Blackrock is making good on its pledge to focus more on sustainability by leading a $50 million Series C1 round for Zero Mass Water, which makes makes hydropanels that collect water from the atmosphere.
So far, Zero Mass has raised a little over $100 million, including the current $50 million injection, according to CEO and Founder Cody Friese.
Friesen, a materials scientist, founded Zero Mass in 2015. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company’s hydropanels add minerals, ozonate the liquid, and store it, so that it can be used for drinking and cooking. A standard array, or two panels, produces four to ten liters of drinking water daily. Zero Mass has installed panels in 45 countries, including Mexico, Australia and Dubai.
Friese told Barron’s that he started Zero Mass as a way to provide social equity. He believes that many of society’s challenges can be solved using technology. Access to drinkable water is more than just a race, class or socioeconomic issue. Most wars in the world were started over access to water. Climate change is expected to further impact the availability of water.
“Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right that is often too expensive, too wasteful, too extractive, and too scarce,” Friesen said.
The Zero Mass investment is coming from BlackRock’s Innovation Capital, which was formed in 2019. Innovation Capital takes non controlling stakes in technology-focused companies in sectors such as digital health, mobility and industrial. The investment comes just months since Larry Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, pledged to make sustainability an integral part of the investment firm’s portfolio. Fink, in a January letter to CEOs, said BlackRock would exit investments that present a “high sustainability-related risk,” such as coal producers.
BlackRock is the world’s largest fund manager with $6.47 trillion in assets as of March 31.
“We are thrilled to be investing in Zero Mass Water and its proven team,” said William Abecassis, head of BlackRock’s Innovation Capital, in a statement. “The firm’s SOURCE Hydropanel technology provides a breakthrough solution to potable water generation across a vast range of climates and use cases.”
Louisa Beltran for www.nonperele.com
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