NEW DELHI | 1st December 2020: Today, Third Derivative (D3), a joint venture of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and New Energy Nexus, unveiled its inaugural cohort of almost 50 climate innovation startups, selected from more than 600 applicants across 60+ countries and spanning sectors including electricity, transportation, buildings, industry, energy access, food and agriculture, and financial and business model innovation. They are known as ‘Cohort 417’- named for this year’s peak atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 417.1 ppm recorded in May.

The inaugural cohort includes three climate tech start-ups from India, which reflects D3’s system level approach. LoadExx provides last-mile logistics with light electric vehicles, while Three Wheels United finances light electric vehicles, and rePurpose Global works in the recycling and waste reduction sector. By investing and innovating up and down the value chain D3 hopes to move entire industries such that all participants in the accelerator can be successful.

A joint venture of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and New Energy Nexus, D3 combines a next-generation accelerator, committed venture capital, a curated ecosystem of global corporations, and unparalleled market, regulatory, and policy insights. D3’s partner investor funds have $2 billion of assets in management, and its corporate partners have a combined market capitalization exceeding $3 trillion.

D3 represents a new kind of collaborative, global, vertically integrated ecosystem united behind a singular purpose: to find, fund, hone, and scale the most-promising technologies to achieve larger, faster reductions in global carbon emissions.

“No one invests in hard tech solutions. They are too capital intensive and too risky. There has been really one, Tesla, in the last decade. We will need two to three Teslas every year for the next decade to address climate change,” explained Jon Creyts, Managing Director, Rocky Mountain Institute. “We can’t wait for some massive government stimulus or the odd Innovator who already had a load of cash from his internet start-up. Those aren’t odds we can bet the planet on. We have created an alternative model because we do not want to risk the future of our world on the basis of a system that isn’t functioning right today.”

Startups – especially hard tech solutions – hoping to transform our energy future face enormous challenges. They have more significant capital needs and longer paths to market than software startups favored by investors. They rely on large, slow-moving, risk-averse corporations as critical customers, deployment partners, and acquirers. They must navigate complex market, regulatory, and policy landscapes that favor incumbents and challenge disruptors.

D3 is designed to overcome these specific challenges, bringing together top climate researchers, visionary investors, global corporate partners, and transformational innovators all under one roof. Cofounder Rocky Mountain Institute is one of the world’s leading clean energy think-and-do tanks, with nearly four decades of experience working across markets, policy, and regulation. Co-founder New Energy Nexus is a globally respected entrepreneur support organization that knows how to attract, cultivate, and connect high-potential startups.

“Achieving our commitment to be carbon negative by 2030 will require the development of new carbon reduction and removal technologies,” said JoAnn Garbin, Director of Innovation, Datacenter Advanced Development at Microsoft. “We look forward to serving on the Third Derivative advisory board and working with its member organizations to help accelerate the commercialization of global early-stage climate technologies.” 

Committed venture capital to date spans four continents, coming from funds including Factor [e] Ventures (Indian entity), Chrysalix Ventures, CRCM Ventures, Emerald Technology Ventures, Imperative Ventures, Social Alpha, Skyview Ventures, Tsing Capital, and Volo Earth Ventures. Confirmed corporate partners include AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, bp ventures, Engie, Envision Group, FedEx, Microsoft, Shell, and Wells Fargo.

D3 will formally announce the first cohort on December 1, 2020, during its two-day Inaugural Summit, a groundbreaking event for bringing together its ecosystem. During the Summit, D3 will put into action its commitment to collaboration and approaching challenging problems head on. The event will include a series of talks from climate and industry experts from around the world and continued opportunities for deep conversation and working sessions on systemic issues. The Summit is the beginning of a different model of change making-one that is global, collaborative, and our collective best shot at aggressively scaling climate change solutions.