The newest fundraising round for the climate technology company Living Carbon, which seeks to boost trees’ capacity to absorb Carbon, was headed by Singapore’s Temasek, according to the startup’s chief executive Maddie Hall.
Toyota, the largest carmaker in the world, Lowercarbon Capital, and Felicis Ventures contributed to the biotech’s $21 million Series A round, bringing the total amount of financing garnered thus far to $36 million.
The ability of trees to produce oxygen and absorb climate-damaging carbon dioxide is crucial to efforts worldwide to slow global warming. However, deforestation is still increasing and reached a new record high in the Amazon last year.
While many are primarily concerned with preserving already-existing forests and replanting those cleared for development, Living Carbon seeks to alter the genetic makeup of trees to make them grow more quickly, sequester more Carbon, and be more durable.
The San Francisco-based startup, founded in 2019, claimed that it’s initial offering, a hybrid poplar tree, could absorb up to 27% more Carbon.
Despite resistance from protesters concerned about the unintended implications of genetically modifying trees, Living Carbon said it wanted to utilize the money raised to generate up to five million saplings and finance research into new products.
Landowners would create a “carbon credit” by planting the Living Carbon trees and sequestering additional Carbon, which could then be sold to the growing number of businesses eager to offset their emissions.
According to CEO Maddie Hall, Living Carbon will plant roughly 60,000 seedlings in February and has sold out of its carbon credits for 2023 but is currently taking pre-orders for the next two years.