Antler Australia

The Antler Investor Memo Series: Climate tech startup Carbonaught is solving a big problem for miners and farmers

- October 19, 2022 3 MIN READ
HerdMSL cofounders Rhys Heffernan, James Lyons and Andrew Pedley

Early stage investment company Antler Australia recently backed 13 startups as part of its ongoing program to build great local tech companies.

Startup Daily is sharing the details of each venture in the “Antler Investor Memos” series.

You can also meet the founders on the Startup Daily show on ausbiz.com.au every Monday and Wednesday.

This series is designed to give you a quick, sharp understanding of the startups and people involved, with many seeking follow up capital following Antler’s initial pre-seed investment. 


Company: Carbonaught

Formation date: 2022

Stage of business: Pre-Seed

Founders: ames Lyons, Andrew Pedley, Rhys Hefferman, Prof Balz Kamber and Assoc Prof Dave Rowlings

Current investors: Antler

Currently raising: Yes


The business

Carbonaught uses enhanced weathering processes to tackle two of the greatest challenges facing the world: climate change and food security.

It delivers to customers the ability to deploy their own decarbonisation projects and push the resulting effects through their supply chains.

Through carbon removal technology, it is solely focused on the breakdown of certain rock types into an organic fertiliser to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By 2030, Carbonaught’s platform will remove one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. It will do this in tandem with restoring degraded soils to shore up global food supply.

The platform enables landholders to deploy their own enhanced weathering projects at a scale, without the need for multi-year third party covenants over their land.

Carbonaught’s approach is resistant to flood, fire and drought. It transparently reports both the provenance and outcomes of projects, including full carbon life-cycle analysis and measurable links to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 


Antler investment thesis

“At Antler, when we see an opportunity to make a strong impact paired with a blue-sky founder vision, we get excited,” said Bede Moore, Managing Partner of Antler APAC. 

“Carbonaught has this in spades. There is a comprehensive founder-solution fit with Andrew and James at the helm, coupled with an advisory board spanning geochemistry, soil science and mining engineering.

“The traction of the team having secured two funded pilot projects alongside the global recognition with the XPrize Carbon Removal Challenge, only builds on the strong conviction we have that Carbonaught is the team to unlock the value of enhanced weathering and carbon removal technologies at scale.”


Traction/milestones, to date

Carbonaught’s placed 24th out of over 1,400 global teams who competed in Elon Musk’s XPrize Carbon Removal Challenge in April with its enhanced weathering carbon removal protocol.

This involved several rounds of independent reviews by an internationally recognised judging panel scrutinising all aspects of the company, from the core science and sequestration capability to the business model at a gigatonne scale. 

Carbonaught has mobilised projects across Queensland and Western Australia, is in talks with two overseas governments and is in pre-feasibility phase for a 10,000 tonne carbon removal project with a large ASX200 company.


Due diligence resources

Explore Carbonaught’s pitch video and investor deck via The Antler Portfolio Reveal Platform.


Latest funding

Pre-Seed from Antler


Use of funds

Antler Australia’s investment in Carbonaught has helped increase headcount with two new hires and purchase testing equipment to initiate more projects. This will be instrumental in accelerating the rate at which Carbonaught can grow.


The founders say

“Climate change and food security are large and interlinked challenges facing humanity. Our approach of taking highly available waste rock from mining and quarry operations, crushing and then spreading it on surrounding farmland as an organic fertiliser can address both issues at scale,” said James Lyons, co-founder and CTO of Carbonaught.

“Carbonaught exists to remove one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year while increasing food security for millions by 2030. 

“Antler is an early-stage global VC with extensive experience and deep networks who see their fair share of business ideas. It has been valuable to have the team share our vision and recognise the potential for growth that we can clearly see over the next ten years. 

“Operationally, Antler’s experience in growing companies has also enabled us to avoid common mistakes, and spend less time on unimportant things. This has allowed us to spend more time growing the company.”


What’s next?

Antler, a global early-stage VC, recently showcased the latest investments it’s made in ambitious Australian founders and startups. Carbonaught featured as one of Antler Australia’s newest portfolio companies.

Explore how Carbonaught uses enhanced weathering processes to attack climate change and food insecurity via the Antler Portfolio Reveal Platform. 


  • StartupDaily is the official media partner of Antler in Australia. 
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