Guy Hudson and Climate Startup Loam bag $105m
Tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has joined venture capital outfits including the CSIRO-backed Main Sequence, Lowercarbon Capital and Wollemi Capital in ploughing $105m into one of the nation’s fastest-growing start-ups, Loam, which is launching its carbon removal technology in the Australian market.
After years of research and product development, Loam is this week debuting its microbial technology, which chief executive Guy Hudson says will enable farmers to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it stably in soil, allowing them to both generate revenue and tackle climate change.
The start-up has received backing from Mr Cannon-Brookes’ family office Grok Ventures, in a blockbuster Series B round co-led by Lowercarbon Capital and Wollemi Capital with participation from Horizons Ventures, Acre Venture partners, Main Sequence, the Clean Energy Finance and others, bringing Loam’s total funding to $150m.
The start-up’s previous backers include TIME Ventures, a venture capital firm led by billionaire Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Canadian billionaire Tobias Lütke, the founder of e-commerce company Shopify.
The company, which was founded in Orange NSW in 2019, did not disclose its valuation, but the raising is one of the largest for an Australian start-up in 2023 to date. It now has dozens of staff working across four laboratories in Australia and the US.
“The role of beneficial fungi in agriculture has been hugely underexplored. We’re only just starting to understand how important these organisms are in the ecosystem,” Mr Hudson said.
“By applying Loam seed treatment, farmers can accelerate a path towards healthier, more productive soils by building soil carbon more quickly, which benefits resiliency and productivity. It also provides the opportunity for farmers to diversify revenues into natural capital markets and carbon markets.
“Microbial science has an enormous role to play in addressing climate change.”