The climate-tech ecosystem is becoming increasingly popular in India.
India is home to an increasing number of alarming climate disasters such as the heatwave that has affected India and Pakistan over the past two months. Southeast Asia has been cited as one of the world’s most at-risk regions for global warming.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the climate-tech sector in the region is gaining increased interest from investors such as Wavemaker Partners who recently launched a first-of-its-kind climate tech venture builder and the $200 million Nature Fix Climate (NFC) Ventures VC Fund, amongst others dedicated to investing in innovations and solutions to climate change adaptation and resilience challenges.
This has been matched by a rise in climate tech startups. A recent study by Impact Investors Council (IIC), Climate Collective, and Areté Advisors found that 120 climate tech start-ups had raised more than 200 funding rounds from 272 unique investors, in just the past five years.
Ensuring that startups have the support they need to do scale sustainable solutions is key in ensuring their impact reaches the underserved communities that are most affected by climate change.
Village Capital recently launched the Adaptation SME Accelerator Project (ASAP) in partnership with The Lightsmith Group to support and scale climate resilience innovators in developing countries across multiple sectors. We were excited to see emerging innovation addressing a number of challenges. We’re sharing some of the innovations we saw below:
- Resilient food systems
Climate change may very well prove to be the greatest threat to food security, and its impact on productivity is already being felt. To mitigate these effects, the region must adapt quickly and invest in agricultural research, technology, and systems enabling the sector to adapt and remain sustainable.
Pakistan based Crop2X Private Limited is one of the startups in the ASAP accelerator that are providing weather forecasts and water information to help farmers increase production while minimizing inputs. Their solution is used by agricultural economists, agricultural engineers, financial institutions, farmers and other users to build resilience to extreme weather events and weather volatility that affect crop yields and farmer incomes.
Agtuall India works on the other end of the spectrum providing affordable crop price risk management solutions for smallholder farmers across the world. Their end-to-end data analytics platform increases the resilience of smallholder farmers by assessing the frequency and intensity of natural calamities and their impacts on crop yields and prices. As a result, their solution is building resilience to extreme weather events and weather volatility that affect crop yields, crop prices, and farmer incomes.
EF Polymer, which has operations in India and Japan has developed a naturally biodegradable polymer using fruit waste that can absorb water up to 150 times its weight and release it over a long period of time to maintain soil moisture. The polymer is used directly by farmers to build resilience to drought, water scarcity, and heat stress that affect crop yields and farmer incomes.
2. Supply chain solutions
Solutions that help users understand, analyze, and manage climate risks on physical infrastructure, the environment, transportation and logistics operations are critical in mitigating the effects of climate change.
Solutions like Ship 60 offer a fulfillment services platform for small businesses with a distributed warehouse network to reduce shipping time and cost. The company manages warehousing/storage, logistics, and delivery of products to end customers across Vietnam. Their distributed warehouse network and e-logistics platform improve the resilience of supply chains in Vietnam, especially during natural disasters like floods.
New Leaf Dynamic Technologies has innovated a biomass-powered refrigeration unit that offers a green way of preserving perishable foods and reducing food loss and waste. As a result, this provides resilience to extreme weather conditions that affect crop yields and increase food insecurity.
3. Access to quality water
Rising temperatures globally have led to many regions experiencing droughts and heatwaves. The effects are catastrophic and lead to economic losses in sectors such as agriculture, and detrimental environmental issues such as reduced water availability for maintaining ecosystems in rivers, oceans and rainforests.
Based in India, Absolute Water has developed the country’s first 100% green water recovery system that converts raw sewage into drinking water quality, in line with World Health Organization (WHO) standards. In the Philippines, Hiraya Water is equally addressing water scarcity, using technology to help reduce scarcity and increase the availability of quality water, hence mitigating drought.
4. Access to energy and its resiliency
The severe heatwave affecting the region has led to a huge surge in power requirements and this increased demand has led to increased power cuts. Experts say this is more a power management challenge, rather than a power generation issue which makes solutions that provide energy efficiency important to the sector.
Probus is a startup that is improving access to energy in India. Their solution measures several parameters of the asset in grids and automates last-mile power distribution to prevent line losses during transmission – as a result creating resilience to extreme heat and extreme weather events that lead to energy insecurity.
5. Climate risk analytics
The need for solutions that can measure climate change-related risks and help understand their extent of exposure to hazards such as flooding and heatwaves, cannot be undervalued. These solutions identify multiple climate scenarios to assess risks and enable users to adopt measures that will mitigate impending risks.
Komunidad Global is a climate risk analytics player working with the Singapore and Philippines governments and other users to improve resilience to extreme weather events by providing data-driven insights on specified locations, enabling users to make better-informed decisions.
Similarly, Aumsat in India is providing satellite-based, AI-enabled hydrological analysis for locating, predicting, and forecasting groundwater resources. Their services help detect groundwater zones remotely, without fieldwork, helping farmers identify the optimum location for digging a well with high precision, less effort, and at a lower cost. Their solutions build resilience to increased drought and water scarcity that affect crop irrigation.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the effects of climate change will vary across regions, and in regions such as Southeast Asia, we see these effects taking place at a much faster rate. Investing in innovations that are creating solutions within this sector is key to reducing the rate at which these climate disasters are taking place.
(The Author of the article is Shreyansh Chandak, Manager, Partnerships and Programs, South & Southeast Asia – Village Capital)