Invert secures $25M in fresh capital to fund carbon-capture push

Mark Zekulin
Mark Zekulin is executive chairman of Ottawa-based Invert. File photo

An Ottawa startup that’s aiming to make it easier for individuals to invest in projects that help counteract the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions has raised millions of dollars in fresh equity to finance its scaleup push.

Invert announced Thursday it’s closed a $25-million funding round led by mining company Altius Minerals.

“They’re a great partner,” Invert executive chairman Mark Zekulin said Thursday of Newfoundland-based Altius, whose extensive holdings include significant investments in a variety of wind and solar energy producers south of the border. 

Invert says the capital will go toward funding technology that reduces the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and further developing its new app that helps individuals track their own carbon footprints.

The 35-employee company recently finalized agreements with Aperam Steel, Brazil’s largest steelmaker, and B.C.-based BC Biocarbon to purchase carbon removal credits for corporations and customers.

Biological charcoal

Aperam and BC Biocarbon specialize in carbon removal credits derived from the production of biological charcoal, a charcoal-like byproduct of lumber processing and other activities that sequesters and stores carbon and helps soil retain nutrients and water.

“It’s an excellent technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere,” said Zekulin, the former chief executive of Smiths Falls-based cannabis producer Canopy Growth.

Invert says its goal is to attack climate change on two fronts: funding technology that actually reduces the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and allowing people to buy credits that ensure their greenhouse gas contributions are offset by equivalent reductions in other areas. 

Founded in early 2021, the company has so far invested in 10 carbon-capture projects in three countries. Individuals can also contribute to the projects via Invert’s platform by paying a monthly subscription fee to invest in technology and accumulate credits that help offset the carbon emissions they generate through their daily activities.

This week, the company unveiled a free app for Apple and Android users. It allows individuals to track their shift toward a carbon-neutral lifestyle by helping them understand how behaviours and buying habits such as commuting to work and eating out at restaurants affect the environment.

Zekulin said the app will be updated to include social media interactions with other members of the community in a bid to encourage consumers to make more climate-friendly decisions.

“It starts with awareness, which then hopefully leads to behaviour change and can lead to supporting projects to offset other areas,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

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