CarbonCapture Raises $35 Million for Climate Change-Reducing Tech

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

CarbonCapture Raises $35 Million for Climate Change-Reducing Tech

The largest driver of global warming, carbon dioxide is at its highest level in our atmosphere than any point over the last 8,000 years. And as carmakers and politicians race to come up with solutions, one Pasadena-based firm called CarbonCapture has a bold plan to help humans remove emissions from the air and in doing so innovate a way out of climate change.

"We are at a tipping point and right now we've run out of time," said CarbonCapture CEO Adrian Corless. "What really scares me is the current projections that we're actually going to continue to increase emissions through 2035."

CarbonCapture raised a $35 million Series A round Tuesday to grow its team and begin deploying a network of machines that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using renewable energy. The system works by trapping carbon molecules in the air and storing them to be broken down or safely released elsewhere, like underground.

The company aims to have device prototypes up and running within two years. Capturing and dispelling carbon dioxide from the air at a global scale hasn't been possible yet, and it's a more lofty aspiration for solving climate change than some other more common ground-based solutions -- like using less fossil fuels or limiting energy consumption.

To really work at the highest level, every country would need to be using a vast number of the CarbonCapture devices to remove carbon dioxide at scale. It's a challenge, but Corless said he thinks it's possible to create new tech to help us escape the damage of climate change.

"There's all sorts of industries that scale up and deliver things like this," he said. "The solar industry was a great example, it took a couple decades, but they are able to deliver of hundreds of millions of panels per year (now)."

Several other companies, including Climeworks, Global Thermostat and Canada-based Carbon Engineering, where Corless used to be CEO, are working to tackle this problem of erasing carbon dioxide from the air. Government incentives are a key way to get private companies on board, Corless said, and they're more common now in "progressive parts of the globe" like the U.S., Canada and the E.U.

Tax breaks for carbon neutrality will "take you a long ways towards solving a problem and integrating a huge industry," Corless said, but noted it'll be hard to get other high-emitting countries like China, Russia, Brazil and India to get on board.

CarbonCapture was launched at Bill Gross' Pasadena startup incubator IdeaLab in 2019. Since then, it's raised over $43 million to date. Gross is a co-founder of CarbonCapture and serves as its chairman in addition to leading Heliogen, a Pasadena-based energy company working to replace fossil fuels with sun energy.

The raise was led by Prime Movers Lab. Two Idealab funds –Idealab Studio and Idealab X – joined the round alongside Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who invested through his company TIME Ventures, as did international mining company Rio Tinto, a new investor which will use the prototype devices at its mining site in Minnesota.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that even though more people stayed at home during the global coronavirus pandemic, the world still hit new record high levels of carbon dioxide in 2020 -- and since 2000, carbon dioxide levels have increased 12%.

"We're really in a scary point in the Earth's history right now, so there's consensus that we need to shift the narrative, we need to reduce emissions," Corless said.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Netflix's New Culture Memo Addresses Censorship and Corporate Secrecy

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Netflix's New Culture Memo Addresses Censorship and Corporate Secrecy
Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash

Netflix promised change after its poor first-quarter earnings. One of the first targets: the Netflix Culture document.

The changes, which Variety reported on Thursday, indicate a new focus on fiscal responsibility and concern about censorship. While promises to support honest feedback and open decision-making remain, the memo’s first update in almost five years reveals that the days of lax spending are over. The newly added “artistic expression” section emphasizes Netflix’s refusal to censor its work and implores employees to support the platform’s content.

Read more Show less

‘Raises’: Mahmee Secures $9.2M, Wave Financial Launches $60M Fund

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Image by Joshua Letona
In this week’s edition of “Raises”: It was another slow week on the deal front, but one maternal health startup, with a mission to fight maternal mortality, landed a deal with growth equity business Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles-based investment firm is launching its 8th digital asset fund of $60 million.
Read more Show less