The systems we depend upon – e.g. agriculture, water, and energy – face sizable threats from a warming planet and growing population. At Blue Morning, we recognize start-ups operating in these industries require longer timelines, patient capital, and long-term support to help them pursue growth and scale. Our goal is to test these models and demonstrate benefits to the Charlottesville area, then scale the solutions within and beyond Virginia.

Like other entrepreneurial programs, Blue Morning measures its success against standard metrics including follow-on funding, revenue generated, and jobs created. We also track social and environmental impact metrics respective to each company. Below, we provide examples for each impact focus area.

Food and agriculture

Agriculture is the largest private industry in Virginia and while it plays a vital role to Virginia’s economy, its practices greatly impact our climate and ecosystems, from use of natural resources to emitting of greenhouse gases. We seek companies with solutions that enable more efficient agriculture production and distribution, reduce agricultural GHG emissions, and increase access to healthy, affordable food. Examples of impact metrics we track:

  • Waste reduction and upcycling
  • Production of local food and high-value horticultural products
  • Soil health and regeneration
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy for the ag sector
  • Access and awareness of healthy, affordable food alternatives

Climate and Energy

Climate change is one of the leading global challenges and its effects threaten both our natural ecosystems and built environment. In Virginia, these risks include increased frequency and severity of storms, sea level rise, water shortages, heat waves, and negative public health outcomes. As energy demand continues to rise over the coming decades, how we source, produce, and consume energy carries consequential impact on our systems. We seek to work with companies that can accelerate the transition to renewable energy, reduce energy-related pollution and carbon emissions, increase access to affordable, renewable energy, and drive decarbonization.

  • Energy reduction and lowering of energy costs
  • Renewable energy production and access
  • Carbon emissions reduction or sequestration
  • Electrification
  • Fuel-shifting

Water

Upwards of half of Virginia’s counties face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century under hotter, drier conditions, while population centers near Virginia’s coast face increasing flood risks from rising sea levels and destructive storm surges intensified by climate change. The Hampton Roads region is experiencing one of the highest rates of sea level rise along the East coast, which drives greater urgency for water innovations to be tested and deployed. We seek companies with solutions that address wastewater and stormwater management, in addition to those that support protection and restoration of marine ecosystems. Examples of impact metrics we track:

  • Water recycling and reuse
  • Irrigation efficiency
  • Recurrent flooding mitigation
  • Areas of marine ecosystems restored
  • Water restoration and best practices