Top tech startup news for Thursday, May 4, 2023: Captura, Impact Nano, Microsoft, OpenAI, and Shopify
Good evening! Below are some of the top tech startup news stories for Thursday, May 4, 2023.
Carbon removal startup Captura raises funding from fossil fuel giants to take CO2 out of the ocean
Climate change is one of the pressing issues facing our world today. That’s why companies and governments around the world are working to find solutions such as removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. But one California-based startup has come up with a yet audacious project--pull carbon dioxide out of the ocean.
Captura is a carbon capture startup founded in 2021 by a team of researchers from Caltech. Last year, the startup won a $1 million award from Elon Musk’s XPrize competition. Backed by fossil fuel giants and Big Tech firms, Captura recently secured millions in funding from the US’s largest gas utility to launch an ambitious project to filter CO2 out of the Pacific Ocean as part of its fight against climate change.
Captura’s direct ocean capture (DOC) technology, which is still in its early stages, harnesses the natural carbon-absorbing capacity of the ocean to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
The process, which is fueled by renewable energy, utilizes specialized electrodialysis technology to extract CO2 directly from seawater and transport it as a measurable stream that can be permanently stored or utilized. Once the CO2-depleted seawater is reintroduced into the ocean, it regains the ability to absorb the same amount of CO2 from the air that was initially removed.
Today, Captura announced it has partnered with AltaSea to speed up technology development and industry cooperation in the ocean-climate field. As part of the partnership, Captura will deploy its latest carbon removal system at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. The system is capable of capturing 100 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ocean every year.
Canadian e-commerce company Spotify becomes the latest tech company to announce job cuts amid the ongoing economic slowdown and geopolitical uncertainties. Shopify announced Wednesday that it’s laying off more than 2,000 people, or 20% of its workforce.
In addition, the company, best known for providing e-commerce software for online retailers, also announced it’s selling its logistics business to Flexport for 13% equity.
The news comes about 10 months after Shopify announced a reduction of its workforce by 10%, which affected about 1,000 people. This move is in line with a trend that has seen many big technology companies engage in multiple rounds of job cuts in response to economic challenges.
In a blog post, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke said: “We are changing the shape of Shopify significantly today to pay unshared attention to our mission. There are a number of consequences to this, and I don’t want to bury the lede: after today Shopify will be smaller by about 20% and Flexport will buy Shopify Logistics; this means some of you will leave Shopify today. I recognize the crushing impact this decision has on some of you, and did not make this decision lightly.”
Shopify was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake after attempting to open Snowdevil, an online store for snowboarding equipment. Dissatisfied with the existing e-commerce products on the market, Lütke, a computer programmer by trade, instead built his own. In 2018 alone, Shopify sold more than $41.1 billion worth of merchandise on its platform.