What’s Possible: 11th November, 2022

A weekly curation of what’s possible in frontier tech.

What’s Possible: 11th November, 2022

We hope you enjoy this week's hand-picked selection of important and interesting stories from the frontiers of tech.

Portfolio ⇨ Return lets people buy carbon credits to offset their crypto activity

From Business Insider (read)

“Given the gigantic energy demands of mining bitcoin, climate tech and Web3 haven't necessarily sat alongside each other so easily.

It's a conflict Kieran White noticed years ago. He first bought bitcoin and ether more than five years ago and started his career at Tesla in London, working at the company as its Model 3 came to Europe. What jumped out at White, however, was another line of business at Tesla: the sale of carbon credits.

White's company, Return, aims to reconcile the two. It's raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Cherry Ventures, with participation from Climate Capital, Eniac Ventures and several angel investors, including the soccer player Mario Götze; Markus Ament, the founder of Centrifuge; and Henrik Gebbing, the founder of Finoa. The funding values Return at $22.5 million, White, the company's cofounder and CEO, told Insider.

Companies, organizations, and individuals buy carbon credits to offset greenhouse-gas emissions from their activities. The proceeds are generally intended to fund climate-friendly projects, such as reforestation, but one criticism of the credits is that those projects may not truly mitigate the emissions they supposedly offset. Several projects — such as Toucan Protocol, with which Return has partnered — aim to bring transparency to carbon credits by listing them on blockchains.

But not all carbon credits are of high quality, White said. So Return vets their quality, then calculates how many credits its users need to buy, based upon their crypto activity. The company aims to make it easy for people to purchase credits. It also gives them a way to demonstrate their commitment to bettering the climate, by way of a non-transferable, non-fungible token — known as a "soulbound" token, in crypto parlance.”

Business Insider gives an exclusive look at the pitch deck that helped Return raise seed funding.

Portfolio ⇨ An interview with Max Mundt, employee #1 at Insempra

Tsung Xu, is an Aussie who lives in Austin and writes about biomanufacturing, new materials, and the scientist-operators changing the world. In this episode he talks to Max Mundt from Possible Ventures portfolio company, Insempra. (watch)

AI / Robotics ⇨ Amazon introduces Sparrow—a state-of-the-art robot that handles millions of diverse products

Sparrow represents a major advancement in the state-of-the-art technology of industrial robotics. Leveraging computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI), Sparrow can recognize and handle millions of items. (read)

Crypto ⇨ Everything you need to know about the collapse of FTX

jonwu.eth provides a great summary of the FTX / Binance fiasco (thread)

Interesting adjacencies:

  • AFRL awards contract for pioneering spacecraft in region of Moon (link)
  • Atlas launch to test inflatable heat shield (link)
  • Sorare launches the first ever Global Cup (link)

If you'd like to see more of what we’re exploring at Possible Ventures, you can follow us on Twitter.

Biotech inspired by nature
Since the industrial revolution, advancements in manufacturing have enabled mass consumerism to grow exponentially. However consumers are quickly becoming aware of their impact on the environment, demanding more from brands. Enter synthetic biology. Soon we will be able to produce a large share of the global economy's physical materials, without compromising on performance and sustainability. Insempra bridges the gap between synbio R&D and scalable, industrial manufacturing for brands. We believe the Insempra team can accelerate the creation of sustainable alternatives to traditional materials and we’re excited to back them on their journey.
Life Sciences, / Europe, Germany / Seed
Building a Web 3 protocol to automatically offset your on-chain and off-chain footprint.
Return is enabling mass adoption of climate finance in Web3 to make blockchain transactions environmentally sustainable. To achieve this, they’re launching the Return Protocol: an environmental offsetting process for on-chain wallets. By automatically offsetting an on-chain wallet’s transactions across any blockchain for free, the Return Protocol enables a net-positive climate impact on the planet.
Return Protocol
Platforms, / America, USA / Pre-Seed
Fantasy football & NFT trading cards
Trading cards have been popular long before digital worlds were even imagined. Until recently, challenges around authenticating digital items made it nearly impossible to create scarcity (and therefore value) for digital trading cards. Today crypto, (and the underlying blockchain technology) makes authenticating digital trading cards possible. Sorare uses blockchain technology to build a digital fantasy football league, where users collect, trade and compete with their favourite player's cards (NFTs). Users play fantasy football with these player cards and earn real world rewards based on the performance of their players in real world competitions.
Platforms, / Europe, France / Pre-Seed