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Walmart convenes startups and corporates to work on a dirty problem: decarbonizing its truck and home delivery fleets

June 8, 2022, 12:30 PM UTC

Two years ago Walmart said it was aiming to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2040—and, as the world’s largest company—it’s working with an entire cohort of partners, ranging from tiny startups to large corporates to make it happen.

The company has been tackling its emissions from a series of angles, such as with its last-mile delivery efforts with venture-backed drone company startups like Zipline or DroneUp, driverless deliveries with Gatik, or via the electric robots you might spot roaming a sidewalk in Bentonville, through Serve Robotics. (A Walmart spokeswoman confirmed the retailer was doing “small scale work” with Serve Robotics and said that Walmart is “constantly testing new and up and coming technology to identify solutions that best meet our customers’ needs.”)

But it’s Walmart’s behemoth supply chain that poses the biggest problem. Walmart has more than 90,000 trucks or trailers—what it refers to as its Class 8 fleet—and works with 12,000 drivers. Collectively, Walmart’s fleet is traveling some 1.1 billion miles each year and making up some 24% of the company’s scope one emissions (meaning the emissions Walmart produces from its own assets). 

“The reality today is that there is no scalable solution for us,” Fernando Cortes, senior vice president of transportation, told me at the Up.Summit, a mobility conference taking place in Bentonville, Ark. this week. 

Yesterday, Cortes gave a presentation about how the company was decarbonizing its truck fleet, and he and Luke McCollum, Walmart’s vice president of supply chain sustainability, sat down with me to talk about the efforts in a subsequent interview.

“If you think about yard trucks, we have at least nine pilots going on as we speak—and more to come,” McCollum says.

Later this year, Walmart is going to be testing Capacity’s second generation hydrogen fuel cell-powered yard truck. Early next year, Walmart is going to start adding Cummins’ new 15-liter natural gas engine to a few of its trucks. It’s working with Chevron to supply its trucks with CNG linked to renewable natural gas. Walmart has also been testing out zero-emissions electric yard trucks, like Autocar’s all-electric terminal tractor, in its distribution centers over the last year, and it has been working with Thermo King to haul produce and other groceries in an electric-powered refrigerated trailer—among other efforts.

While Walmart has made at least one investment in one of its last-mile startups, DroneUp, the company hasn’t invested in any of the companies behind its trucking pilot programs, according to Walmart. “A lot of these companies we’ve had a long relationship with… They know that we’re giving an aim point to decarbonize, so there’s a lot of incentive to transform their engine capability, because they see that’s where a customer like Walmart is going,” McCollum says.

With delivery, Cortes says Walmart is incorporating 1,100 all-electric vans it purchased into its fleet this year, and that it has reserved 5,000 General Motors BrightDrop EVs which will hit the road in 2023. 

Layoffs at Bird… Bird, the electric scooter company that went public at the end of last year, has reportedly laid off 23% of its staff, according to Layoffs.fyi. The startup had merged with a SPAC last year, raising $414 million in cash ($264 million of it equity), after a difficult couple years during the pandemic. Bird’s stock has fallen more than 90% since then—now trading at less than $1.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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VENTURE DEALS

- Pintu, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based crypto wallet and trading platform, raised $113 million in Series B funding. Intudo Ventures, Lightspeed, Northstar Group, and Pantera Capital invested in the round. 

- Immuta, a Boston-based cloud data access and data security company, raised $100 million in Series E funding. NightDragon led the round and was joined by investors including Snowflake Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, DFJ Growth, IAG, Intel Capital, March Capital, StepStone, Ten Eleven Ventures, and Wipro Ventures

- nfinite, a Paris-based CGI photography studio for business, raised $100 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by US Venture Partners.

- ImmunOs Therapeutics, a Schlieren, Switzerland-based HLA-based platform developing therapeutics for cancer and autoimmune disease treatment, raised $74 million in Series B funding. Samsara BioCapital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Gimv led the round and were joined by investors including Mission BioCapital, GL Capital, PEAK6 Strategic Capital, Fiscus Financial, Pfizer Ventures, BioMed Partners, and Schroder Adveq

- Delphia, a Toronto-based investing platform, raised $60 million in Series A funding. Multicoin Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Ribbit Capital, FTX Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, FJ Labs, Lattice Ventures, Cumberland, Road Capital’s Thomas Bailey, and M13

- Let’s Do This, a London-based outdoor activities booking platform, raised $60 million in Series B funding. Craft Ventures and Headline led the round and were joined by investors including EQT, NFX, Y Combinator, and Morpheus Ventures

- Ergeon, a remote-based fence installation and repair services provider, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Prysm led the round and was joined by investors including GGV, DST, Basis Set, and Metaprop

- Encamp, an Indianapolis-based environmental compliance data management and reporting company, raised $30 million in Series C funding. Drive Capital, OpenView, High Alpha Capital, Allos Ventures, and others invested in the round.  

- Whistic, a Pleasant Grove, Utah-based vendor security assessment platform, raised $35 million in Series B funding. JMI Equity led the round and was joined by investors including Forgepoint Capital, Emergence Capital, Album VC, and FJ Labs

- Ethena, a Brooklyn, New York-based compliance training platform, raised $30 million in a Series B funding round. Lachy Groom led the round and was joined by investors including Felicis, Neo, Homebrew, and other angels. 

- Defacto, a Paris-based B2B lending platform for SMEs, raised €15 million ($16 million) in  Series A funding. Northzone led the round and was joined by investors including GFC and Headline.

- Vybe Network, a Vancouver-based data infrastructure solution, raised $10.5 million in Series A funding. FTX led the round and was joined by investors including Sino Global, Staking Facilities, Serum, Panony, Tess Ventures, Contango, Canonical Crypto Fund, and EBT Group.

- 443ID, an Austin-based identity and access management cybersecurity company, raised $8 million in seed funding co-led by Bill Wood Ventures and Silverton Partners

- Teal, a Miami-based career growth platform, raised $6.3 million in seed funding. City Light Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Rethink Education, Human Ventures, Gaingels, Pareto Ventures, Basecamp Fund, Zelkova Ventures, Flybridge, Lerer Hippeau, and Oceans.

- Mash, a Toronto-based payments platform for builders, creators, and developers, raised $6 million in seed funding. Castle Island Ventures and Whitecap Venture Partners co-led the round and were joined by investors including Maple VC, Strategic Cyber Ventures, Aquanow, Spacecadet Ventures, and other angels. 

- GO, a Philadelphia-based digital car subscription company, raised $4.95 million in seed funding. Cathexis Ventures, Starting Line, MGV Capital Group, Klaff Realty, and DVC Syndicate invested in the round. 

- Reflex, an Austin-based online retail marketplace, raised $4.5 million in a seed funding round. Indicator Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Sugar Capital, Red Swan Ventures, ATX Venture Partners, Precursor Ventures, Active Capital, and Clutch VC.

- PayShepherd, a Calgary-based contractor billing management platform for manufacturing facilities, raised $3 million in seed funding. Nashville Capital Network led the round and was joined by investors including Thin Air Labs and the Accelerate Fund.

- Verse, a London-based NFT platform, raised $2.4 million in seed funding. Indeed co-founder Paul Forster, Impala founder and CEO Ben Stephenson, Galaxy Digital chairman Michael Daffey, Integrity founder Jeremy Hindle, The Venture Collective’s founding partner Nick Shekerdemian, and Venrex VC invested in the round. 

- Klasha, a Lagos, Nigeria and San Francisco-based cross-border payments solution, raised $2.1 million in seed extension funding. Amex Ventures and Global Ventures invested in the round.  

- Mila, a Zürich-based tech support provider, raised $2 million in pre-Series A funding. Born2Grow led the round and was joined by investors including Alpana Ventures and Oriza Ventures

- Showplace, a Denver-based furniture provider for vacation rentals, raised $2 million in seed funding. Matchstick Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Boost VC, Taurus Ventures, and other angels. 

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Antelope, a portfolio company of Alpine Investors, acquired Diggin’ Your Dog and Super Snouts, a Reno-based pet CBD supplier. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- ​​Frazier Healthcare Partners acquired Apollo Intelligence, a Watertown, Mass.-based data and insights provider to the health care and life science industries. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Funds managed by Harvest Partners acquired Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, a Trevose, Pa.-based massage, skincare, and health and wellness services provider, from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Mercer Global Advisors acquired Fure Financial Corporation, a Bloomington, Minn.-based wealth management firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.  

- The Fuse Group, a portfolio company of EagleTree Capital, acquired El Ranchito, a Madrid-based visual effects studio. Financial terms were not disclosed.  

EXITS

- EQT and Mubadala agreed to acquire Envirotainer, a Stockholm-based air cargo services provider for the pharmaceutical industry, from Cinven and Novo Holdings. A deal is valued at approximately €2.8 billion ($3 billion). 

- Atlas Holdings acquired Foster Farms, a Livingston, Calif.-based fresh, frozen, and prepared poultry products provider, from entities associated with the Foster Family. Financial terms were not disclosed.  

OTHER

- Sanoma Corporation agreed to acquire the K12 Courseware businesses of Pearson, a London-based education group, for $203 million.

- MFS Africa agreed to acquire Global Technology Partners, a Tulsa-based pre-paid mobile money solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Standard Meat Company acquired Syracuse Sausage, a Ponder, Texas-based sausage and meatball company. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS

- Felix Capital, a London-based venture capital firm, raised $600 million for a fourth fund focused on early to growth stage companies in Europe and the U.S. 

- Cathay Innovation, a Paris-based venture capital firm, and Ledger, a Paris-based digital asset management solution, raised $110 million for a fund focused on creators and entrepreneurs within Web3 and cryptocurrency industries. 

- Titan Capital Partners, a Tel Aviv-based investment firm, raised $100 million for a fund focused on Israel and U.S.-based companies. 

PEOPLE

- Elsewhere Partners, an Austin-based venture capital firm, hired Hannah Johnson as chief talent officer and Sean McDonell as head of investor relations. Formerly, Johnson was with Thoma Bravo and McDonell was with Barings.

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