seeing green

Houston company raises $138M for next-generation geothermal energy

The future of geothermal energy is here — and just got a big payday. Photo via Getty Images

Houston-based startup Fervo Energy has picked up $138 million in funding to propel its creation and operation of carbon-free power plants fueled by geothermal energy.

Fervos says the series C round will help it complete power plants in Nevada and Utah and evaluate new projects in California, Idaho, Oregon, Colorado, and New Mexico, as well as in other countries.

California-based investment firm DCVC led the round, with participation from six new investors:

  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), which contributed $20 million to the round
  • Liberty Energy
  • Macquarie
  • Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment
  • Impact Science Ventures
  • Prelude Ventures

These six existing investors also chipped in money:

  • Capricorn’s Technology Impact Fund
  • Breakthrough Energy Ventures, led by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates
  • Congruent Ventures
  • 3X5 Partners
  • Helmerich & Payne
  • Elemental Excelerator

Since being founded in 2017, Fervo has amassed $177 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. The company employs 30 people.

Equipped with technology such as horizontal drilling and fiber-optic sensing, Fervo is tapping into reservoirs of hot rock beneath the earth’s surface to produce clean geothermal power.

“Power buyers are interested in geothermal power because they are actively looking for reliable energy sources that can address climate change and rising energy prices,” Tim Latimer, CEO of Fervo, says in a news release. “Our mission is to meet that growing demand by putting gigawatts of 24/7 carbon-free energy on the grid. This latest investment enables us to execute on those ambitious plans.”

In 2021, Fervo announced the world’s first corporate agreement to develop geothermal — a project to power Google’s data centers in Nevada. Also, the company recently signed a purchase agreement with East Bay Community Energy, a California-based provider of clean energy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, geothermal holds the potential to power tens of millions of American homes and businesses. In 2021, geothermal represented about 0.4 percent of total U.S. electricity generation and about 2 percent of electricity generation from renewable energy, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.

“Fervo is the right company at the right time,” says Matt Trevithick, a partner at DCVC. “The United States needs 200 [gigawatts] of reliable clean power to achieve a zero-carbon electricity grid. Fervo is poised to make geothermal as important as solar and wind to our energy future.”

Fervo’s partners include Houston-based Schlumberger, the federal Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and the federal Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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Building Houston

 
 

With Clutch, connecting brands with creators has never been easier and more inclusive. Photo courtesy of Clutch

An app that originally launched on Houston college campuses has announced it's now live nationwide.

Clutch founders Madison Long and Simone May set out to make it easier for the younger generation to earn money with their skill sets. After launching a beta at local universities last fall, Clutch's digital marketplace is now live for others to join in.

The platform connects brands to its network of creators for reliable and authentic work — everything from social media management, video creation, video editing, content creation, graphic design projects, and more. With weekly payments to creators and an inclusive platform for users on both sides of the equation, Clutch aims to make digital collaboration easier and more reliable for everyone.

“We’re thrilled to bring our product to market to make sustainable, authentic lifestyles available to everyone through the creator economy," says May, CTO and co-founder of Clutch. "We’re honored to be part of the thriving innovation community here in Houston and get to bring more on-your-own-terms work opportunities to all creators and businesses through our platform.”

In its beta, Clutch facilitated collaborations for over 200 student creators and 50 brands — such as DIGITS and nama. The company is founded with a mission of "democratizing access to information and technology and elevating the next generation for all people," according to a news release from Clutch. In the beta, 75 percent of the creators were people of color and around half of the businesses were owned by women and people of color.

“As a Clutch Creator, I set my own pricing, schedule and services when collaborating on projects for brands,” says Cathy Syfert, a creator through Clutch. “Clutch Creators embrace the benefits of being a brand ambassador as we create content about the products we love, but do it on behalf of the brands to help the brands grow authentically."

The newly launched product has the following features:

  • Creator profile, where users can share their services, pricing, and skills and review inquiries from brands.
  • Curated matching from the Clutch admin team.
  • Collab initiation, where users can accept or reject incoming collab requests with brands.
  • Collab management — communication, timing, review cycles — all within the platform.
  • In-app payments with a weekly amount selected by the creators themselves.
  • Seamless cancellation for both brands and creators.
Clutch raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Precursor Ventures, Capital Factory, HearstLab, and more. Clutch was originally founded as Campus Concierge in 2021 and has gone through the DivInc Houston program at the Ion.

Madison Long, left, and Simone May co-founded Clutch. Photo courtesy of Clutch

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