Furno Secures $6.5 Million Seed Funding

  • Furno’s unique combustion method achieves over 80% thermal efficiency in cement manufacturing, shrinking production footprint dramatically
  • Reduces 70% of fuel emissions from cement production, cutting energy costs in half
  • Combined with materials innovations, eliminates 88% of emissions
  • Opens door to cement production where demand exists, eliminating need for costly transportation of materials

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Furno, a startup dedicated to decarbonizing the cement production industry, today announced the close of an oversubscribed $6.5M seed funding round and introduced its revolutionary, end-to-end cement production unit, the Furno Brick.

Cement, the second most used material on the planet after water, currently accounts for 8% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions due to inefficient production processes. With the effects of climate change on the rise, innovation is desperately needed in the industry but nearly impossible to execute as there is currently no affordable way to make cement at smaller scales.

Capital requirements for new cement plants approach $1 billion for a single facility. Additionally, emissions regulations are on the rise and the current technology for cement production leaves little economic wiggle room for meeting stringent and evolving environmental rules.

Furno addresses the immediate need for change and innovation in the cement sector with the world’s first modular and carbon-neutral cement plant that scales on demand, drastically reducing the barrier to entry and unlocking local or small-scale cement production.

“At Furno, we have the ability to produce Ordinary Portland cement now, adapt to a range of gas-based fuels and materials innovations as they emerge and meet demand where it exists while still abiding by a shifting regulatory landscape. ​​Our mission is to go the distance by innovating at the heart of cement production and operating as a complement to other technological developments in the cement space,” explains Gurinder Nagra, Furno founder and chief executive officer. “Our cement far exceeds ASTM standards, a bare-minimum quality threshold. While most companies tout meeting these standards and stop there, we have continued to refine our process and are on target to surpass the even higher commercial requirements set by significantly-sized customers eager for our solution.”

“It is an exciting time in the cement and concrete industry, with dozens of emerging technologies working to decarbonize the space,” said Marty Ozinga, chief executive officer of Ozinga Bros Inc, one of Chicago’s leading concrete companies. “After researching most of them, we believe Furno stands out as one that has the potential to scale most quickly and be most disruptive to traditional cement plants. We are excited to closely monitor their progress and be one of their early adopters.”

The company’s novel kiln and combustion technology allows for efficient cement production using gas-based versus solid fuels, which dramatically reduces CO2 emissions and eliminates nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) entirely. Furno’s innovative design also allows producers to build cement plants that are compact and cost-efficient, and enables them to add incremental capacity as needed.

Roughly 70-80% of the costs involved in constructing a cement plant are from labor and installation alone, with the remaining 20-30% of expenditures going to custom equipment often sourced from international suppliers. The Furno Brick helps mitigate these costs by enabling pre-fabrication and standardization, thus drawing down production, installation and permitting expenses.

The Furno Brick operates at greater than 80% thermal efficiency, doubling what standard cement plants are able to achieve. While conventional cement plants require four very large and mechanically-distinct stages to produce cement (preheating, calcining, sintering and cooling), Furno’s reactor – coupled with its novel combustion technology – combines four stages into one compact reactor, dramatically reducing cost and the carbon as well as physical footprint.

Furno’s oversubscribed round was led by Energy Capital Ventures (ECV) and joined by O’Shaughnessy Ventures, Cantos and Neotribe. Breakthrough Energy participated in earlier, non-dilutive funding of the company. This funding will enable the company to continue to scale its technology, provide more customers with samples to garner feedback and, perhaps most significantly, aid in the development of the Furno Brick.

Vic Pascucci, managing general partner and co-founder of Energy Capital Ventures, outlines the impetus behind investing in Furno. “As part of our Green Molecules™ investment thesis, ECV analyzed all of the innovations relevant to the cement and concrete industry. It was immediately clear to us that Furno had the best team, technology, business model and competitive advantages. Furno’s game changing ‘mini-kiln’ innovation enables a level of decarbonization and market adoption that is in a class all of its own.”

The demand for cement has grown exponentially over the last few decades as global development expands. Furno was developed out of the growing need for innovation and accessibility to entry in the space.

Furno’s approach is driven by face-to-face interactions with customers to ensure the solution addresses their specific needs and pain points. Compact, modular and capital efficient, Furno’s technology makes cement sustainable and accessible for manufacturers everywhere, regardless of size or capital. In short, Furno provides a mini-mill for the cement and concrete industry.

About Furno
Furno is an earth-first, science-backed startup based in Mountain View, California committed to mitigating climate change through its novel combustion technology. Furno’s technology is scalable, cost-efficient and dramatically reduces the carbon footprint associated with traditional cement production. With Furno, customers can develop their own modular, nimble and cost-efficient cement plants that scale on demand at an accessible price point.