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Tech Nation and PwC launch joint climate tech accelerator

The Net Zero X programme by Tech Nation and PwC will help climate tech companies to overcome common growth challenges and scale faster

Tech Nation and PwC have selected 20 startups to join their inaugural climate technology accelerator programme, which is designed to support late-stage UK climate tech companies with high emissions reduction potential.

Launched 4 October 2022, the Net Zero X programme aims to futureproof the UK’s climate tech sector by reducing the climate tech carbon funding gap, and ensuring that research and development (R&D)-intensive firms are able to stay afloat for longer, given their protracted journey to commercialisation.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with PwC to create our newest Net Zero X programme for the climate change unicorns of the future. These companies are pushing boundaries across industries and working hard to shape our world for the better,” said Tech Nation CEO Gerard Grech.

“With 40% of emission reductions reliant on technologies not yet commercially deployed on a mass-market scale, we must provide these UK-based entrepreneurs and innovators with all the support they need to drive down global carbon emissions and create a more sustainable future for all.”

Unlike Tech Nation’s Net Zero accelerator programme, which is now in its third year and focuses on early-stage climate tech scaleups, Net Zero X is run exclusively for later stage firms.

Out of the 20 firms joining the inaugural cohort, 11 – Magway, Better Dairy, Solivus, Petalite, Sero, Small Robot Company, OLIO, Artemis Technologies, Greyparrot, Satellite Vu and CATAGEN – are alumni of the Net Zero programme.

Tech Nation claims that its first Net Zero cohort increase their collective funding by over £150m since completing the programme (an average increase of £5m each), while its second cohort has increased their collective funding by over £100m in the past 6 months.

“I am delighted to welcome the first ever programme dedicated to supporting the UK’s highest impact, later stage climate tech companies to Tech Nation and PwC’s Net Zero X programme. The need to disrupt industry has never been as pronounced as it is now,” said Sammy Fry, the Net Zero X programme lead at Tech Nation.

“With a number of these companies having previously graduated from Tech Nation’s Net Zero programme for early-stage climate tech companies, it’s been a privilege to see how quickly these companies have scaled in both their impact and size, and it’s brilliant to be supporting a wide range of new companies actively decarbonising the UK across critical, underfunded and hard-to-abate sectors.”

The remaining nine firms joining Net Zero X include carbon-negative construction firm Adaptavate; decarbonisation tech provider Angara Global; zero-emission hydrogen producer HiiROC; direct air capture company Mission Zero Technologies; logistics firm OX Delivers; electric vehicle-charging tech firm Petalite; and green aerospace startup SATAVIA.

Over the next 6 months, all 20 of the companies joining Net Zero X will be helped to tackle sector and funding stage-specific challenges through sessions delivered by specialised coaches and entrepreneurs.

This is in addition to attending roundtables with industry leaders across the policy, corporate and investment landscape, which will look at how to collectively increase the impact of climate tech.

Founders and their leadership teams accepted onto the programme will benefit from both Tech Nation and PwC’s expertise, investor networks and mentorship.

In June 2022, London Tech Week’s ClimateTech Summit attendees heard from delegates that tech firms looking to improve the sustainability of their operations need to rethink their attitude towards growth and collaborate across the sector to be effective in meeting the challenge in the timescale required by the climate crisis.

For example, Lubomila Jordanova, founder of carbon footprint reporting firm Plan A, said the “window of opportunity” for effective climate action is currently about three years. “That’s kind of it,” she said. “After that, if we have not implemented solutions that are scalable, we are not in a position to be able to stop the climate crisis. Life is going to get quite uncomfortable.”

Jordanova added a big part of the issue is the way tech companies and the wider economy measure success through very narrow parameters, which is leading to inefficiency and obscuring the nature of the problem.

“We have KPIs [key performance indicators] like growth and GDP and [profit] margins that are really disassociated from reality because they don’t account for the missing pieces, which are the environmental, social and governance elements,” she said, adding that while tech companies will often make “bombastic commitments” regarding the climate, they often have no idea how they will actually achieve them.

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