March 21, 2024

Bill Gates-backed green cement startup CemVision raises €10m seed round

The raise comes after the Swedish startup signed a purchase agreement with its first customer

Mimi Billing

3 min read

CemVision has announced its €10m seed round from Swedish investors Polar Structure and BackingMinds as well as San Francisco-based Zacua Ventures.

The Swedish startup uses recycled industrial waste from the steel and mining industries to create a more sustainable cement — a material that contributes up to 8% of global CO2 emissions.

It plans to use the new capital — which comes after the green cement startup signed its first customer, the large Swedish industrial company LKAB, in December last year — to grow its headcount and continue investing in its tech development.


“Our journey right now is about go-to-market,” says CEO Oscar Hållén. “We are taking great strides to large-scale production – which we’ll need to deliver as we sign off-take agreements with new customers.

“It is very nice to be able to sign these customer contracts, to know that there is demand.”

CemVision is also backed by the non-profit arm of the large Swedish investor EQT, EQT Foundation, and Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy  — from which it has funding for R&D, which will continue in 2024.

Expanding production

The global cement industry is valued at about $380bn and, as the key binding ingredient to concrete, demand for the material is about 4bn tonnes per year.

CemVision can currently only replace a sliver of that market. Last year, it announced that it had reached industrial-scale production of green cement at its demo plant in Poland, equivalent to 4,000 tonnes annually. It is aiming to more than double that this year, with plans to produce 10k tonnes.

To do that, it’s looking to lean on grant and debt funding to acquire and rebuild existing plants which, according to Hållén, will be cheaper and less risky than building them from scratch.

Not all infrastructure startups can buy existing plants. Companies such as battery manufacturer Northvolt, carbon capture Climeworks and green steel company H2 Green Steel all had to build their factories from scratch.

And CemVision isn't the only startup in Europe developing green cement — others include UK startups Material Evolution and BioZeroc, Finnish startup Carbonaide and the publicly listed startup SaltX.

With the ambition to develop up to 95% greener cement than traditional cement, the market has attracted a broad range of VC investors including Playfair Capital, Norrsken VC, Kompas VC and energy companies such as Vantaa Energy.

Appealing to investors

CemVision still needs VCs on board to show the attractiveness of the business to public investors, as well as to have enough cash assets to take on debt.

“Private investors will show the way for public capital and even if venture capital is an expensive form of financing, you need it to lock up debt financing,” Hållén says.


Hållén should know. He’s run most of the financing roles at CemVision — which he joined in early 2023 — after spending five years at the Swedish payment giant Klarna as general counsel and six years handling credit assets at a law firm.

“From the Klarna years, I’m used to wearing many hats, and as a startup, that’s how it should be. But hopefully, going forward, I’ll have fewer hats to carry,” he says.

But when asked why Breakthrough Ventures hasn’t invested as part of the equity round in CemVision, Hållén thinks it’s still too early.

“They’ll fit better for us at a later stage. A €10m funding round is a lot for some and a little less for others,” he says.

Mimi Billing

Mimi Billing is Sifted's Europe editor. She covers the Nordics and healthtech, and can be found on X and LinkedIn