Calyxia bags $17.6M to tackle the global microplastics problem

Our world is drowning in human-generated microplastics. And while these tiny fragments of non-biodegradable plastic — floating in the sea, embedded in the soil — are hard to see with the naked eye, they pose a gigantic threat to life.

Inexorably, plastic pollution is finding its way into the human food chain, with unknown implications for our health as we consume fragments of plastic that wash into our water supplies or have been unwittingly consumed by the fish and other sea creatures that we eat.

Research has shown that microplastics are harmful and even fatal to aquatic creatures, causing fish to die before they can reproduce or stunting their growth as they fill up on fragments of plastic instead of food.

The health impact for humans of increasing consumption of plastic is clearly not good. (Microplastics have, for example, been shown to be a vector for other harmful stuff — trapping heavy metals and other pollutants.)

This seemingly invisible pollution in soils is equally problematic for sustaining life — because microplastics degrade soil fertility and diversity, impoverishing the soil’s microbiome and reducing the amount of food that can be produced from farmed land. (And with a growing human population to feed that’s another crippling sustainability challenge flowing from our habit of littering the environment with plastic dust.)

Paris-based greentech startup Calyxia thinks it has an answer to humanity’s microplastics problem — and is targeting this planet-wide pollution crisis with novel chemistry.

It has developed what it bills as “environmentally friendly” and “advanced performance” biodegradable microcapsule technology, which it says can reduce the amount of harmful microplastics that human activity is putting into the environment — assuming, of course, widespread take-up by manufacturers.

The 2015-founded startup is now announcing a €15 million Series A (~$17.6 million) funding round, led by the impact investor Astanor Ventures, as it gears up to get its first products to market this year.

Commenting in a statement, Hendrik Van Asbroeck, partner at Astanor Ventures, said: “Beyond the already enormous feat of decreasing microplastic pollution into our ecosystems, Calyxia’s technology will dramatically reduce the impact of the global agrifood, home care and advanced materials industries. With a deeply mission-driven team, extensive technological expertise, growing product pipeline, and eco-friendly manufacturing process, Calyxia is poised to make an exponential impact on a global scale.”

The round brings Calyxia’s total raised to €23 million, with earlier backing from business angels, and through the award of a number of grants, including European Commission SME Instrument (2018), BPI Innov’Up Leader (2019) and BPI Plan de Relance awards (2020).

Some of Calyxia’s initial partners are producing fast-moving consumer goods (specifically laundry liquids) and “crop protection” for agriculture.

The startup says it’s partnering with “leading” (top three) manufacturers in Europe and globally in these target sectors. (It can’t disclose the partners yet for commercial reasons but, certainly with the laundry liquids, its customers will be household names.)

On “crop protection”, this catch-all label can refer to chemicals like insecticides, herbicides and pesticides but also to enzymes, pheromones and “bio-inputs”, depending on the specific product. And Calyxia co-founder and CEO Jamie Walters tells TechCrunch it’s committed to only working with partners whose products don’t have other “ecotoxic” problems.

“As a company our values — in fact, our mission — is to build a safer, superior and sustainable future for all,” says Walters. “So we do not work with any pesticide that is unsafe, that’s not sustainable.”

That mission would rule out Calyxia partnering with producers of certain notorious weed killers which have — for example — been linked to cancers in humans and mass deaths of bees, among other reported harms. (When asked a direct question, Walters confirms there is “no, not a chance” of it working with the maker of glyphosate.)

Instead of using plastic (non-biodegradable) microcapsules — to add “value” to products at the expense of the environment — the promise is that Calyxia’s chosen partners will be using its biodegradable microcapsule technology to shrink how much plastic pollution their products generate, while still being able to tout long-lasting “fresh” scents (in the case of laundry liquid makers) or sustained crop protection that won’t just wash away after a rain shower.

While you might think those particular use-cases for microcapsules might be better eliminated altogether, Walters argues that the use of the technology for crop protection is helpful to reducing the amount of pesticide which needs to be used — meaning there may be wider environmental benefits to continued use.

Not so much for fragranced laundry liquids, though. Added “perfumes” have no hidden benefits beyond being smelly — at best you could argue their use might help encourage people to wash their clothes less frequently. But it’s a pretty big stretch to justify the use of extra chemicals that are also linked to allergies and other human health problems.

The reason for continued use there is largely economic. Laundry liquid makers want to shift more product — and think they will if washed clothes “smell nice”.

At the same time, though, continued use of smelly laundry liquids and sustained crop protection are just two of the use cases that result in microplastics being released into the environment. The problem is far bigger than either of those use cases, which we could at least envisage stopping altogether and replacing with less harmful interventions.

After all, some industrial processes that have involved intentionally incorporating tiny plastic fragments into products have been banned already — such as the use of plastic micro beads as an exfoliant in cosmetics. And the European Union is mulling a ban on all intentionally added microplastics. However, industry lobbying has complicated the picture — and appears to be delaying legislative action.

The wider problem is that most microplastics do not start out as crafted as micro fragments but rather get generated through wear of a larger amount of a material. Basically, friction causes tiny fragments to break off and escape — washing into waterways and oceans, ending up in soils and sediment, or collecting in the dust in our urban environments.

(Car tyres, for example, are a major source of pollutive micro-particles. And there again there are serious human health implications — think of the dust city dwellers must constantly breath in. So even though an electric vehicle could have zero exhaust emissions it may still be littering our urban living spaces with fragments of rubber that degrade our health.)

This is why Calyxia’s business looks a lot more interesting — and scalable — than it might seem at first glance if you focus on the eco-scented laundry liquid angle: Because the startup has devised a version of its microcapsule technology that can be added to other materials — plastics, coatings, foams etc. — to make them more wear-resistant and therefore limit how much microplastics their use creates. 

Reducing the generation of microplastics over time by allowing the materials to perform better under friction could have wider benefits too — longer-lasting, harder-wearing components, say, as well as better environmental credentials. 

“Primary microplastics that people add to have a benefit represent less than 17% of microplastics. The other 83% comes from the deterioration of plastics and rubbers in our lives,” explains Walters. “The same with coatings, road-markings, the same with paint. So what we do is we have an ingredient that you add to plastics, or paint, or packaging, or coatings, and then when there’s any abrasion it causes the capsules to open, deliver a lubricant at the surface preventing wear.

“Our one ingredient added in a small percentage can increase the lifespan of materials by 10x. Can increase the wear resistance by 10x. And can reduce microplastic generation by over 10x.”

With this more broadly applicable technology, Walters says the startup will be producing a new portfolio of plastic products — “coatings, composites, foams, plastics in automotive applications, in sporting goods, in consumer goods; wherever there’s a material that undergoes wear”.

The potential for such a substance — assuming it performs as billed — to limit unintentionally released microplastics looks huge.

And that’s good news because the challenge of plastic pollution is certainly a planet-wrapping one.

Walters says this broader microcapsule technology — which it’s calling Caly-Shield — will be released this year. (For laundry fragrance its product will be marketed as “enviro-caps”. While for agricultural use cases its active ingredient delivery capsules will be called “natura-caps”.)

“By making [materials] more wear resistant you have a 10x longer lifespan so you can replace them fewer times — which also [means] a massive environmental footprint reduction. And you can replace them before the microplastics are generated,” he adds on the Caly-Shield tech.

“People talk about this topic less because people are more familiar with agriculture and fragrances but this is really one of the biggest causes of microplastics in the world today. And our technology here will transform the material world in this area.”

While biodegradable microplastics certainly sound a lot better than the current fragments — which have a habit of hanging around for centuries — it’s fair to say that biodegradable plastics don’t always have the greatest reputation.

Biodegradable plastic bags, for example, have been shown to break down into lots of little pieces of plastic — creating, yep, more microplastics! — which may then take a very long time to rot away, thereby meaning plastic pollution lingers in the environment as an ecotoxin, posing all the aforementioned risks to animal and human life…

Asked how Calyxia is able to guarantee that its “biodegradable” microcapsules do, in fact, disintegrate rapidly and don’t hang around long enough to interfere with the environment, Walters says the company is using a new process to manufacture microcapsules which allows for the use of many different materials as an alternative to using microplastic.

He also notes it has put its tech through independent testing, which he says has demonstrated that its biodegradable capsules do really do the job of disappearing quickly.

“All microcapsules produced in the world today are produced by one process. They produce polyurethane or polymelamine formaldehyde capsules… We have invented a new process that’s environmentally sustainable — so energy efficient, water efficient, we’ll be zero carbon or carbon neutral next year. So our process is more sustainable but more than that our process is compatible with thousands of different shell materials,” he says.

“I can’t tell you the specific material we use for the capsules themselves because our competitors are very big chemical companies and they’re very aggressive, but what I can tell you is that we have [an independent testing company] regularly analyzing our capsules [to determine if performance meets the standard of the OECD 301 biodegradability test].”

“Ultimately the capsules have been demonstrated to be fully biodegradable,” he adds, saying that for the home-care microcapsules the test involves verifying that microbes in waste water treatment facilities fully consume the capsules so that no plastics end up in the ocean. For agriculture a soil test is performed — with the capsules placed in soil and an assessment of the biodegradation rate carried out as soil microbes consume the capsules.

“We’ve confirmed in soil tests by an independent testing laboratory and in waste water plant by an independent testing laboratory that they’re biodegradable and that they’re fully consumed into CO2 and oxygen,” Walters adds.

Some of the NGOs campaigning for EU regulations to ban microplastics have raised concerns that industry lobbying will create loopholes for manufacturers to continue using damaging plastics — either in even smaller forms (so called nanoplastics) or by widening the definition of biodegradable, as well as these vested interests continuing to push to delay regulations banning use.

We also asked Walters about this and he confirmed Calyxia’s capsules are not nanoplastics (nor are they classed as microplastics), reiterating: “They are biodegradable, and leave no trace in the environment.”

“I agree with the NGO opposition to the long transitional periods. Lobbyists are trying to extend the transition period. For me, the regulation should be enforced now, as there are available biodegradable solutions,” he also told us. “I also agree with NGO opposition on the very broad definition of biodegradability. Lobbyists are trying the broaden the original proposition of the European Commission. This is a problem.

“The original proposition was a test called the OECD 301 B. This is a very strict test for biodegradability that many company’s products do not pass today. Calyxia capsules do pass this strict test.”

“The European Commission should reduce the transition period, and not extend the definition of biodegradability,” he urged.

While Calyxia’s technology sounds like it could be great news for stemming the flow of new microplastics into our environment, it obviously cannot do anything to clean up existing microplastic pollution.

On that Walters says other innovations will be needed — to the extent that removing so many tiny fragments is humanly possible. It may be that we are saddled with this toxic legacy for hundreds — or even a thousand years.

At the same time, scientists have been working on developing enzymes that can consume plastic — and last year a so-called “super enzyme” was reported to have been engineered that was able to consume plastic 6x faster than previous bioengineering efforts. So it’s certainly interesting to speculate whether an environmentally friendly microcapsule technology which enables delayed release of active substances might be an interesting delivery system for plastic-eating enzymes — to essentially bake in a rapid self-destruct mechanism to products made of plastic so they can’t end up as pollution.

Certainly we need to get a whole lot smarter about the materials we make — considering the entire lifecycle of products and what happens at their end-of-life, rather than just pumping out more shiny new stuff without a care for tomorrow.

However, the inevitably higher upfront cost for product manufacturers of eco interventions like Calyxia’s means regulators have a key role to play in setting conditions where environmental considerations must be baked into product development by default. Really moving the needle on microplastics means it can’t just be left up to a few “leading” brands to shell out for the chance to market their “green” solution as a product differentiator.

“You’re not seeing people dying from microplastic pollution today and we’re not seeing animals becoming extinct and the food chain becoming extinct. But… if we leave this problem unsolved, then within a decade or two, particularly with the rising population and the growing consumerism, it could reach a level where we can’t correct it,” says Walters. “We can’t remove microplastics from the ocean. We can remove bulk plastics but we can’t remove microplastics. So if it reaches a catastrophically high level of pollutants it’s too late… We need to act now before it’s too late.”

“With Calyxia’s solution you could eliminate microplastics in agriculture and laundry products and you could start to introduce it into materials across the world. But it will take time to implement everywhere,” he adds. “What we really need is we need regulators in the U.S. and Asia to follow the European lead. And to start putting limits on microplastic generated from materials — and start banning microplastics on products in the U.S. and Asia too.

“If we can do that global manufacturers across the world will have no other solution but to change their practices — and either with Calyxia’s technology or another technology they’ll find solutions.”

Animal Alternative makes a platform play in the growing market of cultured meat

Traditional meat production is about as far from a sustainable process as we’ve got, but our chances of getting everyone to give up “real” meat are lean. Animal Alternative is one of several companies looking to make meat indistinguishable from the animal-based kind using bioreactors and cultured cells, and it aims to empower local producers to do so with a customizable process powered by data and AI.

Animal Alternative, which presented today at TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield, is the brainchild of two Cambridge grads who repeatedly encountered each other during their studies in biotech there. Clarisse Beurrier and Yash Mishra found that they shared a conviction that meat production desperately needs a reboot, and their skills complemented each other as well. They decided to start a company to pursue a new, data-heavy approach that could make cultured meat production as much a software problem as a hardware one.

Cell-cultured meat, in case you’re not familiar, is where cells derived from animal tissue are grown in an artificial environment until they are numerous enough to be considered what might generally be considered “a piece of meat.” But you can’t just shave some beef off into a nutrient tank and hope it grows into a 12-ounce ribeye — recreating tissue the way it grows in nature is remarkably difficult. Animal Alternative believes data is the answer.

Mishra hails from a lab that was doing bioelectric monitoring of cells and tissues for research and medical purposes, and it occurred to him and Beurrier that the same technique could be applied to meat production.

Yash Mishra (left) and Clarisse Beurrier. Image Credits: Animal Alternative

“We created these bioreactors, smaller than my thumb, that let us use minimal resources and get lots of information, so we can find the best process for making meat in a sustainable way,” he said.

Monitoring cells for any reason is a complex proposal, often involving slow and outdated techniques like stains and collecting samples to test elsewhere. Beurrier explained that their innovation is in both improved real-time cell-monitoring tech and the instant feedback it enables to guide the whole process of cell growth.

“Everything has to work together. If, for example, our clients want to make a piece of lamb, there are all these parameters. It’s a very dynamic process,” she said. Although they were wary of revealing too much about the patent-pending bioreactor, the two explained that it provides powerful monitoring and AI-powered feedback.

“A lot of parameters, such as nutrients, flow rates, pH, temperature, etc., have a major impact on the taste, texture and quality of meat produced. Our proprietary bioelectronic analytics give us unprecedented insights into these,” Mishra explained. “Our revolutionary platform also includes AI-driven software that uses all the data we have to help us reduce costs and improve efficiency. This has already reduced costs and energy requirements by over 92% compared to where we started.”

Just like testing a field-based crop to see if it needs more water or nitrogen, cultured cells have to be monitored in real time to make sure they’re developing in line with expectations. Beyond just maintaining the growth and health of the tissue, this can be used to differentiate it proactively, producing fat or vascular tissue where it would likely be in a real cut of meat. The plan is to build a one-of-a-kind database for cultured meat, from which can be trained or deployed numerous AI agents that specialize in lamb, pork, or even different breeds like Wagyu or Angus beef.

All this is being demonstrated right now at a small scale, but the team has planned for scaling up by going from large to small rather than vice versa. “The design for the bioreactor is for the large scale, and the microscale system has been deliberately designed and purposely built to be a model of that system, recreating it down to a molecular scale with microfluidics and bioelectronic monitoring,” Mishra said.

In other words, if they can do it at the bench-top scale they’re currently prototyping in, they should be able to do it at a much greater scale. And it’s the larger bioreactors, which they call Renaissance Farm, that they plan to make available to meat producers as a more or less turnkey process.

Meat is a global industry, but not all countries and regions have the space, resources or infrastructure to support it. Yet every country consumes it — which means many must import meat at great cost and expense. What if a country rich in minerals or oil but not in pasture could produce its own meat with its own resources? That’s what Animal Alternative wants to enable.

“Our goal is to provide a viable alternative to the largest commercial factory farms,” said Beurrier. By their estimates, a 2,000-liter bioreactor should be able to make a million kilograms of meat per year for about the price of traditional farming, at only 5% of the land, water and emissions cost.

Animal Alternative would provide the hardware, and customers would need to buy new supplies of stem cells (which are taken without harming live animals, they noted) on a regular basis. The main costs at the production facility would be raw materials in the form of liquid growth media and growth hormones, both sourced from non-animal sources. Revenue sharing for sold product would be the main revenue source.

The decision not to fund its own network of factories and make their own product came down to the scale of the problem.

“We can’t do this on our own,” said Mishra. “This is a huge challenge to take on — we’re ambitious, but we have to work with the other great companies in the ecosystem.”

Partnering with the food industry giants in positions to supercharge this process is the natural way forward if they want to achieve their goal of decarbonizing and democratizing meat production as fast as possible. Once there’s a commercial-scale process for creating cultured meat, it should sell itself as a sustainable way to get a product indistinguishable from the original.

Just how indistinguishable? We’ll know for sure after their first tasting coming up soon.

America’s innovators will solve climate change, not regulators

President Joe Biden has pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. He intends to meet this ambitious target through a wave of new federal spending and government programs.

But our best hope for reducing carbon emissions isn’t new government spending. It’s a technological sea change — one that can only come from the private sector.

In fact, the government is slowing progress against climate change by imposing regulations that prevent emissions-lowering technologies from reaching the market. If our leaders really want to save the planet, they need to get out of the way of entrepreneurs who can actually do so.

One would expect the government to embrace technology with the potential to cut carbon pollution. After all, Biden himself has promised to “spur American technological innovations” as part of his climate agenda.

Unfortunately, some of the most promising green tech breakthroughs face severe headwinds as a result of misguided or antiquated federal policies.

One such technology — profiled in “They Say It Can’t Be Done,” a new documentary on the relationship between innovators and regulations — is an artificial tree developed by Arizona State University physicist and engineer Klaus Lackner. These man-made trees contain a special plastic resin that can absorb carbon dioxide and release it when submerged in water. They’re 1,000 times more effective at taking in carbon dioxide from the air than natural trees. Once captured, this carbon dioxide can then be reclaimed and converted into fuel.

Lackner’s design could be scaled to produce units that each remove a metric ton of carbon dioxide daily. The main stumbling block is the lack of clear regulations surrounding carbon capture technologies — specifically the transport and storage of captured carbon.

Until a uniform federal framework exists, the process of bringing this technology to market will remain impossibly complicated and fraught with risk.

Or consider technologies that could reduce the need for large-scale livestock farming. Raising billions of chickens, pigs and cattle requires vast amounts of water, feed and land. The resulting carbon footprint is massive — about 7.1 gigatons of greenhouse gases a year.

Here too, new technologies could help reduce emissions. Researchers are designing cell-cultured meat — chicken, pork and beef produced in the lab rather than the feedlot. This lab-grown protein is safe, healthy and far less carbon-intensive than traditionally farmed meat.

One startup that makes lab-grown meat, Eat Just, recently obtained approval to sell its cell-cultured chicken in Singapore. But it’s still waiting on the green light from U.S. regulators. According to the firm’s founder, it could be another year — or more — before U.S. approval comes through.

For an industry as capital-intensive as cultured meat production, this sluggish approval process can make it impossible for a startup to launch and get its products to market.

High-tech solutions like these are precisely what’s required to protect our planet from the threat of climate change. While it is impossible to say whether lab-grown meat is the future of sustainable food or if artificial trees are the best solution for sequestering atmospheric carbon, an accessible and level regulatory playing field allows the best innovations to thrive.

Too many Americans believe that when it comes to climate change, only the government is up to the task. The fact is, the main barrier to large-scale adoption of sustainable technologies isn’t a lack of government involvement, but too much — or at least the wrong kind.

In order to make good on his promise to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, the president and his team will need to recognize how government obstructs the development and deployment of technology that can fulfill that promise.

Salesforce reaches Net Zero energy usage, announces updates to Sustainability Cloud

Salesforce has often preached about responsible capitalism, and today at Dreamforce, the company’s annual customer extravaganza, it announced a notable achievement in the battle against global climate change. The company said that it has achieved effective Net Zero energy usage across its entire value chain with 100% renewable energy, while purchasing carbon offsets when that’s not possible.

At the same time, it announced updates to the Sustainability Cloud, a product that the company sells to other organizations to manage their climate initiatives, proving you can be responsible, and still be capitalists. Suzanne DiBianca, chief impact officer & EVP for corporate relations at Salesforce, speaking at yesterday’s Dreamforce press event, said the company is proud to be an example of a large organization taking positive climate action.

“I’m very excited about our commitment to climate action around being a Net Zero company today. And this is not in 2030, not in 2040, not in some other future moment. We know we have to accelerate, and we have gotten to Net Zero today, including our entire value chain, which is Scope 1, 2 and 3. Very few companies have gotten here,” she said.

There is a lot of sustainability jargon there, so we spoke to Ari Alexander, GM of Sustainability Cloud to break it down for us. Alexander explained that the sustainability community measures a company’s carbon footprint in three main areas known as Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. “Scope 1 and 2 are what you own, what you operate, what you control and then what energy is procured in order to power your operation,” he said.

Scope 3 is everything else your company touches, which is referred to as “up and down the value chain” in industry parlance. “The vast majority of the emissions that a company is responsible for are actually not in their direct operational control, but relate to their upstream suppliers that they procure goods and services from, or in the case of other industries the downstream use of the product or the life of a product,” he said. A downstream example might be what happens to your phone after you trade it in for a new one.

So when Salesforce says that it’s Net Zero up and down the value chain, it involves everything it controls and every company it interacts with in the act of doing business. Because there are so many variables here outside of Salesforce’s control, Alexander says when the company can’t ensure that a partner or vendor is in compliance with the standard set by the company, it buys what he calls “high-quality carbon offsets.”

“Also for where we can’t do that immediately, we are purchasing high-quality carbon offsets to make up the difference to be able to be fully Net Zero now, while we continue on that really important journey of reducing to absolute zero across the supply chain [over time],” he said.

In addition, the company announced updates to the Sustainability Cloud, the commercial tool it has developed to sell to other companies, using the same tools and technology that Salesforce is using in-house.

“Sustainability is undergoing a transformation in that it’s going from something that’s a nice to have to something that’s actually at the heart of business transformation itself. That it’s one of the mega trends of our time and growing exponentially every year, and part of what that means is that companies are moving significant resources in order to respond to the climate crisis and moving sustainability to the core of how they do business,” Alexander said.

At the same time, the company published a blueprint based on its own plans to be a more sustainable organization, called the Salesforce Climate Action Plan (link to pdf), that it is making available for free online.

The company also announced plans to accelerate its tree planting goals to grow 30 million trees this year. This involves working with other organizations to plant, grow and restore 100 million trees in a 10-year period, a goal that they have been pushing to make happen much sooner.

Company president and COO Bret Taylor speaking at the Dreamforce press event said that the climate crisis has had an impact on everyone, and he believes Salesforce can have a meaningful impact based on its behavior while acting as an example for other organizations.

“We’re showing up at Dreamforce, […] really to recognize that we think business is the greatest platform for change and to paint a picture of this vision for inspiring every organization to become a trusted enterprise and address these crises [like climate],” Taylor said.

FCC showers schools across the US with $1.2B from Emergency Connectivity Fund

The FCC has sent out the first checks from its Emergency Connectivity Fund, an effort to help close the “homework gap” at schools by covering the cost of computers and internet services. Thousands of school districts, in every state plus D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico, will split this first $1.2 billion distribution, and there’s still lots more to come.

The problem they are looking to mitigate is the large number of students who, in an age when studying, homework and now even classes are all done online, lack a device or adequate internet connection to participate. This exacerbates an existing inequality, for these students often lack access to other resources and end up falling behind through no fault of their own.

The ECF was conceived to combat this, and funded earlier this year as part of the big pandemic recovery bill. It’s a $7 billion program in total, but the money is being distributed over time as schools and libraries make their formal requests, saying they need to cover the cost of this many tablets, or wireless hotspots, or broadband connections. The FCC seems to be picking up the bill as long as the request is reasonable and the paperwork is in order.

“From small rural libraries like the Sesser Public Library in Sesser, Illinois, to large school districts like Baltimore City Public Schools, this first wave of funding will provide more than 3 million connected devices for remote learning and will make a major dent in closing one of the cruelest parts of the digital divide,” said acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel in the news release.

It’s not evenly divided, but distributed according to the applications received. The biggest state recipient is New York with $243 million ($192 million of which goes to NYC), followed by Texas with $97 million, and California with $71 million. Several states got far less (Wyoming and South Dakota took in less than $100,000 each), but this could very easily be a question of those districts just choosing to get their paperwork in for the second fund disbursement.

To that end, September 28 marks a new application period, for equipment and services used from this last July to next June — though the FCC noted it is still processing applications from the first batch, so if your district hasn’t heard back on that, don’t worry. And if they haven’t applied yet, best get started!

You can check out the full recipient list, broken down by district and amount, in the spreadsheet linked here.