Nature-based carbon removal company Funga is presenting an overlooked approach to tackling access CO2 emissions. It is developing a technology that uses the forest fungal microbiome to improve forestry growth and address the climate crisis while enhancing beneficial microbial biodiversity.
It announced on Feb 15th that it closed a $4 million seed funding round led by Azolla Ventures. Additional participants in the round are Trailhead Capital, Better Ventures, and Shared Future Fund as part of a Collaborative Fund vehicle.
Funga is the first company to establish commercial nature-based carbon removal projects powered by belowground fungal biodiversity restoration. It is founded by Dr. Colin Averill, Ecologist and Climate Scientist back in 2021 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas, United States.
The startup combines modern DNA sequencing and machine learning technology with breakthrough research on the forest microbiome to put the right native, biodiverse communities of mycorrhizal fungi in the right place. Recent peer-reviewed research shows that the reintroduction of wild soil microbial biodiversity can accelerate plant growth by an average of 64% across field and greenhouse studies which accelerates its carbon capture potential respectively.
The funding will be utilized to accelerate the development of Funga’s proprietary software and datasets, scale the footprint of its forest microbiome restoration projects, and ultimately offer a new class of high-quality carbon removal credits as the market continues to rapidly grow.
The company has also established its first microbiome restoration projects in Lexington, Georgia in partnership with Conservation Resources – an investment organization that invests in real asset properties.
Funga plans to establish an additional 2,500 acres of forest microbiome restoration projects within the loblolly pine areas of the southern United States in the next 18 months. The company’s goal is to sequester at least 3 billion tons of CO2 through restoring forests by 2050.
It will measure the additional carbon dioxide captured as a result of its forest microbiome restoration and will offer the opportunity to corporate buyers to purchase these carbon removals.