their fingertips, plant operators can improve treatment performance; make smarter decisions around energy and chemical use; and reduce the likelihood of discharging pollution.