HyveGeo Secures Pre-Seed Funding to Green Deserts and Combat Climate Change

HyveGeo Secures Pre-Seed Funding to Green Deserts and Combat Climate Change

By Press Release, 15 December 2023

HyveGeo announced pre-seed round as a verified sustainable investment project by UAE government, Majra UAE CSR fund, led by SystemaNova.vc, to green the desert and remove carbon using microalgae.

They are excited to announce the successful closure of a pre-seed funding round led by SystemaNova.vc, an early-stage VC fund with a strong emphasis on ClimateTech.

This infusion of capital is poised to launch HyveGeo’s pilot programme in the UAE. 

The Pressing Imperative to address the link between Climate Change and Food Security 

Food security and climate change are deeply interconnected issues, each influencing the other. Climate change is one of the primary causes of desertification.

Since 1920, the Sahara alone has expanded by 10%. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has also experienced a 1% increase in desertification per year since 1990 (as per the UN Environment Programme). 

This year at COP28, the link between food and climate change has been recognised for the first time, marking a historical moment with the Declaration on Resilient Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Action.

160 million hectares need to be transitioned to regenerative agriculture to transform food systems. 

Climate change itself is partly driven by the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is now 50% higher than it was before the Industrial Revolution.

In 2021, the AGGI (Annual Greenhouse Gas Index) hit 1.49, indicating a 49% increase in the warming influence of greenhouse gases compared to 1990.

Most of the total heating imbalance (66%) is due to carbon dioxide, with methane being the second-largest contributor (16%).

Removing some of this excess carbon is essential to mitigating climate calamity.

According to the IPCC, achieving the 1.5 degrees Celsius Paris Agreement target requires both a significant reduction in global emissions as well as 5 to 10 billion tons of carbon removal from the atmosphere per year. 

HyveGeo joins a growing movement of many startups working towards climate change mitigation, with ventures such as 44.01, CUR8, Climeworks, and Brilliant Planet bringing different approaches to the challenge.

Our planet needs all solutions, and HyveGeo brings an innovative approach that harnesses proprietary technology and natural resources in desert regions. 

Microalgae-based Soil Regeneration and Carbon Removal Technology 

HyveGeo is an early-stage startup uniquely addressing the nexus between climate change and food security by utilising advanced microalgae technology for soil regeneration and carbon removal.

Co-founded by a Cambridge University-educated team of Abdulaziz bin Redha (CEO), Dr. Samsurin Welch (COO), Eva Morales (Chief Strategy Officer), and Dr. Harjit Singh (Chief Engineer), the business has a unique edge with its leading team of scientists, engineers and technicians.

Turning vast spans of non-arable desert land into a solution for food security and carbon removal. 

Founded in 2023, the company plans to build the largest microalgae-based biorefinery business across desert regions, starting with the GCC, where desertification continues to threaten food security and biodiversity. 

Global food systems suffer from a broken nutrient cycle where valuable resources are extracted and wasted, leading to soil depletion and environmental challenges.

HyveGeo’s circular microalgae biorefinery recovers and transforms wasted nutrients into a solution to regenerate arid soil into fertile land for sustainable food production.

The company grows microalgae, a powerful microorganism, as a regenerative feedstock to develop a proprietary formula of agronomic products to regenerate degraded land.

Their formula, a game-changer for sustainable agriculture, includes products such as biochar, a carbon-rich substance that not only enriches soil but also helps retain water and nutrients to boost crop yields while also permanently removing carbon.

HyveGeo utilises locally adapted microalgae strains and advanced engineering designs suited to the unique characteristics of arid desert climates.

Their hybrid circular system recovers nutrients from wastewater, takes advantage of unused desert land, and integrates AI and robotics-based process control and monitoring systems for maximal efficiency and net-negative emissions.

By taking advantage of abundant, underutilised resources, HyveGeo develops a low-cost and highly scalable solution.

HyveGeo collaborates with leading institutions to drive ongoing innovation in science and engineering for climate change mitigation.

Promising Market Prospects Endorsed by Both Government and Investors 

The market size for this opportunity is the sum of two booming markets in soil regeneration and carbon dioxide removal through biochar and other microalgae-based agronomic products.

HyveGeo has enormous ambitions to optimise microalgae yield and deliver a diversified business with multiple revenue streams. 

This vision is significantly reinforced by the unwavering support of the UAE government, which has generously provided subsidies and incentives.

These measures not only reduce operational costs but also demonstrate the government's commitment to fostering innovative, sustainable solutions in the region for climate change mitigation and food security. 

Furthermore, support from Majra, the UAE national CSR fund, a key component of the UAE government's backing, plays a crucial role in their journey.

Majra's support extends beyond financial assistance to include invaluable guidance and strategic partnerships. This comprehensive support system is instrumental in accelerating HyveGeo’s project development and scaling its impact.

Nuha Safar, Director of Majra, said: “Our vision is to establish the UAE as a global driver of tangible and sustainable impact, where successful organisations associate their own growth and success with the value they create for people and the planet. We help companies thrive by doing good. Our goal is to realise a purpose-driven ecosystem in the UAE by bringing together stakeholders from across government, business, and the community to enable more sustainable and equitable growth for our nation and its people. This partnership signifies the commencement of HyveGeo's innovative pilot programme in the UAE, strategically leveraging advanced microalgae technology. The primary goal is to spearhead desert reclamation, combat carbon emissions, and fortify the UAE's global leadership in climate action. Aligned with international commitments, the initiative actively contributes to the global drive to achieve a 43 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.” 

“Climate change is an existential issue for the human race, and there is a huge job ahead for all sectors to work together to help bring down the amount of carbon in the atmosphere with scalable and sustainable solutions. This is exactly what Abdulaziz, Sam, Eva, and Harjit have set out to do with HyveGeo and harness the power of micro-algae and photosynthesis to create a business that will not only work to remove carbon from the atmosphere but also fight desertification starting in the GCC. The team has a unique multi-disciplinary team executing a diversified business model, which greatly de-risks the venture," said Farid Haque, General Partner of Systemanova.vc, an early-stage venture capital fund that led the first pre-seed round for HyveGeo. 

“There is no better source of referrals than founders we have backed before. HyveGeo was introduced to us by the Earthshot-winning ClimateTech founder, Mr. Talal Hasan. Three of the cofounders met at Cambridge University and decided to tackle climate change in Abdulaziz Redha’s home country - the United Arab Emirates. We could not be prouder to back the team, as they are now supported by a grant from Majra (the National CSR Fund of the UAE). We have full confidence that the team's vision to regenerate desert soil, improve food systems, remove carbon dioxide, and supply carbon credits both locally and internationally is well on track with this backing. We want to congratulate Abdulaziz, Sam, Eva and Harjit on being given pride of place at the Majra stand at COP28 and delighted to back their audacious planet-driven mission," said Stephane Mardel, Managing Partner of Systemanova.vc.

"We are thrilled to partner with Systemanova and Majra in this ambitious mission to green the desert and remove millions of tons of carbon from the air. We are harnessing the power of nature to build innovative solutions to meet the climate challenge. By leveraging blended finance for climate investment, this catalytic funding sets a precedent for how private capital can deliver sustainable impact alongside government backing and incentivise and accelerate the development of carbon removals. Systemanova and UAE’s leadership in climate action will help pave the way to accelerating our mission, and it’s a vote of confidence in our vision and capabilities. Together, we will plant the seeds for a greener, more resilient future for our planet and its people." expressed Abdulaziz Bin Redha, Co-founder & CEO of HyveGeo.

HyveGeo Wins Future 100 Enterprise Award 

HyveGeo has also been recognised as one of the top 100 future enterprises in the United Arab Emirates as one of the emerging companies in the category of sustainability & the environment, contributing to enhancing the competitiveness of the future economy's sectors.

The Future 100 is a collaborative initiative between the Ministry of Economy and the Government Development and the Future Office supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) making significant contributions to the UAE’s growing future economic sectors. 

Abdulaziz Bin Redha, Founder and CEO of HyveGeo, expressed gratitude and enthusiasm upon receiving the award: "We are deeply honoured to be recognised among the Future 100 enterprises in the UAE. This award is a testament to our team's hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit in regenerating desert land, removing carbon, and contributing to climate action. It reinforces our commitment to contributing to the UAE's vision of a diversified, knowledge-based economy. We are excited to continue our journey, fostering innovation for solving our most pressing problems today, food security and climate change."

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