CarbonCapture Raises $35 Million for Climate Change-Reducing Tech

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

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.


Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

Behind Her Empire: AAVRANI Co-Founder Rooshy Roy On Redefining Success and Embracing Identity

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

AAVRANI Co-Founder Rooshy Roy
Photo courtesy of AAVRANI

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Rooshy Roy said, as the only Indian girl in school, she spent a lot of time feeling like an outsider and like she wasn’t meeting others’ expectations of “how an Indian girl should behave.”

Flash forward 20 years, and the differences Roy was once ashamed of are now the inspiration for her skincare company.

Read moreShow less