EnergyLab’s start-ups raise record-breaking $124 million in the past year

Climate tech start-up accelerator EnergyLab is reporting that the start-ups it supports have managed to raise a record-breaking AUD $289 million during the past year, with Australian-based start-ups securing AUD $124 million of the total amount.

EnergyLab disclosed the information on the occasion of the launch of its inaugural Decarb Debrief, which reviews its impact in 2023.

The findings show a significant interest in climate tech investing, despite a challenging year for much of Australia’s start-up ecosystem, and the critical role played by accelerators such as EnergyLab.

With access to early-stage capital a major challenge for climate tech start-ups, given the complexities involved in testing, research and development, and navigating longer sales cycles, EnergyLabs highlighted that its support and network reach have been crucial in helping start-ups attract funding. As well as connecting start-ups with potential investors, EnergyLab founders James Tilbury and Piers Grove also established Impact Ventures to directly invest, and it participated in several of this year’s raises.

EnergyLab also highlighted its expansion of its programs in the past year, offering seven in total with 67 start-ups participating, up from 21 the previous year. One of its flagship programs is the Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship (WICEF) which commenced in 2019 to help women launch climate tech start-ups and aims to address the funding gap faced by female founders. The program has had 90 previous alumni join the program. In its sixth year, the program saw 16 aspiring founders graduating in 2023, with 112 mentoring introductions.

Since its inception in 2017, EnergyLab has more than doubled its programs, providing support to climate tech founders and start-ups dedicated to decarbonising the planet. The ecosystem now comprises 310 start-up and founder alumni, 380 mentors, and 180 angel investors who play a vital role in nurturing and propelling the growth of climate tech start-ups.

This expansion and the amount of money now being channelled into climate tech marks a pivotal moment for the start-up ecosystem and its potential impact on the global and national decarbonisation agenda.

“Over the last year, we faced a range of local and global challenges in the global decarbonisation race, including hitting temperature records, community engagement issues and a reduction in the investment capital available for innovation efforts,” EnergyLab CEO, Megan Fisher, said. “Despite these headwinds 2023 proved to be a successful year for EnergyLab and many of the start-ups that we support. In 2023, EnergyLab more than doubled our programs supporting climate tech founders and start-ups that are focused on helping to decarbonise the planet.

“2023 was another record year for the climate crisis,” Fisher added. “There is so much more to do, and we are focused on ensuring we play our part. In 2024, we’re aiming to support even more high-potential founders and start-ups on their journey to launch and scale global climate tech companies. Our ongoing mission is to foster an innovation ecosystem centred on the climate tech revolution and one that prioritises start-up and business success, building economic opportunities and environmental stewardship.”