Living Carbon, a climate biotech company developing trees that capture and store more carbon, has raised $21 million in a Series A funding round led by Temasek and with the participation of Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, Felicis Ventures and other strategic investors. This brings the total amount of investment the startup has raised to date to $36 million.
Maddie Hall, CEO and Co-Founder commented on the successful funding round by saying: “We’re excited to close our Series A and continue to make progress on large scale carbon removal using plant biotechnology. This new funding will allow us to produce 4-5M photosynthesis-enhanced seedlings and plant them at large scale. Humans have warmed the world so quickly and degraded over 75% of the land on our planet. We want to focus on restoring land where trees are not otherwise thriving.”
Living Carbon’s first product was a hybrid poplar with enhanced photosynthesis, faster growth than control seedlings and high temperature tolerance. Earlier this year the company published a white paper demonstrating the effectiveness of a photosynthesis-enhancing genetic trait in improving biomass accumulation in plants by up to 53%. These ground-breaking discoveries are the first examples that show the potential to capture around 27% more carbon and underline the role of responsible biotechnology in stabilizing the climate.
The company is also developing carbon projects with photosynthesis-enhanced lobe pine in mixed forests that can help restore degraded ecosystems. Its business is focused on working with landowners to develop carbon projects in Pennsylvania and Georgia at the time being. With a focus on the United States as the number one market, Living Carbon aims to double its area each year, creating real additional carbon removals on millions of acres of US land that is suitable for reforestation.
Living Carbon will also use the money generated from this round to grow its team and expand its work on bioengineered climate solutions. In addition to enhanced photosynthesis, the company is developing a feature that allows plants to accumulate higher levels of metals in their roots, naturally slowing down decomposition to increase carbon storage life, creating more durable wood as well as toxic soil treatment.