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DCVC 2023 Q4 update: COP28; robots working in warehouses; geothermal energy on the grid; more

Agility Robotics

Greetings, friends of DCVC, and Happy New Year!

We’re hitting the ground running after another busy quarter and an impactful 2023.

As we enter the new year, we’re seeing continued progress across the portfolio, as well as high interest from investors and strategic partners in deep tech across industries and priorities. At COP28, where Zack partic­i­pated in a number of discussions about how break­throughs from entre­pre­neurs can make a major difference against climate change, the takeaway was clear: a civi­liza­tional commitment to solving this problem will require the most powerful ideas, and the most effective execution, that the deep tech community can bring forward.

Toward that end, we are continuing to fundraise for DCVC Climate, our first fund dedicated solely to addressing climate change. See Axios’s quick take on that here. One of that fund’s first investments, Fervo, hit a major milestone in Q4 in its work with Google, success­fully delivering carbon-free energy to the electrical grid in Nevada. Read more about Fervo’s impressive progress in a great Associated Press story. Another Climate company, Twelve, is now poised to be able to produce one million gallons per year of sustainable aviation fuel made from CO2.

Outside of DCVC Climate, our portfolio companies continued to make headlines:

In October, Amazon announced that it is testing Agilitys bipedal robot, Digit, in its fulfillment centers. Then, last month, GXO Logistics — the largest pure-play logistics provider in the world — similarly began testing Digit in a warehouse it operates for Spanx. Both were major votes of confidence in Agility’s deployment of practical robotics addressing a near-term multi­bil­lion-dollar annual market. Agility also recently showcased its integration of large language models into Digit, with a goal of making its robots more versatile and faster to deploy.

Fourth Power, whose $19 million Series A we led in December—can store excess energy from the grid at one-tenth the cost of lithium-ion batteries and, critically, put electricity back on the grid. Like Fervo and Twelve, Fourth Power has tremendous potential to help the world get the carbon-free, 247 energy and fuel it will require in order to move fully away from fossil-fuel-based energy. See good Bloomberg coverage of Fourth Power here.

Proprio celebrated its successful first-in-human spine surgery using its Paradigm platform — a major step forward in surgical navigation technology. Q‑CTRLs error-suppression technology was implemented by IBM, and ZwitterCo, whose membranes allow the fouling-free filtration and reuse of the dirtiest waters imaginable, announced that it will open a first-of-its-kind Innovation Center in Massachusetts.

Following the announce­ment of its $50 million investment from NVIDIA to accelerate ground­breaking foundation models in AI-enabled drug discovery, Recursion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, DCVC’s leading TechBio portfolio company, continued its clinical progress, announced new part­ner­ships with Tempus and Enamine, and sharpened its focus on oncology in its collab­o­ra­tion with Bayer.

Rocket Lab secured a large government contract to produce and operate 18 satellites, and Capella Space and Fortem Tech­nolo­gies continued to contribute materially to national security and the safety of democracies

We wish you an excellent start to 2024!

Very best regards,

Matt and Zack

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Portfolio Highlights


Fourth Power announced its $19 million Series A, led by DCVC, to scale its cost-effective, ground­breaking thermal energy storage solution to enable a fully renewable grid and to initiate the construc­tion of a 1 MWh‑e prototype facility outside Boston, with a 2026 anticipated completion date.

Mach Industries closed a $79 million Series A to support its development of a suite of hydrogen-powered platforms and munitions for the military, including unmanned aerial vehicles and hydrogen generation systems.

Reality Defender raised a $15 million Series A, led by DCVC, to support the development of its deepfake detection tool. See great coverage in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Wired.


Agility had yet another big quarter, first announcing a major partnership with Amazon, which is piloting Digit in its warehouses. It also announced a partnership with GXO Logistics to test Digit in a warehouse GXO operates for Spanx. See other great coverage of Agility’s progress in the Financial Times and TechCrunch.

Brimstone’s carbon-negative, industry-standard cement was highlighted by Canary Media as an innovative solution to concrete’s CO2 problem and was featured in a great segment on CNBC’s Power Lunch.

CH4 Global was featured in TechCrunch as a promising route to reducing enteric methane emissions amid the heightened focus on methane following COP28.

Fervo Energy celebrated a major milestone in its work with Google and for the future of next-gen geothermal energy: it began pumping carbon-free electricity onto the Nevada grid to power Google data centers.

Planet announced the successful completion of a significant technical milestone for its planned satellite-to-satellite commu­ni­ca­tions links under the NASA Commu­ni­ca­tions Services Project (CSP), repre­senting a major step forward in Planet’s plans to continue providing the most timely insights possible to its customers.

Proprio celebrated the successful imple­men­ta­tion of its Paradigm platform, completing its first successful in-human spine surgeries. Its progress was recognized by Orthopedics This Week, which awarded Proprio the 2023 Best Technology in Spine Award, and by CB Insights, which named Proprio one of 2023’s most promising digital health startups.

Radiant Nuclear was selected to the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Front-End Engineering and Experiment Design (FEEED) program to test a fueled prototype of the Kaleidos microre­actor. This test will provide safety and performance data to support Radiant’s commercial licensing process.

Rocket Lab secured a large government contract to design, produce, deliver, and operate 18 satellites, slated to launch in 2027

ZwitterCo announced that it is building a 30,000-square-foot Innovation Center in Woburn, Mass­a­chu­setts — the first of its kind in the U.S.

🏆 Brimstone, Oklo, and Pivot Bio were featured on TIME’s Best Inventions of 2023 list, which celebrates inventions that are changing the way we live.

🌎 Fervo Energy and Twelve were both named to MIT Technology Review’s list of 15 Climate Tech Companies to Watch.

🍾 Oklo and Brimstone were honored on Popular Science’s list of the 50 greatest innovations of 2023.

DCVC in the Media

Our big plan is that we want to get to general-purpose humanoids as soon as we can.”

Agility Robotics CEO Damion Shelton to Axios, upon the announce­ment of Agility’s RoboFab, the world’s first humanoid robotics factory

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