Best Environmental Startups to Watch in 2023
Green startups are on the cutting edge of new technology while also helping the world at large recover from years of overuse. While sustainability can help every human hope for a better future, these companies are taking action on green practices that will help everyone in the years to come. Here are the top environmental startups to watch out for, along with detailed information on what they do, their funding, and how they are changing sustainable business.
1. Biome Makers
Recovering soil health is an essential step towards a more sustainable future. Biome Makers, a startup founded in 2015 by Alberto Acedo and Adrián Ferrero in Silicon Valley, is dedicated to improving the world’s soil health — one farm at a time. Since its inception, the biotech startup has prioritized recovering soil health by supporting farmers around the world to enhance both their farming and business practices. Detailed reporting and analytics provide farmers with soil fertility, biodiversity, and health stats to help them make informed, impactful changes.
Today, Biome Makers is implementing AI technology supported by their expertise in agronomy (the science of soil management and crop production) to create a virtual assistant that is able to help farmers increase crop yields and quality.
2. Aurora Solar
As the demand for alternative energy sources increases, solar energy companies are more popular than ever. Aurora Solar provides solar energy companies with software to design and sell solar paneling systems for customers remotely. With the US government planning to invest nearly $2 trillion into the industry, the sky's the limit for sustainable startups like this.
What if you could plant a tree across the world, from your phone in just one minute? With Treeapp, you can. This ultra-sustainable startup was created by three London Business School graduates — Godefroy Harito, Jules Buker, and Leo Ng — in 2019. The app officially launched on April 22, 2020, coinciding with Earth Day. Within its first year, it planted 230,000 trees across the globe. Customers simply select a reforestation project to support, plant a tree, track the global impact for free due to Treeapp’s partnerships with businesses and organizations around the world that are equally passionate about sustainability.
EcoCart is a browser extension startup company that allows users to offset their carbon emissions for free from select businesses. Partnering with over 10,000 businesses such as American Eagle and Glossier, customers who choose to offset their emissions using EcoCart are rewarded with EcoPoints to receive prizes and help provide clean water and trees around the world.
This eco-friendly startup, founded in 2019 by Peter Twomey and Dane Baker, claims to have offset 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, saved more than 8,000 trees, and helped power more than 700 homes thus far. In addition to EcoCart’s browser extension, the startup offers environmental accounting services that help businesses track their own carbon emissions.
5. Bluebird Climate
Bluebird Climate is on a mission to help brands across the world measure their sustainability practices to open partnership opportunities with other businesses. The software focuses on the consumer products industry, which is responsible for a large number of carbon emissions let go into the atmosphere. Bluebird hopes to decarbonize the industry by giving consumer brands the ability to produce and market products that have little or no carbon emissions.
Their end goal is to help these consumer brands attract consumers that care about sustainability and business green practices. Brands will be given an in-depth analysis of the carbon and waste footprint of their products and compare it to similar products in the industry. Their data will help consumer brands recognize opportunities to improve sustainability practices and decrease costs.
Listen to our podcast interview with the founder of Bluebird Climate below!
6. Viva Maris GmbH
Based in Schenefeld, Germany, Viva Maris GmbH is a green startup company that is committed to protecting the ocean through nutrition, education, and raising awareness about the human impact on the ocean. To do this, Viva Maris GmbH creates food products using an ultra-sustainable oceanic ingredient — algae.
Beyond their delicious algae products, the startup also prioritizes the protection of the ocean’s biodiversity, securing employment for former fishermen, and assisting with the preservation of natural marine algae.
It’s no secret that plastic is polluting our oceans, land, and air. Algenesis, an eco friendly startup founded in 2016 by Dr. Stephen Mayfield, is doing something about it. Using their patented Soleic™ technology, Algenesis produces fully biodegradable plastic made from algae. Not only is this a renewable product, but it is also a high-performance material allowing it to compete with plastics we currently use. Currently, the company produces footwear and hard material for surfboards; however, they plan to expand to include a variety of products to mitigate the use of wasteful plastics.
The sparkling water industry had a market size of $29.7 billion in 2020, and it’s estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6% from 2021 to 2028. With that type of growth, the number of wasted bottles and cans around the world that are produced to hold sparkling water will also increase. Bottle+ aims to counteract this problem by making a reusable water bottle that can turn flat water into sparkling water with the use of a small CO2 tank attached to the bottom of the bottle.
The bottle will ultimately reduce the production of single-use plastic waste that ends up in our landfills and in our oceans. The new bottle should produce the equivalent of 15 bottles of sparkling water and can be consumed while at work or in the comfort of your home. Consumers will be able to refill their CO2 tanks using a cylinder that can be found in many local grocery or home goods stores.
9. Smart Microfarms
Smart Microfarms doesn’t just grow highly sustainable, profitable, and nutritious algae known as Spirulina. This startup also produces scalable microfarms for homes, community gardens, and entrepreneurs to grow Spirulina as well. Their smart microfarms technology makes this type of farming accessible to even novice algae growers, decreasing the need for expert advice during production and helping to boost food security and entrepreneurship.
With an expert team including CEO Robert Henrikson, founder of Earthrise Farms — the world’s largest algae farm — and author of Earth Food Spirulina, you could say Smart Microfarms is a powerhouse in both the algae and sustainability spheres.
Learn more about the fascinating world of algae startups such as Viva Maris, Algenesis, and Smart Microfarms by watching our Business Ideas Using Algae video:
Not only is renewable energy startup Fuergy focused on providing alternative energy sources — they prioritize making this transition as seamless and appealing as possible. Founded in 2018 by Branislav Safarik, Radoslav Stompf, Rastislav Kuba, and Vladimir Miskovsky, Fuergy hope to help speed up the trajectory of mitigating the use of fossil fuels. The company has developed both a highly scalable hardware device and AI-powered software known as “BrAIn” to optimize energy consumption and reduce energy costs for users.
Feeling inspired? Learn how to launch your own sustainable company with our guide on how to start a startup.
Founded in 2012 by John Salzinger, MPOWERD, a B Corp that aims to help create a more sustainable future while providing light to those without access to electricity. The startup offers a suite of green products, however, their primary product is their packable, solar-powered Luci Light.
Attempting to solve the world’s CO2 issues, Heliogen looks to replace fossil fuels with a suite of innovative products. The company is a renewable energy tech startup that uses sunlight to help replace fossil fuels. Their HelioHeat is a carbon-free high temp heat that can power industrial processes that produce steel, cement, and petrochemicals. They also have HelioPower, which uses sunlight to create power using supercritical CO2 turbines that can help power up data centers and mining operations. HelioFuel uses green hydrogen to power industries involved with transportation, heavy equipment, and household heating.
13. Entomo Farms
In 2014, brothers Jarrod, Darren, and Ryan Goldin set out to change the food industry by creating products made out of an unlikely protein — crickets. Their company, Entomo Farms, creates flours, snacks, pet foods, and protein powders that are full of nutrients such as protein, fibers, and minerals. Not only does their business model stand out from the competition, but Entomo Farms’ products also help fight against food waste and pollution — altogether working toward a more sustainable future.
As the world continues to create new sustainability goals like those proposed by the United Nations in 2015, new companies need to be formed in order to follow through with these ambitions. Encamp’s mission is to increase compliance efficiencies for sustainability goals within organizations while also creating a positive environmental impact. Their goals to mitigate risk and transform compliance programs are made possible through the use of tracking digital data and unifying workflows across multiple facilities.
Rather than focusing on producing electric or hybrid vehicles, the folks at FuelGems have dedicated themselves to making traditional fuels more sustainable. Founded by serial entrepreneur Kirill Gichunts, FuelGems produces a fuel additive that reduces the emissions created by diesel, gasoline, and biofuels.
Handprint is another company looking to connect companies with their consumer’s demands on sustainability practices. By offering a host of different causes like habitat preservation, mangrove reforestation, coral reef reconstruction, and ocean plastics, businesses can align with one of these goals using Handprint’s software and contribute small amounts to each cause. This gives the consumer power in what the businesses align with and helps B2B and B2C companies integrate positive impacts into their services.
17. 31 Bits
31 Bits isn’t your average jewelry company. Founded by five college students, 31 Bits is a startup that sells jewelry made by Ugandan artisans out of recycled materials. Perhaps the most exceptional trait of this sustainable startup, however, is the holistic education program developed by the company for its makers that results in participants owning their own business in Uganda.
18. Next Gen
Next Gen, a plant-based food startup, wants to provide a solution to the environmental impact the agricultural industry has by creating alternatives to animal products. Co-founded in 2020 by Timo Recker and Andre Menezes, Next Gen’s chicken alternative product TiNDLE uses 74% less land and 82% less water according to the startup while producing 88% less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional chicken farming.
19. STEER (Previously Facedrive)
Forget what you know about rideshare startups; STEER is doing it differently. STEER is committed to helping cities move forward sustainably by providing eco-friendly alternatives to the current ridesharing, food delivery, ecommerce, and health tech options available to consumers. Additionally, the startup prioritizes the wellbeing of its drivers by operating as a driver cooperative that offers higher pay and additional incentives.
Online shopping is more prevalent than ever before, and unfortunately, that can mean an excess of waste and an increase in emissions. Olive has taken the initiative to create a cleaner method of online shopping by partnering with brands such as Goop, Anthropologie, and Adidas to provide a single delivery option that encompasses all brands featured rather than shipping items individually. Founder Nate Faust (who also co-founded Jet) launched the startup with a goal of minimizing the single-use packaging associated with online orders and provide an exceptional customer experience.
With hemp legalized across the United States, startups are harnessing the versatility of the plant to create innovative products such as Hempitecture. Founder Matthew Mead launched the company to provide a sustainable alternative to traditional insulation products, and their HempWool does just that. A fiber batt insulation product, Hempitecture’s hypoallergenic HempWool is made of 92% hemp fiber and boasts a low carbon footprint.
22. Coral Vita
With a noble goal to restore the earth’s dying coral reefs, Coral Vita creates high-tech coral reefs to efficiently and effectively restore coral reefs while providing educational opportunities and serving as an eco-tourism attraction. They also offer an adopt-a-coral program for potential donors to get involved and make an impact of their own.
23. Krill Design
Krill Design is an Italy-based design startup that embodies the phrase “turning trash into treasure.” Their chief product, the Ohmie Orange Lamp, is a light fixture made of Sicilian orange peels making the lamp entirely compostable and supporting the circular economy of the area. The goal of this sustainable startup is to fight the problem of food waste by creating beautiful, well-designed products out of materials that would otherwise be considered trash.
At the intersection of nature-based systems and artificial intelligence, you’ll find eco-startup NatureDots. AquaNurch, a system developed by NatureDots, uses AI to create more sustainable fisheries that result in higher revenue with farmers in mind. Founded in 2018 by Mohammad Aatish Khan and Snehal Verma, this New Delhi-based startup aims to help produce an environmentally friendly economy through nature-based and tech-driven solutions.
25. AMP Robotics
Not all recyclables are recycled, leaving more waste than necessary and filling landfills with reusable materials. Fortunately, AMP Robotics, a startup founded by Matanya Horowitz in 2015, has a better idea. AMP Robotics, a recycling robot company, has developed AI technology that correctly identifies and sorts recyclables to ensure all materials that can be recycled are put to use. Not only will this decrease the amount of waste, but it will also streamline the recycling process which may increase the number of goods that are made of recycled materials.
26. AquiPor Technologies
Instead of aggregating data or working to help sustainability from afar, AquiPor Technologies takes actionable steps to help fight water pollution across the world. With their innovative surface technology that filters water runoffs, they are able to help reduce flooding and promote thriving water ecosystems. Their product is strong and highly permeable, which helps to filter dirt and debris on the surface of water and can replace traditional concrete or asphalt to manage stormwater and runoff pollution.
Not only is CommonVC a sustainable startup, the goal and priority of the company is to provide resources for entrepreneurs to create eco friendly startups of their own. An innovation and startup studio that emphasizes communal solutions to environmental problems, CommonVC was founded in 2019 by Dhruv Boruah. Since its inception, the focus of this startup has been to help other sustainable founders create pioneering companies to leave an impact on the world.
28. Grow a Wish
Based in the Netherlands and founded by ambitious young entrepreneur Fabiënne Overbeek, Grow a Wish is extending the life cycle of greeting cards. Each card by the startup is laced with seeds incorporated into the paper and, when planted, grows into a flower and long-lasting memory. In addition to this, the startup puts a portion of its profits towards charitable causes.
Why not incorporate the power of solar energy into more facets of daily life? That is the mission behind GoSun, a sustainable startup that offers an extensive range of solar-powered products from solar-powered ovens to entire off-grid tiny homes. All of GoSun’s products are created to be mobile and eco-friendly in order to more fully incorporate solar energy into the daily lives of consumers without sacrificing the resilience and quality of the product.
With climate change weighing heavily on the minds of people around the world, many are looking for actionable solutions to greenify their own lives. Joro, a tech startup founded by Sanchali Pal, developed an app that consumers can use to monitor their daily purchases and explore more sustainable alternatives.