Sustain 100: the European sustainability startups to watch in 2021

Europe now boasts 800 climate techs and huge successes like Arrival, Northvolt and Oatly. But which other sustainability startups do you need to know about?

Sustainability is only getting hotter and hotter. Europe now boasts six unicorns, from Tesla-rival Arrival to oat milk brand Oatly — both set to IPO in the coming months.

But who could be next?

We’ve cherrypicked the 100 most innovative startups across climate tech, cleantech, greentech and beyond — they’ve got sustainability at the heart of their mission and messaging and are providing very necessary tech solutions to the climate crisis.

12 of the companies launched in the last year, including smart construction company 011h and Sylvera, the platform investigating carbon offsetting initiatives.

We’ve by no means forgotten big players with big raises to match — like refurbished product marketplace Back Market, which raised €110m; or vertical farming startup Infarm, which raised $170m in 2020.

You can view the full list below.

(P.S The data (including valuation estimates) is from Dealroom. If anything is wrong, please let us know by email at [email protected]).

Key

Year founded

Amount raised

Last funding round

Valuation

Employees

Piclo's logo

Piclo

A software company on a mission to make electricity cheap, clean, and abundant

enterprise software / energy

piclo.energy

London, UK

2013

€3m

SEED

€7-11m

10-50

PlanA.Earth's logo

PlanA.Earth

Plan A has developed the first Carbon Reduction Software which helps businesses calculate, monitor, reduce and report on their carbon footprint

enterprise software / energy

plana.earth

Berlin, Germany

2017

€3m

SEED

€11-16m

10-50

Planera's logo

Planera

Flushable and biodegradable sanitary pads

health / wellness beauty

planera.care

London, UK

2017

€1m

SEED

€2-3m

1-10

Plantix's logo

Plantix

Agricultural app for disease detection, pest control and yield increase

agritech / mobile app

plantix.net/en

Berlin, Germany

2015

€12m

SERIES A

€27-40m

100-500

Plume Labs's logo

Plume Labs

Analyses and predicts local air quality

health / home living

plumelabs.com

Paris, France

2014

€6m

GRANT

€16-25m

10-50

Sifted Take

Plume Labs has developed a handheld, portable air pollution monitor called ‘Flow’ which measures harmful greenhouse gases and particulate matter.

It also forecasts air quality down to the street level — all of its monitors feed into a global, real-time map of pollution. In 2017, it launched an API for air pollution which relies on 12k environmental monitoring stations.

Previously it’s received funding and grants from the Open Data Incubator, Agoranov and the European Innovation Council — with a total of €5.5m.

Air pollution drops in European cities: how does your street look?

Project Cece's logo

Project Cece

Your fair fashion finder

fashion / marketplace & ecommerce

projectcece.nl

Netherlands, Amsterdam

2015

€0m

SEED

€400-600k

1-10

Reforest'Action's logo

Reforest'Action

Community-focused tree planting

agritech / fintech

reforestaction.com

Paris, France

2010

N/A

10-50

Sifted Take

In 2010, Reforest’Action launched with a mission to preserve, restore and create forests in France. Now, it’s active in 25 countries and has funded the growth of over 10m trees in forests around the world.

The Paris-based startup has added its own twist to crowdfunding. Enter ‘crowdplanting’, where companies and individuals fund forestry projects through its online platform. Users pay €3 to buy and plant a tree in an area of their choice.

It’s one of the fastest growing B Corps in Europe as its team grew by 44% over the last year. Find the rest here.

Seaborg Technologies's logo

Seaborg Technologies

A startup on the forefront of advanced and innovative nuclear reactor technology working to provide abundant, affordable and sustainable energy

energy / manufacturing

seaborg.co

Copenhagen, Denmark

2015

€20m

EARLY VC

€80-120m

50-100

Sencrop's logo

Sencrop

A network of connected ag-weather stations for farmers

agritech / IoT

sencrop.com

Lille, France

2016

€11m

GRANT

€36-55

50-100

Single.earth's logo

Single.earth

Single Earth is an online platform that enables forests, wetlands, and other natural resources to generate profit without being sold as raw materials but instead as carbon offsets and biodiversity offsets through the first nature backed crypto token

cryptocurrency / fintech

single.earth

Tallinn, Estonia

2019

€4m

ANGEL

€14-21m

1-10

Sojo's logo

Sojo

The Deliveroo of clothes alterations and repairs

fashion / mobile app

sojoapp.co.uk

London, UK

2021

BOOTSTRAPPED

N/A

1-10

Sifted Take

Founded by recent graduate Josephine Phillips, the Sojo app connects its users with a local network of seamsters based on their postcode — supporting not only local business but the emerging movement in fashion to repair clothes and items for lifelong use, reducing waste.

Pieces are returned within five days.

Though the app is currently only available in Central London, Brighton and Bristol are next on the list in mid-April — once lockdown lifts.

Sojo have released no information on funding at present, but with only two staff members it’s barely started — and on our watchlist.

Solar Foods's logo

Solar Foods

Uses renewable electricity, water and air to produce natural protein

food / energy

solarfoods.fi

Helsinki, Finland

2017

€25m

EARLY VC

€75m

10-50

Sifted Take

Solar Foods makes alternative protein out of, well, pretty much thin air. Solein is its secret ingredient, which is made by combining renewable electricity, air and water laced with bacteria.

Sifted spoke to the startup last year, and told us that solein is 100 times more climate-friendly than any animal or plant-based protein.

The Finnish startup bagged two funding rounds in 2020, a €15m Series A and €4.3m early VC round.

Spinnova's logo

Spinnova

A sustainable fibre company developing textile fibre directly out of pulp without harmful chemical processes

fashion / waste solution

spinnova.com

Jyväskylä, Finland

2014

€11m

SERIES A

€44-66m

10-50

Spowdi's logo

Spowdi

Providing solar-powered water distribution

agritech / energy

spowdi.com

Nacka Strand, Sweden

2019

€1m

EARLY VC

€4-7m

1-10

Stenon's logo

Stenon

Laboratory independent real-time soil analysis

agritech / robotics

stenon.io

Potsdam, Germany

2018

€1m

SEED

€4-5m

10-50

Submer Technologies's logo

Submer Technologies

Immersion cooling solution for data centres

energy efficiency / manufacturing

submer.com

L'Hospitalet de Llobrega, Spain

2015

€7m

SEED

€15-23m

50-100

Sifted Take

Today, data is defining the global economy.

Submer Technologies’ founders claim their tech reduces energy use by 50% and water use by 99%.

And according to Beatriz Gonzalez of Seaya Ventures, “energy consumption from data centres is becoming an exponential sustainability issue, and Submer directly addresses this problem, reducing capital expenses and operational expenses for datacentre operators at the same time.”

However, its last round was in July 2018 from Mundi Ventures, when it raised €3.9m in seed funding. Given the hype around data centre energy waste, we think it’s due for another soon.

It's also on our list of Spain's most undervalued startups.

Sulapac's logo

Sulapac

Biodegradable packaging material innovation made out of wood

manufacturing / food

sulapac.com

Helsinki, Finland

2016

€21m

SERIES B

€60-90m

10-50

Sust Global's logo

Sust Global

Climate risk intelligence

enterprise software / B2B

sustglobal.com

London, UK

2019

N/A

N/A

1-10

Sifted Take

Recommended to us by environmental-focused VC firm ETF Partners (not in its portfolio), Sust Global uses geospatial data to communicate potential climate risk to asset owners and investors.

It claims to be able to make such projections until 2100 in a range of areas: financial services, commodities, the public sector and across supply chains.

It’s based in both London and San Francisco.

Sylvera's logo

Sylvera

Sylvera provides independent, accurate, regular and affordable monitoring of carbon offsets

enterprise software / B2B

sylvera.io

London, UK

2020

BOOTSTRAPPED

N/A

10-50

Sifted Take

Carbon offsets are getting a lot of flack — perhaps fairly in some cases. But Sylvera’s web application breaks down the initiatives, their solutions and real-time data on each. Think Which! for carbon offsets.

It’s particularly focused on nature-based solutions and land use, and is backed by Seedcamp and Speedinvest (amounts are currently undisclosed).

It’s also received support from the UK Research and Innovation council, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the University of Leicester.

Teraloop's logo

Teraloop

Kinetic energy storage system

energy / energy storage

teraloop.org

Espoo, Finland

2014

€3m

GRANT

N/A

10-50

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