Climate tech startup, Andes has microorganisms that are worth at least $38 million. The startup raised $30 million of that in their recent Series A round which will be used to help the Almeda, California-based company expand its farmer partnerships.
With their “beneficial microorganisms,” Andes says they can be added to soil with agricultural seeds, such as corn and wheat, to grow with plant roots and accelerate the conversion of carbon dioxide into minerals. According to Andes, with rainfall, these minerals move deep into the soil, making room for annual CO2 removal, and storing it there for thousands of years.
As Forbes recently reports, the company’s CEO and co-founder Gonzalo Fuenzalida said farmers don’t need to drastically change their agricultural practices or use special equipment. By simply sprinkling microorganisms into its regular feeds or crop treatments, farmers can participate in Andes’ carbon removal program.
In 2022, the company partnered with farmers throughout the Midwest to deploy its technology across 25,000 acres. Each of these farmers who enrolled was able to increase their net income of operations by up to 25%.
Aside from benefiting crops and helping farmers earn extra cabbage, Andes says this carbon removal solution is scalable. To date, Andes has removed more than 50,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, the startup reports.
This year, Andes saw a 3X increase in interest from farmers, a figure they say is only poised to grow as more farmers use their land to capture carbon.
The startup’s round included investments from Voyager VC, Yamaha Motor Ventures, Leaps by Bayer, Cavallo Ventures, KdT Ventures, Venturance, Germin8, and Accelr8. With the new capital, they hope to offer the carbon removal credit program to more organizations, expand farmer partnerships, and further develop its microorganism technology.
In addition to the successful round, the startup is one of 15 startups selected this month to participate in Amazon Web Services (AWS) Accelerator 3.0, a clean energy tech accelerator program. The startups selected for the program range from carbon removal ventures to green hydrogen, grid solutions, and AI integrated with renewable energy.
Andes’ microorganisms naturally occur in soils, and according to the team, their innovation allows them to harness what microorganisms have done for billions of years, ultimately contributing to the 10 gigatonnes of carbon removal the National Academy of Sciences estimates is required annually to limit global warming to 1.5°Celsius.
While carbon removal and offsets as a whole are controversial because large companies have used them to escape meaningful decarbonization, Andes’ tech incentives farmers to capture carbon while transitioning to what the company calls, reliable, eco-friendly products. It can even lead to farmers using less polluting fertilizers.
“Catastrophic climate disasters that jeopardize human life and natural resources are inevitable without high-permanence, scalable carbon sequestration. Andes is proud to transform the carbon dioxide removal industry with the tools that are required for a brighter, livable future for all,” said Fuenzalida in a statement.
“The completion of our Series A marks another milestone on our timeline of accelerated growth as the first company to provide organizations with high volume, long-lasting carbon removal solutions at a low price point.”