PRIME Coalition invests in three startups: electrochemical reduction of CO2, lightweight materials; Li extraction
PRIME Coalition, a 501(c)(3) public charity funding tech start-ups that fight climate change, closed three new investments: Opus 12 in Berkeley, CA; Mallinda in Denver, CO; and Lilac Solutions in Oakland, CA.
With these investments, PRIME has now funded nine start-up companies through 11 financing rounds mobilizing more than $17 million in philanthropic capital. Fifty-six foundations, philanthropists, and impact investors have backed PRIME and our portfolio companies. On one hand our unique model of investing for social impact is showing growth and momentum; on the other hand, we’re barely scratching the surface of what philanthropic capital can do.—Matthew Nordan, Chairman of the Investment Committee at PRIME Coalition
PRIME chooses its investments based on the advice of its investment committee, comprising the US’ most active institutional venture investors in climate and energy. Investee companies are assessed for climate impact potential, suitability for philanthropic capital, and attractiveness to follow-on investors after early risks are retired. The three new investee companies were selected through a rigorous process in which PRIME reviewed more than 2,200 early-stage, climate-impacting start-ups. They are:
Opus 12 is developing reactors for the electrochemical reduction of CO2 to create cost-competitive chemicals and fuels using only water and electricity as additional inputs.
Opus 12’s process grew out of research conducted by co-founders Kendra Kuhl and Etosha Cave in the Jaramillo Group at Stanford University.
In April, Opus 12 and SoCalGas demonstrated the conversion of CO2 in raw biogas to methane in a single electrochemical step.
Mallinda is developing circularly recyclable composite materials that enable unprecedented manufacturing efficiencies. Mallinda’s patented resin system eliminates the slow infusion and long curing cycles of today’s resins; enabling compression-molding of products in just seconds for high-throughput, high-volume production of structural composites. In addition, the prepreg is pre-cured, shelf-stable, and requires no refrigeration for transport and storage.
Mallinda’s prepreg resin is a disruptive platform technology that allows rapid (< 1 minute) compression molding of fully cured thermoset composite parts. It is designed for carbon fiber composite production using rapid compression molding techniques analogous to sheet metal stamping. In addition, Mallinda’s resin can be depolymerized in solution for a cradle-to-cradle, energy-neutral system for the recovery of resin and woven/full-length fiber.
CTO Philip Taynton developed Mallinda’s core technology at University of Colorado Boulder and paired up with CEO Chris Kaffer to bring it to market. Mallinda’s technology could greatly reduce the weight of automobiles by replacing steel with lightweight advanced composite materials, without sacrificing strength and safety, reducing fuel requirements and their accompanying emissions.
Lilac Solutions has developed a new ion exchange technology to address the challenges face by lithium producers. Lilac’s technology streamlines operations, boosts lithium recovery, and expands production into new resources. The process is modular and can be ramped in time with the market. Founder/CEO Dave Snydacker developed Lilac's technology at Northwestern University.