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Lithos, an agtech startup in Seattle that relies on basalt rock to reduce carbon for farmers, has landed $6.3M

Lithos founders Mary Yap and Chris Reinhard looking for basalt. From left to right, Noah Planavsky, Noah Planavsky, and Chris Reinhard. (Lithos Photo)

Lithos is a Seattle-based startup that uses carbon capture technology to grow crops. It announced on Thursday it had raised $6.29 Million in seed funding.

Lithos uses crushed basalt rock to spread dust over croplands as a permanent method of removing carbon. Basalt reacts with water and carbon dioxide to form dissolved bicarbonate when it rains. The “enhanced rock weathering” process also releases nutrients to the soil, benefiting crop production.

Based on factors such as crop nutrition and soil chemistry, the software allows for custom deployment of basalt rocks. Software also calculates carbon removal volume.

Lithos offers carbon removal credits for corporations, and shares a portion of sales with farmers who have used the product.

Most people view carbon removal as an essential solution to climate change. The current market value for carbon credits is $1 billion, according to McKinsey research, and it’s expected to increase to at least $30 billion by the end of this decade.

Lithos went live in March on more than 1000 acres. The largest supplier of credit to Frontier is Lithos, which was launched in March and has since been active across more than 1,000 acres.

Lithos co-founder and CEO Mary Yap previously worked with two San Francisco startups that were acquired — including social payments company Tilt, acquired by Airbnb — and holds a bachelor’s degree in earth and planetary sciences and geology from Yale. Yap’s family are generational farmers in Taiwan.

“We don’t just capture carbon,” Yap said in a statement. “Lithos’ approach is directly valuable to farmers, increasing crop yields and replacing the expensive status quo – agricultural lime – with basalt dust, derived from rock that is safe from heavy metals.”

Co-founder Dr. Noah Planavsky is an associate professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Yale and co-founder Dr. Chris Reinhard is an associate professor of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. Lithos was co-invented by the professors, which includes a method for precisely determining how much carbon has been removed from soil.

Union Square Ventures was the lead investor in this seed round. Greylock Partners joined with Bain Capital Ventures. Climate funds Carbon Removal Partners as well as Cavallo Ventures were also involved.

Lithos was the first Climate Investment for Greylock Partners, Bain Capital Ventures and Greylock Partners.

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