Creative Ventures invested in 3E Nano’s Series Seed in late 2022. Now the news on the closing is official, and we’re thrilled to welcome 3E Nano to our portfolio. We’ve been actively deploying into companies addressing climate change, and have been looking for opportunities in the building envelope materials for quite some time.
Here’s why we invested in 3E Nano:
Global temperature is consistently getting more extreme
Climate change has directly affected a shift to more extreme temperatures, and its magnitude has consistently increased over the years, though our range of inhabitable and preferred temperatures have not changed.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) play a substantial role in controlling living environments in residential and commercial buildings. Evidently, HVAC accounts for 40% of the U.S. primary energy usage. Why? Approximately 80% of the windows in the market today have low thermal resistance (i.e. low R-value), and inefficient windows can account for up to 50% of HVAC expenses. Drafty windows are the leakage points.
Platform technology solution, enabling new use cases previously unattainable
3E Nano is hardly the first company to aim to tackle building envelope material opportunities. What stood out to us, h however, is their fundamentally different approach based on their coating technology. Traditional thermal resistance solution, like low-E coating on glasses, is limited to be applied on, well, glasses, because it is coated at high temperature. Additionally, they’re typically part of a long and specialized flat glass production line.
3E Nano’s proprietary technology allows them to coat materials with fewer layers and at low temperatures, expanding the base materials to versatile surfaces including polymers, which would have melted if coated using a traditional approach. Added benefits are the fact that the coating could be done on intermediate materials, which can then be laminated onto the final surface of interest at different locations.
Targeting architectural polymer and window markets, with favorable regulatory policies
Despite their platform technology nature, 3E Nano is laser-focused on their initial markets: architectural polymers and windows. Given how there are several stakeholders at play, it’s crucial that the company recognizes the execution risks and is actively working toward teasing out their incentives.
The markets are evidently massive, though what’s unique about “why now” is the regulatory landscape. We’ve seen increasing imposed fees on building codes and building emissions, as well as restrictions on building materials in relation to specific climate zones. For example, fines up to $5 million for each non-compliant building may be charged in New York City, starting in 2024. This type of policy reduces the barrier for asset owners to adopt and pay for upfront upgrade expenses.
3E Nano is an ideal fit for what Creative Ventures invests in: market-first opportunity with strong financial incentives for their customers to adopt, backed by defensible and fundamentally unique advanced technology. We’re thrilled to support the 3E Nano team and excited for what lies ahead in their journey to revolutionize building envelope materials!